Brendan Dawes
The Art of Form and Code


Internet Connected Agnostic Display

iota (model one) is an Internet connected display that has its function defined by the code it receives over WiFi. The hardware is made up of a 16x2 LCD display together with a joystick control and integrated push button - much like you'd find on a PS2.

In its present form when iota powers up it tells the time. Moving the joystick right cycles the display through different modes; displaying the current weather forecast for where I live, various news headlines (joystick up and down scrolls the display) and finally a notification of anyone tweeting me. Pressing the button when viewing news headlines will add that news article to my Instapaper queue for reading later.

That's what it currently does; tomorrow I could completely change its function, purely through software, and have it do something else. All over Wifi without even touching or taking it apart.

Many of the objects that we use day-to-day such as the iPhone lack any kind of affordance as to what their function is. Software mutates the hardware to be a specific thing. I love this idea, but I also love the tactile nature of a button or some such control. I think there's an in-between space between no affordance and some affordance that is an interesting area to explore. After all, these buttons and switches are visual cues to invite us to interact.