Girls Ambient Room

“With Ambient the physical environment becomes an interface to digital information rendered as subtle changes in form, movement, sound, color or light. Current information interfaces are either interruptive or too detailed. For the first time in history, ubiquitous wireless networks can affordably deliver digital information anytime, anywhere. The result for most of us is cacophony. Ambient wants to make the world calmer.” (Ambient Devices)

Communication via the Internet has become increasingly pervasive. We use MSN and Yahoo messenger, email, web based bbs’s, comments on our weblogs, and online as a means of keeping and forming relationships. Friendster, buddy lists, foaf, and our online address books record our circle of friends. All of these tools help us shape both our online and offline personas. Though our internet self in essence has become less and less disassociated with our ‘real’ self, the tools themselves remain a virtual construct and are kept at a distance. Tracking the data associated with these tools is important to people, but they typically wish to maintain only a peripheral awareness of it. Unfortunately current methods for maintaining awareness are too intrusive via a multitude of on screen applications or the out of tune audio alerts.

Our solution is to bring the information into the environment more completely allowing a persons online persona to shape the environment around them.

Overview and background

The girls’ ambient room uses sound, music, animation and light projections to communicate information at the periphery of human perception. It was designed to employ both the foreground and the background of the users attention. In normal day-to-day interactions we get information in a couple ways; first we get information from what we are focusing on, our center of attention is directed. When we are driving down the road, obviously the center of our attention is in front of us. When we are speaking or talking to somebody we are constantly focusing on that person and receiving the information. But while we are driving down the road and while we are talking to someone we are also getting information from other sources, from ambient sources. When we are driving outside we may have a sense of whether it’s windy or not by the sound of the wind or the visual information from the blowing of leaves. When talking to a friend we may get an idea of what other people are doing, whether they are busy, or they’re laughing, whether their situation is serious or not by this ambient sound from the presence of other people in the room.