I had the great privilege of speaking at the Taste3 conference on wine, food and art in Napa today. This is a terrific conference that's run as a kind of "TED for food" by many of the folks who organized TED years ago, and with the same ultra-high quality of experience design and attendees. I've had a number of great conversations with really smart, successful and fun people.
My talk today was a somewhat speculative presentation tracing some of the history of appliance design and how ubiquitous computing may change that. In the talk, I present the history of blender controls as an example of the encapsulation of knowledge into our tools. I then show several examples of how networked kitchen devices may (or may not) present a fundamental shift in the nature of how we relate to our kitchen tools:
Imagine that every time you used this [networked, barcode-reading microwave], it quietly told a database somewhere--say, in your iPod--how many calories you just ate. Then your iPod could query your shoes about how much you had run the previous day. The next time you went for a run, your iPod would pick songs with a different tempo to encourage you burn off that Mac and Cheese. Now that’s starting to get interesting. It is now possible for our tools to automatically encapsulate knowledge and share it with each other.
The full presentation is available here (360K PPT).