At Ambient Devices, I became increasingly interested in motivating behavioral changes with what Richard Thaler called Nudges. Novartis approached us to collaborate with Yves Behar to design a magical pill box to increase adherence to their blockbuster hypertension drug. They hoped to solve the problem that doctors were prescribing it, but people would only take it 50% of the time, resulting in the loss of hundreds of millions in revenue for this one drug in europe alone. We learned that in America insurance companies lose about $300B in unnecessary hospitalizations due to people not taking the medication they are prescribed. I founded a new company, Vitality, to focus on this issue. The GlowCap is the first internet-connected medication package that has been proven in a randomized clinical control trial to increase adherence to over 90%. We got distribution with Express Scripts and did deals with many major pharmas for diabetes, transplant, HIV, and more. The company was sold to biotech billionaire Patrick Soon-Shiong.
Union Point is a new dense urban development rising 12 miles south of Boston. It’s mission to enhance the human experience through the ideals of technology, sustainability, architectural beauty, education, creative arts, culture and inclusivity. It’s envisioned as a beautiful and sustainable city powered by the most advanced technologically on the planet. I’m tasked with creating an innovation center in an old power plant at the heart of the future downtown with a large tangible city model projected from above with a high fidelity, agent-based dynamic simulation that shows predicted congestion, walkability, energy consumption, autonomous vehicle usage, and even happiness scores projected out 5, 10, and 20 years. It’s part SimCity (except real) part WestWorld (without the gun fights and sex-robots.) The goal is to understand trade-offs, and make a place that maximizes diversity, access, vitality, and resiliency.
David Rose, the author of ‘Enchanted Objects,’ sees a future where we can all live like wizards.
The world seems particularly enraptured with voice-based conversational interfaces: Siri, Cortana, Alex, etc. During a short stint as an futurist-in-residence I worked with an IDEO team to speculate what the next wave in human-computer interaction. Our answer: mimes, orchestra conductors, dancers, and sign-language experts. Gestures are faster, more expressive, easier to recall, and don’t sound so stupid speaking to a computer when your friends are around. 3D cameras, computer vision, and neural nets make it possible to train your own gestural lexicon.
I invented this beautifully simple lamp that tunes into online information to help people track the things that matter to them the most through subtly changing colors. It was the first product of many for my company Ambient Devices, funded by Nicholas Negroponte and Hiroshi Ishii of the MIT Media Lab. The product won awards, garnered an incredible amount of press, and found distribution in catalogs and at the Museum of Modern Art store in NYC. We made the first batches in the US with a $300 MSRP, and eventually took manufacturing to China where we were able to reduce to price to $100. I’m proud that we realized early on that the data API should be open, to let people track anything. And they did: Chris Sacca, then a Google tracked surf heights, Bloomberg tracked sales-team performance, Mass General Hospital used it to help diabetics monitor blood sugar levels, NextBus used it to increase ridership, PR firms gave it away to their customers to track media hits, Ned Johnson at Fidelity has one on his desk to track the market.
Have you read the book “Quiet” by Susan Cain? When I did, I was stuck by the insight that the introverts and extroverts of an organization have the SAME amount of good ideas, but often the introverts’ ideas are drowned out and suppressed by the extroverts. A professional facilitator in meetings is effective but expensive… so why not embed one into furniture? This Balance Table hopes to subtly encourage more mindfulness by illuminating a constellation of lights in front of the speakers using the most air-time. They glance down, see the balance on the table, and naturally encourage others to contribute.
The Balance table was created for software company SalesForce with collaborators Gensler Architects and a fantastic team from the design firm Tellart.
We are now standing at the precipice of the next transformative development: the Internet of Things. Soon, connected technology will be embedded in hundreds of everyday objects we already care about and know how to use – our cars, cubicles, wallets, watches, umbrellas, even our trash cans -- objects that will respond to our needs, come to know us, and even learn to think ahead on our behalf. Rose calls these devices – which are just beginning to creep into the marketplace -- Enchanted Objects.
Some believe the future will look like more of the same—more smartphones, tablets, and other devices, with screens embedded in every conceivable surface. Rose calls this the Terminal World—and it won’t last forever. Instead, future technology will inevitably spread out, combining itself with the objects that make up the very fabric of daily living. Such technology, says Rose, can be woven into the background of our environment--enhancing human relationships, channeling desires for powers like omniscience, immortality and creative expression, and ushering the enchanted objects of fairy tales, scifi, and fantasies into real life.
Groundbreaking, timely, and provocative, David Rose has written a powerful manifesto about the way we live with technology—and a blueprint for a better future, where efficient solutions come hand in hand with technology that delights our senses. Enchanted Objects is essential reading for designers, professional and armchair technologists, entrepreneurs, and the business leaders looking to stay relevant in the Internet of Things.
Open office environments have been the bane of productivity. Sure they’re great for serendipitous chitchat, but if you’re trying to write or code, the sales-guy at the open table wreaks havoc on your flow-state. Now your desk transforms from open to insulated with a simple wave of your hand. Inspired by the book “Origins of Architectural Pleasure,” it makes your desk feel like you are sheltered and hidden from the world at the edge of the savanna, peering out on the world. You are also insulated from nearby office sounds by deep anno acoustic felt and subtle brown noise. Hello flow.
Two of the fastest moving technology waves, IoT and AI, are converging with the promise of redefining mobility, jobs, housing, food production, and more. David Rose, AI entrepreneur, author of Enchanted Objects, and MIT Media Lab researcher, takes on this brave new world with a uniquely humanistic and optimistic lens.
"Enchanted Objects" author David Rose describes the future of embedded technology.
A well-appointed library used to have a globe. Now your coffee table can host all of Google Earth with a gesture-based interface to fly around the world. No, your kid can’t play Minecraft or watch YouTube on your coffee table, but they can get a street view of every place that Google knows. This prototype was done with Paul Franzosa, who is now at BOSE.
SanDiego Gas & Electric found us. They want to move to “demand management” where the price of electricity changes dynamically based on the load on the energy grid. Think UBER’s peak-pricing, but for electricity. On a hot day when everyone cranks their AC at the same moment the load surges and so does the price. The problem that an ambient device solves, that makes it a must-have for energy companies, is a communication problem. They need a way to make energy glanceable so that people will notice and respond. NPR’s ___ did a radio story about this. Dozens of energy companies did multi-month pilot studies and came to the same conclusion: The energy Joule motivates people to dependably conserve 20% of their energy use when prices go up. Arnold Schwarzenegger, then Gov of CA called this program (don’t forget the accent) “smart shift and save.”
Guided by the principal that interior space, particularly in high-density urban innovation centers around the world, has become too expensive to be static and unresponsive, Ori’s breakthrough innovation, technology and design create dynamic environments that act and feel as though they are substantially larger.
Ori derives its name from “origami,” the Japanese art of folding paper to create beautiful and remarkable objects. Like its etymology, Ori is a prefix for something magical to come.
This conference room lamp subtly tracks the passage of time, and encourages different types of conversation a different points in the meeting. It’s starts by casting blue light upwards for blue-sky generative energetic thinking, then gradually descends and shifts to warm downward light to subtly motivate more convergent, sequential thinking at the end of the hour. My collaborator for this work was architecture student _____.
What if we lived in a world with flying carpets, ruby slippers and magic mirrors? MIT Media Lab instructor David Rose believes these enchanted objects of fairy tales and science fiction are the future of the internet of things. In his vision of the future, technology atomizes, combining itself with the objects that make up the very fabric of daily living.
I’m intrigued by the idea of gardening at home, but I predictably kill almost any species of plant...Oh, and we don’t have a yard. At the same time, I’m confident that if a very patient computer vision camera were tasked with taking care of single tomato plant it might succeed. This patient camera would need to know precisely how to care for this variety of tomato, water it just so, make sure it had the right fertilizer at the right time, that it was getting the perfect frequency and amplitude of photons. I’m now an advisor to Jenny Boutin who has launched just the thing to give even me a green thumb. SproutsIO is an indoor, soil-free gardening system to supply salads for the family year-around and save you thousands of dollars in produce that typically goes uneaten in the bottom of the fridge
What is the most humane way to keep tabs on your aging parents without the tinge of big-brother or intrusive monitoring? This cabinetry embeds a 1:1 dedicated videoconferencing link between grandparents and their grandkids so they can chat as often as they’d like--just by opening a door.
Inspired by the film-maker Errol Morris’ interrotron, the video camera is concealed behind a half-silvered mirror, so your looking directly eye-to-eye. A light box provides perfect facial illumination, and the door even glows with the other person is nearby. Thanks to my collaborator Sean who is now a technologist in NYC.
I was honored to be featured in the upcoming Boston Museum of science exhibit “wicked smart” about Boston innovators. The display include many of my designs from the Ambient Orb, Umbrella, GlowCap, Earth coffee-table and Balance Table. As part of the show I was interviewed by WGBH on Innovation Hub.
David Rose from the MIT Media Lab speaking at What's Next '15 Illuminate in Copenhagen.
I’m a longtime advisor to this smart mirror pioneer focusing on retail stores. Their mirrors allow customers to see side-by-side comparisons of outfits, to spin around and take a short video to share with friends, and to dynamically change the color of a garment as you stand in front of the mirror. They have deployed full length versions of the platform for luxury retailers like Neiman Marcus, created smaller makeup counter versions for many beauty brands, and are working on a shoe department version for those high-margin heels.
What’s the ideal environment for a perfect rest? This research project at the MIT Media Lab hopes to find out. We experiment and measure how sleep is affected by music, temperature, bedtime stories read in other languages, scent, swaddling, motion, vibration, different hues of light and patterns, a gentle breeze, anything our students can think of. We feed the sleep stage data into a machine learning algorithm to determine your unique and perfect environmental sequence for sleep.