Interaction 13 – Hack You

Andy Goodman

A week ago in frosty Toronto, Marco Righetto and I had the pleasure and honour of talking to the gathered cognoscenti of the interaction design global community. IxDA organises these global meetups annually and this was the first time we’d experienced one first hand (from the inside so to speak). My overriding impression was that it was a great meeting of likeable and smart people from our industry debating important topics and socialising, getting drunk and playing balloon volleyball. It was also an intense weather week with the temperature veering from -15 to 15 degrees in the space of 2 days.

What struck me is that as a company we should engage more with the IxDA and that, specifically in Madrid and perhaps other cities, they are quite fragmented as an organisation and actually need local leadership to kickstart the engagement with the rest of the global community. We chatted to lots of people like Dan Saffer from Smart who is one of the IxDA founders and Jason Mesut (an old friend from RMA) who leads the London chapter, and everyone we spoke to was very open to Fjord becoming more active in the community.

Highlights of the conference included:

  • Dan Saffer on Microinteractions, a typically pointed and broad spectrum talk on how our experience of products is often derived from the tiny pieces of interaction design that we create.
  • Smart and Beautiful: Designing Robots and Intelligent Machines by Dr Matthew Powers of Carnegie Mellon who actually worked on the Big Dog project for Boston Dynamics,
  • And not least “How to design social experiences,” by Paul Adams of Facebook on the difference between designing for social experiences and designing for user experiences. His talk at OTA12 is pretty much the same as he gives every time so this should give you an idea of what we heard:

Marco Righetto takes the stage at IxDA 2013.

And now a quick summary of our talk which was entitled “Hack You: The Human Body is the Next Interface”. Our vision addressed the breakthroughs in “Bodytech” that will bring a host of incredible innovations destined to transform our bodies, communication, and society — even the human psyche. We talked about emerging “smart medicines,” medical technologies, synthetic biology, robotics and organic body part replacements. By playing this alongside the evolution of machine interfaces, we charted the dramatic shift towards a humanised interaction with the made world. We proposed that this merging of man and machine can only increase over the next 20 years, culminating in a symbiosis between us and organic machines that will be able predict our needs with great precision. Even to the point where we share our DNA with them, and they to some extent become part of our own bodily ecosystem. When technology gets to a certain level of sophistication, the end game is that the interface disappears completely. What then does this mean for design, if everything is customised totally to the individual and embedded inside our bodies? We’ll try to have the answer to this and other questions soon, along with a video of our presentation.

In the meantime, check out  our previous talks at TEDx and TED Amsterdam:;TEDAmsterdam.

Andy Goodman talks “Hack You” at IxDA 2013.






Andy Goodman

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