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Enchanted Objects

Good ideas are the limiting factor for tomorrow's digital devices, since designers now have an abundance of low-cost components. The problem: many ideas fail to resonate with fundamental human desires.

Q: How to design great products for people in the age when anything is possible?

A: Make “Enchanted” versions of everyday objects, imbuing familiar forms with the magic of interactivity.

Amazon gave us enchanted versions of books offering unlimited content and portability. Nest’s thermostat learns usage patterns and adjusts to save energy. Vitality’s GlowCaps are internet-connected pill-bottle caps that illuminate, play ring-tones, send text messages and automatically refill so people consistently take important medications. Sifteo Cubes are like magic dominoes, a tactile videogame platform that brings tabletop game pieces to life. Vitality CEO David Rose and Sifteo President Dave Merrill discuss the story and future of enchanted objects designed around stuff we know and love.

Additional Supporting Materials


  1. What are the main factors that make it possible now to design and manufacture enchanted objects?
  2. What kinds of "magical" versions of everyday things can we expect to see in the next few years? How will the next wave of the wireless web and ‘little AI’ inevitably wash over the world of ordinary products to give them extra-ordinary capabilities?
  3. How are these transformative ideas tested, incubated, and brought to market?
  4. What are the origins of the Internet of things, and what have been the big ideas driving it forward?
  5. Besides the obvious, who have been the trailblazers combining digital technology with our everyday lives?



Paul Doherty, Client Executive, Voce Communications

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