On August 5th an unusual gathering of designers will be meeting in San Francisco for Kicker Studio's second annual Device Design Day (D3)! In case you missed last year's inaugural event, D3 brings together visual, interaction and industrial designers for a multi-discipline conversation about the design of consumer electronics and objects with embedded technology—devices of the future! This year's festivities will be jam-packed with incredible speakers, panel discussions and even a ROBOT PETTING ZOO! Tomorrow we'll kick-off a series of Q+A's with this year's exciting lineup of speakers but before we get started, we thought we'd sit down with Kicker Studio co-founder Jennifer Bove to get the scoop on this year's conference!
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Core77: What was the motivation behind creating Device Design Day?
Jennifer Bove, Kicker Studio: We spend a lot of time at Kicker Studio talking about the impact of design on devices and how we can make technology speak human to harness its power into indispensable tools and products. We quickly discovered there's not enough time in the day to explore all the interesting and fascinating topics around device design. So we decided to expand the conversation, opening up to the design community at large, to explore and discuss the impact of design on the hardware and software that's going into tomorrow's tools.
As we looked around the conference landscape, we realized there was no dedicated event for designers, technologists and product owners who design devices to focus on the intersection of product, interface and designing for people. Last year's D3 featured a mix of practical and inspirational content from some of the best speakers and thinkers in (and outside) the field. The conference sold out, which told us that these conversations are valued. We're very much looking forward to this year's line up.
Since last year's inaugural conference, what are some developments in the consumer electronics field that you're most excited about?
I think one of the most exciting developments we see is people's expectations of their product experience maturing, and technology finally catching up. We're seeing a new attention to the importance of context and behavior in consumer products, leading to improvements in experiences almost across the board. People are starting to see that "gesture" doesn't necessarily mean Minority Report and that interface does not have to be entirely visual. You can use inputs like gesture and feedback cues like haptics to create intuitive and responsive tools for day-to-day living.I think this is reflected in the kinds of conversations we're now having. The "future" isn't so far off anymore—it's in our pockets, our living rooms and the public spaces around us.
What are some of the themes we can look forward to discussing at this year's conference?
We're super excited about this year's conference because we've got a great array of thought leaders presenting their ideas around making better products and more intuitive tools for people.
For starters, we'll be discussing the new opportunities presented by emerging and maturing technologies. Mike Kruzeniski, from Microsoft's Windows Phone Team, will be talking about the aesthetics of digital surfaces, Karen Kaushansky from Jawbone will discuss the role of audio cues and feedback on consumer devices, and Kicker's own Jody Medich will be talking about using technology as a material to enable more tactile experiences.
We'll also be looking at how people relate to objects themselves: the ideas they convey, the possibilities behind them and how experiences can evolve and shift people's perceptions. We've got Robert Brunner, Branko Lukic and Charles Goran talking about their work with products and clients ranging from Nike and Polaroid to the T-Mobile Sidekick. With Leila Takayama from Willow Garage, we'll examine design challenges around robots as personal devices.
And lastly, we'll consider the role of design in creating risk-averse systems and regulated devices, from the collaborative process of designing medical equipment with Liz Bacon, to the history of Mission Control Center, with NASA's Cori Schauer.
This year we're also featuring the D3 Robot Petting Zoo, a playground for interacting with robots, prototypes and experimental tools made by folks like us. We're looking forward to the conversations these experiences spawn, complementing the rich set of presentations and discussions along side it.