Chair with an Attitude

You leave for work in the morning saluting your dog resting on the floor, wondering what he might be up to in the hours you don't see him. Returning home later, you find him where you left him�but your sofa tells a story of playful traces of paw prints and body prints! Chairs and other seating are a large part of our daily lives, from car seats to desk chairs. What "sense of chairness" can a chair hold beyond its formal and functional qualities? This research explores the idea of anthropocentric illusions, which enable a chair�or any object�to reflect, share, and reveal its stories of experience. The system accumulates a multifaceted log of occurrences and encounters with humans and their contexts, and formulates unique expressions that reflect "attitude" back to the human. We are realizing a chair's expression by designing and engineering an electronic fabric called TechStyle, a next-generation electronic textile that incorporates input and output capability in the woven structure. The fabric was developed in collaboration with Collins & Aikman, whose expertise includes textile and chemical engineering. We are currently developing the system board that drives both the input and output capability of the fabric. The design and engineering is driven by the vision that electronic input/output will enhance the design of many everyday objects.