Hardware, Software & the Internet of Things
June 23–25, 2015 • San Francisco, CA

Design conference sessions

By definition, the Solid space is interdisciplinary. Far beyond merely melding traditional hardware and software, successful products and platforms may incorporate sensors, radio waves, 3D printing, and novel materials and interfaces. The Design track will expand your notion of the possible, and show how radically new products can spring from re-imagining existing services, processes, and machines.

9:00am–10:30am Tuesday, 06/23/2015
SOLD OUT
Location: Fire House
Claire Rowland (Independent), Elizabeth Goodman (18F / General Services Administration)
Average rating: ***..
(3.38, 13 ratings)
This workshop will explore a unique challenge in designing for IoT: The impact of real-world power and networking challenges on UX design. Through concept sketching and collaborative scenario building, the workshop will teach techniques for not only handling discontinuities and delays elegantly, but also turning them into opportunities for beautiful and satisfying interactions. Read more.
11:00am–12:30pm Tuesday, 06/23/2015
SOLD OUT
Location: Fire House
Dan Saffer (Saffervescence Inc.)
Average rating: ****.
(4.24, 17 ratings)
It's the small details that turn your connected device from one that's just tolerated to one that's loved. But how do you design those details? This hands-on workshop will walk participants through the process of designing and refining microinteractions for IoT products. Read more.
1:30pm–5:00pm Tuesday, 06/23/2015
Location: Fleet Room (Bldg D)
Philippa Mothersill (MIT Media Lab)
Average rating: ***..
(3.71, 17 ratings)
We subconsciously perceive information in objects through their physical design language, a language that designers use to embody meaning in objects by manipulating their physical attributes. This workshop explores the communicative design language of physical artifacts through a hands-on design game, and considers how this language could be integrated into design tools for communicative objects. Read more.
1:30pm–5:00pm Tuesday, 06/23/2015
SOLD OUT
Location: Fire House
Martin Charlier (Unmade), Claire Rowland (Independent), Tom Metcalfe (rain cloud), Elizabeth Goodman (18F / General Services Administration)
Average rating: ****.
(4.38, 16 ratings)
User experience prototyping for connected products stretches the limits of conventional UX methods. How can you ensure you’re making the right product and designing the right user experience before the hardware is fully defined? This workshop will teach a range of techniques for prototyping designs, from early stage concepts through to user interfaces for devices with different capabilities. Read more.
3:30pm–5:00pm Tuesday, 06/23/2015
Location: Cowell Theater (Herbst Pavilion)
Average rating: ***..
(3.89, 9 ratings)
We developed an approach that explores the experience of novel digital products while building as little new technology as possible. This allows us to rapidly evaluate potentially transformative product and service ideas with a minimum of development. Read more.
1:15pm–1:55pm Wednesday, 06/24/2015
Location: Cowell Theater (Herbst Pavilion)
Shu Kuen Chang (IDEO), Simon King (CMU Design Center)
Average rating: ***..
(3.89, 9 ratings)
As computation and network connectivity extend beyond the screen into products and environments, interaction designers find themselves addressing new UX challenges in the physical world. Although the context is new, much can be learned from long-standing principles of industrial design. This talk will highlight relevant examples and their application to the IoT context. Read more.
2:05pm–2:45pm Wednesday, 06/24/2015
Location: Cowell Theater (Herbst Pavilion)
Noah Feehan (New York Times R&D Lab)
Average rating: ****.
(4.31, 13 ratings)
I'll introduce the concept of "semantic listening," a sensing strategy that emphasizes context over content. Think "what did we talk about" instead of "what temperature was the room." I'll show the Listening Table, our most recent experiment, and walk through the design decisions and fabrication process, concluding with a peek at a couple projects currently in the works. Read more.
2:55pm–3:35pm Wednesday, 06/24/2015
Location: Cowell Theater (Herbst Pavilion)
Kate Benson (af83), Aurélia Lacombe (af83)
Average rating: **...
(2.31, 13 ratings)
How to conduct user research regarding the integration of connected products in users’ daily lives by means of a diary study and employing anthropological methods in order to understand behaviors. Opting for "How" instead of the "Five Whys. Read more.
4:35pm–5:15pm Wednesday, 06/24/2015
Location: Cowell Theater (Herbst Pavilion)
Andy Goodman (Cortica)
Average rating: ***..
(3.90, 20 ratings)
It's hard to imagine a world not dominated by screens, but that may well be where we are heading. We're entering a new era of “Zero UI” where movements, voice, glances, and thoughts can make systems respond to us. In this talk I will explore the technologies, theories, and future scenarios of Zero UI: what it means to design and build these interfaces; and what it will mean to live alongside them. Read more.
5:25pm–6:05pm Wednesday, 06/24/2015
Location: Cowell Theater (Herbst Pavilion)
Tom Coates (Thington Inc.)
Average rating: ***..
(3.94, 18 ratings)
IoT is on the verge of going mainstream, but as yet we're unprepared for a world with hundreds of millions of objects all around us potentially controllable and broadcasting information 24 hours a day. In this talk, Tom will look a little further out than the object+app model, and review the possible ways we'll use IoT in the future. Read more.
5:25pm–6:05pm Wednesday, 06/24/2015
Location: C 210 (Bldg C)
Chris Gammell (Supplyframe)
Average rating: ***..
(3.67, 3 ratings)
The primary cause of heartburn for hardware designers is risk: Design flaws, changing schedules, and supply chain unpredictability. Finding accessible parts reduces the risk at the beginning of the design process. By analyzing the component marketplace and balancing that against parameters like price and specifications, engineers can make decisions that result in better products. Read more.
1:15pm–1:55pm Thursday, 06/25/2015
Location: Herbst Pavilion
Normative Normative (Normative)
Average rating: ***..
(3.50, 8 ratings)
In a world full of networked hardware, the design of software is more important than ever. For design to work at web scale it must move beyond users and screens. The new materials of design aren’t just plastic, pixels, and code; they’re the social and computational fabric of the web: Crowds, algorithms, and the software forms they enable. Read more.
2:05pm–2:45pm Thursday, 06/25/2015
Location: Herbst Pavilion
Valentin Heun (MIT Media Lab)
Average rating: ****.
(4.60, 10 ratings)
Internet-connected things offer big promises, but at the moment the interface is complicated. The interface should be as convenient and simple as tapping a light switch and ideally should not compromise human control. The logical next step is that the physical world itself will become the interface for smart objects, while our phones will function as tools occasionally needed to edit this reality. Read more.
2:05pm–2:45pm Thursday, 06/25/2015
Location: Generals Residence
Tags: design
Ame Elliott (Simply Secure)
There is a tremendous design opportunity in making the user experience of Internet of Things security accessible to a mass audience. User experience designers can leverage lessons from building architecture to help design new connected domestic technologies, such as smart building sensors, that serve the needs of their inhabitants in a transparent and delightful way. Read more.
2:55pm–3:35pm Thursday, 06/25/2015
Location: Herbst Pavilion
Anna Shaw (consultant), Murphy Freelen (Consultant)
Average rating: ***..
(3.57, 7 ratings)
Connected systems within the home should enhance life, not add complexity. But when products don’t consider the dynamics of a busy household—women, men, kids, seniors—they fail. Successful home products are designed for “we,” not “me.” We’ll discuss examples of missed experiences and how extending design principles for women creates smart home products that connect the whole family. Read more.
4:35pm–5:15pm Thursday, 06/25/2015
Location: Southside Theater (Bldg D)
Mark Stephen Meadows (Botanic, LLC)
Average rating: *****
(5.00, 1 rating)
We now talk with our computers via natural language. When they make suggestions about healthcare or finance – or when they measure our emotions with lexical analysis – ethical questions arise. This talk examines the role of personality design for robots, Internet of Things, and several other systems that use natural language interfaces. Read more.
5:25pm–6:05pm Thursday, 06/25/2015
Location: Southside Theater (Bldg D)
Tony Sheeder (Nuance Communications, Inc.)
Speech can be a unifying interaction model for the Internet of Things – one that transcends or complements other modalities. Critical to the effectiveness of speech as an input method is the way in which it is designed for a specific device. Learn about some of the key design considerations for speech, and how proper design will help us realize the full potential of the Internet of Things. Read more.
5:25pm–6:05pm Thursday, 06/25/2015
Location: C 210 (Bldg C)
Cory Kidd (Catalia Health)
Average rating: *****
(5.00, 5 ratings)
The talk shows our process of designing a new hardware+software (robots + AI & psychology) system that helps our customers manage long-term healthcare challenges. We’ll talk about applying lessons from our design process to other complex interactive products, and give examples of some of the challenges that we encountered through our iterative prototyping experiences. Read more.