Vessel

Vessel was borne from a brief to create a smart product (Internet of Things) for the new old aged, a growing market in which older people use technology to aid their lives.

Technology can be quite intrusive and direct in the way that it communicates with the user. With this project the aim was to use ambient communication via light or other ethereal means to relay information to the user.

The collection of objects (accelerometer, soil moisture sensor and a ‘vessel’) work in sync to both remind the user to water their pot plants and also to notify them of the water content of their plants’ soil.

The only user input for the device is the gestural action of pouringtheir tea from the pot into their cup, no change in behaviour or imposition on the user is forced upon them. After the tea is made and the user is drinking and reflecting on the day past, the flickering light show from the vessel begins, with the colour (ranging from blue to magenta) corresponding to the moisture content of the pot plants soil. The user notices this colour and movement from the corner of their eye, and can then decide whether to water the plants based on the soils health.

The vessel holds water inside it, with a ring LED light and underwater paddle built in too. When activated via the accelerometer on the teapot, the light turns on and paddle begins to move, reflecting and refracting through the moving water causing a light show on the wall or ceiling and the water itself.

The vessel is formed from slip-casting ceramic, allowing for the complex shape with undercuts while the mechanical and electrical parts are added after firing. A matt glaze finish allows the object to almost disappear whilst not in use, fading into its surrounds. The same design language is used throughout the three objects, the smaller two derivatives of the larger: a circular, torus shaped object that communicates calmness and ‘emptiness’. Each object is human sized: the vessel fit for holding in two hands, the sensor fit for grasping in one hand and the accelerometer for one finger.