Saturday, December 10, 2005

Your Breakfast Toast is Talking...

I assumed this was a joke project when I read the very serious BBC Online article about it, but it's not -- your toast might tell you the weather report, if you let this kid at Brunel University toast the bread for you.

"He decided on the toaster to make his work stand out from the worthy and helpful devices many of his fellow students were creating. "I couldn't compete, so I went for fun and cool," he said. Mr Southgate's ambition is to follow in the footsteps of influential British designers such as Jonathan Ive, the man behind Apple's sleek iMac computer."

He sounds serious, so here's a serious concern. The palette of bread isn't a very high resolution for information display; if you ask what people want from weather forecasts you'll probably find this: "What's the forecast for the weekend? What's the precipitation plan for the night vs. the day? Is there a winter storm warning? Temperature matters, sure, but I want to know the other conditions too."

Is that burnt crumb an indicator of a low pressure system, or a piece of bread that was caught on the rack when I pulled it out? Will cinnamon bread (my favorite) obscure the messaging?

1 comment :

steve said...

I had forgotten about this. Way back when Will Hill and I (probably others) had a demented conversation about the need for error correction in eToast - at the very least some sort of characters which are unambiguous

It ended with me writing a letter to Aardman studios suggesting this would make a lovely subplot for a future Wallace and Gromit. Somewhere in the basement heap is a lovely reply suggesting that I was crazy and the idea has terrific artistic merit.