Hello Foundry 2012!
Foundry 2012 is off and running again! The brief this year is: “Make a toy that has a reason to exist” Follow their progress on their new blog: foundry2012.mintdigital.com.
So Friday was our last day at Mint. Emotional yes, but also very exciting, because its time to introduce you to the result of our three months of hard work. Our exploration into smelling the internet has gone through many a peak and trough, but we’re sure we can safely say, we’re really proud of what we’ve produced. So here he is: Olly - the web connected smelly robot! Last...
We haven’t said much here in a while but with Foundry 2011 drawing to a close I feel that there should be an update about what we’ve been up to over the past 2 weeks. First though, tomorrow we’re have a launch/farewell event/presentation discussing all things webby, thingy, smelly and Foundry and you are invited to come along! We will be showcasing the culmination of our 3...
The Quest to Make the Perfect Smells
Over the last month or so, we have been doing lots of experiments to work out exactly what the best medium is for dispersing smells on demand. At long last, it feels like we are very close to working it out, and have a working system that lets out smells whenever the internet tells it to. I thought it might be interesting to just outline and reflect on the strangely cyclical process we have gone...
A tribute to Mr Steve.
We were in need of a few fans the other day for our smell dispenser prototypes. Colin kindly donated an old MacBook Pro to the cause and I meticulously tore it to pieces. It was an incredibly humbling experience. Beyond the smooth sheen of its outer casing, lays one of the most beautifully set out assemblage of components I have ever seen. It’s hard to imagine the amount of detail, concentration...
If you’ve been following our flicker feed you’ll have noticed that over the last few days, we’ve been knocking together quite a plethora of prototypes. Its been fun! It’s allowed us to develop (and generally just play around with) the look, feel, interaction and of our smelly device as well as explore what it could be made from and how it could be made. Anyway here’s...
Recently we’ve been making a whole bunch of prototypes to refine our ideas on the smell of success. Ranging from the awesome to the awful, we’re gradually getting nearer to just the right combination of components, coding and smelly stuff that might make our Internet connected smell dispenser a little more real. There is something slightly odd about trying to cobble together prototypes in the...
This Smellslike That
As the development of our internet-of-smells device gathers pace, I thought it might be a good time to explain where we are currently are with everything. The Smell of Success prototype was a one function device - it connected to your computer via USB and sprayed out a smell every time one of your tweets was re-tweeted. More than anything, it was the software that was determining this function,...
A Smelly Trip to Slough
On Tuesday Ben and I took a day trip to Slough to visit the UK office of ScentAir, a global scent dispenser manufacturer with catalogue of well over 1500 unique fragrances. They specialise in working with brands and companies to explore how they can apply scent as a means to enhance the customer’s experience. As they explain: Now marketeers are starting to realise the importance of...
As the smell of success wafts fragrantly through the Mint offices, we have been discussing the pros and cons of the novelty gadget - small, cheap products that usually have one or two humorous functions to keep you amused for hours. Novelty products appeal because they’re fun - they have a simple, accessible interaction that instantly captures your imagination or makes you laugh. Of course,...
Experimentis with a vapouriser. from The Foundry on Vimeo. We did some experimenting with our new toy yesterday, the vapouriser. It vibrates a small ceramic disc at ultrasonic frequencies to produces a fine gaseous mist of whatever liquid it happens to be in. In this case, the liquid content of the Mint fridge at the time: Beer OJ (with bits) Tea Coke Zero Bath Oil (don’t ask) Gin ...
The Smell of Success Instructable
We’ve had a few requests from people asking to have a look at the code for Smell of Success or just generally being nosey about how we made it so we thought it would make sense to create an instructable! So if you want to make your own and have a good old smelly narcissistic basking then this is the link for you: http://www.instructables.com/id/Smell-of-Success/ But please share with us...
4 Guys, 3 Smelly Cups
Last week I was mostly in Denmark exhibiting at a new technology event called NEXT. This was for my personal work so I was a little out of the loop with The Smell of Success progress but it was great to get back on Friday and see what the other guys had been up to in my absence. There had been a lot of talk of pushing what Smell of Success could be - exploring how the inclusion of odours can...
The Smell of Success Video Demo
Following our live steam from last Thursday we though we would put together a quick video to show the Smell of Success in action in case you missed it. We made a polished fancy one but it was pretty boring so here’s a more rough and ready version. And just to mention, massive thanks to Shaun McWhinne for being a total champ, helping us getting our code put together and getting the twitter...
Zoflora is “A powerful disinfectant with twice the germ-killing power of carbolic acid, but with beautiful fragrance oils extracted from flowers”. Radical. It has all the characteristics of a product that I should pledge my undying brand allegiance to – heritage, functionality, consistency, reasonable price, and British. And yet, I despise the stuff, it makes me do sick burps. I feel kind of...
Live video for mobile from Ustream Presenting our latest prototype - The Smell of Success! To briefly sum it up, the Smell of Success is a hacked Glade air freshener which is hooked up to Twitter via Arduino. Whenever someone re-tweets the latest tweet from the @mintfoundry account, it sprays a single shot of scent into the room. We will be streaming it in action from 3.30-5.00pm (BST) -...
The scent-organ was playing a delightfully refreshing Herbal Capriccio -...– Aldous Huxley’s “Scent Organ” in Brave New World
The Smell of Success
As you may have read last week, recently we have been considering the possibilities of connecting smell to the internet. Alongside conceptual exploration of the potential of smell, how it affects us, and how we can use it online, we have been building a simple prototype that will emit a scent in response to an online activity. Titled ‘The Smell of Success’, the prototype is a hacked...
Passing Comments on Digital Snurdling
Sometimes when I walk by someone on the street, I hear a little snippet of their conversation. It’s a little vox-popping insight into that persons very persona. It can be anything from the classic “I’m stuck in traffic” (when stood outside the pub) or the the slightly more ambiguous “He put it where?!”. I don’t mean to do this; I’m not some creepy...
This week, after two weeks of brainstorming and idea generation, we have started to look for more concrete ways to connect the Internet to a particular object. It’s such a fascinating process how digital data can, for instance, move a physical object or activate a particular mechanism. All this requires joining two different worlds such as computer programming and electronics, a gap that can be...
Smelling the Internet
The way we currently experience the Internet is primarily concerned with the visual, and, to a lesser extent, the auditory. The Internet is something “somewhere else”, a separate world that we gain access to through the combination of screen, mouse and keyboard that you probably have sat before you now. So you can see and hear all that stuff in the Internet, but not much else. Last...
Pubs, Clubs, Clothes and Shoreditch
On Monday we received a new brief – putting aside, for now, our coffee research we were asked to research into clothes shops and bars. Not being a particular proponent for the flowing trends in fashion and its surrounding sub-cultures, I knew I would prefer the latter research to the former but regardless, off we went on a shopseeing tour to Shoreditch. In contrast to our analysis of coffee...
Shopping for Clothes (and Building Bears)
The trend of retail spaces, particularly in East London, having a contrived worn and old-fashioned look is a curious one. Rough wooden surfaces, condensed typography, steel girders, exposed brickwork… As we started to research clothing stores this week, it seemed to be everywhere. It’s an aesthetic that is certainly very attractive - it suggests an older, more wholesome age from the...
A Brush with the Riots
Photograph: Dan Kitwood/Getty Images This past week or so, it has been impossible to avoid the subject of the riots in London and across the country. Every media outlet has been saturated with a maelstrom of wildly varying opinion and critique, sometimes to the point where it became very difficult to make sense of what had actually happened. A couple of days after the worst of the rioting had...
Riot in a Caravan.
Somewhere in the midst of this caffeine-fueled riotous week, we visited the lovely Caravan to gather a bit of comparative research to aid our investigations into the dark and glorious world of coffee. Our objective was simple: How do the good folk of Clerkenwell interact with that thick brown liquid they love so much? After settling down in the uber cool surroundings of sufficiently rusticated...
Coffee and Insights at Prufrock
As Chris has already mentioned in the last post, there’s been rather a lot of caffeine consumed this week, all for the cause of research though! Whilst he provided a summary into a few of our idea generation techniques experiments, Ben and I will give you a bit of background into where we got our insights… Firstly, on the suggestion of Tom and Utku (who deserve some grand introduction...
On Tuesday we spent the morning in trendy coffee outlet Prufrock and, as a bit of starting research, started to observe the interactions between people, products and services that we saw played out in there, with a view to designing things for that particular space. Two hours later, we knew a hell of a lot more about coffee, and were somewhat buzzing after drinking so much of it. Using our...
Hello from Foundry!
So this is it, the first post from Foundry - a team of designers from all walks of life, working together at Mint Digital, with the goal of producing web-connected physical objects that don’t exist on screens. This blog aims to document our research, process, outcomes and all the other exciting things we encounter along the way. All comments, praises, slurs and criticisms would be much...