Ambient Orbs, Rabbits, Penguins and the Availabot

Ambient (or ‘calm’) technologies, as demonstrated by the lovely creations of Ambient Devices and the whacky French Nabaztag rabbit, unobtrusively display ever-changing data. Something which can be left on the desk and ignored, but catches your attention as it softly changes throughout the day, is a valuable tool in this information-overloaded age.

Roo\'s desk, complete with ambient orb

Eightbar has previously reported on a friend and colleague who is responsible for a wireless ambient penguin (see the a description and video). Using bi-colour LEDs, this ‘Wallace And Gromit’ inspired creation keeps track of our manager’s instant messaging status (off for online, green for active and red for away).

Ambient penguin

When I read about the Availabot recently, I was very impressed. It brings together not just ambient online status awareness, but also rapid-prototyping ‘3D printing’, for a truly personal touch. Having a desktop avatar which not only represents a friend’s online status but also looks like them is a great idea. The fact that it physically falls over in such an amusing way helps too. (Don’t miss the video of the Availabot in action.)

When 3D printing becomes a bit more affordable, this sort of hack is going to be wonderfully easy and popular. I’m looking forward to a world overrun by hobbyist gadgets.

6 thoughts on “Ambient Orbs, Rabbits, Penguins and the Availabot

  1. The availabot looks fun. I can see my desk getting littered with the little critters though!

  2. Sadly, my desk is less tidy than it was when I took that photo. It’s still not quite as bad as yours though Rob. 🙂

  3. Hello we linked your post on Nabazta(blo)g (in french and english), but maybe you should try Nabaztag before you call it whacky !

  4. Heh. Thanks Marvel. Of course I *have* tried the Nabaztag. It’s lovely. And whacky too, which is part of its charm.

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