Abstract Background The advent of ubiquitous computing requires us to reconsider all aspects of industrial design engineering – to invent, package and optimize such products, services and experiences to society. This project was devised to bridge these in a compelling and magical prototype, called the Kinetic Mirror, a mirror that can not only mimic color but also shape in front of it. It builds upon the efforts performed in the field of projector-based augmented reality and natural design interfaces, and it showcases our ideas of future prototyping of design concepts.
Methods This article describes the complexity of engineering when embodying and producing such interactive systems to disseminate design knowledge. Specifically, we reflect on the conceptualization and development of the Kinetic Mirror: a three-dimensional display that mirrors depth and color in 400 “pixels”. Enabled by the introduction of low-cost structured light sensors, we envisioned an instantaneous physical manifestation of the captured scan.
Results Challenges included: selecting electronic parts, software architecture, hardware and networking performance, outsourcing of production, power consumption, and overall assembly and construction The final system was put to show on five exhibits to test audience engagement and robustness of the result. This work has implications towards design curricula and provides new focal points of attention for design research and prototyping.
Conclusions Demonstration and prototypes are an increasingly important medium to disseminate design knowledge, because experience can only partly conveyed in written text or even in video. However, if products become dynamic, articulated and with behavior, the technology requirements for prototypes become more complex, and as a result harder to maintain. In this paper we shared our lessons learned.