16 April 2010

Tales of Things

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Tales of Things is a new tool that allows people to attach memories to their objects in the form of video, text or audio, thus “exploring the implications of The Internet of Things (network of objects that are traceable at anytime) on objects that already exist in the world.”

The people behind it are part of the TOTeM research consortium – a collaboration between Edinburgh College of Art, Brunel University, University College London, University Of Dundee and University of Salford – and here some of their launching statements:

tales of things is an exciting new tool that allows users to attach memories to their objects in the form of video, text or audio. Users can quickly “tag” their objects by using QR codes or RFID with stories and connect to other people who share similar experiences. This will enable future generations to have a greater understanding of the object‟s past and offers a new way of preserving social history. tales of things will depend on real people‟s stories which can be geo-located through an on-line map of the world where participants can track their object even if they have passed it on. The object will also be able to update previous owners on its progress through a live Twitter feed which will be unique to each object entered into the system. The website (www.talesofthings.com) and iPhone application will be available from 16 April 2010.

The project will offer a new way for people to place more value on their own objects in an increasingly disposable economy. As more importance is placed on the objects that are already parts of people‟s lives, it is hoped that family or friends may find new uses for old objects and encourage people to think twice before throwing something away.”

It seems to be still very much a research project not yet thought for actual rollout. I found the repeated use of the word “users” in the press release a bit disturbing and pedantic, and found no answer to the question how this “preserving” will actually take place: how are they going to assure that future generations (i.e. people growing up in the 2030’s and 2060’s) will still have access to all this info? Will Twitter still be around in 2060?

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