If every object around us really does become smart, how will they react to our presence? Will they spy on us quietly until we call out their names? Or will they respond like any person would, with the equivalent of a non-verbal nod when we walk by?
Fragments, by London studio Random International, proposes the latter. Featured recently on Creative Applications, the piece is a mirror comprised of almost 200 smaller reflectors, each which can pan and tilt with remarkable speed and accuracy. The mirror watches as you walk by with a camera, and it ripples like water in your wake. Look directly at it, and the mirrors may wrap around your face, offering a insect-eye selfie view of your visage from every conceivable angle.
Anyone keeping up with such experiments will see similarities to Daniel Rozin’s mirrors, which use wooden blocks and tufts of fur to reflect viewers’ silhouettes as they move, along with MIT’s Inform displays, which reshape themselves like dynamic 3D sculptures in response to our own gestures, teasing the shape-shifting interfaces to come.
Fragments definitely plays in a similar thought-space, and offers an experimental prototype of the kinds of interfaces that may populate a world where objects can literally rebuild themselves to our needs in front of our eyes. “The reflection becomes fragmented and the apparently inanimate object becomes akin to something organic and alive,” the team writes on their project page. “Engaging with the piece creates a physical, interrelated dialogue between human and non-human behavior.”
And, of course, who amidst a particularly good hair day doesn’t want to see their head from a dozen different angles? Anyone know if this thing has Snapchat?