Stack in the Internet of Things: Enchanted Objects

Here at Stack, we have a simple mantra: our products need to work with minimal user intervention. We approach every design issue, every problem, with that idea in mind. We believe that truly intelligent products deliver functionality without requiring your attention, and this is where so many “smart” devices fall short.

The marketplace has been flooded with smart devices – from watches and exercise trackers, to grills and washing machines. But putting a microprocessor into an ordinary object doesn’t make it smart, and sticking a screen on every product diverts your attention from what’s really important: being present in your environment and living your life.

That’s why we designed Alba, the world’s first responsive light bulb, to learn from your habits and give you the perfect light without having to do anything. With Alba, you don’t have to reach for a switch or fumble for your phone to adjust the lights. Alba’s embedded occupancy and ambient light sensors enable it to change the lighting automatically and ensure that your light is always perfect, regardless of weather or time of day.

The true future of the Internet of Things lies in technology that infuses ordinary products with a “bit of magic to create a more satisfying interaction and to evoke an emotional response,” not just a new screen that removes you from an experience, writes David Rose, author and instructor at the MIT Media Lab.

In his book, “Enchanted Objects: Design, Human Desire, and the Internet of Things,” Rose has a seven-pronged test for whether objects are “enchanted.” He looks for traits including “glanceability,” “usability,” and “loveability.” These traits combine to make products that are simple, work automatically, and make the users’ lives more magical.

One example he notes is an umbrella that lights up if it is going to rain as a reminder to take it with you. Another is Nest’s Learning Thermostat. The Nest thermostat fulfills Rose’s test because it is simple to use, easy to glance at, and works without a user having to take time out of his or her day to use it.

Stack, like Nest, understands that added functionality should not come at the cost of added complexity. We are proud to be a partner with Nest in the Works with Nest program so that we can bring enchantment into our customers’ lives by seamlessly integrating our two platforms and products.

We are working hard so that Alba will join the ranks of the Enchanted Objects and are excited to bring this enchantment to lighting.