How Wearable Technologies Can Position The Body As A Natural User Interface [PSFK London]

How Wearable Technologies Can Position The Body As A Natural User Interface [PSFK London]

Digital Art Director Dhani Sutanto talks to PSFK about his explorations in creating seamless physical and digital interactions through wearable technology.

Timothy Ryan, PSFK Labs
  • 8 september 2012

We are excited to have Digital Art Director Dhani Sutanto as a speaker at PSFK CONFERENCE LONDON. Dhani is the creator of the Oyster Card Ring, a RFID-based transit card implanted in a ring that can be used to pay for rides on public transportation in London. On September 13th he will share his explorations into the future of wearable technologies and the disappearance of the user interface.

The Oyster Card Ring is wearable technology that merges a physical object with a virtual identity. How will we be able to access digital information about ourselves in the future?

I think more and more physical items will be linked to your virtual preferences. With a debit card, for example, you could go to the ATM and wouldn’t need to enter your PIN – instead, just touch your card to it. In this scenario, the ATM would recognize the preference you established online and give you the £20 or however much you decided.

In this way, wearable technology would create seamless services for anyone and for almost any transaction. Imagine a blind person using an ATM and fumbling with the buttons or touch screen. If they had wearable technology in the form of a ring, for example, they could approach and just touch it. The ATM would say, “Welcome, Mr. Smith. Here’s your £20.” I want design interactions without buttons- to remove the user interface completely and instead personalize the experience for each person.

In other words, a reinterpretation of what we consider the user interface?

I think what we think of as “user interface” will become more natural by working with our body to access technology. For example, we could use our eye movement or pupil dilation to control an interface instead of a mouse. Or it could be having a blink trigger a reaction to a “yes” or “no” question to further help us interact seamlessly with technology. If you think about it, maybe the interface itself will be your body and your thoughts or brain waves are how you navigate. Users with disabilities could use other parts of their body to interact with technology to access information.

So user interfaces will also become more personalized?

The future user interface will be much, much simpler and would be user customizable. The information will be less formatted for you, but it’s more about how you want to see it. People are getting used to interacting with digital things and they want to make their own interface too.

I’m hoping that wearable technology will help people activate and customize an interface to their preferences and needs. The more personal the interface, the more personal the service.

Any concerns regarding this?

I think in the future, people will expect things to automatically track their transactions. It’s similar to how your credit card can tell where you have been and what you have purchased. What that means is that someone can always track your history and so a big concern for wearable technology comes with security. For me, security is always a big thing; one of the challenges in creating the Oyster Ring was investigating those security concerns and patenting it. That is the biggest challenge for this technology.

What other technologies are you currently exploring?

I think access to mobile technology plays a big part in the development of current technologies. When you store information on the cloud and then your phone dies because you forgot to charge it, you have no way to access that information. I’m lost and can’t access any emails, maps or information that I had stored. This leads to carrying a lot of digital baggage just to power up and stay powered up. With NFC technology in the future you would still be able to pay with your phone even if it died. With RFID technology and credit cards and such, they still work. They need power, but they can work without batteries at least.

Having technologies independent of batteries or the need for a charged device would give people a sense of security. In the future, people will expect to have technologies where they can access information, whether their own or general information, without depending on a power source.

Ideally a power source could be generated by the user, whether by body heat, by the sun or by kinetic movement and things like that. That would be the ideal scenario, even as people try to make it happen by way of mobile. That tension between accessing mobile technology while trying to keep up with how long that mobile’s power can last is very interesting to me.

How has your background in traditional media techniques influenced your current work?

Working in marketing and advertising, we’re always looking to use the current trend to interact with the market. I see the latest and greatest in technology and then step back to ask, “OK, these are the things on the screen. How can we bring them into more physical things that interact with an audience?” Instead of just creating another website I’d like to mix art with technology to create touch devices – mobile, kiosks – as a hybrid of design and advertising, art and technology. More and more I’m focusing on the art side: how to interact with people in a more tactile way, how to use code to make patterns and things like that.

Thanks Dhani!

Dhani Sutanto / @dhanisutanto

Come hear Dhani speak more on the integration of physical products with a virtual identity at PSFK LONDON CONFERENCE on 13th September.


Machine Printer Uses Coffee Drips To Create Intricate Portraits

Arts & Culture
Technology december 2, 2016

Why Nest Doesn't Get The Holidays

PSFK founder reacts to the damaging effects of poor email marketing

Children december 2, 2016

Robots Could Be Joining Dubai’s Police Force In 2017

The real-life RoboCops can salute, shake hands and collect traffic fines


Get PSFK's Related Report: Future of Retail 2017

See All
Travel december 2, 2016

Parka Hides And Charges Portable Devices

Bolt is a jacket that lets people carry and charge their various electronics without the need for an outlet

Related Expert

Adam Leibsohn

Gifs and Communication

Food december 2, 2016

Yelp's New 'Yelfie' Feature Lets Diners Take Selfies

The update is designed to encourage people to attach a selfie when they share their experiences

Design & Architecture december 2, 2016

Build Your Own Savory Cheese Advent Calendar

A British food blogger has created a guide to building a different kind of holiday surprise

Fitness & Sport december 2, 2016

Floating Gym Concept In Paris Is Powered By Your Workout

The proposed design from Carlo Ratti Associati lets passengers ride a stationary bike as they travel through Paris along the Seine River


Future Of Retail 2017
Transformation Strategies For Customer-First Business

PSFK Op-Ed december 2, 2016

Customer Service Expert: Why Offline Retail Has Better Data Than Online Retail

Healey Cypher, Founder and CEO of Oak Labs, shares why we should be thinking about the physical store as an e-commerce site

PSFK Labs december 1, 2016

Retail Spotlight: Home Depot Reimagines How Employees Conduct Tasks

The home improvement retailer puts the customer first by initiating local fulfillment centers and simplifying freight-to-shelf inventory management

Syndicated december 2, 2016

What Does The Future Of Android Look Like In A World With The Pixel?

Google’s decision to make its own phone might have looked like a blow to the likes of Samsung but the reality is much more interesting

Fashion december 2, 2016

Alexander McQueen Designs A 3D-Printed Umbrella

3D-printed fashion arrives in time for the winter season

Work december 2, 2016

Why Training Associates To Be Advocates Is Key To Retail Success

In our Future of Retail 2017 report, PSFK Labs discusses strategies to prioritize customer service, which begins with associate advocates

Media & Publishing december 2, 2016

Netflix Creates Binge Candle To Celebrate A New Season Of Gilmore Girls

The streaming service developed a special layered candle that creates candle with episode-specific smells

Arts & Culture december 2, 2016

Interactive Film Tells A Story About Living With Cancer

A moving song written by a father of a cancer patient comes alive in a 3D environment


Future Of Work
Cultivating The Next Generation Of Leaders

Automotive december 2, 2016

Audi And LEGO Exhibit Autonomous Vehicle Installation

The installation at Design Miami explores the 25th hour, which represents bonus productive work or play time

Gaming & Play december 2, 2016

This Game Lets You Be A Pilot In The Drone Racing League

DRL Racing Simulator recreates actual courses in a virtual environment

Travel december 1, 2016

Hotel Chain Is Giving Away Its Not-So-Super Hotel Art At Art Basel

A lesson in how to advertise a kitschy-to-cool redesign in the middle of Miami Art Week

No search results found.