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Enchanted Objects: Design, Human Desire, and the Internet of Things

4.3 out of 5 stars 36 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-1476725635
ISBN-10: 1476725632
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Editorial Reviews


"David Rose has written a spectacular book. While glass slabs have already entered every nook and cranny of our lives, Rose paints a much more compelling future where we are deeply engaged with enchanted objects. Rose’s vision of human computer interaction is more exciting and persuasive than the current norm and this brilliant book gives us a road map for how to get there. While I’ll continue to invest in many things that improve our glass slab world, I believe that the future is enchanted objects." (Brad Feld, Managing Director at Foundry Group)

“Beyond the internet of things we find the internet of enchanted objects, a medium designed for pre-attentive cognition, conveying information subliminally and delightfully. I highly recommend this book. It is filled with evocative examples that will influence our imagination and help us move beyond our fixation on the screen.” (John Seely Brown,former chief scientist, Xerox, and visiting scholar at the University ofSouthern California)

"David Rose's vision for enchanted objects and their platforms is spot on. With this book, he offers innovators and businesses a convincing guide for success in this space." (Glenn Lurie, President, Emerging Enterprises and Partnerships, AT&T Mobility)

“David Rose does not predict. He extrapolates the future from personal experience and technical fluency. His balance between a romantic humanism and scientific destiny is unique. His storytelling is intellectually rich, laced with history and never pedantic. Enchanted Objects is a truly enlightening read.” (Nicholas Negroponte, Professor and Co-Founder, MIT Media Lab; author of Being Digital; a founder of WiReD Magazine)

"Delightful. . . . In the scrum of talking heads wrestling to gain control of the narrative behind the Internet of Things, Mr. Rose is an engaging, plain-spoken guide." (The New York Times)

"Rose touches something significant to most of us... A fine tour d’horizon of innovative enchantment and its ground rules and responsibilities." (Kirkus Reviews)

"In the fully realized, enchanted world of David Rose...objects that, once instructed, require no human prompting to function, already exist. They're part of the Internet of Things, an ethereal interconnection of gadgets and human desires that...will pervade our lives in the very near future." (Wall Street Journal)

"Provocative." (Fast Company)

About the Author

David Rose is an award-winning entrepreneur and instructor at the MIT Media Lab, specializing in how digital information interfaces with the physical environment. A former CEO at Vitality, he founded Ambient Devices, which pioneered technology to embed Internet information in everyday objects like lamps, mirrors, and umbrellas. CEO of Ditto Labs, Rose has been featured in The New York Times and parodied on The Colbert Report. A frequent speaker at conferences and for corporations, he lives in Brookline, Massachusetts, with his wife and two children. Enchanted Objects is his first book.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Scribner (July 15, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1476725632
  • ISBN-13: 978-1476725635
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.2 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (36 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #162,825 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book will be fascinating if you are new to technology ( maybe you were on a three year meditation retreat?) and would like to be enlightened by the amazing possibilities of connecting objects to the Internet. But if you have read even a few articles about modern technology, or even a couple of recent issues of Wired magazine, most of this will sound old to you. Unfortunately Guitar Hero seems like ages ago, and this book makes a big deal out of it. It does not help that the author mentions his own work every few pages, which gets tiring. While the tone is that of a walk through the wonders of technology, the book does not address many of the cultural, privacy and other issues related to the developments he describes. In a post-Snowden world it is hard to read the book without these issues coming to mind.
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Format: Hardcover
MIT media lab guru and serial entrepreneur David Rose takes us on a whirlwind tour of internet connected objects looming in our near future. Not a fan of the ubiquitous "glass slabs" that make up our laptops, cell phones tablets and soon our watches, Rose offers alternative possibilities such as bottle tops that glow to remind you to take you medication, self driving cars with heads up displays, smart transportation grids, ingestible sensors and ambient lighting that use brightness and colour to signal changes in weather, the stock market or wearable devices that give you a little hug every time your Facebook account gets a "like".

It's really two books: the first, telling you about different kinds of innovations are out there, is only so so. The problem with seeking to impress with the latest technology such as NEST thermostats and physiological monitors such as Nike Fuel Bands is that the novelty is rapidly outdated as the products become better known and turned into commodities. The other, more intriguing book is about principles of design. While acknowledging there are downsides such as the misuse of ubiquitous surveillance and the public leaking of private data, Rose believes that "enchanted objects" powered by inexpensive sensors will draw us in with its ability to tell us about ourselves, our environment and by connecting us others on as needed basis.

However Rose is a minimalist. Good design should inform, not just dazzle. His example of a bus stop that glows more intensely as the bus gets closer is really not much better than the yellow warning of a stoplight.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Enchanted Objects uses the Internet of Things as a present day context for facilitating the design of what the author calls Enchanted Objects. Enchanted Objects are things that feed us useful information or simply perform some useful function while being largely blended into our environment (as opposed to being front-and-center like our iPhones). And while the idea of the "Internet of Things" (or certainly the phrase, anyway) is relatively new, the author has been a designer of enchanted objects for a very long time. I'm a product designer myself and quite technologically savvy as well. Still, Enchanted Objects gave me an opportunity to step back and think about the work that I've been doing (and the work I will do in the near future) in a refreshing new context. The book is an easy read, filled with stylized diagrams that I really enjoyed. The Author draws on his own personal experience as a product designer, entrepreneur and professor but also on a large body of knowledge in this field.
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Format: Hardcover
I really enjoyed reading this book, and highly recommend it. I’ve worked in various corners of embedded computing for over 30 years, and I found the book informative, inspiring and entertaining. Others note that the examples may be a bit Media Lab centric, but, hey, there are a lot of interesting things going on at the Media Lab. More importantly the principles David extracts from those examples and his experiences are insightful and well articulated. I believe this is a must read for anyone interested in moving computing beyond the glass slab to better enhance the real world.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
What a delight to read what's technologically available, on the drawing boards, and in the heads of those on the forefront. Rose puts it out there in a fun and enlightening way that's encouraging and very intriguing.
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Format: Hardcover
This book might be interesting if you know absolutely nothing about the IoT... but really you do... If you use a fitBit, or have a Nest at home, you are already part way there.

The domain is quite interesting and sexy but this book doesn't do justice to it. I found the the ratio of information to noise to be quite bad… well, what I personally consider noise. I don’t care about Frodo’s sword being an enchanted object. I don’t care about Hermes winged sandals, or Dorothy’s shoes… or all of the Harry Potter gadgets or the alethiometer from the Golden Compass… There’s just too much time spent on what the author calls dialectic (which somewhat appears to link past concepts to what we see today)… For example, the author links some of the items I just mentioned: Hermes shoes, Dorothy’s slippers and Nike+ as part of the same dialectic… anyways, that’s what I got from it… practically though, my opinion is that these associations (that takes way too much space in his book) just don’t bring anything to the discussion.

Ultimately, it might be an ok book if you're totally out of the field but if you are working in IT or the like, it's not worth buying.

That being said, I enjoyed a few pages towards the end when there is discussion about the next generation apartment. I almost enjoyed the interconnectedness of the IoT...but alas these were just mentioned in passing.
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