Monday, April 2, 2012

Object-oriented stories

The Reading Glove is designed to present a tactile storytelling experience. You go into a room that has a table covered with objects and put on a glove with an RFID sensor. Each object is tagged and will give you a bit of the story as you pick it up and pass the tag by the glove.

I find this fascinating as it integrates storytelling with tech in a novel way. Karen Tanenbaum talks in this interview about how the Reading Glove's current state is a scaled down version of her original idea of an entire "haunted" room that could tell a tale.

I had a couple initial reactions:
  • Haunted room?  Coooolness.
  • This reminds me a lot of exploring within many of the puzzle games that I enjoy. You go around the room - looking for a cursor change to indicate that this is an object that you can interact with. You can add things to inventory for later use, get backstory through reading notes and journals and looking at photos,and interact with buttons, bells, knobs etc, sometimes just for silly effects.
    • Moving these type of interactions into the physical realm to tell a stand-alone story is pretty cool, but I'd like more. Some sort of visual interaction perhaps (the glass of a mirror or photo frame is actually a display that plays a bit of a visual story or has a visual narrator). Maybe a way to link stories in different locations into a larger tale - or to spread a story out over a city - a scavenger hunt object-oriented story - love it!
  • I like the ability for a group of people to experience the story together, but I'd like if there was a private feed option (headphones or something) that could bring the storytelling to places that might not be rooms explicitly set aside for it - into public spaces.
  • This could easily be adapted to make interactive displays in museums even more interesting and functional.
Reading RFID isn't super new.  A few years ago, companies got started selling codes that other companies could put on their products that could "record and share" the story of whatever it was.  The examples that I saw I remember being a bit "tired" - quick updates like "bought here on this date", etc.  "Jane gave this to Sue".  But the possibilities were there.

What the reading glove does is provide an interim step where people don't have to get creative on their own with a new technology to boot, they just need to experience it.  I think there could be some really cool things we could do in the object-oriented story space.  Hopefully we'll see some happen.

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