I love the possibilities suggested by the “Cryoscope,” a project cooked up by R.I.T. industrial-design student Rob Godshaw:
Godshaw’s gadget picks up the temperature forecast by zip code and reproduces it within a gorgeous aluminum block; you touch it to feel tomorrow temperature. It’s a lovely piece of networked materiality, and it promises much more than the simple use-case illustrated in the video: maybe you want to feel the temperature in a place you’re planning to travel to, or a place where a loved one is visiting on business, or a place you’ve never been. Maybe it’s downright dangerous—touching a metal surface connected to the “feels-like” temperature forecast for Point Barrow or the South Pole might cause the very flesh to adhere to the device. Of course, one could try quickly surfing to tomorrow’s temperature in Honolulu to thaw out. But why settle for tomorrow’s temperature? The Cryosphere could be scripted to capture different data: the current outside temp, or the afternoon’s forecast, or the temperature from some fondly-remembered childhood day at the beach. Whither the temps of yesteryear? But beyond the question of tactilizing the weather, Cryoscope offers a tantalizing model for sensory instantiations of data that go beyond visualization, to allow the user to (perhaps literally) manipulate data without reducing real-world objects to flatland. Alas the Cryosphere is only a proof-of-concept device, not slated for production—Mr. Godshaw, meet Kickstarter… —via @Debcha on Twitter.