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Designing Across Senses by John Alderman, Christine W. Park

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Chapter 7. The Opportunity: Transforming Existing Products and Developing New Ones

Processors that used to be the size of a football field are now the size of a shirt button. Batteries are portable, small, and now they’re flexible. Technology has reached a tipping point in power, size, and cost to enable the next wave of computing: the Internet of Things. Like the Cambrian explosion, the IoT will bring a diversification of products designed in different shapes and sizes to suit all kinds of environments.

Nature created many different forms of locomotion: wings for flying, legs for walking, flippers and tails for swimming. Similarly, the wings of an airplane, the wheels of cars, and the turbines of boats and submarines emerged during the mechanical age. There can be many different solutions to the same problem: birds have feathers but bees have exoskeleton wings. We have helicopter blades, jet engines, and hot air balloons. As computing expands beyond screen-based devices, there will be waves of morphological divergence and convergence across hardware products—not by evolution, but by design. We will be able to blend these new and existing technologies with our natural environments like never before.

Just look at the IPV6 protocol internet addressing scheme, a plan to accommodate the tremendous number of connected devices expected to come online within the next 20 years. It creates over a trillion internet addresses for every person on the planet. One of the well-known slogans ...

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