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Adaptive interfaces

A little while back, I wrote a post titled Widgets, widgets, everywhere in which I suggested all consumer electronics should be thought of as platforms that could run applications created and shared by users. In particular,

If I was a pro-am photographer on a month-long safari shoot, I could grab a custom camera interface from the Web, set up to provide easy-access presets to the light and movement conditions I’d face. I’d repurpose a couple of the external buttons to twiddle parameters in the presets, and have a perfect wildlife interface for four weeks. At home, I’d revert to the general purpose interface or get another one.

This came out of a general idea about Generation C and products and continues like this: Gen C are into co-creation, but they’re also highly capable… so if your product doesn’t allow them to get involved, they’ll do it themselves regardless.

Well, here’s exactly what I was talking about:

DSLR + Nintendo DS

Steven Chapman has created a way to control his DSLR camera with a custom interface on his Nintendo DS. It involves custom cables, custom DS software, a whole lot of smartness, and it saves him time. (Plus it’s playful: there’s a sound trigger thrown in there, just for kicks.)

This is the killer bit:

Where the Canon 5D can do a bracket of three shots, spread two stops apart, and the latest 1DS MKIII series can do a nine shot bracket, the “DS-DSLR” can do any number of shots, and if I don’t like the way it does it, I can rewrite the software to do it better.

And he’s selling the kit.

The power of adaptation. Imagine Canon had meant for this to happen. Imagine they had an App Store to allow people to share and to build businesses around this kind of activity.

Users are in a better position than designers to discover better products and experiences and, increasingly, better positioned to create them too. (Of course the best situation is that designers are also users… which is surprisingly often not the case.) Adaptive design is not just an approach but an opportunity.

Thanks Tom Armitage for the link.

2 Comments and Trackbacks

  • 1. tamberg said on 18 September 2008...

    “they’re also highly capable… so if your product doesn’t allow them to get involved, they’ll do it themselves regardless.”

    Nice. Here’s a laser distance meter enhanced with Bluetooth / 3D compass by a Leica customer:


  • 2. Paul Morriss said on 19 September 2008...

    The CHDK utility for Canon Powershot cameras – a third party firmware addon, sounds like just what you’re looking for.

    It’s a shame it only works on certain cameras.

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