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| smart objects THE PORTAL |


year: Spring 2013

place: University of Pennsylvania

collaborators: Sam Rosen

The Portal is a concept model for an idea that originated in the class, Smart Objects, at the University of Pennsylvania taught by Carla Diana.  Mrs. Diana describes smart objects as information-based products that are in ongoing dialogs with people, the cloud and each other.

The Portal Concept:

The concept for the Portal seeks to intensify and elongate the interaction centered around a door, specifically the front entrance of a house. 











History of the Door:

A door has two basic interactions.  The first comes from a solid door.  Often a door bell or a knock are used to let one know a visitor is present.  Once the occupant senses a visitor he or she proceeds to open the door to see who it is.  Accessories such as peep holes and voice boxes have been added over history to ensure safety.  The other interaction would be through a glass door.  This interaction is completely predictable as both users can see each other from the beginning of the perceived contact.


The portal concept takes these two basic interactions of a door and blurs them together into one alternating smart object.  The door is made of two glass panels with an alternating frit pattern on the surface.  One of the glass panels is able to slide so that the frits can align or offset.  This creates different transparencies through the glass.

How it Works:

The panels start in the offset position making a closed and private aperture.  Embedded with sensors and a motor, the door senses when someone is approaching it.  As the visitor is approaching the panels slowly start to align.  The occupant on the other side of the door is alerted and starts to approach to see who it is.  A revealing action starts to take place as the visitor becomes increasingly more identifiable as the panels start to align.  First a silhouette, then some color, then body features become visible to the occupant.  Finally as the visitor comes face to face with the door, the frits perfectly align revealing their identity.  The privacy of a solid door, and the intimacy of a glass door combined in one. 

Development Models:

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