Self-editing is overrated. Or is it?

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

There's too much time on your hands, and then there's WAY too much time on your hands, and then there's this:

OK, we have a winner. This is the silliest thing that I have seen in a long time.

Behold the Blendie!

Doesn't look like much, does it? Ah, but what you don't know is that Blendie is the world's first voice-activated blender.

Don't believe me? Check out the hilarious demonstration video.

Blendie is a creation of Kelly Dobson, a sonic artist and graduate student of the MIT media lab.

She explains her creation as "Blendie is an interactive, sensitive, intelligent, voice controlled blender with a mind of its own. Materials are a 1950’s Osterizer blender altered with custom made hardware and software for sound analysis and motor control.

People induce the blender to spin by sounding the sounds of its motor in action. A person may growl low pitch blender-like sounds to get it to spin slow (Blendie pitch and power matches the person) and the person can growl blender-style at higher pitches to speed up Blendie. The experience for the participant is to speak the language of the machine and thus to more deeply understand and connect with the machine. The action may also bring about personal revelations in the participant. The participant empathizes with Blendie and in this new approach to a domestic appliance, a conscious and personally meaningful relationship is facilitated.

Machines influence self-conception, expression, social perception, and perception of responsibility and action. Blendie is part of a series of machines designed to access and vitalize the interplay of people and machines. Intercommunicative awareness is brought out and individuals are invited to reinvent their own existence.

In Blendie a mix of design, art, engineering, and psychotherapy inform the interaction facilitated between participants and the familiar blender. An empathic opportunity is made manifest emphasizing and utilizing the aspects of blenders that are not what have been traditionally designed into them intentionally – i.e. their incredible sound and vibration – but that nevertheless have large roles in our interaction and approach to them.

Blendie is a free standing blender as seen in the video documentation. Everyone may talk with Blendie, though Blendie does have moods, desires, and preferences, of course."

The equally hilarious diagram for this device is below (click on it to see it at its full size):

I can hardly wait for the voice-activated toaster. (You think I'm kidding? It's called Toastie!)


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