Created by Italian designer Simone Rebaudengo, the idea behind Brad the Toaster is to take the concept of interconnected gadgets and give them emotional baggage. In the case of Brad the Toaster, if it's not used enough (and it can tell), it'll find a home where it'll be better appreciated, all on its own. This is actually pretty clever: why buy a product when one that's not being used is readily available and eager to move in with you?
[...] The fanciful premise evolved from a simple idea: What if the smart objects of the future aren't just smart, but also potentially jealous, petty or vindictive? What if, connected to and benchmarked against their peers, their relationships with each other start to inform their relationships with us?
Rebaudengo built a prototype to bring the scenario to life, wiring five toasters with sensors and ethernet and programming them to keep track of how much the other four were being used. He coded a website where people could apply to be the 'host' for one of the toasters (ownership being a more fluid concept when toasters can pack up and leave -- or call UPS to get packed up, anyway.) Then he let them loose in the wild. Brad was installed at a co-working space in Shoreditch, London.
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