My first interactive project was a different approach to communication than how we know it. By making use of a metaphor I tried to bring digital advantages to the physical world.
There are two boxes that belong together but are not physically connected. The boxes can be placed independently from each other, so one could be in Tokyo, the other in Paris.
You can then literally put a message inside one of the boxes by opening its lid, and speaking or whispering towards it. As soon as the lid is closed it transmits the message to the other box which then shows that it has received the new message by popping its lid open a little bit. The message can then be received by fully opening the box.
By using an object, the act of communicating receives a new meaning. Connectivity does not only exist virtually but now has a physical representative. Natural limitations make the use of the object different from common communication, and gives the user a direct emotional link to the owner of the other box. Using the boxes creates awareness to being connected, but as a medium doesn’t bring any expectations to the user.
The project ended with a working prototype using Arduino and Processing. A light-sensor gave notice about the condition of the lid and triggered the sound recording from the small microphone inside the box. The audio file was then uploaded to a server and triggered the other box to pop and play it when fully opened.