Too Smart City

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Too Smart City is a set of three street furniture pieces that come to life with embedded intelligence and robotic systems. The Smart Bench is a gorgeous two-person seater that recognizes vagrancy and is capable of lifting people up and dumping them off. The Smart Sign displays the latest legal codes on its glossy video monitor, pointing at and addressing people as they walk by. The Smart Trashcan is a sleek metal bin that analyzes what is being discarded. Throw the wrong trash away, and the Smart Trashcan throws it right back at you.

Contemporary street furniture is designed to provide public services and to manage how they are used. Trashcans enable sanitation, signs dictate information, benches sanction leisure. As such, these mundane objects are intersections between the immediate physical needs of the people using them, and the complex rules and indirect reasons that govern their designs. Sentience, in street furniture, would amplify this tension. Using embedded processors and interactive voices, next generation street furniture is transformed into representatives of sanitation and control. These developments are either ignored as being mundane or heralded as improvements, without public discourse on their effects. Too Smart City presents technological solutions to current problems in these systems, but as failures, rather than as progress: a future where everyday objects are rendered non-functional by their overly enthusiastic usage of computational intelligence.

Project Created: 
September 2009