Shaping things by Bruce Sterling

shapingthings_sterling2 I’ve just been reading ‘Shaping Things’ by Bruce Sterling (2005). It’s a very interesting and cute book, I’d certainly recommend it. It’s about design, the interaction between people and objects, and how society can be catagorised into historical ‘eras’ determined by this interaction. The book talks about the SPIME – totally interactive and recyclable objects/material items, and how these items will infiltrate our future. The idea is that such objects will boast an incredible amount of information all built in to the design (how the object was made, material properties, the object’s complete history, etc.), although this is usually contained in a database external to the object (e.g. a weblink). The infrastructure for this technology is already mostly in place (barcodes/RFID) and can be extended (think micro/nanodots on each individual part of the object).

The book has some very interesting formatting – including lots of words ‘highlighted’ by the use of different fonts and paragraphs sporting background images. It takes a bit of getting used to, but I think it reinforces and enhances the main concept of the book, which is all about design.

The last few pages have a real posthumanism ‘feel good’ factor. Go read!

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