IRL Audible Book

As part of a concepting sprint for a project I've been working on I decided to cut up, deconstruct, and otherwise destroy an Amazon Echo Dot in order to put it into a hardback book. As a team, we were looking for ways to get Amazon's Alexa into people's lives without requiring them to buy an Echo device.

The idea was that it would be pretty cool if, after ordering an Audible book, Amazon would ship an Alexa-enabled book as a physical artifact to you. Staying on brand, I decided to pick up a copy of Frank Herbert's Dune, and was lucky to find a sort of special edition at Powell's in Portland.

The guts of an Echo Dot sitting next to my copy of Dune.

My first instinct was to perfectly (read: imperfectly) die-cut the shape of the internal components into the book. Time and other projects required me to just cut out a giant hole in the interior of the book so as to get the prototype done. I was able to buy the book, gut the Echo Dot, cut the pocket, and wire everything back up inside of a working day, which felt good.

dune_guts.jpg

In the end I had a functioning Alexa-enabled copy of one of the best books I've ever read. My kids got a hold of it and promptly, and accidentally, signed me up for Amazon Music Unlimited, which is perhaps to be expected. They love talking to Alexa, however, which only reinforces my opinion that our children will not interact with screens as we have. Voice user interface will be as natural to them as a touchscreen is to Generation X and Millennials.


 

Generative Doodles

I like to doodle when I'm in meetings. Pretty common. I wanted to do something with my doodles though, because they seem so lonely sitting in the annals of my notebooks, never to be looked at again.

I've begun to experiment with Photoshop's Content-Aware filling as a means of making glitch art out of my doodles. Each of these images are a bit of a work-in-progress, and all come from small doodles, sometimes as small as an inch square. I just like the oddity that results from using a tool with a purpose for which it wasn't meant.

 

Process

I begin with the doodle, isolated on a small canvas. I then extend the canvas, selecting regions and filling them with "content-aware" input. This is Photoshop's method of filling in areas unobtrusively. For example, removing a park bench from an otherwise clean image of grass. There's an extensive video here, if you're more interested.

I just keep rotating, selecting, filling, cloning, filling, and expanding the canvas out until I see something I like, then shape the image a bit. Anyway, the results are interesting if nothing else.


 As I started working on this, it began to remind me of those Japanese paintings of waves, but made of eyes. This started off as a small sketch of a Metroid-style trinocular alien. You can see it up at the top of the eyeball heap in the right corner.

As I started working on this, it began to remind me of those Japanese paintings of waves, but made of eyes. This started off as a small sketch of a Metroid-style trinocular alien. You can see it up at the top of the eyeball heap in the right corner.

 
 This comes from a mannequin sketch for a Nike concept. Just one, now this feels like a Where's Waldo illustration to me.

This comes from a mannequin sketch for a Nike concept. Just one, now this feels like a Where's Waldo illustration to me.

 
 To be honest I don't really know what this doodle was meant to be. I think it was just a little geometric shield. The bit that made this interesting for me was the line fill in the small semi-circle in the doodle. The content-aware fill picked up on that and made a lot of lines. Note to self, more linework.

To be honest I don't really know what this doodle was meant to be. I think it was just a little geometric shield. The bit that made this interesting for me was the line fill in the small semi-circle in the doodle. The content-aware fill picked up on that and made a lot of lines. Note to self, more linework.

 
 This image, and the next, came from the same source. It was took up the left side of a page in my notebook, and was drawn during a particularly long meeting. It started to remind me of a totem of sorts, and the way the dot and line work duplicated caught my eye.

This image, and the next, came from the same source. It was took up the left side of a page in my notebook, and was drawn during a particularly long meeting. It started to remind me of a totem of sorts, and the way the dot and line work duplicated caught my eye.

 
 Another version of the above—this one I began to color in, and will probably finish one of these days.

Another version of the above—this one I began to color in, and will probably finish one of these days.