Adding A Human Touch to the Future of Mobile Experiences

Amid Moradganjeh, a Masters student at the Umeå Institute of Design, dropped me an email with a link to his thesis project done in collaboration with Microsoft. Rimino, is a next generation mobile device interface concept that wants to be intuitive, prioritizes human needs, and focuses on enhancing the human experience.

Project Rimino redefines mobile experience through human factors research and design thinking. Informed by human experience, the project is guided by both observational and experimental design research methods.
The Rimino concept is an E-paper mobile device with a user interface inspired by print posters. Historically, as technology has progressed, devices have become more conspicuous. Rimino challenges this trend and presents the alternative: technology that is more integrated and more sensitive to the human experience.

Rimino basically solves one of the biggest problems we have using touch screen devices today, and that is not being able to see what is happening under our finger. With the Rimino, we tap the back of the device instead. While some of his ideas are not entirely new (especially when taken separately), the device ends up being a collection of interesting interface solutions that includes using the corner of the device as a writing tool, and the use of a flexible soft body as a way of entering commands.

Despite the technology still being at least 5-10 years ahead of us, the video of the persona and scenario story is nevertheless pretty cool. For more information on the Rimino and Amid’s extensive design process, check out Rimino.com.

EDIT: On hindsight, and after reading the boat loads of information on the Rimino site, I found that the project looked less like a research thesis and more like a design project, abet an in-depth and extensive one. As mentioned earlier, I did not see a lot of original thought, but instead a collection of ideas that was nothing really new. Data collection and testing seemed anecdotal at best, but the process was well thought out.
If this was then a pure design exercise emphasizing a designer’s critical insight, I wonder if the design of the physical phone could have been done better. There were at times in the video that I though the screen was going to peel of like a sticker (which it probably was!). But let’s not be too harsh, it is clear that the focus of Admid’s thesis was on the interface design; he was in Umeå’s Interaction Design Program after all.

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