Designed by MIT Media Lab John Kestner, Tableau acts as a bridge between users of physical and digital media, taking the best parts of both. It's a nightstand that quietly drops photos it sees on its Twitter feed into its drawer, for the owner to discover. Images of things placed in the drawer are posted to its account as well. Tableau is an anti-computer experience. A softly glowing knob that almost imperceptibly shifts color invites interaction without demanding it. The trappings of electronics are removed except for a vestigial cable knob for the paper tray. The nightstand drawer becomes a natural interface to a complex computing task, which now fits into the flow of life.
The table's physical and electronic components are already on their second lives. Made in the United States, the table is constructed from reclaimed materials and "obsolete" electronics saved from the landfill. And to make its current life longer, a basic interface is accessible and extensible through Twitter so that it may be reprogrammed and repurposed, unlike typical consumer electronics. Tableau's construction and software make it functional for a long time.
Tableau is an Internet-enabled photo printer and scanner. The only consumable is Zink paper, which requires no separate ink and is placed in a back paper drawer. Its primary method for transferring pictures is Twitter, over WiFi or a cellular network. Its other functions, such as the color of the knob and the state of the drawer, can also be accessed through Twitter.
Tableau was on show at the Saint-Étienne International Design Biennale and is being developed for production next year.