ambient orb

David Rose with the Ambient Orb.

David Rose, an Inventor and M.I.T. Media Lab researcher, coined the term “enchanted objects” to describe ordinary objects with extraordinary functions. These objects are not only fun but also may hold the key to a better way for humans to use new technology — as opposed to what Rose considers a bleak future in which every tool will be crammed into a computer screen.



Rose, whose gadget-filled home was recently featured in The New York Times, has a new book called, “Enchanted Objects: Design, Human Desire, and the Internet of Things.”

We’ve compiled 15 of the coolest enchanted objects currently in existence. Many of these aren’t available on the market yet, but they offer a glimpse into what the future has in store.

The Vitality GlowCap reminds you to take your medications by lighting up, making chirping sounds, and eventually sending you a text message. You can share your medication data with a remote loved one, a professional caregiver, and your pharmacy.


The Ambient Umbrella has a handle that will glow if snow or rain is in the forecast, reminding you to grab it on your way out the door.


The Google Latitude Doorbell, created at the MIT Media Lab, chimes a tune when a family member is approaching the house. Each family member has their own tune.


The Ambient Orb tracks real-time data for the stock market, pollen count, traffic congestion, and more, and glows specific colors to let you know if the data looks good or bad.

ambient orb

SunSprite is a small clip that measures the amount of bright light you take in during the day, in order to help you improve your energy levels, sleep cycle, mood, and more.


The Energy Joule tracks energy prices by glowing red if prices are high, yellow if prices are average, and green if prices are low.

energy joule

The Facebook Coffee Table, created at the MIT Media Lab, listens to your conversations and displays photos from your Facebook page whenever they are appropriate to the conversation. For example, if I mentioned “New York City,” photos from my trip to New York would pop up.

coffee table

MemoMi is a mirror that records the outfits you try on, so you can compare them and decide what to buy or wear.


The Amazon Trash Can, created at the MIT Media Lab, scans any objects you’re throwing away and automatically re-orders them from Amazon.

trash can

The Pandora Chair, created at the MIT Media Lab, plays different music based on your level of incline. If you’re sitting upright, the chair will play upbeat music. If you’re leaning back, it will play something peaceful.

pandora chair

Vessyl is a smart cup that identifies what kind of liquid you’re drinking and lets you know how many calories and how much sugar, fat, protein, sodium, and caffeine are in that drink.


The Skype Cabinet, created at the MIT Media Lab, allows you to simply open a wooden door and connect to a friend or loved one via Skype. A proximity sensor allows the cabinet to glow when a friend is available.

skype cabinet

TrakDot is a luggage tracker that you place inside your suitcase. You can then see the location of your luggage by using the Trakdot app, which connects to the tracking device.


The Energy Clock, created at the MIT Media Lab, gives you feedback about how much energy you’re using in your household. Wedges of color appear to show you whether you’re over-spending or under-spending on energy, and by how many hours. A red wedge means you’re over, while a green wedge means you’re under.

energy clock

The Goji Smart Lock allows you to lock and unlock your door with your smartphone. You can also give friends and family the ability to unlock your door by sending them a message to their phone. Goji also takes photos of who is at your door, and sends you alerts when your door has been unlocked.


Via Business Insider