Modern Technology for Stone Age Minds

Our daily and increasingly indoor movements are being dictated and limited by an ever growing amount of things surrounding us. As an Interaction Designer, I want to reveal these hidden motives that deeply influence our behaviour through research and design.
I have collected data through a wearable sensor-device to visualise normally invisible activity and to explore how to playfully expand diversity of our daily movements.

The concept for Modern Technology for Stone Age Minds is based on the evolutionary theory that our human bodies and minds take so long to adapt to our environment that they are in fact still adapted to the stone age: our bodies to the sorts of activity we performed and our minds to the problems and tasks we had to solve. Most of us no longer live in jungles but now in cities instead, where almost every aspect of our surroundings are precisely planned out: on a large scale the blocks of buildings, roads, pavement and parks, and on a smaller scale the interiors of our houses and the objects of our daily use. These efficient things now determine our movement and activity: we spend more time indoors and are less active than our ancestors used to be.

To surface some of these effects I developed a research tool that allows me to visualise a person’s daily activity based on constant sensor measurements through a wearable sensor-device. This device tracks things such as the general level of activity and whether a person is walking, running, sitting or standing. Based on this data a live infographic is generated to confront the user with patterns of his own behaviour.

The user is wearing the sensor device on his hip while interacting with the data visualisation on his screen. The user is wearing the sensor device on his hip while interacting with the data visualisation on his screen. The user is wearing the sensor device on his hip while interacting with the data visualisation on his screen. The infographic can be read like the display of a clock: it starts drawing a graph line from the top center position of the screen and moves the line across three different axes based on the activity measured by the sensor device. The graph line itself is generated from images of technologies that are associated with the type of activity that is measured. After an hour of measurements the generated graph is stored and a new one begins to draw.

The wearer of the system can manipulate the infographic by changing his active behaviour and use movement as a brush to create visually stunning patterns.
I discovered that by simply revealing someone’s behaviour in a playful way, I could encourage him to explore beyond his normally unconscious ways.

A hard copy of my Visual Research process book can be ordered from Blurb:

With Modern Technology for Stone Age Minds I was chosen as one of the HOT100 most talented e-culture graduates by Het Nieuwe Instituut and I am nominated for the HKU-Award 2013.

A video of the final working prototype in action:

A video of high-speed footage of one hour of tracking by the system:

The Sustainable Identity

The Sustainable Identity is an ambitious and playful textile recycling concept which anticipates on the use of old textiles collected by an interactive textile recycling bank in order to create high quality new fabrics. Linked to an online community and a fashion line, the concept aims to create awareness about the sustainable textile consumption behaviour. This is important because huge amounts of textiles are unnecessarily wasted while the environmental resources for their production are getting scarcer every day.

The Uni2Bin is a textile recycling bank in which you can deposit your old textiles, all of them: old and torn, socks or curtains, it doesn't matter. The principle of our concept is that these used textiles can and should be used to create brand new high quality fabrics and thereby spare our planets’ resources in the production of new clothes. We focus on making the experience of recycling understandable, playful and rewarding. On top of this and to set a great example for the rest of the world, we designed a unique clothing line using only recycled textiles. This project was a multidisciplinary collaboration between Interaction Designers, Game Designers and Fashion Designers.

Together with Marije Kanis, I held a talk about The Sustainable Identity at This Happend in Utrecht (video below) and I presented our research paper at BCS HCI 2013 in London.

Cooperative Cubes

The Cooperative Cubes are a working prototype for an educational toy to help children with autism interact with other children more easily.

These cubes are a set of interactive blocks that change colour when they are being played with. As soon as one block touches another the colour of all blocks change to encourage collaborative play between children who have difficulty with this. The concept was developed through an extensive research process which included talking to experts and visiting a special school for such children to develop a deep understanding of effective design methods that could be used.

The development of the interactive blocks The development of the interactive blocks

The Cooperative Cubes are the result of a collaboration between Interaction- and Game Designers.

Time Passer

Time Passer is an interactive installation aiming to emphasise your experience of time by enabling interaction with people that were standing on the exact same spot as you are now, but in the past.

The brief for this design challenge was to analyse a public space and create an interactive object, system or installation for it. We chose Schiphol Airport Amsterdam and our goal was to create an interactive installation that gave Schiphol's passengers a sense of other people traveling in Schiphol every day and to emphasise their experience of time.

The final result is an interactive mirror, in which you can have a look into the past.
A camera mounted nearby the installation analyses the behaviour of passersby and responds directly by showing appropriate footage in the mirror to provoke interaction. You are confronted with previous passers that react to your body language by for example waving or jumping or mimicking your posture. After a user’s attention had been drawn the time of the footage’s recording was revealed, causing surprised reactions with the current user.
While interacting with the installation, new footage of the user is being recorded to become part of the installation’s database of behaviour himself, resulting in an ever growing system of interactions.

Digital Life

This book is the result of a self initiated research project in which I have investigated and explored peoples' perception on real life and on digital life. It is full of visual experiments that show aspects of real life projected onto the experience of digital life, to further explore our relationship with- and the future of digital culture.

The book was divided into four parts: Analog life in digital, Time, Impermanence and Finding. The first chapter explores what it could look like if you would be able to sense and see the presence of other online users while using the internet. The second chapter explores the effects of time on digital files and environments. The third chapter is about what effects of weather, pollution or damage could mean in the digital world and the final chapter is about perspective, location and nature in the digital realm.

Overcrowding in the digital realm. Damage of digital environments. Experiencing distance and travel. Signs of history and time. Impermanence of data.


I am a passionate Interaction Designer interested in design research and sustainable and human-friendly design. You could call me a sensitive designer.

Currently, I'm working on my PhD, investigating what technology design can do for caregivers.
I have a Masters degree in Creative Design for Digital Cultures and previously completed a Bachelors degree in Interaction Design.

Feel free to drop me a line, for I am always in for discussing new ideas or working together, especially if it involves collaborating with other disciplines.

Lilian Bosch
Amsterdam, the Netherlands
+31 624 347 675