2AD Difference

12 May 2004|Christoper Ireland

I’m currently attending 2AD, a conference hosted by HP Labs in Bristol, UK. It’s a small gathering focused on improving the design of information devices (or appliances as they’re known here). The conversations I’m having are very good–and that’s how I judge conferences.

They’re also being a bit experimental with the format, which I think is healthy. As I write, there’s a wireless robot soccer game going on to my left. Two people are doing Tai Chi in front of me, with a juggler practicing off to the right. This morning there was a class on how to prototype with cheap tools like pipecleaners and clay, and a class teaching how to draw rough sketches. They have the normal collection of speeches, white papers, posters and demos, but the sense of play and “street fair” nature of the gathering helps it to stand out.

Want to know more? Here’s the “Robo Cup” competition between rival companies using wireless robots to play soccer that I mentioned above.


A few minutes ago, a woman performed her “sound corset”. She “plays” the metal ribs on her torso and they make music and “ah, ooh” sounds. Will the excitement never stop?


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