Skål _(Norwegian for bowl)_ is a product that has emerged from the “Bowl project”:http://www.nearfield.org/2007/12/bowl-token-based-media-for-children. It is a media player designed for the home that acts as the interface between physical objects and related digital media on a television.
This video shows Skål in action. A bowl sits on the living room table and a range of physical objects are used to trigger various kinds of media. For example a physical Moomin character like Little My will play a sequence from the Moomin cartoon where she is featured. Skål can control all kinds of digital media; movie-clips, Youtube channels, Flickr photo streams, home videos and online radio.
The product has been used as a probe to build our understanding of RFID technology in playful and domestic contexts and is the result of “extensive enquiry”:http://portal.acm.org/citation.cfm?doid=1389908.1389930 into the area. It differs from other similar products like “Touchatag”:http://www.touchatag.com/ and “Mirror”:http://www.violet.net/_mirror-le-premier-lecteur-rfid.html by focusing specifically on direct and immediate tangible interaction with rich digital media. In some ways it is similar to the “iPhone RFID prototype”:http://www.nearfield.org/2009/04/iphone-rfid-nfc, and here it reflects on the interchangeability of tags and readers in media interaction: RFID systems are symmetrical and interactions can be built through manipulating the reader (the iPhone) or the objects (Skål).
Visit the “Skål website”:http://www.skaal.no for more on the bowl and how it works and “Flickr”:http://www.flickr.com/photos/timo/sets/72157622432545812/ for more images.