Do you remember Milky the charming little milk carton running around the city in Blur’s video clip “Coffee and TV” ? My colleague Simon Bergweiler and I decided to push the idea of this anthropomorphic milk carton a step further, by presenting in our paper a new way of emotional interaction with products, which we will present during the Mobile HCI 2013 Poster session. Based on the rapid prototyping Microsoft Gadgeteer platform, we have concretized our vision of an on-product App. But.. wait what is an on-product App ?

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It’s actually an embedded application that turns any tangible object (in our case a milk carton) in an intelligent product that can be then integrated into the Internet of Things and display some interesting information either over a more classical way – numerical values of sensors – or over an anthropomorphic user interface, thus leading to a new product to human interaction form.


Milky – The intelligent happy milk carton

The heart of Milky, the intelligent milk carton is a GHI Electronics Spider Board runs the .NET Framework. A 3,5 inch touchscreen display in front of the milk carton enables user touch-inputs and the direct display of information and emotions in form of an animation or an inbuilt application.

Just imagine: Milky displays its emotions over the touchscreen and once the product is no more consumable e.g. due to an expiry of the eat-by day or because the customer has completely used it, Milky goes into the “Dead”-state. In this mode three options are displayed on the screen: the first one displays a Google Maps with the nearest recycling stations -assuming the milk carton knows its location over the GPS module – so that the recycling chain will not be broken. This is particularly interesting for optimizing the product’s carbon footprint. The second option allows the customer to share his “product-experience” over Facebook with a virtual “I like it” button so that he can tell over his social network that he loved the product he has just consumed! And the last one – you guess it – will enable customer to buy the same product again. Nice feature isn’t it ? That’s our vision of the product of the future!

Interested? Then meet me at the Poster & Demo session at the Mobile HCI 2013 Conference this week in Munich / Germany and perhaps we will have a nice talk about Milky and the future of intelligent products!

More info about the paper here:

and if you are very curious, you can download our paper here:
Milky: On product App for emotional Product to Human Interactions

Publication’s poster and some pictures of Milky


Recipe display on Milky

The interior of Milky is composed of a lot of sensors. The main board is a GHI FEZ Spider kit

Interesting links

Blur – Coffee And TV Video clip


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