Deutsche Telekom Laboratories is a corporate, yet relatively independent institution that exists since October 2005. One of their first projects, based on her PhD-thesis: making the notion of rhetoric usable for design processes, for example analysis of patterns in TV-commercials. A simulation of the cocktail party effect (which enables people to selectively listen to others in crowds) was another early project which might lead to an interface for conference calls.
Touch it! was a cooperative project with FH Potsdam about tactile interfaces. After initial research, three paths emerged: “Change of Shape”, “Rough to Precise”, “Gesture-based”. The position of a phone might example influence its functionality – if put upright, the hands-free mode would be activated and if put flat on the face it would be muted. Using a conductor’s gestures to control MP3s was a second design and to equip a phone with signs of life of its own (breathing hard when the battery runs low) was a third.
For the future, Telekom Labs aim to treat design as a connecting element between technology research, communication between people and aesthetics which hopefully can also feed questions back into the circle instead of just picking up technological novelties.