The annual DGTF conference in 2015 was taking place at the FH Potsdam under the theme "Reassembling Relationships, People, Systems and Things". Joël Gähwiler had the opportunity to conduct an afternoon workshop to the topic "Prototyping Networked Artifacts":
The Internet of Things allows everyday objects to be interconnected. This places designers in unknown territory, as the objective is now the design of multiple, "Networked Artifacts" rather than just a single, tangible object. This shift from object to system calls for new ways of thinking about design and especially for new methods in design education. In this workshop, we will discuss networked artifacts and experiment with "shiftr.io" – a tool that allows fast prototyping of such artifacts. 1
After a short introductory presentation about networked artifacts, the attendees were asked to come up with a simple concept of a system of networked artifacts. Then, the second exercise was to iteratively prototype on the key feature of the concept and improve it based on the gathered findings in the process.
A main component of such a process is the tool shiftr.io, that provides an easy way to connect software and hardware components with each other. As the workshops time frame was to short to go into programing and electronics, the littleBits system has been used to quickly build electronic artifacts. Finally the custom made ShifterBit, that interfaces with shiftr.io, interconnected these littleBits based artifacts with each other.