In newspaper's lab, a 'kitchen table of the future'

The New York Times rethinks the morning routine with a futuristic kitchen table and bathroom mirror.
Written by Andrew Nusca, Contributor

The New York Times Company is responsible for publishing one of America's most prominent newspapers (and websites). Its research and development lab, however, is tasked with understanding how people will consume news in the future.

We're all familiar with a classic morning routine: reading the newspaper at the kitchen table while sipping a freshly brewed cup of coffee. But the digital age has offered new alternatives: is information to be consumed individually, or as a community?

Harvard University's Nieman Journalism Lab recently visited the New York Times' R&D lab to see what information solutions its technologists were cooking up. Way up on the 28th floor of the Times building in New York City, Megan Garber found that media and technology strategist Matt Boggie and team were investigating how to rethink the kitchen table altogether, with a little help from Microsoft's Surface technology.

It's a whole new way of approaching "social media":

New York Times R&D Lab: The kitchen table of the Future from Nieman Journalism Lab on Vimeo.

"If you're here by yourself, you can unfold the paper as you would with a regular paper and take up a little more room here at the table," Boggie tells Garber, adding that a sensor-laden table could also help target advertisements to your breakfast.

But that's not the only part of the morning routine in question.

Consider a smarter bathroom mirror:

New York Times R&D Lab: Health and the "magic mirror" from Nieman Journalism Lab on Vimeo.

"There are some places within the house where that kind of data and context makes a lot more sense," Boggie says to Garber. "So, for example, getting ready in the morning. You might be weighing yourself, checking out your figure, seeing if your clothes fit really well. Presenting you with this kind of information might provide you with a sort of behavioral cue."

The New York Times imagines the kitchen table of the future [Nieman Journalism Lab]

This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com

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