Tholzer's Review 2/1/2011: Pillows as Adaptive Interfaces in Ambient Environments

Review of the article Pillows as Adaptive Interfaces in Ambient Environments


This journal article discusses using throw pillows to interact with users in many settings. The pillows have touch sensors embedded as input devices and LED's, vibrators, and speakers as output devices. When the system detects inactivity from the user, the pillow will attempt to stimulate the user into participating in a different activity.


  • Everyday items serving as interaction platforms is a cool idea and could easily make interactions something you don't even think about
  • The researchers are careful to make sure the pillow doesn't spawn any actions on its own, first requiring input.
  • The notification system of the pillow does not seem like it would be distracting, and also makes it easy to respond.


  • I don't really use throw pillows except to sleep…
  • Some of the interactions that they describe seem like the could easily become annoying and distracting.
  • Adding too much to something like a pillow can easily remove it's original use, how much till the pillow is simply a soft iPad?