The Internet allows us to connect with friends in every corner of the world, but sometimes a physical, tangible link in the communication can make its absence felt. A nightstand with embedded printer and scanner, John Kestner's Tableau puts a physical experience in networking with family and friends, and makes viewing and sharing photos via Twitter as simple and natural as opening and closing a drawer.

On the outside, the Tableau may not look like much — it's an antique-looking nightstand constructed from reclaimed materials, with a single cable sticking out of it — but it's really on the inside that the magic happens. When a piece of paper is dropped into its drawer, the data is scanned and sent over WiFi or a cellular network to the user's Twitter account. When a picture is sent to the predefined account, the nightstand quietly prints it and drops it in the drawer, as the softly glowing knob invites the owner to open it.

The most compelling aspect of the Tableau is really the "user" experience it offers, the way technology and everyday life come together to make a complicated computing task such as this fit into the flow of the daily routine. The only consumable is Zink paper, which requires no separate ink and is placed in a back paper drawer.

The Tableau is about usability, too. Constructed from recouped materials, this high-tech nightstand is already on its second life and ready for its third: a basic interface is accessible and extensible through Twitter, allowing the drawer to be reprogrammed and repurposed. According to Kestner, this means that it can remain functional for a long time, unlike typical consumer electronics.

The Tableau is currently on exhibit at the Saint Étienne International Design Biennale.

Via Inhabitat