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Rimino project offers a new take on user interface design


June 16, 2011

Rimino is based on color E-Ink technology, with an interface inspired by print posters

Rimino is based on color E-Ink technology, with an interface inspired by print posters

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Have you ever complained about too much complexity in today's mobile devices? If so, then Rimino might meet your needs. It is meant to be simple, intuitive and user-friendly. Designed by Sweden's Amid Moradganjeh in collaboration with Microsoft, the conceptual device is based on color E-Ink technology with an interface inspired by print posters, aimed at integrating technology and human nature.

Rimino would know exactly what users needed, at any given moment. "It is truly aware of them," the project's website explains. There are a number of methods for interacting with the device, including the use of temperature, haptic feedback, light, airflow, olfactory feedback and moisture.

The operating system and the goal-based UI (user interface) are briefly described in a diagram, presenting "Narrative" as the main page, where all the phone's functions are listed. Launching any task requires the "Capture" function, which is performed by bending the device (as pictured below) or using natural gestures which initiate the capturing. The user captures elements (time, location, voice, image, temperature, objects, people, etc.) and chooses which one to start a task with. Then, the device can automatically determine which exact actions are available to choose from. Apps are no longer necessary, as the goal-based UI can perform their functions.

Many designers interested in concept gadgets don't worry too much about technical details, and such is the case with the present incarnation of Rimino. The proposed device is a master's thesis project of Amid Moradganjeh, a multidisciplinary designer from Sweden's UmeƄ Institute of Design. He is said to be influenced by the human-oriented Scandinavian approach in design. More information is to be found on the Rimino website.

The video below illustrates some of the ways in which the device could be used.


I\'m certain there is something deep and profound in the way this thing is supposed to work but I don\'t get it. This is a little too esoteric.

It is interesting that it has Microsoft as a collaborator and yet there is a Mac Book shown prominently in the video.


I think it is wrong to say that the device does not need apps. What it implies is that the device is so multi-functional that all we ever want to do with it is embedded inside, kind of like a Swiss army knife or a dumbed down smartphone. Current UIs are app or OS specific. It is a nice idea to have a \'live\' UI but that means having a super sentient and intelligent OS/device. Are we there yet? Yet, as the mock video shows, what it can accomplish can also be done with voice input, which, when the tech is mature will produce some hands-free and interesting devices and apps. The timer example in the video is also too simplistic and far-fetched. Yes, we want things/events to react to our wishes, but by what means? In a future where all materials are intelligent and sentient? We probably don\'t want that. But the idea of color e-ink as UI is good. It adds to the packaging without using up extra energy. The bendy feature is possible too, when flexible/pliable electronics/circuit boards mature. But, inside a handbag/back of pocket, that can incur many false positives. In the end, ruggedness will win out.


\"It is meant to be simple, intuitive and user-friendly.\"

Judging from the photos, it\'s anything but. That top picture looks like a hopelessly hideous mishmash of pointlessly angled and cropped data. But I suppose that is expected with the Microsoft connection.


This is a brilliant concept.. and I hope it works out in the end..to make use of the tremendous processing power to not render higher and higher resolution images and videos, but also something a lot more useful.. a better user experience through intelligent device programming..

If ever it comes out, I am sure it will destroy the likes of android, iOS etc..

Mihir Panchal

I have compromised vision, and I am constantly frustrated by how too much information is crammed onto the viewing area of mobile devices. Doing away with the "frame" is a great start. I am also amused by the previous poster annoyed by how information is at an angle and cropped. I found it a visual relief... all of the information I needed was still available, even in a cropped format. Doing away with "margins" and the habitual use of "white space" around graphics and text laid out in a rectilinear format is also brilliant. It leaves just the information on the screen as large as it can be. I get what this prototype is about, and I look forward to it coming to fruition.


As cool as I think some of the ideas in this video really are I love the way it seems like a bad sci-fi movie. Take the shiny new text book at the end: as soon as color e-ink and flexible electronics become even vaguely affordable, our overpriced, heavy, limited relevance paper texts are going to be the first things to go. The only things stopping me from throwing out every book I own already are battery life, nice color pictures, and my desire to support authors despite their unwillingness to support publisher that have made it into the 21st century. Even that last bit teeters on the edge with the incredible ease with which I could go download most of the library of congress in open PDF format via file sharing right now if I wanted to.

Charles Bosse
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