IoT Sandbox

Sandpit-size living laboratory

The IoT Sandbox operates in the arena of the Internet of Things (IoT) in the context of the home. It focuses on designing for human-product interaction within IoT systems. At the start lie two observations: First, in home IoT there is a heavy emphasis on (touch) screen and speech based interaction styles. Second, IoT systems are inherently open (IoT artifacts can be added or taken away, software can be updated) and we conclude that the natural state of an IoT system is change, ‘growth’

Responding to these observations, the IoT Sandbox is a research demonstrator that explores an alternative interaction style that is more physical of nature. It aims to explore (1) the qualities of a more physical interaction style and (2) the challenge of having a physical interaction style respond to the dynamics of IoT systems.


The physical interface comprises a tray and a series of tiles. The physical interface comes standard with blank tiles that can be replaced with interface tiles when new connected objects are installed in the house (at present: light, audio, video, blinds). Perhaps even more interesting than controlling the individual smart objects in the home is the idea that their functionalities can be combined to form new, emergent functionality. A basic version of this idea is implemented here by means of programmable presets, which are projected in custom designed new tiles. The IoT Sandbox demonstrates that it is possible to design physical interaction styles that are as dynamic as the systems they control.

Our physical interface can grow together with the smart home that it controls showing that also physical interfaces can adequately respond to the dynamics of the smart home. 

Credits: Designed, build and conceptualised by Joep Frens, Bastiaan van Hout and Joep le Blanc
Sponsor: Design United
Special thanks to: Taco Sieben


Bang and Olufsen 
Citybeakon BV