Marble Mail

Marble Mail Phidget: 3 un-answered messages, 8 answered messages

Marble Mail is an ambient display of your email box. The top bowl acts as a storage area representing potential email. As email arrives, a marble drops to the middle bowl containing unopened messages. As email is read, a marble drops into the last bowl containing read messages. Thus Marble Mail tells you about new mail arrival with the subtle clicking of dropping marbles, and gives you a rough idea of your email inbox state at a glance.


The idea of Marble Mail is that the software checks for changes in your mail box, judging whether there are less or more messages than the last time it checked. If there are more then a Servo Motor located between the first and second bowl will rotate enough to allow one marble to drop down. If there are less messages, it infers you have opened your new mail and the servo motor between the second and third bowl rotates to let a marble fall to the last bowl. It determines the number of new messages by examining the IMAP packets, refreshed by setting Microsoft Outlook online and offline using GroupLab's Spy Software.

see the video

The Creator

Shannon Goodman created this for her short assignment as part a senior-level human computer interaction class at the University of Calgary.


Created in March, 2002

Next exhibit: Mathletics