Kate Stone

A Kate Stone interview. Technology, musical experience and the fun of Play!

I discovered Kate Stone watching a Sky Art documentary about technology. She basically tranform the user experience of playing music in something affordable for everyone, without learning instruments and without being Academic. She also wants to transforme the usual user experience ito something new. She founded Novalia, where her team uses ordinary printing presses to manufacture interactive electronics, which combine touch-sensitive ink technology and printed circuits into unique and cost-effective products. I was so impressed that after finising it I immediately sent her an email to arrange an Interview.

Novalia’s technology adds touch, connectivity and data to surfaces around us. We play in the space between the physical and digital using beautiful, tactile printed touch sensors to connect people, places and objects. Touching our print either triggers sounds from its surface or sends information to the internet. From postcard to bus shelter size, our interactive print is often as thin as a piece of paper. Let’s blend science with design to create experiences indistinguishable from magic.

Before taking about your  project I would like to know who you are to present yourself to my readers. I know you are a clever engineer so please

I have been through a lot of challenges but I don’t wish to have been different. I have being unlucky when I wanted people to understand me my ideas  so when I was at school i Failed my exams. At that time I also did not understand who I Was so why would I expect the others to undestand me? So I disappeared to Australia for 4 years travelling  to know myself or become myself. Well I had to let something go as all the expectations. When you know you give yourself a chance to become  who you actually are but you have to let go expectations!

Well i don’t know people needs to be reflected in the image the others have, but is common in everyone. everyone has to face the process of building a personal point of view of life an themself. Everyone needs to be free to express himself.

When you have  nothing to lose   you can  change.  During 10 years of my life I lost Everything so I made some challenges emotionals, physicals and to all life and I had some intenses experiences:

  • I quit my job because I needed to have more, so I went to my garage and I start building my own project. I decided my plan was to have no plans. I needed freedom to express myself through my science. I wanted to be an explorer in science, expecially in “User experience” with no idea, no plan. I was so scared, so insecure but I had to go for it. People in their suite are all the same, but my question was who are you? You know? When I worked for someone else it was like I had this task to complete and I felt the same as other people even if I wasn’t. When you work in your own you don’t have that expectations but is also quite scary. It was hard but necessary.
  • I changed gender from male to female but I don’t want talk about it, but you know it was part of the journey.
  • I had a crazy accident and I have being in Coma and I also had a Journey back from this experience.

Wow, that’s strong but you are here with your smile, your ideas, you know, this is powerfull.

Yeah, one thing I knew is that I wanted to create things that make people smile. When people touch things and smile is like an adult that becomes a child.

When I watched the documentary about you on Sky Arte I was smiling, you know, this woman has an hat that is like a consolle… (Kate put the hat on her head). Well, you use this hat, a notebook, posters and common stuff to make something different. What was the input for tranforming these things in unespected experiences?

If i had to use one word it’d be curiosity. Im’cusrious about how things work and i’m also curious about the people interact with things. About people makes music. I’m also curious about future, past, universe. Things are like a Gigsaw. Do you kno the Christmas ball with the snow? Imagine every piece of sow as a gigsaw piece. Well sometimes while am sleeping or awake i see all that pieces going around and start falling down and they fit toghter.

As the Tetris?

Yeah is like that but you have to shake it all al let your mind be relaxing so your ideas will start happening. Well I was interested in how print things so my question was: How to use printing to manufactured electronics? when I left my old job, where by the way I printed plastic objects, I use that method that they used to create new materials, and it was nothing new. To clear one of my questions was How can I look to the things we already done and be creative? But the question wasn’t “how can we print electronics” but How can we add electronics to print? So I invented an electronic printing machine that adds electronics to books, posters, newspapers, magazines… is an additional thing to normal things.

Kate shows me the music notebook and i say “I want it, is my favourite, with that my interviews well become more musicals!”

Everyday objects were the most interesting thing. One of my initial ideas was o print time in newspapers. It could be useful for people who’s on the train or have an appointment. But that was only the start. It was to expensive i couldn’t do it but my mind was in the right place.

I’m thinlking about ebook, you know, it is like transforming a thing. You thid another thing. You change normal things. You change the experience we have for everyday things!

So the time in the newspaper was so important, it moved my mind into a different box. Before it it was like 10 years exploring.

You’re like an Indiana Jones!

Yes (she smiles) you have to be brave because tehre are lots of monsters out there. Danger. I don’t know how my mission is.

The thing I love in your job is that you have a Full spectrum of creativity: Art, Tecnology, User Experiece, Music… You have an Artistic approach to Tecnology.

In my life when I approach things is strange. Is like people do thigs as they always have been done. I do the things in my own way because it is me in the most affective way. You know beside my work people was very unkind with me. Expecially after my accident but my way to approach them was kind. I’m not hatefull. My friends told me “how can you be so kind with this rude people?” But it made things change. Finally i connected with them and hask me to join their team about newspapers rules. How can y develop what i develop without art? For me this is the only way to make this thing work.

I would like to know your point of view about society participation because you are bringing music to the collectivity in a new way.  What’s your vision of this project now that’s reality?

Tecnology as any musical instrument has a body language or object language that tells people how they have to use it. I like when things are so intuitive that people feel invited to use it, to play with them and start to have some kind of musical approach, petty emotional with no need to study it before. You Know if you have a Violin you must study it!

If you want to know more about her projects just go to her website audioposter

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