EmailMiles is an plug-in for Apple Mail and a framework for email software such as Gmail that prints the total miles, countries, and continents an email travels to email messages to add a sense of physical distance to email.

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Video of the Project

 

Description

“Email Miles” is both a plug-in for standard email software such as GMail and Apple’s Mail and a hardware odometer that scans outgoing emails and their destination servers for their Geo-Location, calculates the distance in miles and countries and continents the mail has traveled and tags each incoming email with this info. The physical odometer is a personalized device that ticks the number of combined miles all of that particular user’s emails have traveled.

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Background

The generation that has grown up with the browser has grown up believing the connectivity delivered by the internet was always around and will always somehow magically be there. Reality is that routers, cables, copper, fiber, servers and immense data warehouses are what actually makes up this seemingly seamless communication. They need to be nurtured and invested in, or they fail. Recently the talk of ‘Cloud’ has taking this un material aspect to a new level. Everything seems to happen for free and somehow as if ny magic in the ‘Cloud’. How can we get a generation to think – however briefly – that their communication is actually harnessed in very material hardware and very real business models that they are paying for in their monthly subscriptions? We can start by showing them how far their communications actually travel.

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Physical Odometer Device Mockup

Email and digital communications are instantaneous, immediate, and flawlessly received. Unlike traditional mail that is sent in paper envelopes across distances and is typically damaged or shows signs of wear from its travel, email does not exhibit any of these traits. “Email Miles” adds this aspect of spatial travel to email by tagging each email with the distance it has traveled in miles or kilometers, adding a link to a map view of the path, and aggregating these miles onto a personal odometer device.

Email Miles System Diagram

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Path of an Email Mapped

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