"Little Signals" Are Devices That Encourage Better Relationships With Technology
The collection encompasses six devices, and was designed by Map Project Office and Google’s Seed Studio.
The relationship we have with our devices is a much-discussed topic. For the most part, we can’t live without them, but then, we’re encouraged to take time away from them – it’s sometimes impossible to strike the right balance.
London-based studio Map Project Office was inspired by this quandary for its latest project “Little Signals“, created in collaboration with Google’s Seed Studio. In a bid to encourage discussion around the best ways to find balance with technology, the studio has developed six conceptual devices: Air; Button; Movement; Rhythm; Shadow; and Tap. Each has a different function, but collectively, they intend to explore a more subtle approach to household gadgets.
Using sound, movement, and visual cues, the studio designed the devices to offer “subtle indicators” rather than harsh notifications. “Air”, for example, emits pulses of air to gently nudge nearby objects, like the leaves of a plant, to attract attention. With “Button”, a dynamic top grows upwards as it receives information, with the user able to twist it left and right for either more or less details. “Movement” features seven pegs that graphically represent information – like a calendar or timer – through their height and motion, while “Rhythm” makes use of ambient sounds, with different melodies representing importance or urgency.
The fifth device in the lineup, “Shadow” uses moving shadows to communicate and show when it is active, as if gently breathing, and the sixth, “Tap” creates sounds against surfaces that act as notifications.
“The speculative collaboration highlights the growing conversation around seeking balance with technology, and the desire to find moments of calm in between life’s busiest moments,” said Map, which recently worked alongside Sky to create its first streaming TV, Sky Glass. “Little Signals offers a unique perspective for future interactions with technology, and aims to inspire the design industry to think broadly about the different ways we can engage with objects and technology.”
While Little Signals is offering quieter alternatives to devices currently on the market, Urban Sophistication is looking to protect them at all costs with its all-in-one Utiliti Case, reminiscent of a pair of cargo pants.