The other day a youtube advert made it past my trigger finger which eagerly hovers over SKIP. I got sucked in and watched these two guys tell their epic story from start to finish. They created a box that holds a drumstick that can be told through wifi to move. Place the swaying stick near a pot or glass of water and it connects with a keyboard, music software and all sorts of other technology over wifi.
The end scene threw me completely. A young boy sits with an iPad in his lap, tapping a digital piano keyboard that tells the stick in front of him to tap the half-filled glass of water to chime. You gotta be kiddin! This lil’ guy is inches from the water, head down, tapping the glass of the screen rather than the glass of water! Surely, these guys and their months of determination were not aimed at replacing childhood experiences with the HD digital version?
Are we sometimes caught up with the possibility of what could be, aiming for it, and not reflecting on what we’re really leaving behind by making those technological advances?
I was instantly reminded of a time I was sitting in a pod in the London Eye. A tourist had his camera on video and held it up panning around. Texting on his phone with the other hand it was clear the video was for later on. The real deal could wait. Like the kid, it’s all captured, recorded and ready for playback on the screen. I guess it’s easily done.
Well, I can’t shake my head and say SHAME as I too am often caught out on my phone for a text or email when I’m in the middle of a real conversation.
But it occurred to me later on why it was that kid on the iPad struck me the way it did. It was how it was presented, the semiotics and final application for this device. The whole film I was thinking, where are they going with this beating box thing? Consider this ( I told myself), what reflection would I have had if it were in a children’s hospital, and kids in bed, too ill to play, were using wifi to have a jam or bash about to make some tunes. If a kid with poor coordination or mobility or even the loss of an arm was using the drumstick, would I have seen this in a whole new light? Yes, but not for the heart jerking connotations that come with hospitals and poorly children. It would be a sentiment of WELL DONE to those guys for using their talents and design to better the life of another.
That’s what I’m into. Design that helps people. Yeah, I can get sucked into new tech here and there but when something really benefits people, that’s a winner in my eyes. So, if hypothetically this beater makes its way to a scenario like a hospital or educational setting, it’s great to know that there are people that use their talents to share that wonderful analog feeling of beating on a mixing bowl. That’s the kind of design that interests me. If it initially helps share those wonderful experiences then sure, let there also be an app for the mixing bowl remix. I’ll gladly have a listen.