News without the fear

Ticker Tape is an internet radio for people who suffer from Euphobia, “a persistent, abnormal and unwanted fear of hearing good news”. Designed by Will Carey, it was exhibited at the work in progress show of the RCA in London a few weeks ago.

Ticker Tape is a working prototype that simulates the interaction but as this was a project done in only two weeks some details are still to be fixed. Using RSS feeds, Ticker Tape scans for light-hearted news stories from around the world broadcasting them to the listener who can manage the content via the Ticker Tape website (still in construction).

0aabypullg.jpgActivating the radio

Pulling the cord allows the user to choose the duration of the broadcast.

0aalebutttton9.jpgTuning direction

The origin of the news stories can be selected by the dial on the top of the radio.

This project explores playful interfaces for the future of digital radio, and is part of wider ongoing research.

As Will was in Tokyo when i visited the show, i wrote him to get more information on the radio:

The first time i read the description of the project, I thought the radio was meant for people who are afraid of bad news. But it is the exact opposite. You created it for people suffering from “euphobia”. Do such people really exist?

Yes they do, although very few people experience this condition. The intention was to use a phobia as a starting point for the design process, and the radio was inspired by euphobia, “a persistent, abnormal and unwanted fear of hearing good news”.

So why not make the radio that everyone would expect, the one that people who hate hearing bad news would want to buy?

I think this would leave less to the imagination. I wanted to suggest how someone who really suffers from such a fear could overcome it, either via team therapy or by getting used to hearing good news once they had had the initial support from a therapist. By pulling the tape the person can acclimatise themselves to hearing good news in small measured doses.

While the original intent is to cure a phobia, it can also be used to create more insightful solutions for interaction with technology. (This is not to say that one is trying to make light of what are indeed serious and real fears. But changing one’s mindset as a designer and moving away from marketing-driven design and thinking about solutions from a completely different perspective, can encourage new interactions and designs to emerge.)

0aaasemblingprty.jpgAssembling the prototype

Ticker Tape has a very sleek, pure and shiny design, does this reflect its own “mission”?

The design has considered a neutral and inviting form, which means you almost have to encounter the object and discover out how it works, yet there are some cues and signs that it is a domestic product. I wanted the radio to be made from ceramic – the prototype is plastic, perhaps that is why it’s so shiny. The void running through the object is for the speaker and the overall form is inspired by an old Braun SK25 radio designed by Dr Fritz Eichler in 1955.

Thanks Will!

All images courtesy of Will Carey.

0aaatunnnij8.jpgTuning the radio