“Two-cans and string” communication

0cupcommun.jpgI saw The Cup Communicator a few months ago at the RCA show. There wasn’t much explanation about it. So i wrote Duncan Wilson to get some details.

The Cup Communicator is the final outcome of a series of three projects concerned with our relationship with mobile communication devices,” explains the designer. “The original inspiration for the work came from a scene in Wim WendersParis, Texas when Travis and Hunter engage is a dialog involving walkie-talkies when attempting to find their estranged wife/mother, using the device as a platform for finding partnership, co-operation and developing a relationship between the two characters.”

Can you thell us something about the technology you used? How does it work?

“The technology used is very simple but it is the method of integrating the technology into the device that makes the product. The Cup Communicator works using 2 way radio technology (walkie-talkies). Actually, I bought the smallest and most simple walkie-talkies I could find and adapted them to my needs by disabling certain functions, attaching self-built switches and controls, reducing the battery size and changing the configuration of the mic, speaker, antenna, etc.”


“The Cup Communicator consists of a rigid internal casing (containing all electronics) and a soft polyurethane outer sleeve. Midway down the body of the device the internal casing becomes concaved creating a void between these two parts, allowing for a soft, squeezable waist. Conductive thread, sewn into the interior of the soft polyurethane sleeve makes contact with fine copper filament wound around the rigid casing when the device is squeezed. This becomes a ‘button’ completely around the body which activates the ‘push-to-talk’ function. The cord is attached to a spring loaded lever switch controlling the on/off function but also contains the antenna and a red-LED that illuminates when the speaker is activated i.e. the light flickers when someone in talking. This LED indicates when the cup communicator is receiving a signal when in is placed ‘speaker down’ on a table.”

“The Cup Communicator allows ‘live’ communication in the same way as a 2 way radio does but it is no longer a mobile device like a walkie talkie. The product would be used in the home, on your desk at the office, in schools or colleges, in villages or apartment blocks to link together social groups.”

Thanks Duncan!

Related: Michael Anastassiades‘ Message Cups, portable, mobile voice recording and playback devices used for the exchange of messages within the domestic environment. Recording and playback is done by turning the cup from an upright to a facedown position; Jackie Lee and Hyemin Chung’s Lover’s Cup which will be showcased in December at NEXT (Nordic Exceptional Trendshop) in Copenhagen.