Unusual Objects for Everyday Life (Part I)

Saturday evening, instead of swearing at the computer because I find nothing interesting to blog “as usual”, I went to the Strangely Familiar, Unusual Objects for Everyday Life exhibit in Turin. The first year students of the Interaction Design Institute in Ivrea were given a few weeks to come with devices that rethink everyday digital devices and produce solutions that provide more meaningful and poetic interactions.


Although the devices were only prototypes (I tried to buy one but “No way, Jos�”), all of them were fully functioning.

Let’s start with James Tichenor (with David Mellis) series of radios.

Box of sound is a radio made of wood and hundreds of colourful rubber bands. Left on its own, it emits a weak sound. If you want to turn up the volume, you have to let the light enter the radio. To keep the volume at the desired level, just stick any object inside (here the always handy cellphone is used).

radioela.jpgelastic.jpgFeel the Music I is a radio with only a big tuning knob. As you spin the knob, the sound of the station vanishes and only tactile feedback indicates the existence of radio stations. You feel phantom “peaks and troughs” though resistances. when you’re happy with the signal, you can let go of the knob and listen to the station.

Feel the Music II radio can be tuned by moving it across the table or any other flat surface. The feedback is once again purely tactile as the stations are felt through illusory “bumps” on the tabletop. You can mark the table to create station “pre-sets.”


These two definitely appealed to me. First, because I am more sensitive to haptic interfaces, then because they were made of wood which contrasted with the current i-podesque trend of making white glossy devices.

More about I Can Feel the Music.