Some product as are unique to us. We ‘break them in’ and their sound, feel, look or essence becomes characteristic. Something we cherish and something we never wish to replace. But these things are designed into obsolescence, faster, slimmer and Wi-Fi connected models push our favourite products into irrelevance. However some products don’t outdate naturally. Technology is not pushing these products away - designers and business models are. The core technology of speakers, camera lenses or even cars hasn’t changed drastically in one hundred years. Smart speakers, these soulless devices of aural sterility don’t contain the same aura or character as the objects we grew up with.
“If the intelligence of our devices feels artificial, it will never stick.” - Tim Brown This project explored how to develop a warm relationship with the objects of the augmented age. Smart speakers intentionally design our existing technology into obsolescence and replace these once significant speakers out of our lives. However the core technology, the speaker, has not changed since the first electromagnetic speaker in 1921.
What I stumbled upon while prototyping is that you can replicate the function of Apple’s upcoming HomePod with items commonly found in our junk draws. through using… Any audio enclosure - Any portable speaker - And any old iPhone.
Listening to music or asking ‘what the weather?’ to the old speaker gives me a completely different relationship and enjoyment from the product - and the technology. I published this project as a free instructable which I hope will bring contemporary function to these objects of aura. This project was the first step into a platform I've been envisioning which takes these objects designed into obsolescence (speakers, camera, cars) and utilised the gig economy to upgrade them. Turning these objects of aura into objects of functional relevance.