The tiny plastic gadget resembles a children's toy
The 'Circule', by ENSCI's Arthur Siau, has a single joystick to control all digital interfaces within a living room. Five mini screens around the joystick help make navigation intuitive
Three Parsons graduates - Marisela Riveros, Noa Dolberg and Frederico Andrade - collaborated on the voluptuous 'Keiko', whose upper body comprises a touch pad
Florent Julien's 'Platform' belies its complexity with a small control platform that slides on a simplified base with bold instructive text
To navigate the button-free touch-pad on the 'Touch Speak Walk' by RCA's David Bellisario, slide your finger along the dotted line. A voice-recognition interface takes your command. You confirm with a squeeze
'Mussel', by Sylvain Joly at ECAL, controls channel-changing on its broad upper surface and volume at its middle
The all-knowing 'Scan It', by ENSCI's Max Barnsteiner, is an ergonomic remote with a scanner on the underside that also allows for note-taking
Press a button on the 'Boreal' by Pierre Loup Dumas and Léa Harang of ENSCI and it lights up in colour while you navigate
Functions are determined by the degree of finger pressure on the rounded buttons
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The more our everyday activities become digitally led, the more we rely on the remote control to simplify our relationship with digital media. The EPFL+ECAL Lab - a partnership between Lausanne's tech institute and design school - spotted this early and embarked on a mission to give the humble remote a makeover.
Along with three top design schools (ENSCI-Les Ateliers in Paris, London's RCA and New York's Parsons), the EPFL+ECAL Lab explored some truly innovative propositions for remote design. The collaboration led to the unveiling, this week, of Lazy Bytes, a range of ergonomic digital prototypes designed not only for entertainment but just about every facet of our lives.
The moniker blends the name of the first ever remote (the Lazy Bones, which hit the market in 1951) with that of a key partner on the project, interactive design pioneers Luckybite. Similarly, the project aims to pioneer an interactive product with a greater number of functions at a retail cost more in line with its mid-20th-century predecessor.
'Why the remote control? Because we decided to launch a much wider program about digital interfaces and more generally our relation to the digital world,' explains EPFL+ECAL Lab director Nicolas Henchoz. 'One thing we can observe is that most of the interfaces are driven by performance. We've added more and more features and functions.'
In terms of ideas, the sky was the limit - as the diverse results demonstrate. Tiny plastic 'Freehand', by ECAL student Cleo Jacquet, attaches itself like a children's toy to household objects with its twin suction cups. The notion is that anything can become a remote. Meanwhile 'Platform', by ENSCI student Florent Julien, and the intriguing wood 'Twistymote', by Parsons group Hilal Koyuncu, Leif Percifield and Francisco Zamorano, incorporate simplified interfaces that belie their inner complexity.
The prototypes will headline an exhibition in late 2013, followed by a conference - after which the remote control will surely take its place as the rightful icon of the digital world.