Multiple pieces of hardware and different user interfaces of each content provider. Search based on leftovers from terrestrial broadcast TV. Slow and cumbersome text input and speech control.
We have explored an alternative, achievable reality to this experience – a seamless, intuitive combination of the physical and the digital.
They are fought over, hogged, lost and found. As the sole conduit to our entertainment, the remote control is a central piece in the TV experience, yet comes off as the least considered.
Our study shifts the interaction and command of the TV experience to the place where it matters most – from the screen to the remote control.
Even though smartphone apps enable a more fluid search, the reality is that access is not immediate or handy – it’s highly likely that the phone is already being used for something else, and reconnecting with the right provider app every time when changing programs is not the smooth or intuitively tactile experience we wanted to create.
For a complete TV experience, we created a modular system, the centrepiece of which is a “haptic controller” called Bowman. It mixes comfort with haptic response, and an adaptive UI, which changes to the native interface of each app to provide familiarity. The combination of the physical + digital experience is designed to deliver immersion and connection.
Shaped like a worry stone, the Bowman Haptic Controller was designed for a perfect fit in the hand. Whilst its surface is interactive and adaptive, its transformative feature is the way it provides gentle haptic feedback in-hand reflecting the flow of what you see on-screen. The only physical button is the voice control, easy to differentiate and locate, and positioned for ideal thumb activation. The combination of physical sensation and adaptive UI delivers a simple, powerful UX.
To complete the experience, in addition to the Bowman controller the modular media ecosystem comprises of the Media Hub, the Dumb Screen and the Foambar – all housed and arranged on a simple frame.
The Media Hub has the content and connects to any HD display, and also houses the Bowman controller to charge. When used with the Dumb Screen, the Media Hub slots onto a simple docking bar on the frame. It acts as the on/off button – removing Bowman powers the TV, replacing it powers it down.
Dumb Screen is an HD monitor, suspended from the frame. Designed to create a simple, distinctive silhouette, it takes inspiration from a sheet hanging on a clothesline.
The lower section of the screen houses the speakers and the Foambar. Flat screens require a soundbar or external speaker setup to deliver a quality audio experience. We designed the Foambar so it also works well as a general, portable speaker. The design combines iconic Walkman references and boom-boxes from the same era. Using foam and a t-bar handle (also the connecting interface with Dumb Screen), the Foambar says “sound” and “portable”.