A Clever Speaker You Hang Up Like A Telephone

Reconsidering the ubiquitous on/off button for humans who love to touch things.

The Jawbone Jambox is a great little speaker. It’s Bluetooth. It has almost no buttons. You may own it for years and touch it just a handful of times–which makes me wonder, is that the end-all-be-all of user interface? Will all of our objects work like this one day?


The Iconico, by Héctor Serrano, is a different sort of mobile-friendly speaker–one that likes to be touched. You plug it in through a 3.5mm (headphone) jack. And when you’d like to turn it off, you simply flip the speaker down on the table.

“Iconico speaker is inspired by natural gestures that belong to every user, doesn’t matter his nationality age or background,” Serrano tells Co.Design. “Usually we need to learn how to use everyday objects, especially technology. However, we think it is great to find objects that work exactly in the way you would irrationally expect from them in an intuitive way. Design should learn how the humans behave and not the other way around.”

The core interaction is intuitive, because when you turn off the Iconico, you’re essentially just muffling its sound waves against the table. (It just so happens that this muffling works absolutely perfectly.) The Iconico was inspired by antique telephone receivers and the simplicity of two cups tied with a string.

Of course, it begs the question–does it actually matter if the Iconico is intuitive in a world where Bluetooth pairing has become part of our global lexicon? I think it still does, because in the world of technology today, being “intuitive” is less about being “learnable” than it is feeling like a natural extension of our physical world day in and day out. We’re at a very cool place and time where design can finally overtake the sheer engineering necessities of the electronics around us. And it’s up to creatives to rethink what terms like “convenience” and “comfort” really mean now that they’re holding the reins.

Because while I can’t speak for everyone here, I think that we can all agree, a future in which our entire world is trapped behind glass doesn’t sound like any fun at all.

See more here.


[Hat tip: dezeen]

About the author

Mark Wilson is a senior writer at Fast Company. He started, a simple way to give back every day.