Microsoft have revealed the winner of its inaugural PC Hardware Design Project, in partnership with Central Saint Martins College of Arts and Design.
Twenty four students studying MA Industrial Design were asked to create “a range of innovative hardware and user-experience devices which consumers could be using in the future.”
Aiming to re-imagine the way we interact with technology, an eventual shortlist of twelve inventive concepts was whittled down to one, seeing Victor Johansson’s “Keyflex” hailed the winner. It takes the humble keyboard and gives it added flexibility, with different twists and tangible gestures resulting in different, appropriate onscreen actions.
“It has been a fascinating experience to see students who hail from a diverse mix of backgrounds and nationalities developing fresh insights into the world of man/machine interaction,” said Scott Smith, Principal User Experience Designer with the Microsoft Hardware User Experience Team and judge of the PC Hardware Design Project.
“I was particularly impressed with Victor Johansson’s design as he successfully met the overall goal of the programme and really showcased a possible future trend which addressed a clear consumer need – a quality that is at the forefront of all Microsoft design thinking.”
All the short-listed designs are innovative and a bit mad, just how we like them at Tech Digest, so we’ve collected them together in the gallery below, along with a brief description of how they each would work:
Keyflex – Victor Johansson (Winning Design)
Keyflex is an evolution of the humble keyboard. Rather than just pressing keys, the user bends, squeezes, twists and flexes the device to control it. It can also be bent upwards and downwards to control the volume. By pressing the ‘modifier key’ at the same time, the action of bending gets assigned to a different function (e.g. fast forwarding a movie). The device can also be twisted to pause or escape. When using social media, the user can squeeze either the right or left side to ‘share’ or ‘like’.