Getting Social: Web Theory Meets Terrestrial Radio


Yes, you did read that title correctly, and personally, I think this is one of the niftiest innovations I have seen in a while! The BBC along with their creative design consultants Schulze and Webb are bringing the Web 2.0 world of social networking to radio. Mark “Rizzn” Hopkins of Mashable writes about this modular gadget:

The module featured here is set up to have a series of buttons, much like the buttons on your car radio, that function as station pre-sets. Rather than being pre-set to defined stations, the buttons are pre-set to your friends – and whenever they’re using the radio means their light will be on, and pressing it will allow you to listen to what they’re listening to.

It’s not the most revolutionary use of social technology on a gadget, but it is certainly one of the most interesting. The BBC commissioned the device from Schulze & Webb, a creative design consultancy clearly not limited to any particular media type

There are other features also taken from web theory. The Olinda dial was inspired by the auto-complete features from most of the current web browsers. The outer scroll goes through stations alphabetically, the inner one scrolls through the most listened stations. The modular system is designed with a set of specs so that other device makers can add onto it and build in their own functionality (said to be inspired by the Flickr API).

This is the kind of thing I love to see, creative evolution in action! Schulze and Webb are taking the Web 2.0 mindset even further though, it’s not just “friends.” The idea of doing a hardware open API is a wonderful blending of real life and internet perspectives that I think will really give this one legs! They truly seem to appreciate and the so-called Generation C audience.

In true social networking style, they have a Flickr group with pictures of both development and the prototypes. You can also go to the developer’s page and see a nice profile of the unit along with a downloadable pdf pamphlet.
Photo Courtesy of Jack Schulze


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