Televisions have come a long way from their idiot box image. There has been a shift from a push paradigm where you consume what is being broadcasted towards a pull paradigm where you pull content from sources such as the internet. What kills the kickback viewing experience is the use of different devices like Keyboard and mice (for internet navigation), joystick (gaming) and of course the television remote itself.
Image: Too many remotes
Ideal replacement for all the controllers would be a single device with a touch screen that we are so accustomed to. But a true touch screen based remote cost upwards of $400 which is not so wallet friendly. The challenge is to integrate functionality of all the controllers, make it touch sensitive while keeping the cost economical and of course keep it intuitive.
Attempts from manufacturers to fix this are far from satisfying. You either have mind numbing arrays of buttons to navigate or Smartphone based apps. Problem with the apps is that you cannot use your Smartphone while you navigate. Fret not! The folks at Carbon design have come up with a device that may just leave you drooling: Toggle.
One stylish device to type, move, surf or play. At first glance, it looks like a touchpad, but that’s just the mask. The upper part of the base in contact with the mask is a capacitive surface printed with characters, images and icons.
The use of capacitive technology is what gives a touch experience without the expensive touch screen. So you get a touch based remote at less than five times the cost of a touch screen remote.
Here in this small video, Peter, Industrial designer at Carbon shares some insights on the design methodology behind Toggle:
But what about the large number of buttons that you cannot do away with? Toggle is a fantastic piece of minimalist design in action. You just see what you need at that moment. What you don’t want to see is hidden by the mask. When you shift the mask up, down, right or left, you expose an interface and trigger a particular mode(move,surf,type or play).
Image: Different Modes
Photo credit: Carbon Design
This action of alternating (toggling) between modes is where it has gotten its name from. In total there are four modes and so it’s called a multimode touch remote. You just need to align the base and mask to turn Toggle off. Neat, eh?
The keyboard and touchpad are positioned such that alternating between text entry and navigation mode is a breeze which by the way logically go together. There are LEDs for use in dim lighting. The toggle architecture is naturally sleek and compact because all of its components (battery, radio, circuit board) are thin.
Multimode touch based remote is just one example of where toggle can be put to use. It has the potential to be used for navigation on different system. What do you think about Toggle? Feel free to leave your thoughts below