Human-product relationships increasingly play out in a realm which was previously considered exclusive for human-human and human-animal relationships. Panasonic now redesigned one of the most ubiquitous pieces of modern technology – the remote control. The goal was to create a product that is “waiting to be touched”.
Constructed of a soft, flesh-like gel, the remote appears cold when off. Once turned on, however, it seems to come to life. A soft light emanates somewhere from within as the center of the device begins to slowly rise and fall, mimicking the tranquil motions of breath. Left undisturbed, the remote will slumber peacefully. Buth should a human hand approach, sensors inside alert it to the imminent touch. It stops breathing, grows rigid – the light from within is extinguished. A remote is the ideal metaphor for the disturbance electronic distraction poses to life. If we had to interrupt its life before it could interrupt ours, we may think twice before picking it up.