“Before you marry a person you should first make them use a computer with slow internet to see who they really are.” This quote by Will Ferrel could be extended even further, by adding a dying battery to that scenario. Internet and power are the foundation of a functioning office, home, and some would even claim: mind. The more indicators there are on your battery and WiFi icons, the more relaxed you can work. But how come that exactly those two items we use to connect to the internet and power are so ugly that we just want to hide them, along with the cable clutter they seem to provoke? Shouldn’t elements as essential as these be put into the limelight or at least given a design make-over to have them sit proudly on your tables and shelves? A few startups have done exactly that and came up with solutions that are much more playful, beautiful, and smarter than their ancient predecessors.
“With the PowerCube we aimed to provide our users a piece of functional design that would be used as a replacement for the traditional power socket. The PowerCube is a multifunctional device that works as a power socket and USB charger, but simultaneously it is a must-have gadget. With this product we try to differentiate from the standard and provide the modern consumer an alternative to the regular power socket, which has been hidden behind couches and desks for years. We stimulate our users to look at consumer electronics form a whole new perspective, being innovative, modern and visually appealing. We focus on WHY we produce instead of WHAT we produce and offer our customers a new user-experience instead of solely a product”, says Valentina Paspalj from the Dutch startup Allocacoc.
PowerCube was part of a graduation project of two students at the Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands. They started the production of the PowerCube, which appealed to them so much they turned it into a business. In the meantime, this versatile, yet minimalistic gadget – available as a German, French, or British plug, has received the Red Dot Design Award. It comes in different versions, such as the Original with five additional outlets, the USB version with an additional USP port that enables the user to charge a cell phone, camera, MP3-player, GPS, etc., the Extended version, and – one of my favorites – the ReWirable, a flexible travel companion.
As to WiFi routers, check out these two concepts which prove that old as well as new functionalities can be combined with an interesting and appealing design.