Here is an example where my two interests intersect. This is a great innovation but, and that’s a big but, it will affect our lives in so many ways and make work much harder to get away from in it already overworked United States workforce . AVB
By Joseph Flaherty
For Wired Magazine
The Internet of things has been expanding with Borg-like efficiency, gobbling up pedometers, smoke alarms, and bar ware.
But if Brazilian design student Lucas Neumann de Antonio has his way the next target for assimilation will be the lowly Post-it note. He’s developed a productivity tool concept called Bossy that combines the spatial immediacy of sticky notes with the encyclopedic recall of the web.
Bossy looks like a Nest thermostat ripped from the wall and placed on the desktop. Its touch screen displays up to three tasks, pulled from task management software like Omnifocus, Wunderlist, and Asana, as well as calendars, email, and custom software focused on medication adherence. The goal is to break a sprawling to-do list into manageable chunks and save the user from having to think so much so they can better focus on getting stuff done.
“The original idea was to have the tasks accumulating as if marbles inside a box, but just three felt like a good number to keep the user focused,” says de Antonio. “Too many and the text becomes illegible, plus overwhelms the user with everything he hasn’t done.”
The interface has been designed to capture the tactile pleasure that comes with scratching an item off a list or crumpling up a spent sticky. The bubbles don’t merely disappear, they are “squished” and popped allowing new bubbles to rise to the surface tying a sense of physical accomplishment to task completion.
Even the shape of the device was carefully considered. While apps are unmatched in their ability to store and display information, the physical form was meant to address user frustration. “The circle, in my case, came from the idea of something the person could hold, like a stress ball, in their hands,” says de Antonio. “Something with a nice touch, that could be soothing, zen-like.”
Aren’t There Are a Million Apps for That?
Many would ask why an app couldn’t do the same job, and it’s an idea that de Antonio considered, but he realized that the activation energy required to use an app was a barrier for many not blessed with type A tendencies. He believes that it’s too easy for productivity apps to get shunted off the home screen, rarely to be seen again. Putting an object on a desk makes reviewing projects inevitable.
“I did look at various task management methods, and tried to find the underlying principles on most of them,” says de Antonio. “It’s usually about the same few steps: Organize, prioritize, avoid distractions, take the time to do it, check it, and reward yourself.”
De Antonio’s primary skillset is design and all the hardware and software engineering underlying Bossy is still TBD. Photo: Lucas Neumann de Antonio
De Antonio’s primary skillset is design and all the hardware and software engineering underlying Bossy is still TBD.
Photo: Lucas Neumann de Antonio
De Antonio has incorporated software into his design, allowing users to mute time sucks like Twitter and Facebook with the touch of a button, as well as schedule recurring tasks like taking pills or paying bills.
Creating a physical object also helps reduce complexity. Context is a critical component of David Allen’s Getting Things Done system, which has in turn inspired many other productivity gurus. Essentially, certain kinds of work can best be done in certain spaces. Most software tools make users explicitly search for tasks in a given context, but a dedicated hardware device can intrinsically distinguish home task from work projects.
While physical organization aids aren’t new, a mosaic of Post-it notes have kept many projects on task and a system of 43 manilla folders helps keep plenty of lifehackers organized. The concept of sticky notes is so durable the Adobe and Apple both make it a core part of their tools to this day. This concept merely supercharges the product category combining the best of bits and atoms.
Bossy looks and works a lot like Nest, but it’s closest cousin might be the wristbands that direct Amazon’s warehouse workers every move and track their efficiency. This white puck is simply the white collar edition and could usher in a new era of Taylorism in offices.
Whatever its potential, Bossy only exists as a conceptual model at the moment. De Antonio is starting to work towards a prototype using Arduino components and he is keenly aware that he’ll need to assemble a crack team of engineers and manufacturing experts before he could kickstart the project. Maybe it’s for the best? While Bossy has a superficial similarity to the Nest Thermostat, the orange dot in its center looks eerily like HAL 9000
I hope we can agree or agree not to agree any to case let’s keep it all civil