Leonardo Amico

Message Box

A music box that plays voice messages from the past

Leave Message Box on a shelf in the living room or on a bedside table. Over time, it will detect and randomly record the sounds of voices from its surroundings. Sometime in the future, you may remember Message Box. By removing the lid, you can listen to a random sound stored in its memory, like the laugh of an old roommate, an argument with an ex-partner or loud voices from a house party. Often these memories will make you smile, perhaps with a hint of nostalgia. But sometimes, these unexpected messages might be powerful enough to instigate reflection. A sample from your past could influence your future. 

Project website - link

The object is composed of two pieces: a base made of fabric and metal, produced in the same way as a lamp shade, and a sanded glass dome, serving as a lid for the object. Inside the base is a Raspberry Pi, an inexpensive Linux computer, which is programmed to detect, record and store voices from its surroundings. When the user removes the lid and rests his ear on the top of the structure's cone, this triggers a touch sensor which signals the computer to play back a random voice snippet from its memory.

We designed Message Box as a reinterpretation of music boxes, those small mysterious trinkets that play an old melody whenever opened. We were interested in the motivation for interaction with this traditional object. A music box does not serve a specific purpose nor is it particularly useful. Yet we still interact with the object, and its design is powerful enough to evoke nostalgia and trigger old memories. We harnessed this same power in our concept of Message Box.

Message Box is a design experiment with time and memory. It is an exploration of a long-term interaction with an object, employing technology to subtly enrich the ordinary aspects of our everyday lives.  

Concept/Interaction Design - with Ryu Yamamoto

© 2014 Fabrica