By now most of us have probably been promised about the wonders of e-paper – flexible thin futuristic displays that could easily double as interactive wallpaper, and while the watch paper isn’t it, it still comes pretty close.
A fully functional clock, The Watch Paper is printed on ordinary paper and uses a heat sensitive coating to tell time. Each digit blurs from one into the other using the heat from the LED in the back which makes the coating transparent, or atleast we figured thats how it works.
Either way, its fiendishly clever and we decided to have a word with Hannes Koch, the creator and congratulate him about it:
Wrist: If there is a word i could use to describe both your paper-clock and the digital tape, it’s “Ingeniuity”. Both play on our perceptions of LED displays, and both seem so obvious, yet no one’s ever thought of it.
Koch: When developing our own “loTech” epaper, we went back to the almost “retro Style” LED Segment displays, because they are so easy to control and very familiar to everyone. Yet they are the perfect “vehicle” to demonstrate the area between digital and analogue which we are interested in. Dealing with the setup of the segment displays for a week day and night and in parallel marvelling at the qualities of tape in general, the signage tape came to mind. It seemed so utterly obvious that I was sure that someone’s done
it before, but I couldn’t find it. To this day no one has complained…
Wrist: How has the RCA helped you develop as a designer?
Koch: I came to the RCA as a product designer from a technical background (BSC Product Design, Brunel University. The unique quality of the RCA was that it challenged me to complement my technical knowledge with a more conceptual approach to design. As an environment it was (and is) extremely stimulating, because chances are that someone did “it” before. So most of the ideas (in the design area) are massively challenged and therefore
developed. It is not always a pleasant process, but it surely encouraged me to try and establish my own area within design.
Wrist: How has the reaction been so far? Would we see a commercial version soon?
Koch: The reaction has been absolutely overwhelming so far. The wallpaper clock today won an IF-Design Concepts award here in Germany and got me into the NESTA creative pioneer programme, which gives me the chance to seriously work on a business plan for that project and then apply for up to £35.000 funding to get it serialized. So yes, there is a very good chance that this will turn into a commercial version next year! Also I have been invited to show in an exhibition about german design during the Designmai 2005 in Berlin and in Tokyo’s Designersblock in October 2005. Apart from that we are looking for seed-funding right now to develop the next step prototype in the next two months. For us the wonderful thing is to be busy straight after graduating with a project which is completely our own…