Not just design

People have been praising the new Nest thermostat the entire day now. They talk about its simplicity, its beauty. It really is a beautiful piece of design, but this was only made possible by the technology inside.

Nest thermostat

Underneath that shiny metal and glass lies a plethora of sensors, chips and controllers. Sensors to check for activity inside your house and temperature. Chips for WiFi and advanced AI controllers to learn about your climate habits.

This technology enabled the designers to create a device that didn’t require manually setting temperature schedules. It is technology that made it possible to reduce the complexity of the device for the user. This exact device couldn’t have been built 5 years ago.

I’m not saying that design is inferior, because it certainly isn’t. Designers craft the interface between humans and technology, but it is technology that exposes possibilities and imposes restrictions that limit the design of the device.

"Not just design" was written by on October 26, 2011 and republished on November 06, 2012.
This post was originally published on the Mickly blog.