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.
The design of the Message Box is a reinterpretation of music boxes, those small mysterious trinkets that play an old melody whenever opened. There's no particular motivation for interaction with this traditional object. A music box does not serve a specific purpose nor is it particularly useful. Yet its simple design is powerful enough to elicit interaction, evoke nostalgia and trigger old memories. The same power is harnessed in the concept of the Message Box.
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.