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Q&A | Electronics on Paper

What challenges did you face working with paper?

Everything we have done previously had been done in a fairly hacked together space; we’ve always screen-printing ourselves and used laser copied card and so on. When the postcard went into the Design Museum we had to rethink how it was going to be presented and made to become indestructible while on display for six months and that was challenging, but its exciting to review your working conditions in this way. We approached GF Smith which gave us the opportunity to use paper with a really natural texture and colour right the way through it as well as getting thickness from it. We got them screen printed professionally by K2 as well.

How did you find people interacted with the cards on display?

Some people were a little disappointed when they realised there are no electronics in the card! Kids love it, they view it slightly differently and get really excited by it which allows us to see the purity of the interaction.  I think a lot of older people who have a connection to physical platforms are heartened by it and equally people who are excited by print generally love the tangible quality of it.

How do you explain the Postcard Player to people new to these kinds of concepts?

One thing I try to say often is that it is a prototype. So its not designed as a commercial product, it’s a object to explore whether or not we can discover more engaging physical interactions with digital data. The musical element is really a minor part of what it does. It could be controlling or organising any kind of media. The question it asks is much broader than music, it is asking us about touching other materials than just a phone screen or keypad to engage with data.

Check out the SxSW panel discussion here

Grace Attlee