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HomeHouse DesignLayer places inventive twist on Wi-Fi router for Deutsche Telekom

Layer places inventive twist on Wi-Fi router for Deutsche Telekom

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British design studio Layer has devised prototypes of three futuristic web routers, together with one with the flexibility to host Star Wars-style holographic video chats, in a mission with Deutsche Telekom.

Layer labored with Deutsche Telekom’s Design and Buyer Expertise staff on the mission, titled Idea T, to discover the way forward for communications and connectivity.

Layer introduced Idea T on the Cellular World Congress 2024

The mission encompasses ideas for 3 potential new merchandise, which both bundle present router functionalities with further options or think about new methods of utilizing the gadget.

Idea View is a holographic good house hub the place three-dimensional visuals seem projected in a small dome over the bottom unit, just like how holoprojector gadgets are portrayed within the Star Wars films.

Layer suggests the hub may very well be used to visualise and management different gadgets within the house, work together with an AI-powered digital assistant and make video calls, all with folks and knowledge showing as 3D holograms.

Photo of a prototype of Layer and Deutsche Telekom's Concept T holographic smarthome hub, showing a transparent domed unit containing a 3D holographic image
The mission features a prototype for a holographic good house hub

The second product, Idea Stage, sticks to extra typical router performance however provides modularity, making a sculptural object that’s tailor-made to every person’s house and may be reconfigured and upgraded as wanted.

The totally different modules embody a WiFi-sensing factor, a mesh repeater to spice up WiFi vary and a computational module for Web3 makes use of comparable to blockchain verification.

The third product, Idea Buddy, imagines a roving router housed within the type of a friendly-looking robotic assistant.

Photo of a hand grabbing a small, inverted cone-shaped light grey object from a rectangular base plate containing three other small objects
The Stage idea is for a router sculptural modules that add performance

This robotic might show data on its head unit or mission it onto a floor and may very well be used for duties comparable to monitoring the good house, conducting video calls and even reporting on air high quality.

Layer has made a completely practical prototype of the holographic good house hub and semi-functional prototypes of Stage and Buddy, with working shows and lighting.

Layer founder Benjamin Hubert instructed Dezeen that the Idea T mission was pushed by the concept of “enriching the router”.

Photo of three small robots on wheels with round head units holding a display screen showing two dots like eyes in either a closed, open or winking position
The Buddy idea combines the router with a cell AI-powered assistant

“Routers are important however usually pushed away, behind issues, in cabinets, on the ground,” he mentioned. “And while they supply a core function, they may additionally accomplish that rather more to really turn out to be probably the most important piece of package you personal to enhance your connectivity expertise.”

“The pink thread of those ideas maybe helps to lift the query of: ought to a router be extra prominently positioned and utilised in your residing house?” Hubert added.

In View, he mentioned, the holographic show brings family members, data and AI extra emotively into the room and brings “connectivity in all its guises to life”.

Within the modular Stage router, the concept is as soon as once more to create a extra emotional connection to an object, this time by making it personalised and ornamental.

“No two lives are actually the identical, so some folks would possibly require extra computing energy to crunch by Internet 3.0 duties while one other needs a show to know their connectivity or states of the house higher,” mentioned Hubert.

“This selection, coupled with the added desirability of including extra visible curiosity to your router, led to Stage.”

Image of Layer's Concept View device, showing a transparent domed object with a holographic image of a man inside
The View idea can facilitate 3D holographic video calls

For Buddy, there’s an emotional connection created by the anthropomorphised type with expressive blinking “eyes”, whereas the added help performance permits the router to be seen as a extra important product.

Related-looking “pleasant” robots had been a characteristic at this 12 months’s CES, with each Samsung and LG launching merchandise. Hubert believes it is a development that’s going to speed up as AI advances and turns into extra embedded in our lives.

“The development appears to attempt to create literal and metaphorical autos that demystify and make AI extra approachable by giving it extra human and emotional qualities – with out turning into overbearing or uncanny,” mentioned Hubert.

Photo of Layer's Concept Level prototype showing a cylindrical module wrapped in a screen displaying a colourful bar graph, an inverted cone-shaped light grey module, a slim gold bar module and a squashed ball-shaped module with a textured silver surface, all sat on a white base plate. The base is attached to a bright orange wire
The mission questions if routers may very well be extra of a characteristic within the house

Layer’s prototypes had been on show eventually week’s Cellular World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona, inside a stand additionally designed by Layer.

The View prototype included software program, {hardware}, mechanical and electrical engineering, alongside a devoted UI and UX design. Guests to the stand had been in a position to have their faces scanned by View’s depth cameras to see themselves as a hologram.

Idea T is Layer’s second idea mission for Deutsche Telekom after the duo introduced good gadgets modelled on homeware at Milan design week 2022.

Based on Hubert, this type of speculative design permits the studio to push the boundaries of how radical a product may be by working with fewer constraints.

Close-up photo of Layer's Concept Buddy prototype, showing a semispherical robot head with a screen showing lots of green lights lit up and text reading "excellent connection"
Layer made practical or semi-functional prototypes of all the ideas

“That is why these ideas are fairly progressive,” mentioned Hubert. “The place at a look most individuals would not contemplate them to be routers, hopefully they will respect the added performance a router could have and the way you would possibly use one.”

“The ‘what if’ usually evokes the following technology of services and products we use in actuality, and these idea tasks can affect everybody’s selections on the kind of services and products {that a} model and shopper would possibly spend money on.”

Different merchandise unveiled at this the Cellular World Congress tech truthful this 12 months embody Samsung’s first good ring and a laptop computer with a clear display screen by Lenovo.

The Cellular World Congress came about on the Gran By way of conference centre in Barcelona, Spain, from 26 to 29 February 2024. See Dezeen Occasions Information for an up-to-date listing of structure and design occasions happening around the globe.


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