The pervasive trend in Silicon Valley—and really everywhere—is to fit more and more functionality into ever smaller devices. It’s an ethos that is hardly ever checked in the face of its miraculous byproducts: smartphones, tablets, augmented reality glasses, fridges that text you when you run out of milk.
But perhaps it’s healthy to step back from time to time and ask: Do our gadgets do too much?
This seems to be the question behind a new line of products from an Italian design collective called Thingk. The Gkilo and Clogk are two products that share just three distinct functions between them. Most notable for their rustic wooden design and counter-intuitive pronunciation (don’t pronounce the “g”), the two gadgets are about as simple as it gets for the Internet of Things.
The Gkilo is both a clock and a kitchen scale. The simple wooden block features a subtle, LED array for displaying information that alternates between scale and time depending on the side it rests on. It’s operated with simple hand motions and can double as either a paperweight or small shelf. An associated app broadens the device’s functionality for precise cooking measurements and time settings.
Clogk functions primarily as an eye-catching clock but is also a timer for the kitchen. With a similar LED array, app, and touch-based controls, the Clogk is a strong argument for form in an increasingly function-based design community.
“Humanity will need a new model of human-machine interaction,” Stefano Marangoni, project leader at Thingk, told Wired. “A more humanistic, natural model, based on touch, voice and gesture.”
Thingk is currently two weeks into an Indiegogo campaign that has reached nearly 50 percent of its $50,000 funding goal. Both products are currently in the prototype stage, but Thingk aims to elevate design considerations for the smart products and the Internet of Things as a whole.
The company explains on its Indiegogo page that it wants to “demonstrate that it's time for a new class of devices, born for the Internet of Things era.”