The London Design Festival affords the general design population an opportunity to rub shoulders with giants of the field. One such giant, of whom I was lucky enough to attend a lecture, is Yves Béhar.
The afternoon was a Global Design Forum Masterclass that saw a short presentation from Yves, followed by an illuminating and candid dialogue with the forum’s own Alice Rawsthorn. The design stalwart described his relationship with technology and how he believed that “…design is becoming the driver of technology.”
The invisible interface
As a passionate driver of technology, Yves is currently pursuing what he calls the invisible interface or the natural instinct interface. This type of user interface was born out of his frustration with our dependence on the visual stimuli of a standard screen. He believes that the human senses have been trained to take in a variety of different stimuli that we then use to make decisions. The invisible interface would, as a result, utilise a wider range of our senses to allow for the interaction with a device without the need for a screen.
Although technology is only starting to catch up with Yves’ desire to realise the invisible interface, he has started to take steps towards that type of technological interaction. One such project is the August Connect smart home range. This range of smart locking mechanisms was envisioned as a replacement for a lock and key mechanism that has been around in pretty much the same form for over 200 years.
The mechanism utilises a plug-and-play smartphone application that syncs with the device to manage the locking and unlocking of your front door. Although not the only example of this type of lock on the market, August Connect differentiates itself with its usability. Instead of having to physically unlock the door with a swipe or button, the device recognises when you are a few feet from your door and then unlocks it automatically. As a result, it allows the user to completely forgo the consideration of locking and unlocking the door thus making the interface invisible.
Moral considerations to technological advancement
During the dialogue period, Alice posed the question of whether, as designers, we should consider the moral implication of technological advancement. She made use of the creation of the 3D-printed handgun and the development of drone technology to emphasis her question.
Yves response was twofold. On the one hand he described his belief in moral self regulation and on the other, a surprisingly leftfield frustration with drone design.
He described his belief that as a species, human beings have an equal capacity to conduct themselves morally and immorally. However, as soon as you place that same immoral behaviour within a socially constructed group environment, it is almost always self regulated and dispelled by the group. As a result, advancements like the 3D-printed gun, although potentially harmful, are rarely used to inflict severe harm on society at large.
As for drone development, Yves seemed to be more frustrated with their design and intrusiveness than their potential to damage and invade a person’s right to privacy. He described how he felt that the excessive sound pollution that this type of technology produced made personal use almost unbearable for anyone that wasn’t an enthusiasts. In addition, he felt that the bug-like design of drones was antiquated and in desperate need of sophisticated design input.
All told, my afternoon with Yves Béhar proved to be interesting and inspiring. As a designer, Yves is not only considered to be one of the best in the field but harbours a fierce passion for design that I find hard not to be inspired by. It is this kind of passion that drives print industry leaders like Exaprint to consistently reevaluate themselves to ensure they remain relevant.
You can visit the fuseproject homepage to learn more about the design heavyweight, Yves Béhar.
About Yves Béhar
Yves Béhar was named a Top 25 Visionary by Time Magazine and has made a career out of creating superb design that enables technology to be more livable. As the Principal Designer and founder of fuseproject, a design and branding firm established in 1999, Yves believes in a holistic approach to design that includes the consideration of the product, digital and brand experiences.