Occasionally minds more creative than mine combine technologies physical and virtual to create delightful products that make radio nerds like me ooze with excitement. If the fat grin on my face isn’t enough to show you just how much I enjoy this particular concept, then you must clearly be an American (at least we still have Rdio) or perhaps you can’t appreciate the simpler times when wood vinyl FM/AM radios played fuzzy music from our bedroom dressers. The concept — evolved through research and development from Jordi Parra — bonds RFID tags (which look kind of like poker chips) with a Spotify URL that when attached to the radio playback a playlist or radio station over WiFi. While the radio itself stores the information you assign from Spotify over USB, the RFID tags are nothing more than the “on switches” that relate to the stored playlists. These playlists are associated with colors, thus to play a particular sample of songs you’d simply attach a red RFID tag to the radio for example. The beauty of a concept like this is that it maintains the simplicity of a manual radio, while introducing and integrating with modern and intuitive technologies. The world may be going digital, but there’s still something about being able to touch music with your fingers that emotionally makes the analog experience so much more palatable and personal. Parra’s prototype doesn’t have a name, but the Spotify Box as it’s dubbed on Vimeo is a great reminder that good design doesn’t always have to have a touchscreen, or even an LCD display. It’s a return to the basics, and while I understand a student project such as this would take a considerable amount of effort to produce, I do wish Jordi and his team all the best if something like this gets off the ground. If you do start a Kickstarter, you’ve got my support.
Past the break we’ve embedded the concept video, and you can also check out the project in it’s entirety on Zenona. There’s a Flickr group if you want to see the project from draft to inception, but I have to say: having this much access to the workings of the prototype Spotify Box can drive an author to be a little too giddy, don’t you think?