Source : www.wired.com
Let’s face it, being safe doesn’t look very sexy. Case in point: anyone in a bike helmet. And while that’s no reason to be reckless (wear your bike helmets, everyone!), what if you could take care of your body and actually look cool while doing so?
A new collaboration between protective case maker Pong and the design firm IDEO attempts to do just that. Gold Reveal is the newest offering in Pong’s lineup of radiation-deflecting phone and tablet cases. With a sleek frame in rich colors and a latticed back that reveals a hint of gold metal, the case is an upgrade from the other clunky plastic options on the market. But more importantly, Gold Reveal is as effective as Pong’s original designs in protecting users from the electromagnetic radiation our cellular and wireless devices emit.
Every Pong case comes with a built-in, golden-hued antenna. This antenna pairs with the cell phone’s antenna to form a small magnetic field, which draws the cell phone’s power away from the front of the phone (where your precious brains reside) and redirects it towards the back and sides of the phone. Pong claims, and Wired confirms, that its cases can reduce the amount of radiation that we come into contact with while strengthening our cell signal.
Pretty cool stuff. But until now, Pong’s cases didn’t reflect that. While not exactly ugly, the company’s earlier products were boxy and bright—just the sort of thing you wouldn’t feel too bad about dropping on the ground.
“The product worked well, but visually it didn’t give the consumer a sense of what the product did,” explains Todd DeYoung, Pong’s president and CEO. “We really thought it was critical that the product tell a little bit more of its own story.”
That’s where IDEO came in. The design firm knew from the start they wanted to showcase the gold antenna that was hidden by plastic in older models.
“The shape and quality of the antenna was beautiful, so we wanted to reveal that,” says Blaise Bertrand, IDEO’s design director, nodding to the product’s name. “We thought it was important to communicate to users what’s there. Part of the design process is to be very clear about what this [product] is about.”
Both IDEO and Pong approached the project with a balanced perspective on form and function. This reduced the friction that sometimes arises between aesthetically-minded designers and technology-first product people.
“We needed to have a design that wouldn’t compromise the technology benefits of our product,” DeYoung said. “It’s important because our antenna’s interaction with the case materials and design can have a big impact on how the product works.”
With that in mind, Bertrand and his team set out to create a design language that both enhanced and highlighted Pong’s technology. The result is a sophisticated case made from a polycarbonate plastic that literally reveals Pong’s signature technology.
“We wanted the design to be iconic but approachable,” Bertrand explains. “We wanted to create an object that enabled people to tell stories.”
It seems to be working. DeYoung says his wife, who totes around the white version of Gold Reveal, momentarily took her case off after being asked too many questions by curious strangers.
“I told her: Put that case back on–that’s exactly what we’re trying to do!”
Gold Reveal is currently available for iPhone 5, Samsung Galaxy S3, iPad and iPad Mini. Prices vary.
All Photos: Pong Research Corporation