Out-Of-The-Box, In A Box

Posted by Steven Boone

The Problem

We were recently approached by a client with an interesting problem. They had developed a truly innovative product for their category, but because of its size they had no real way to show off its potential. We know that consumers like to try before they buy, they love to download free apps and they love to pick things up and tinker, so how can you give them this experience with a large commercial product that has no out-of-the-box interaction? In true GS&F fashion, we got creative and found a way.

The Solution

I can’t stress the importance of a brainstorming session enough. Once we had our imaginative minds in a room, our creative problem-solving skills were put to work. We needed to focus on the experience. How could we blend the physicality of the product with a digital experience? We needed something that was truly interactive and didn’t just live within the confines of your iPhone. Strictly put, we needed wow factor.

For this problem, our solution is technology. In this case, building a fully functional product prototype would still not have given the customer the interaction and demonstration that they truly desired. We needed to leverage new technology to highlight the capabilities and market application of a previously unexperienced design. Enter the HypeBox.

What is the hype box?

The HypeBox is an LCD transparent display tool that allows the user to showcase real products through a translucent display. But before we really get down to business, let’s go over the basics. What is a transparent display? Transparent display technology has been around for a decade or two, but only as of 2012 was it being incorporated by companies such as Samsung, Planar Systems and Taptl into consumer products like handheld devices, televisions and other technology as well as building materials such as glass. There are two types of transparent display:

LCD Transparent Display -This type of display uses an LCD screen with no backlight to create a see-thru display. A box is then constructed behind or around the screen with a light placed at the top to enhance visibility of objects placed in the box or behind the display.

OLED Transparent Display – OLED Transparent Displays are self-emitting. This means that Organic Light Emitting Diode (OLED) technology is used to eliminate the need for a backlight or enclosure (box), making it possible to create truly see-through installations in a virtually frameless glass design.

Why the hype?

Today we see a huge push for virtual and augmented reality technology. Transparent displays are considered a type of augmented reality because they provide an additional layer of digital content over a user’s real environment. Using the HypeBox allows us to layer digital content over our reality, letting the audience interact with their environment in a completely new way.

In the future, we will be able customize the way we perceive something to our personal preference. We will become better multitaskers and more efficient as humans. We will be more engaged with our surroundings rather than looking down at our phones or other devices. Children will have better tactile learning experiences. In many ways, transparent displays are giving us a glimpse into the future. Also, they’re a lot of fun.

As for our commercial product HypeBox demonstration, it was the talk of the European trade market at Euroshop in March.