I found a fantastic new blog yesterday, We Make Money Not Art, which introduced me to the PC for Poets – a new kind of tablet PC designed by Crispin Jones:
This tablet pc is designed to create a feeling of emotional attachment – it marries elements of traditional craftwork and pattern design with contemporary technology to form an unexpected whole. The design aims to inspire the user in their work (whatever that may be), by stretching beyond the purely utilitarian. In this sense it is conceived as a “pc for poets”.
The design was partly inspired by the traditional Japanese suzuribako (writing box) and the grooved surface means it probably feels as good as it looks.
Mr Jones has devoted as much care to the underside of the PC as the top:
He writes about his reason for doing this:
The surfaces have slightly different qualities – on the top the engraving is shallow and fairly discrete whilst the engraving on the underside is deeper and forms an interesting tactile pattern for the fingers as they hold the tablet (designers have long understood the aphorism “the eye loves to be involved”, this deep engraving tries to involve the tactile senses on the same terms).
All of which increases our awareness of the PC as an object, not just a means to a digital, disembodied end. To some degree, this should keep you aware of your body (and therefore your emotions) as you write, instead of disappearing into a purely cerebral world of imagination – which is arguably a good thing for a poet. It reminds me of Roger von Oech’s Ball of Whacks, which is designed to stimulate creativity by manipulation of magnetic polyhedral shapes:
Maybe the emergence of these physically-based creativity tools is a reaction against the increasing digitization of just about everything these days, a way of reminding us that although computers offer enormous creative potential, we should beware of getting sucked into the magic mirror of the screen.
You’ll have noticed the PC for Poets doesn’t have a keyboard – Crispin Jones says “the primary interaction is either through the stylus or by using a finger. The stylus itself is the same length as a normal pen and so can be used comfortably for sustained periods of time”. According to We Make Money Not Art, the stylus “feels rather soft, giving me the impression of using a slightly hardened, elastic calligraphy brush”.
Now for the bad news… you can’t buy one – yet. I e-mailed Crispin Jones and he told me that there may be a limited production run next year. When I hear anything more I’ll post it on this blog.
[…] I’ve just posted about the PC for Poets on Screen Two – my poetry blog. I’m mentioning it here as it’s too good to miss (the PC, not my poetry blog). […]