Mac’s petit inventions: Good Ol’ Gadgets

Mac’s Petit Inventions

Mac Funamizu shares with us his design ideas. He looks at everyday things and envisions their future.

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Today I’d like to introduce some conventional (and not high-tech) gadgets that that are facing extinction. One is a gadget for sharpening your pencils, while the other is a CD player that brings back old fashion tactility.

Glassy Pencil Sharpener

The reason why I love hand pencil sharpeners is that I like the feeling of sharpening a pencil. A delicate adjustment of how hard you press a pencil, how fast and how long you screw it all decides the sharpness of the lead, which an electric sharpener could never do.

I made this concept because I wanted to find a good way to improve the visibility of the point of the pencil while sharpening. The dome shaped convergence lens on top helps you clearly see the pencil lead. Also, wanting a user to enjoy the sharpening process, I thought by using a glass container, you can see the pencil crumbs gradually piling. I’ve heard some people love pencil crumbs, so a ball shaped dent makes the crumbs like a ball when seen from outside, which will be pleasing to look at. Usually the crumbs become just trash and make it filthy if not disposed regularly, but this way, I guess you can enjoy seeing it as sort of art on your desk.

Rolling CD Player

I just don’t want to lose the feeling of the volume dial and other switches of a record and CD player. Clicking and sliding the volume tab of iTunes just don’t make me feel that I’m really changing the volume. The comfortable touch of a beautifully designed dial will never be experienced on a desktop. (Am I being too analog?) By the way I’ve always wanted to own a Hans Gugelot by Braun. I’m wondering how I feel when pressing the neatly arranged buttons.

Anyway, I’ve come up with this CD player to get back those feelings. It’s really just a CD player with functions of only “play/pause”, “next”, “previous” and volume adjustment. You click the round speaker once to play, double-click to go next and triple click to go back to the previous song. The funny part is adjusting the volume. After you set a CD and make the player’s “mouth” open by rotating the whole body. The more you open the mouth, the louder it plays. Make the mouth shut to turn it off. This way, you can enjoy the comfy feeling of rotating the dial. I wouldn’t stop changing the volume for a while if I had this. And your kids would love this, too!

Mac Funamizu

Mac is an in-house web/graphic designer working in Tokyo, Japan. In his free time he invents new products and interactions.

2 comments on this article

  1. So where do we order the pencil sharpener? A good example of taking an existing design and making it more delightful. Alsmot a home accessory. Like it :)

  2. We recently did an exploratory research study on Reading and Books ( http://www.portigal.com/series/reading-ahead/ ), and one of the things we heard again and again from people was how important the tactile and kinsesthetic qualities of books were to their reading experience.

    We humans migrate more and more of our experiences to the digital realm, yet remain physical beings. It’s both a conundrum and a rich set of design challenges.

    Interestingly, your CD player design reminds me of a Sony turntable I used to have. ( http://tinyurl.com/yjsb9rl )