Friday, 10 August 2007

Electric Chairs

Look, furniture and technology just do not mix. Yes, I know, Captain Kirk had a really cool chair with lots of whizzy buttons on it. So did Jimmy Savile. But they were just TV props. Real people, in the real world, do not need high tech furniture - except, perhaps, in the case of Old Sparky, whose occupants are not expected to remain in the real world for very long.

So why a bunch of Japanese researchers have developed a table and chairs that glows different colours according to the colour of things put on the table is utterly beyond me. It seems that sensors in the table-top detect the colour of items on the table, an apple mac built into the table relays the data to the chairs, and they obligingly light up in colours to match.

Oh, and the strength of the colour varies according to the weight of the person sitting on the chairs. Great, isn't it? Once upon a time, your weight was a private matter between you and the bathroom scales, perhaps coyly divulged to close friends over a guilt-laden cream cake. Not any more! Your own chair will now demonstrate, in neon hues, exactly how hefty you are. Forget loose clothes and flattering lines. Give up on gripper knickers - the damn chair is broadcasting your weight as clearly as a neon sign.

According to the BBC, "The designers say that instead of furniture being inert and silent, it should be given a chance to interact with the people that use it."

No. Nonono. I do not want my furniture blabbing about my weight, or bringing on a migraine by changing colour every time I put something on the damn table. I chose the colour of my furniture because I liked it. I do not what it suddenly changing colour after I've bought it. I want inert, silent furniture that is comfortable to use and otherwise doesn't do anything at all.

And, while we're on the subject, I don't want any of those damned LCD photo frames, either. I spend my entire life surrounded by various display devices - LCDs, TFTs, CRTs - all glowing to their heart's content. When I get a little time away from them, the last thing I want to see is yet another screen cycling through a bunch of images.

Call me old fashioned, but I'm quite happy with a flat, non-interactive, non-luminous piece of paper in a frame. It's static, relaxing, doesn't consume any power and it works perfectly well. Leave it that way.

Billy Seggars.

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