Nabaztag/tag — the new Rabbit
The I Want One! Department. About New Stuff.
No, it’s not silly. For sure, this is a very smart Rabbit, and I want one!
The Rabbit, or officially Nabaztag (Armenian for “rabbit”), is a robotic device that connects to your wireless router box and talks to you. Released in Europe in May of 2006, the Rabbit can read aloud your email, tell you today’s weather, the stock market report, read you the online morning paper or your favorite blogs, or send a love letter to your soulmate’s Rabbit, and at the appropriate hour, practice Tai Chi. Did I mention it wiggles its ears?
You don’t just buy a Rabbit, you adopt one. You can then join the Rabbit community like a social network and your account is called your “burrow”. There’s a blog, natch, and even accessories to dress your Rabbit up. The second generation of Rabbits, called Nabaztag/tag, also play podcasts and MP3 WebRadios, and can “hear” voice commands and send voice messages to other rabbits.
Rabbit is the bunny of Violet, a Paris based “smart object company”, which was founded in 2002 by a team of web developers with the mission of creating “products and services based on calm and emotional technologies”. With the use of what they call “Ambient Intelligence”, Violet aims to create “calm technology”, which they define as technologies that “softly bring information or emotions into the user’s environment in a non-intrusive mode (as opposed to telephones for example) and a non-exclusive or time-consuming mode (such as the television or the Web). As these technologies can be placed into any smart object, there may be a whole zoo of them soon.
The main point of the Rabbit and calm technologies is to get us de-connected from and un-beholden to our computer screens. I bless them for that, considering that I have eye strain this week from staring too may hours at my much too bright laptop screen. Having to write everything down becomes rather tedious hundreds of emails later (I’m not exaggerating) and time consuming. I wouldn’t mind dictating a message or two over my wireless bunny. My personal preferences aside, calm technologies looks like an intriguing new trend to watch.
And who wrote that brilliant, catchy electronic music theme song for the website? Is there anything this company is not getting right? Not only are they techie high brows and award-winning designers but marketing geniuses, too. How chic! that?