Technological products have always been associated with plastic, and at best with cool aluminum. For several years, however, we can see an increasingly popular trend of coating equipment with various types of fabrics. As a result, in most cases they become visually smoother, more discreet and more pleasant to use. In a word, they are more familiar. Thanks to this, they blend in with “home life”, for example when we work from home.
We are in a place where technology is an inseparable part of our lives. We had to think about how to make it closer to us, more friendly. The answer to this conundrum was the introduction of gentle curves and softness of fabrics. Everything becomes more human, more familiar – says Ivy Ross, Google’s vice president of hardware design.
The appearance of gadgets that are covered with fabric is part of a wider trend, which is to alleviate the aesthetics of technological equipment and introduce them to a friendly home space, without destroying its climate.
Some examples below:
Google Daydream VR
Google has become one of the pioneers in the field of soft tech products, and almost the entire current line of equipment has a textile component.
One of the most striking examples is the Daydream View virtual reality kit, released in 2016 and designed to store your smartphone.
Microsoft Surface laptops
Another technological giant that has been involved in introducing fabrics to technology is Microsoft. His Surface laptops have fabric on keyboards.
The fabric is Alcantara, an Italian suede-like microfibre. This is to “add a touch of luxury” to the devices, while providing a comfortable palm rest. It is located on surface Laptop 2 and Surface Go and Surface Pro 6 covers. Microfibres can be removed, exchanged for other designs and colors, and washed.
In the field of intelligent speakers – speakers equipped with voice activated assistants such as Alexa, Siri or Google Assistant – textiles quickly became the norm. Apple HomePod has a mesh that looks like something between metal and fabric, while the Amazon Echo series offers woven textures.
However, the Google Home Mini is probably the most hidden under the fabric cover. It resembles a soft stone. The lights shine through the fabric when the loudspeaker is on.
Ikea Eneby speaker
The fabric has long been used in speakers, but some of the latest iterations highlight the textile element more than ever.
One example is Eneby, the first speaker created by IKEA. The square device has a textile-covered front, a simple circular knob and a small indicator light when the device is turned on.
NEST E thermostat
Nest E is an intelligent thermostat that allows users to remotely turn the heating on or off at home or automate it.
While the main unit is made of plastic, it is supplied with a material Heat Link device that connects to the heating system to allow the thermostat to control it. The marle device is intended for wall mounting and can also detect room temperature.
Thermal mouse pads
The cozy mouse pad is particularly practical for people with circulatory disorders and is an excellent technological accessory for every computer user during cold weather. The fluffy pocket keeps the hand warm in any heat regardless of the temperature in the office space.