02. 16. 2007
They call it a Dandella, named for a dandelion floating on the breeze, though it behaves more like a sunflower: this hand-held GPS tracking device lights up and physically bends and points towards its location or another Dandella that it's been synchronised with. If you've lost your friend in the crowd, just activate the Dandella and it'll point you the way you should go to find them. Great for parents looking to keep track of their kids at the mall, or people travelling in a group who like to wander independently for a bit and rejoin the rest later.
Of course, the Dandella needs to be set up with locations first, through a docking system (aptly designed like a basic flower vase) with a computer that allows it to be programmed to track a particular GPS location or a fellow Dandella. When you're out and about, an activated Dandella then relies on GPS technology to identify its own location as well as to find the other location or Dandella that it's configured for.
Designers Yong-kai Tan and Priscilla Lui say they were simply trying to solve the problem of losing someone and having to find them. "The Dandella simplifies the often complex and confusing GPS interface, with many messy buttons and intimidating numbers," Tan adds. Simple, indeed --- you could hand one to a child or a Luddite, and they'd still intuitively know how to use it to find their way home, as it were.
The Dandella took top prize at the International Design Competition Osaka recently and the designers are currently considering avenues for developing it commercially. More information is available at the Design Incubation Centre.