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    Design Students Rethink the Remote Control

    Starting Thursday, October 24, at Parsons the New School for Design in the Sheila C. Johnson Design Center, an exhibition will redefine the way you look at your remote control. Titled Lazy Bytes, the presentation is a collaboration between Parsons the New School for Design, the Royal College of Art in London, L’École cantonale d’art de Lausanne, and L’École nationale Supérieure de Création Industrille.

    The project began in 2011 when Nicolas Henchoz, the director of ECAL, approached the other three schools with the concept. Sponsored by the Kudelski Group, graduate students gathered to invent a total of 63 ways to revamp the classic remote control, a device that in the 60 years since its creation remains virtually unchanged. From this collection, 29 prototypes were chosen for the exhibit, with several going on for commercial testing and possible manufacturing.

    The goal, according to David Carroll, Associate Professor of Art, Media, and Technology at Parsons, was “to radically rethink the idea of the television remote control for the 21st century. We aimed for a more inclusive design across the generations of a family.” The results are truly astounding. Incorporating such technologies as touch-pad screens and motion sensors as well as atypical materials, the small gadgets run the gambit. Some have the sleek air of futuristic equipment while others look like amusing children’s toys. SiftTV from Parsons was chosen for commercialization—the platform allows any household item to become a remote with the help of radio-frequency identification [RFID] tags. So much for ever losing your remote in the couch again.

    The exhibit only runs a week, until October 31, so stop channel surfing and go check it out!