When technology doesn’t take: Update on #EdoBlocks and #Flic

A while back, I blogged enthusiastically about Edo blocks. These are Lego-ish blocks made of cardboard. At the time, they had proved great fun to make. They seemed to be a wonderful addition to play. And yet, months later, they moulder unused by actual children, taking up space.

Similarly, I blogged about Flic, a “wireless smart button” which again seemed just wonderful initially. And yet, again months later, Flic is largely unused. In this case, Flics was all too attractive to small children who rapidly disassembled them. The user interface of the Flic app was very easy to use, and as my blog post seemed to indicated there were all sorts of exciting potential uses. And yet, and yet …

In the initial assembly of the Edo blocks, it was rather slow going, and my children were more attracted by the cardboard box the Edo blocks came in than the blocks themselves. Perhaps this was prophetic. Edo seems like something that should hugely appeal to children who love Lego and making their own forts and camps out of various cushions and blankets. But perhaps it is putting too much of a structure on this kind of play?

Flic still strikes me as a potentially exciting technology. Again, however, there is a certain worthiness about it. It is the kind of thing that should be useful, that I should find a use for. Rather, perhaps, than something that has an immediate, truly intuitive use (and is “intuitive” one of the great abused words of our time?)

Both Edo and Flic are technologies (for a cardboard creation is a technology as much as a wireless switch) which should work, should be fun, should be part of our lives.

There is an increasing tendency to depict technology as an unstoppable force which it in some way wrong to even try to resist. This leads to a habit of mind that sees the failure to adopt a technology as a moral failing on the part of the individual, rather than an issue with the technology itself, or with the context it is being placed in.


One thought

  1. Reblogged this on A Medical Education and commented:

    From my other blog, some thoughts on technologies that initially seemed cool and impressive and very much fun/useful…but months later haven’t really become part of life. Think of all those unused wearables and the graveyards of cool-seeming but underused technology…. and wonder why is it underused? It the fault in our stars, or in ourselves?


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