Qleek: making the digital world tangible

The evolution of digital technology has made life easier by making the world more connected. A library-full of books can fit into one Kindle ebook reader, an iPod nano can hold more music than a hundred of CDs combined and in so many other ways, the technology is shrinking data into smaller and smaller packages.

But the same hasn’t been able to charm everyone alike, as this technology is abstract, one doesn’t get the sheer human pleasure of displaying a collection of music records and books on the living room shelf, from a gadget with many more songs and ebooks.

In order to bridge this gap between the tangible world and the digital world, a Paris based startup Ozenge has created a product called Qleek. We came across this new idea a couple of days back on Quartz. Still in a prototype stage, Qleek consists of small hexagonal data modules called Tapps, each Tapp can contain links for music, pictures, books and other online digital data, which could then be played on any display with a reader.

The functioning involves for these magnetic Tapps to be put on the reader, which can then play the content on an output device, TV, Laptop, Mobile etc., of the users’ choice, and can also be used for home-automation. They themselves will not store data, an RFID enabled Tapp will have the key to access content already present online.

As explained in an article in Atelier, there are three different types of Tapps: a blank Tapp on which one can configure custom data and two types of pre-programmed Tapps, that are a) already linked to a particular type of content, such as a YouTube channel, or b) that provide access to paid-for content.

The developers have also designed a special shelf called ‘Hive’, on which the Tapp-collectors can display their things of interest in an old school manner. The Tapps could be bought off Qleek’s website.

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If this prototype is successfully implemented, then it will be a milestone in the field of Internet of Things, where a wooden block with a unique RFID tag interacts with a portable reader, which in turn accesses data stored in the cloud, to further wirelessly display/play the content on a screen. Also, although sharing content in a tangible friendly form might have a more human touch than through a portable drive or cloud, whether the consumers will accept this concept of portability and space occupancy of digital data, is unclear.

To contact the author, write to sugandh@iamwire.com