Technology Will Save Us at Designed in Hackney Day
Bethany Koby and Daniel Hirshmann of Technology Will Save Us explain how their DIY technology kits and workshops help people "understand what goes into the stuff in our lives" in the penultimate movie filmed at our Designed in Hackney Day.
Technology Will Save Us design kits that contain all the parts and tools need to build objects such as simple speakers or musical instruments. "A lot of the time it's hard to navigate online resources in order to find all the things you need to make things with technology," says Koby.
Other kits include conductive playdough and programmable bike lights, all sold both online and at small pop-up kiosks they call Haberdasheries for Technology. "These are shops within shops where we can give people information about our kits," she says.
Created with designer Yuri Suzuki, their Radio Kit includes small circuits that form a working radio once assembled. "It contains PCB boards that you can piece together to create connections for a radio," Koby says.
Hirshmann then describes the workshops run by the studio in the local area, which include teaching how to wire a plug, soldering and creating small circuits. "We're interested in creating these workshop experiences where people can come in and join us as a community," he says.
They also arrange "meetings with experts" where they ask people in the community about specific needs that could be solved using simple technologies. "We had a gentleman called Mr Lewis who couldn't hear his doorbell and he wanted to see it," says Hirshmann. They used LEDs from their musical instrument kit and hooked them up to his doorbell so they flashed when it rang. "The key thing to remember is to realise that he was one member in a community that potentially had a similar need, it's possible that this solution could help a lot of people," he says.
The studio also organises technology demonstrations and live "teardowns" of products. "We get an expert to rip apart something that's everyday in our lives, like a toaster, and explain what goes into this thing that makes it so good at making toast," says Hirshmann. "It's really fascinating to understand what goes into the stuff in our lives." To conclude, he demonstrates light glasses built from their Bright Eyes Kit, which are controlled by a video player built into the bridge.
Dezeen's Designed in Hackney initiative was launched to highlight the best architecture and design made in the borough, which was one of the five host boroughs for the London 2012 Olympic Games as well as being home to Dezeen’s offices.