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Industrial Design Disease All In The Genes

Apr 15, 2008
With the introduction of the computer age came the emergence of a whole new array of industrial design possibilities. The technological age, it seems, knows no bounds. But with all this, comes a price.

And that price is Industrial Design Disease. It manifests itself in the form of technology addiction that comes with recognisable indicators. Sweaty palms, raised blood pressure and hyperactivity are all known signals that a mobile phone is out of reach. And if, god forbids, the users should have his mobile in his sweaty little mitts but have no signal, well the world might just as well end now.

Industrial design has proved useful in the workplace in that information is now exchanged across the globe instantaneously but this also means that there is no longer a line between workplace and office. Back in the good old days, you would leave the office and hear no more about it until 9am the next day. However, get home these days and the phone will be ringing with a call or vibrating with a text and if they're not, hey, don't stress, fire up your laptop and check your emails.

There is even a universally known etiquette emerging surrounding the use of the new industrial design products. It is quite alright to respond to an email within two days but a text message demands an instant reply. God knows, I've been in trouble myself for not responding to a text for an hour or more. That may be because I have a life!

Have you ever been in a restaurant trying to enjoy a night out when the man on the next table is continually shouting into his mobile, after the tenth time of it ringing loudly? Have you ever felt the urge to go over and ram that phone down his throat, or is that just me? For those who have ever felt like this, please remember that they have Industrial Design Disease and we should look after the afflicted, not harm them. Maybe we could arrange a special area in the restaurant for them just as we do for other disabilities.

Be a fly on the wall at any social gathering and once a vibration has been detected, there will be a frenzied flurry of phone checking with the standard line of 'Is that me?', 'No, it's you'. Why do all people assume that any message is an urgent one? How do they think we managed without them? And the initial anxiety that is induced by checking to see if 'it's you', must surely contribute towards stress related illnesses.

Full on parties are even disintegrating into unsociable events where everyone sits and texts the only people that aren't at the party. Why? Because they have Industrial Design Disease and they can't help it - it's in their genes.

Even young children are becoming addicted to this type of technology and I blame the parents. I believe it's my daughter's fault that she allowed me to give her 6 month old son a pretend mobile phone. By the time he is 6 years old it will probably be the norm for all his peers to have their own latest industrial design in their backpack.

I told my children they could have mobile phones when they reached thirteen which was fine for the first child as this was when they were becoming popular. By the time my youngest reached nine he was demanding one of his own! What do kid's this age need with mobiles? It's an excellent way for parents to keep in touch with their children but it has led to a new problem. The one of bullying.

Bullying itself is not a new problem but with everyone possessing a mobile phone these days, bullying has taken on a detached voice. Children bully each other through text message, phone calls and another industrial design of internet communication via social networking sites.

For those who wish to buck the system, an industrial designer has come up with a cure. The Tame is a cube that will fix all your addiction problems. It can be programmed with set responses and will reply to all your interaction devices. It will handle your mobile phone, IM, text and Facebook responses as well as many others.

This is designed for safety in times such as driving when we cannot safely respond to those wanting to contact us. But surely this is a sign of the times that when taking a short journey, we cannot wait until we reach our destination to reply. Is this because we have 'Industrial Design Disease' or because they do and we don't want to make it any worse?
About the Author
Technology expert Catherine Harvey looks at the way industrial design impacts on all our lives.
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