Phone calls, text messages, Facebook comments, Snapchats: Notifications bombard us constantly, forcing us to check our phones. It sucks. Electronerds, a Ukranian team of designers, are developing an elegant solution for notification overload with a device called LEDmeKnow, a “Smart Lightbox” that glows to alert you of notifications from your phone. Their Kickstarter campaign has reached about a quarter of its goal and all of the entry-level devices are already claimed.
But devices like this raise a tricky issue: Does one more device going “ding” actually reduce your techno-anxiety?
LEDmeKnow has nine square LEDs on its face resembling one side of a Rubik’s cube. Pair your phone to the box via Bluetooth and use the connected app to assign different LEDs with various services or contacts. A blue square will light up whenever you receive a Facebook notification, and a yellow square for emails and texts from Mom.
Electronerds promises that LEDmeKnow will be compatible with any app that sends a notification to your phone. You can combine apps and contacts, so you will be silently notified if anyone from a work group sends an update on a project through Google Hangouts or WhatsApp. Additionally, your phone can pair with multiple devices, so you can keep one in the office, and a few at home.
A square will pulse while your phone is ringing and goes steady after the call is missed. All of the squares stay lit until you dismiss the notification on your phone.
The idea that we need to become liberated from our smartphones has been gaining traction for some time now. With smart watches and other products like smart rings and smart dashboards, when do these secondary devices become just as intrusive and distracting as the smartphones we seek to unchain ourselves from?
The LEDmeKnow has a better shot than most competing products like the L8 SmartLight. That device generates notifications that disappear shortly after. With LEDmeKnow, alerts are persistent, ensuring that you’ll address them before going back to another six episodes of Orange is the New Black.
With just a few days to go and a large chunk of the project still unfunded, the fate of LEDmeKnow may be a little cloudy. “We’ll bring this to life,” says Svetlana Lozovaya, marketing manager at Electronerds, explaining that the team will seek out alternative funding if their Kickstarter campaign doesn’t meet its goals.