In the thinx laboratory, the denkwerk innovation workshop, we’re working away on the digital products and services of the future. It was here, during an Internet of Things project, where we came up with Teye, the first VoIP telephone that dispenses with a touch screen and shows emotion.
What could a touch-screen-free interface look like? We believed that it had to be easy to use and have a likable interface.
Teye is triggered using programmed signal words or word combinations, revealing an emoji-style “facial expression” which is deliberately minimalist. This is made possible by a Raspberry Pi in the background. Other components – alongside the microcomputer – include a distance sensor that plays the role of an on/off switch, servomotors for controlling the eyes, a microphone, speaker, and Wi-Fi antenna.
We found it particularly challenging combining voice control with the interface in an intelligent way from only two engines. This resulted in a conflict between the microphone and the engines, the noise of which produced disruptive feedback. We resolved the conflict by using an echo cancellation filter with optimal settings.
The case is made of wood and acrylic glass with a polished finish on the back. While the eyes came from our 3-D printer, we had a former model maker help us produce the acrylic glass. With curvature, thick materials, and a polished interior finish, Teye is reminiscent of Apple’s Magic Mouse.