Countless projects have tried to figure out how to retain some of the tangibleness lost in our increasingly digital world. Few of them have done it as convincingly as Tableau, a beautifully simple, Twitter-connected analogue/digital inbox.
As designer John Kestner deems it, Tableau is an "anti-computer" experience. But the other, glass-half-full reading is that Tableau is a super intelligent piece of furniture, a Twitter-connected nightstand that can print photos and scan handwritten notes. In short, it makes digital things physical and physical things digital.
The only interface is the nightstand's drawer - drop things in the drawer and they get scanned and posted to Twitter; notice the knob is glowing and open the drawer to pick up your followers' printed photos. The nightstand, which is connected to the internet via Wi-Fi or 3G network, prints the photos on Zink paper and is itself constructed wholly from reclaimed materials.
Tableau is currently on exhibit at the Saint-Étienne Biennale 2010, though Kestner's website says that it's in development for wider production next year. And while computing power is getting retrofitted into familiar objects all the time, it's refreshing to see an instance in which an object doesn't shout its connectedness from the mountain tops. [John Kestner via Designboom]