Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Great Design, Ominous Pedagogy 

Ooh, it's time for my soaps. Quick, honey, run in place!

The Square-eyes shoe is fitted with a unique insole that records the amount of exercise a child does and converts it into television watching time.

One button hidden in the insole records the amount of steps taken by the child over the course of the day and another button transmits this information to a base station connected to the TV.

Once the time earned runs out, the TV automatically switches itself off.

"It will raise awareness among the family of their sedentary lifestyle and bring about a change in behaviour for the whole family," said Paul Turnock, design director of Brunel's School of Engineering and Design.

Though the overt implications seem like good childrearing -- more exercise, less TV -- the idea of passivity as a reward for anything makes me very, very nervous. Certainly, the "change in behavior" we're looking for in our own parenting is not perception of television as a commodity of such high value that we must earn it -- especially through behavior that should, itself, be its own reward.

Square-eyes, by design student Gillian Swan of the UK's Brunel University, will be showcased alongside other work of her peers at the University's School of Engineering and Design show next week. Thanks to new daily read We Make Money, Not Art for this and many, many other recent wonders from the interface of art, commerce, infoculture, and mind.

posted by boyhowdy | 3:04 PM |


but does it kill sneaker odor?

Also, if the child steps in mud, what happens?
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