The general aesthetic of electronic gadgets has shifted from tactile and mechanical to sleek, flat and electronic. While the futuristic look is satisfying to many tastes, it’s also lacking the simple satisfaction of being able to reach out and twist a knob. Radios have especially suffered in this shift away from knobs and toward buttons. Modern versions are great for listening to favorite stations, but they leave little room for discovering new things.
Design group Teague set out to bring some of that retro tactile quality back to radios with the delightful Radioball concept. Instead of pushing a button to get to a pre-set station, users roll the analog ball radio around to find a station worth listening to. Similar to twisting a tuning knob, the user is able to discover new spots on the dial and listen to music they may not otherwise be exposed to.
The idea opens the user up to new experiences while giving a physical way to tune in to old favorites. Markers can be placed on any spots where an interesting station was found, letting the user come back for further exploration whenever they like. The analog radio may be a dying gadget, but this concept gives it a new and fun life.