Startup Electric Objects aims to build displays for Internet art, separate from devices like laptops and smartphones that it says are “designed for distraction.” Today it’s launching a Kickstarter campaign for its first wave of displays, dubbed the EO1.
Founder and CEO Jake Levine, who was previously the general manager of Digg (at Betaworks), elaborated in the video interview above on why it makes sense to build a separate screen for this kind of content:
One of the defining characteristics of art, when we think about art, is its persistence and its permanence in our home. And so, if you think about a relationship that we have to a painting or a photograph hangs on our wall, it’s a persistent one, and it’s a quiet one, and it sort of lives in the background, and it doesn’t demand your attention or absorb you. The devices that we use to access the Internet (our tablets, our laptops, our phones, our computers), they’re designed not for contemplation, not to live in the background, not to be quiet or still, but to demand your attention and absorb you. This is about creating a dedicated space in the home for the kind of object that we think is worthy of that space.
Levine also walked me through the process of sending new content to the EO1. But again, the point isn’t to be constantly interacting with the screen, but instead to have it recede into the background — indeed, the Kickstarter page emphasizes the things that the device won’t have, including a keyboard, mouse or alerts.
The company says the EO1 will retail for $499, but it’s available on Kickstarter for $299. The plan is to ship to beta testers in January of next year, with broader availability in May.
Electric Objects already raised $1.7 million in funding from investors including RRE Ventures and First Round Capital. It’s looking to raise at least $25,000 from this campaign — Levine said that in addition to “de-risking” the manufacturing process, one of his main goals is “tapping into a community that we think is going to like it and that we want to sort of define the product.”