Devices showing their inner selves

I found this gem on the website of the Evil Mad Scientist Laboratories:

"Meggy Jr RGB is a new kit that we designed as a platform to develop handheld pixel games. It's based around a fully addressable 8x8 RGB LED matrix display, and features six big fat buttons for comfy game play. (...) A unique feature of Meggy Jr RGB is that it is designed to be mounted inside a "handle set" -- a wooden or plastic case that's safer and more pleasant to hold than a bare circuit board. You can make, mod and customize your own handle sets to suit your taste-- These are like faceplates in that you can switch whenever you want to suit your mood or the game that you're playing, however different handle sets can radically change what the Meggy Jr looks and feels like. Above, you can see what our basic handles (left) look like, as compared to a set of custom smoke-colored batwing handles (right)."

And you can even make your own handle (or to have them fabbed) on platforms such as Ponoko or Pololu. I'd be curious to test it and see whether the interface itself is easy to play with, without a shell.

Why do I blog this? What fascinates me, beyond the fab/open platform, is the device aesthetic. That might be the equivalent of Centre George Pompidou (Beaubourg) for digital devices! Showing the internal guts of a technical apparatus is an intriguing approach that can be traced back to other architecture/industrial design traditions. It can be about making things visible and transparent to the users/people.

It also reminds me of this Mehmet Erkök’s Extreme Personalization phones. The phone shell, personalized in a very expressive way, can be seen as an interesting approach to customization: