Interest in Soviet design heritage of the last years continues to grow. Development Director at the legendary VNIITE said in an interview with “Daily Poster” on how Soviet scientists had foreseen the emergence of an ecosystem of gadgets like the Apple smart home, Apple Watch and Google Glass is still in the distant 80s.
In the Soviet journal “Technical aesthetics” in 1987 published an article on the radio the SPHINX, which still impresses with its design and concept. The concept was developed by the VNIITE and demonstrated the ideas of consumer electronics of the near future.
The kit consisted of spherical speakers and the more familiar stereo flat speakers, also a great screen for sharing and a smaller display (with a resolution of 240×240). Also — head phones, manual control, large console with handset, disks, processor with three memory blocks.
Sergey Moiseev: “the SPHINX stands for “superfunctional integrated communication system”. If in General — it was a concept should look like the home television and radio in 2000. And very much described remarkably accurately — wifi (then, however, believed that the communication of the devices will go on radio frequencies), storage devices, and the creators of the project predicted that the first will be the drives with moving parts, and then crystal. Devices SPHINX were divided into three groups — Wearables, connected with housing and transport-related. In these groups it is easy to learn “smart bracelets and watches, “smart house” and on-Board computers of modern cars.
The purpose of the Sphinx was the integration into one complex. It’s not just about the “smart house”, but about the more usual Soviet person the problem: if someone, say, wanted to extend the functionality of the tape recorder, he would have faced great difficulties from the point of view of compatibility. There were problems in ergonomics — often in appearance a VCR and TV in General each other do not fit.
All of this was one of the concepts created in VNIITE in the framework of the General project of overcoming the “production copy”. The forecasting Department wanted to change the approach to design is to start designing for the future, trying to predict the future.
The SPHINX is very similar to the concept of the Apple ecosystem that appeared around the same time — watching him in the Apple or not watching, I don’t know. But at the seminar “Interdesign 1985 in Yerevan, American designers were definitely”.
Unit with CPU the SPHINX
Small hand held remote with docked display
Two options for big remote control. Blue — touch, the socket has an additional small hand held remote. White — feather-touch, deepening the handset.
Quote from the article: “the SPHINX — electronic equipment of future housing. All operations in the receiving, recording, storage and distribution of various types of information by the Central processor housing with a universal storage device. Recent studies give reason to hope for the emergence of such a universal medium in the near future. It will replace the (first complement) gramophone records, audio and video cassettes, current CDs, photographs and slides (still images), print text and so forth.
Soviet Apple Watch and Google Glass
Sergey Moiseev: “In 1985, in Yerevan was held an international seminar “Interdesign” on the theme “Future hours”. And not “Watch the future” and “Future hours” because the participants were not sure that the watch will continue in the future. “Interdesign” is a seminar that gathers designers from around the world, which according to the results given concept or prototypes that meet certain requirements. From the Soviet Union it was 14 people”.
VNIITE came up with a set of wearable devices, including memory enhancers, extenders capabilities of the senses and of the means of identification”. No question of the fitness trackers no, but the concept offers audio recorder, camera, plastic card, electronic keys and driver’s license — all these devices are integrated in a compact all-in-ones and are worn on the body.
Creating universal radio was not only focused on consumer needs in the home but outside the home and in the car. All in order to “the family members were everywhere provided with information and communication. The developers information would be transferred over the air, cable, fiber and telephone networks.
Quote from the article: “Wearable effectors, in some cases combined with a processor and interfaces, will be the clothing items and particular decorations, as they watch, for example. Here, the unexpected decision: for example, sunglasses, by the user turning at the same time the display indicating time or other information (pulse rate, body temperature or ambient air)”.
Onboard system in the car is filled with features navigation, diagnostics and communications and of course entertainment. Especially interesting idea Headsup display (data projection on the windshield), which is implemented in many cars today.
Sergey Moiseev: “The breakthrough project seminar I believe was a variant of the command of Azrikan. It provided for a “replacement card” depending on the need: normal “every day”, waterproof for athletes, submariners, pilots; the watch was not only show time, but contain a different feature of the application is to report the news, to measure a person’s health. In the same article described “smart glasses, smart bracelets, smart rosary,” and even the control ring on the finger associated with the bracelet (great idea that for some reason, not yet implemented). And in the book there is a sketch, and a sketch of the modern player, and a sketch of something like a “Gameboy”.
Such work in Russia is very lacking. In our country today the designer has become synonymous with drawing ads, logos, at least with web design. But the designer is first and foremost the Creator of a new product, a good designer can own development to determine the development of the whole industry for decades to come.”