Kai Wei Tang, Co-founder, Light Phone

DB: 请问Light Phone的灵感来自于什么?What was the inspiration for the Light Phone?
我的联合创始人Joe Hollier和我在纽约参加了谷歌30周孵化器项目。这是我们第一次闯进科技的世界。我们所做的都是以人为中心的设计研究,研究人们与技术的关系,并且意识到我们与世界是如此紧密相连的。我们认为世界需要的最后一件事是另一款app,所以我们想建立一款,帮助人们切断对智能手机的依赖,找到生活的平衡。Light Phone是能够使人们每隔一段时间放下智能手机的一种方式,从而去享受身边的环境。
My co-founder Joe Hollier and I joined Google’s 30 Weeks incubator in New York City. It was our first time jumping into this side of the tech world. We were doing human centred design research and studying how people relate to technology and we had a moment of realisation that we are so connected to the world all the time and the last thing we thought the world needed was another app, so we wanted to build something that helped people disconnect and find a balance of life. Light Phone is a way for people to put down their smart phones every once in a while and enjoy the real world around them.

DB: 请问您认为这个设备最理想的用途是什么? What do you see as the ideal usage for the device?
我很兴奋Light phone 的用途有很多。我们开始创建的时候是为了鼓励人们休息,不管是在公园里独处一下午,还是在晚餐时分享对爱人一心一意的爱意。把手机留在办公室去享受午餐,没有邮件,没有和朋友一起去远足,这都是一件很简单的事情。同时,对任何一种体力活动都是很有益的,因为它没有了智能手机的重量或体积。Light Phone 也可以作为一款备用性手机让人们每天携带,它能在无形中融入你的生活,当其他手机坏了,它也可以使用。
There are lots of ways we see the Light Phone being used, and it’s exciting. We started off by building it to encourage people to disconnect for a break, whether that spending an afternoon in solitude at the park or sharing the undivided attention of your spouse at dinner. It could be as simple as leaving your phone at the office and enjoying lunch without emailing or going with friends on a longer excursion. It is great for any sort of physical activity where you don’t want the weight or bulk of a big smart phone. The Light Phone is a great phone to bring with you every day as a backup. It can fit pretty invisibly into your life and will work when your other phone dies.

DB: 请问您会怎样回应喜欢智能手机提供的功能的人,他们想要能够发短信和拍照分享? What would your response be to people who say they want the connection their smartphone provides—they want to be able to text and take photos and share?
We think those are all great things, it’s a conversation we have a lot actually. What is a distraction vs what is utility on your phone. Certainly, having access to maps on our phones is not a distraction but a utility, we agree. That being said, we would say that smartphones are great, but they are computers. We are not “the anti-smart phone”, we both use smart phones all of the time, but like all things in life there needs to be a balance.
DB: 请问您是如何构思到Light Phone的设计的? How did you approach the design of the Light Phone?
We started by thinking about why we don’t take breaks from our phones and if we left our phone at home what would be the minimum amount of connection that we would need to still feel comfortable without our smart phone. We felt that a phone was that essential connection. Then we thought about form factors, and we asked ourselves “what is the form that could fit as invisibly as possible into everyone’s life” and we came to realise that a credit card and I.D. were things everyone brought everywhere and if we designed the phone to be that shape there would always be somewhere to keep the phone.

DB: 您认为在中国是否存在一种驱动力,使得人们在科技上能以人为本?在过去的几年里,您是否曾经羡慕过一些国家新兴技术的例子? Do you feel there is a drive towards putting the human first in technology within China and are there any examples of tech emerging from the country that you have admired in the past couple of years? 我相信全球正在发生一场运动。在美国,我们有一个“全国无屏日”,人们开始把他们的孩子送到“低技术”或“没有技术”的学校;在韩国,我们了解到,甚至还有智能手机康复中心;法国政府通过了一项被称为“脱离联系权利”的法律;在香港机场,随处可见的标志让人们从手机中抬起头来。。2016年 OnePoll 调查发现,40%的受访者认为他们“没有真正经历过宝贵的时刻,如孩子的第一步或毕业,因为“科技”妨碍了他们。这次运动将很快进入中国。 我相信人们很容易能观察和注意到在我们的日常生活中,有些事情是非常错误的。只要在机场或火车站上看看,你就会意识到智能手机在我们最基本的人际交往中起了阻碍作用。同时,我也认为在中国,设计对技术的未来发展中最终将发挥着巨大的作用。我非常高兴地了解到,一些中国初创孵化器在设计产品的过程中更加注重设计思维,并提出了更多的“为什么”。
I believe there is a movement happening globally. In the US we have a “National No Screen Day” and people started to send their kids to “Low Tech” or “No Tech” Schools; in Korea, we’ve learned that there are even smartphone rehabilitation centres; French government passed a law called “Right To Disconnect”; in HK airport, you can see the signs everywhere that tell people to look up from their phone. In a 2016 OnePoll Survey it was found that 40% of respondents felt they had “not truly experienced valuable moments such as child’s first step or graduation because “technology” got in the way. The movement will make the way to China very soon. I think people can easily observe and notice that something is very wrong in our daily routine. Simply look up in airport or train station you will realize smartphones are getting in the way in some of our very basic human interaction. I also think design will eventually play a huge part of future development of technology in China. I am pretty excited to learn that some of Chinese start-up incubators are putting a lot more focus on design thinking and asking a lot more “why” during the process of creating products.
DB: 出生在台湾,您了解和欣赏到中国和亚洲文化。那么,围绕你成长的哲学如何在Light 中体现出来 ?此外,生活在芝加哥和布鲁克林区的又是如何激励Light的呢? Born in Taiwan, you understand and appreciate Chinese and Asian culture, how do the philosophies that surrounded you growing up manifest within Light ? And how has living in Chicago and Brooklyn also inspired Light?
I think fundamentally, all of us share similar value systems regardless your religion, race, citizenship, location etc. We all want to take care our family/friends, help people in need, share joys and emotions. Living in different cities/countries only made it more obvious that we are all the same, we are human. Taking a break in any sense is very healthy for us. When we created Light few years ago, all we want to do is to offer a balance in this crazy technological world so that sometimes we can all take a break and appreciate things that we already have.
DB: 请问您如何看待Light的未来? Light的设计非常好!似乎没有必要升级或改变模型,但您会考虑在Light里安放导航或报警功能吗? What can you see for the future of Light? The design is basic (in a good way!) that there does not seem to be a need to upgrade or change the model, but would you consider putting navigation or alarm features in Light?
Light Phone是我们了解技术对我们生活重要性的第一步,也是一个哲学问题的物理表现。我总是用到这样一个比喻,智能手机是一个工具箱,里面有任何你可能需要的工具,Light Phone,却只是一把小刀。有时你可能需要一个工具箱,但有时你只需要一把小刀。通过我们过去2年的研究,我们意识到人们已经准备好接受瑞士军刀了。他们没有成千上万的工具,却有适合他们一天所需要的“正确”的工具。只要更进一步的接近完美的移动工具,就可以潜在地改变人类与技术的互动方式。
Light Phone is our first step to understanding what technology is essential to our life and it is also a physical manifestation of a philosophical question. I always use the analogy that a smartphone is a toolbox and has any possible tools you need, Light Phone however, is just a little knife. Sometimes you might want bring a toolbox but sometime all you need is just a little knife. Through our research during the past 2 years, we have realized that people are ready for a Swiss Army Knife. It does not have thousands of tools but it has just the “right” tools for their needs during the day. A step closer to a perfect mobile tool that can potentially change how human interact with technology.
DB: 请问您如何想象Light Phone怎样改变人们之间的交流方式以及周围世界的互动方式?
How do you imagine Light Phone changing how people interact with each other and with the world around them?
We want to make the experience of disconnecting feel special so that it inspires people to do things without their phone on purpose. We think the breaks will make people not only more relaxed but a lot more productive when they decide to reconnect. Multitasking like we do on our phones is quite exhausting and has been proven to be less effective. We want to see people spending the time we have in smarter ways, instead of scrolling through infinite feeds, you can be doing some of the things we all aspire to do but feel like we don’t have the time. We want to see people talking together face to face, undistracted, not waiting for a text or notification on their phone. We are hoping to make everyone a little less anxious, and a little bit happier.