I’m really excited about the BBC’s new “Olinda” radio. I’ll admit that, as an American, the whole BBC thing is a bit mystifying to me– but the Olinda is surely one of the more interesting, positive aspects that come from having such a powerful public broadcaster. Let’s be real, the best thing PBS ever offered was a tote bag.
Anyways, the Olinda is a radio with a detachable portion that will allow programmers and electronics enthusiasts the ability to create third-party applications and modules for the radio. It’s a pretty far-out concept in the physical world; but well-known to anyone familiar with Facebook, GoogleEarth, or even fan-fic if we stretch the analogy a bit… the radio is a useful platform that becomes more useful as we build upon it. Check this out:
“When you get the module you configure it to connect to your home wireless network and then you set it up with your friends. You’ll notice in the pictures that there are slots for your friends – these are wipe-clean spaces for writing your friends’ names or sticking in a picture. So each slot on the wireless is customised and configured to represent one of your friends. And each slot has an associated combined light and button.
Then whenever they are listening to the radio their slot on your radio will light up. And when you push the associated button your radio will show you what they are listening to. And if you want to listen alongside them? Just push select and it tunes to the station – you’re now listening alongside your friend.
So we hope this might provide a sense of community around your radio, harking back to the times when families and friends used to gather around the radio to listen. But Olinda provides this in a glance-able, non-intrusive manner. And it will start to support conversations around radio programming and the discovery of new shows and stations. Social networking for your radio.”
It’s doubtful I’ll ever see something like this around my area, but it is a very interesting idea– maybe interesting enough that I should attempt to explore it some in one of my next radio broadcasts, who knows?