My award for laziest technology cliché goes to “bells and whistles”. But a worthy runner-up, and a favourite of my old dad, is “weird and wonderful”. Yet, as my most esteemed university tutor used to say, “There’s nothing wrong with a cliché used correctly.” I was thinking of his words as I set up this product from Portland, Oregon, and realised it is genuinely weird and wonderful. Which is doubtless why its creator, Steve August, a several-times-round-the-block tech CEO, CMO and chief innovation officer, has called his digital art company August & Wonder. Mr August set out to make his August & Wonder wonder “combine the feel of an old-world instrument with Internet of Things technology”, and so it does.His Market Series A kinetic sculpture would be a jaw-dropping adornment to any big financial honcho’s desk, as well as a novel way of reminding him or her how the markets are faring.
Made of – nay, fashioned from – Papua New Guinea rosewood, zinc, brass and copper, the Market Series A is an app-connected seesaw – a looming bear on one side, a rampant bull on the other – that connects by WiFi and indicates changes in 11 market indices and five cryptocurrencies with claimed accuracy of up to 0.1 per cent.
A few technical points. The device is only compatible with 2.4Ghz WiFi networks. It won’t work on corporate networks using WPA2 Enterprise authentication or which require a username and password. So if your office doesn’t have an unsecured guest network, you’ll need to tether to your phone or use a cloud service like BT Openzone. Also, August prefers to add UK or EU VAT at the Oregon end to avoid irritating pay-the-VAT-or-we-won’t-deliver standoffs with couriers.