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Revolutionizing Connectivity: Layer Unveils Three Innovative Wi-Fi Router Designs for Deutsche Telekom

In an exciting collaboration that merges the realms of design and technology, British design studio Layer has partnered with Deutsche Telekom to introduce prototypes of three groundbreaking internet routers. These aren’t just any routers; one boasts the capability for Star Wars-inspired holographic video chats, marking a significant leap in the future of communications and connectivity. Dubbed “Concept T,” this project, showcased at the Mobile World Congress 2024, is a testament to Layer and Deutsche Telekom’s commitment to reimagining how we connect in the digital age.

“Concept T” encompasses three innovative products, each designed to either enhance the current functionalities of routers or introduce entirely new uses for these essential devices. The standout, Concept View, is a holographic smart home hub that brings three-dimensional visuals to life in a small dome atop the base unit, reminiscent of holoprojectors seen in the Star Wars saga. This futuristic hub aims to revolutionize how we visualize and control smart home devices, interact with AI-powered virtual assistants, and engage in video calls, with participants and data projected as 3D holograms.

Layer’s vision extends beyond Concept View with two additional prototypes: Concept Level and Concept Buddy. Concept Level redefines router aesthetics through modularity, transforming the router into a customizable, sculptural object that can be tailored to individual preferences and upgraded over time. It features modules for enhanced WiFi sensing, mesh repeating to extend WiFi coverage, and computational power for Web3 applications, including blockchain verification.

The third innovation, Concept Buddy, brings a friendly face to the router world. Envisioned as a mobile robot assistant, Buddy can display information on its head unit or project it onto surfaces. This roving router is designed to monitor smart homes, facilitate video calls, and even assess air quality, all while sporting an approachable, anthropomorphic design.

Fully functional prototypes of the holographic smart home hub and semi-functional versions of Level and Buddy, complete with working displays and lighting, were developed by Layer. Benjamin Hubert, the founder of Layer, emphasized the project’s goal to “enrich the router,” transforming it from a hidden device into a central, actively used piece of home technology. Concept T challenges the traditional placement and use of routers, suggesting that these devices could play a more prominent role in our living spaces.

At the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Layer not only showcased these innovative prototypes but also designed the stand where they were displayed. The View prototype, in particular, highlighted the project’s technical achievements, including software, hardware, mechanical, and electrical engineering efforts, coupled with dedicated UI and UX design. Visitors had the opportunity to experience the holographic technology firsthand by having their faces scanned and displayed as holograms.

This collaboration between Layer and Deutsche Telekom follows their previous work presented at Milan design week 2022, continuing their exploration of speculative design to push the boundaries of product innovation. As the tech world evolves, projects like Concept T offer a glimpse into the future, demonstrating how design and technology can converge to enhance our digital experiences and connectivity.

The Mobile World Congress, held at the Gran Via convention center in Barcelona, Spain, from February 26 to 29, 2024, served as a platform for unveiling these and other technological advancements, including Samsung’s first smart ring and Lenovo’s laptop with a transparent screen. For more updates on architecture and design events around the world, the Dezeen Events Guide offers an up-to-date listing.