IVY is an external hard disk which shows the content of the hard disk on its skin. When no data is stored on IVY, its skin will remain blank. When you purchase IVY, it appears to be a normal hard disk, but when you start using it by storing data, it will alter its skin visualizing the content of the hard disk, using an OLED screen. Instead of buying a custom cover design to personalize the industrially manufactured device, the hard disk casing will automatically change along with your content on the disk. Automated personalization through information decoration! The visualization of the data is based on the Sequoia View hard disk visualization software.

The IVY harddisk concept was developed by Irene Joris, Linda de Valk and Bram van der Vlist as a demonstrator products in their Green Banana design vision developed during the 'Designing for Next Nature' workshop at TU/e Industrial Design in Eindhoven.

groene banaan

A banana is an example of a product which changes over time. You can buy a banana when it is still green, and it is already possible to eat it. But when you wait for the banana to turn yellow, before eating it, its taste will be completely different. You can choose the proper moment of eating yourself, when you like the taste of the banana best. The visual appearance of the banana is more than 'just a skin'. It is actually meaningful and provides you with information on how the banana will taste.

telephone covers

If we transfer this thought to the current customization of industrial products we see that something is missing. Despite all the beautiful colorful designs, the covers aren't connected to the pragmatic functioning of the technology underneath. I expect that very soon we will see cover designs, that are not just decorative, but also informative. Remember you saw it here first.

See also: USB Flashbag, Sequoia view.

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  • Chill out folks, think you're being a bit pointlessly harsh and perhaps just a bit boring here. Why decorate anything? I think it's a pretty interesting idea that the form of an otherwise blank object should represent and adapts to what is stored inside it, especially when thinking about something as deep and complex as a hard drive. It's hard to say that the visual translation of data is something not worth experimenting with so cut out the un-constructive critips mice..

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  • aren't you meant to be looking at the screen when using a computer not the HDD? this is just a another useless function added to a device that already has enough things to break without it and increases the price for no extra performance. maybe Apple should buy them out?

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  • things I utterly dislike about most designers part 23: "using the buzzword OLED whenever there is any display involved". Nobody should be crazy enough to use an active display on an external drive. It would need its own battery... (and showing the nice skin only when it is plugged in is quite useless, you could use the "real" software...) So the also nice buzzwordy digital ink needs to be dusted of for this one -- only update the picture when on usb power, passively display it when underway...

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