To a complex future

When discussing the topic of keeping things simple or moving towards complexity, often times you will get very mixed opinions. Personally in my theory, if we are not moving towards complexity are we making any progress? With out complexity and the need for more complexity there would not be no new innovation. Mike Elgan’s article title “I have seen the future and it is made of glass” perfectly describes new innovative products that are pushing the envelope in terms of complexity.


One specific product in this article that really hounded complexity and is an innovative way to use the material of glass, is Apple’s idea of curved glass.  When this article was written at the end of April of 2012 Apple had just sent in a patent for this curved glass.  The idea is that Apple wants to use this curved glass in its products and stores, and this means the iPod and iPhone would no longer have straight glass screens, but curved glass screens.  I thought to myself, is this really necessary, no it is not, but as a society and world we should always be hoping for new, innovative, and more complex objects to be introduced, that is the only way we can ever move forward.


Another interesting product mentioned in this article is, wearable glass.  Google has developed these special glasses which are constructed of glass and mirrors.  With these glasses computer images are bounced of the eye and then displayed in the air. These glasses allow a person to take pictures by BLINKING! That to me is utterly amazing, and proves what amazing things can be done when pushing for complexity and innovation.



  1. kieck033

    Although it may seem like a one answer question, I very much agree with your opening statement about mixed opinions on simplicity versus complexity. This morning while discussing the provocation question, I personally had a hard time generating thoughts and responses to the question. However, I think we are making much more progress than one may see on the surface. After re-reading the provocation on the screen a few times, I started thinking about the direct connection between simplicity and complexity. I realized that even though we may not be able to notice it right away, complexity forms simplicity, and vise versa.

    Fittingly with the case study presented in this blog post, my group and myself talked about the iPhone (and other smartphones) and the complex technology that goes into the gadget to make it perform. After given that initial thought, I realized that the complexity put into the tiny device creates simplicity, meaning it makes the iPhone easier for us to use. Without the complex technological planning that goes into the production, smartphones would be far more difficult to navigate. Something as simple as how a communication device is made can go unnoticed. So although I agree with mixed opinions, I think we are oblivious to the complexity that surrounds us all over the world.

    As far as the discussion on the curved iPhone glass, I also agree with your opinion on it being unnecessary. Our society, is in fact, always wanting better, newer technology, or “toys” to have in our possession. Although curved glass on phones sounds like a terrible innovation in my opinion, it will still be the “innovation of the year.” Everyone wants better; everyone wants the most up to date. Personally, I love my iPhone 4S that I’ve had for less than a year. But I will admit it, I wish I had the new iPhone 5 that came out just over a week ago for the shear purpose of having the best.

    So even though we may think we need complexity to progress as a society, I think complexity is already constantly around us.

  2. xiong906

    It is really interesting that you develop your position on innovative products (material) push the building envelope in terms of complexity; I somewhat agree with your opinion that glass is this product that has the capability of occurring greater things, glass building envelope for an instance. However, I am very confusing on the expression you made on the “complexity” of glass; therefore, I assume that you are saying that the technical idea and production phases involved in glass are referred as the “complexity”. Further to your point of view, personally, I do think that not only glass, but also some other modern materials reinforce the expression of simplicity rather than being complex.
    Being more specific, the simplicity I am suggesting is a way that we currently use to represent and replace aged forms in architectural design and some other design products. For example, the Glass House designed by Philip Johnson has shown us its new method of presentation in architectural material transformation; also its whole glass design emphasizes this “simplicity” I am referring to. Being simple does not ignore the fact that glass is an innovatively and complexly manufactured material; it is more like a description that reflects our physical and spiritual response to what we see and how we feel. Therefore, assuming design is a representation of what we desire for, achieving simplicity is the original force pushing the occurrence of complexity.
    There are more and more materials being designed to look extremely simple and concise, but they are still very functional. Relating this to my point of view, I believe that there is trend that leads our aesthetics to simplicity rather than complexity. But, I think all the complexity and innovations are expressed in some other ways or hidden. Maybe, even more, products with simplicity may have more innovative power and impression to people than something really complex, just like Apple.


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