Many great inventions started with the thought “Wouldn’t it be great if…”. The Amsterdam-based innovation and product design consultancy Frolic Studio has turned this process into a method. This is how they invented the Omni Present, an interactive packaging that calls the sender when it is opened.

Many great inventions started with the thought “Wouldn’t it be great if…”. The Amsterdam-based innovation and product design consultancy Frolic Studio has turned this process into a method. If designers at Frolic have an idea to experiment with or a problem to solve, they write it on a piece of paper and put it in a box. Whenever there is some time between projects, one of the ideas is chosen as a short-term creative challenge. The innovators give themselves 24 hours to come up with a concept, a plan and a working prototype. This is how they invented the Omni Present, an interactive gift box that calls the sender when it is opened.

electronics

Frolic’s co-founder Andrew Spitz has friends and family around the world. He wanted to send a typical gift from Amsterdam to his mother in France and he thought “Wouldn’t it be great if I could be there when she opens it?” When sending presents to loved ones abroad, there is usually a gap between sending the present and receiving a thank-you email or phone call. To turn the process into a more direct, personal and emotionally connected experience, Spitz and his business partner Ruben van der Vleuten started working on the Omni Present.

working

The 24-hour deadline is set to keep themselves from overthinking a problem and to make the project fun, intuitive and playful. The two inventors quickly realized that a phone call would come closest to actually being there when the gift is opened and concentrated on designing a packaging solution with an integrated GSM module. They consulted the open source electronics platform Ardunio and eventually wrote the code for a solution with a light sensor that would activate the SIM card in the GSM module once the gift box is open.

light-sensor

“We finished the project within 24 hours but testing took a bit longer, because we had to send the present”, says Spitz who mailed the first working prototype to his mother. In the cardboard box with the interactive model was Dutch cheese, a gift Spitz chose because he wanted to send something typical for the region he lives in. His mother was happy about the gift but even happier and surprised to hear her son’s voice coming from the box.

present

Frolic’s founders weren’t planning on turning this project into an actual product but have received calls from several companies that were interested and may change their minds. “We would definitely be interested if there are companies that are keen to develop it”, says Spitz. The packaging may be well suited for luxurious presents, such as jewelry and watches, for wines and to add a personal note to gifts bought in online stores. If the Omni Present turns into an actual product, it wouldn’t be the first time that one of Frolic’s 24-hour projects was taken beyond the prototype stage. Frolic’s Bluetooth Bike Bell and App is about to be launched on Kickstarter and if the interest in the Omni Present continues, it could be next.