Smart display concept puts a cute face on smart home technology

As our homes start to get more connected to devices and the Internet, the number of screens also starts to increase. In addition to the phones, tablets, computers, and TVs that are already a staple of modern life, there are also smart displays that try to offer visual feedback to the things we usually only hear by voice from an AI-powered assistant. While many smart display designs try to blend in with the rest of the room, it’s really hard to hide a large conspicuous screen that needs to always to in view to be useful. This design concept tries to soften the blow of having such impersonal tech products inside your living space by giving a smart display a rather comical face that makes it feel more alive and a little bit friendlier.

Designer: Kai Xia

Smart displays are pretty much the evolution of voice-controlled smart speakers, giving a visual representation of the information you would normally get only through audio. Of course, it could also be used for other purposes, like displaying photos similar to a digital photo frame, playing videos, or even making video calls. The standard design of these devices, however, has more in common with those speakers or, worse, simply look like tablets slapped onto cylinders and boxes.

The Smart Pad concept tries to liven things up by changing the core design of the smart display. Objectively speaking, the 4-inch screen might actually seem too small for its purpose, but that also means you’re forced to show only the essentials rather than flooding the user with information. The smart display is also shaped like an egg, reminiscent of the old, colorful iMacs or even some vintage CRT TVs. This angles the screen at a comfortable level without having to resort to stands and external mechanisms.

The more important feature of the concept, however, is the cartoon-y face that can be displayed on the small screen. It might be a minor and optional detail, but it lends the gadget a bit of personality, making it feel more approachable and even human to some extent. It makes the Smart Pad feel less like an appliance and more like a companion, putting a face to that disembodied voice we always hear when we talk to such devices.

Of course, it’s also capable of the standard things that smart displays can do, at least in theory. That screen can play videos, display photos, and show information, but it might be less expressive because of its small size. That makes the device more suited for desks and bedside tables rather than living rooms, where seeing the screen up close is more natural.