This e-paper wall calendar prototype is simple but brilliant

The wall calendar – whether it’s populated by pictures of kittens, pop stars or firemen – has been going out of fashion for some time. And yet nearly everybody I know uses some kind of digital calendar to populate their day. How come nobody has thought of combining the two?

Step forward Kosho Tsuboi, creator of the Magic Calendar: an e-paper wall calendar that syncs with your smartphone to keep your plans visible at all times. It’s not available for sale yet – in fact, it seems to be part of Google Japan’s Android Experiments programme, where inventors are encouraged to create gadgets that live off the Google ecosystem.

Here’s a video of how it would work:

It seems that he even had a desk-based prototype, but it doesn’t look half as attractive for my money:magic_calendar_e-paper_-_1

“While the product is still in development, I think that as technology development progresses and these types of products are developed, the boundary between analogue and digital things will disappear,” explains Tsuboi. That philosophy is certainly evident in his design, although that boundary will no doubt abruptly reappear when the calendar needs charging or the Wi-Fi goes down.

But I’m clearly being harsh, and the brilliance of the design lies in its simplicity – just like an old-school wall calendar. When I asked why nobody had done this before, the answer was “they have, they just did it unconvincingly”. An Indiegogo campaign with an estimated delivery of December 2015 shows an e-paper calendar so complicated, it’s like somebody just dumped Excel onto a Kindle, then decided it wasn’t busy enough, so added a round bezel behind the square display. It attracted a single backer. Given that had the optimistic RRP of €409, here’s hoping the Magic Calendar is considerably cheaper if it ever makes its way off the drawing board and onto people’s kitchen walls.

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