Many things in life seem to happen in cycles, from the movement of the Earth and the moon to the changing of seasons to the cycle of day and night. These natural events give us the impression that time itself is also cyclical, but spiritual beliefs aside, the reality is far harsher and crueler. We can never reclaim lost time, and the time passed is forever gone. Thanks to this discrepancy of concepts, not to mention the design of analog clocks, many people, unfortunately, develop an almost carefree attitude towards planning and executing their days, postponing and procrastinating on tasks simply because they presume the opportunity will come again. That’s the mindset that this concept device tries to shatter by forcing you to see a day for what it really is, moving forward with or without you.
Time pretty much flows in a linear fashion, and there’s really no going back, no matter how science fiction (or even science) may want to make us believe. Maybe in the distant future, we will figure out how to bend time to our will, but for now, we have to live with the cold fact that time lost is lost forever. Unfortunately, many of the tools that we have today seem to dance around that concept or even encourage less productive mindsets. If tomorrow is just another day, we might as well put off today’s tasks for tomorrow, right?
Of course, our lives don’t work that way, and Tempo tries to reinforce the correct idea of how time works by visualizing it not as a 12-hour or even 24-hour clock but as a single, straight, unidirectional line. This way, people will be forced to face the tempo, or rather the music, for what it is, something that you can never recover once passed. Hopefully, facing this reality will also force them to be more mindful and appreciative of the time they have.
As for its design, Tempo is simply a bar with rounded ends inspired by devices like smart speakers and soundbars, a common appearance in many homes today. It has a flat surface on top with a touch screen that shows the flow of time as a straight line with a series of small or large circles corresponding to tasks you have scheduled for the day. In a way, it resembles music visualizers that similar show sounds as a line broken by waves whose height depends on the intensity of the beat.
Tempo does have the character of a musical interface, which is apt for both its name as well as the similarity of beats to the passage of time. It’s arguable whether such a device can help you become a more productive person or reduce your procrastination, but it’s still an interesting insight into how we often view time and take it for granted.