The team behind the Freewrite, a distraction-free, Wi-Fi-enabled typewriter, has come together again to launch a new product: the Clapboss. It's essentially a New Age Clapper that works with IFTTT. It can handle up to six different actions, which you can trigger through a Morse Code-esque pattern of claps and pauses. So you could clap three times and have it turn on your TV, for instance. It launches on Kickstarter today and starts at $39; it'll eventually retail for $80.
Clapboss' design is more interesting than its big concept of claps for interaction, which is an old idea. The gizmo looks like an animal or elf with its ears and 1.2-inch LCD face. The image displayed changes depending on the action. You might get a pizza if you order pizza, for example. Generally, Clapboss intrigues me only because it's a cute product. The entire device is supported by a companion iOS / Android app.
The company's also launching a couple Clapboss accessories, including the Smart Outlet Backpack, which Clapboss can control without a Wi-Fi connection, and a desk stand. The backpack allows you to plug a regular coffee pot or other appliance in and still turn it on or off with claps. The Clapboss is powered through USB type-A, so if you have an outlet that's already built for USB devices, you can use it. If you don't, you'll want the backpack accessory, which costs $30. A bundle of Clapboss and the Backpack costs $85. The desk stand costs $22.
I've written about a "New Age Clapper" before with the Knocki. Remember Knocki? The idea was that it would sit underneath a table or on a wall and you could knock instead of clap to issue commands. Knocki still hasn't shipped. To be clear, I'm not saying Clapboss won't ship. Astrohaus, which makes both Clapboss and the Freewrite, gets an extra bit of my confidence because it’s already shipped a product. I'm just saying that this big idea of a new form of interaction has been coming for awhile and still isn't here.
I wrote about these future interactions before, and as I noted then, voice-enabled assistants are strong contenders for the UI of the future. Amazon and Google's assistant-enabled product lineups are continuing to grow and find new users. The Clapper, meanwhile, is on sale for $17 on Amazon with no one clamoring to bring it back, except for Astrohaus.