is a blog about design, technology and culture written by Khoi Vinh, and has been more or less continuously published since December 2000 in New York City. Khoi is currently Principal Designer at Adobe, Design Chair at Wildcard and co-founder of Kidpost. Previously, Khoi was co-founder and CEO of Mixel (acquired by Etsy, Inc.), Design Director of The New York Times Online, and co-founder of the design studio Behavior, LLC. He is the author of “Ordering Disorder: Grid Principles for Web Design,” and was named one of Fast Company’s “fifty most influential designers in America.” Khoi lives in Crown Heights, Brooklyn with his wife and three children. Refer to the advertising and sponsorship page for inquiries.+
A year ago I wrote about the moribund state of window air conditioning units. Crowdsourced product platform Quirky is tackling that problem with the Aros window air conditioner, a product invented by former Department of Energy employee Garthen Leslie. The Aros brings to bear many of the technologies that are starting to become common in Internet of Things-era home appliances like intelligent auto-adjustment, mobile app-driven remote control capabilities, and eco-friendly energy monitoring. It also looks noticeably better than just about any other window air conditioning unit out there.
However, I’m not sure the Aros looks that much better than what’s available at your local home appliances store. The pictures make a case for it being attractive, but they’re not utterly convincing, and I’m not sure it would bear closer scrutiny in person. The Aros looks a bit more like a prettified version of more familiar models than a complete, Dyson-style reinvention. That seems consistent with the complaints in the user reviews that, while the Aros is well-designed, it still suffers from the noise problems of traditional units. All the same, I’m happy that someone is trying to address this problem; if Quirky proves that there’s a market for improved AC window unit designs, then we might start to see some real competition that will eventually drive real innovation.
You can read more about this device and even buy it at Quirky.+