This cute gadget is the physical manifestation of checking off a task

Almost everyone has a smartphone these days, and each of those devices has some form or another of a to-do list app. However, not everyone uses these apps to keep track of things that need to be done and some don’t have such a list of tasks at all. However, there are many proponents of keeping even the simplest to-do lists, not just to write those tasks down. There is evidence of a subtle but effective psychological benefit of checking boxes or deleting tasks, something that doesn’t translate cleanly to their digital counterparts. That’s the kind of brain teaser this simplistic looking device uses, and it offers a distraction-free way to get addicted to completing your tasks.

Designer: Go Eunseo, janchi

There’s definitely something satisfying about the physical act of marking a task as done. Sure, you can tap your phone’s screen to do the same thing, but it takes almost no effort to make this action really make sense. Perhaps it is the physical activity coupled with the sense of accomplishment that gives us that dose of dopamine, meaning there may not be a need for pen and paper to perform the same trick in other forms.

PRESS is a concept for a device that conveys a bit of this phenomenon in a new way that bridges the physical and digital worlds. It has a minimalist design that leaves no room for guesswork as to what it’s doing, especially with a large orange button that simply says “Press.” Of course, the actual implementation might not be that simple, and the theories behind it are pretty deep too.

In short, this device shows a single line of text displayed in an almost retro LCD-like font. Above the text is a small portion for a 2×2 matrix of numbers representing the time in 24-hour format. All of these displays are “hidden” beneath the surface, so the gadget looks completely clean when there’s nothing to show.

The idea is that PRESS will display a single task at a time and the time it needs to be completed. Ideally, it could be a recurring task performed at the same time every day, such as writing or reading at night. When the time to run the task approaches, this data will be displayed. And when the task is done, just press the orange button to mark it as complete, much like the buzzers that contestants smash on TV game shows.

It’s a pair of triggers and actions that can help form a habit over time. The design leaves plenty of room for possible functions, such as automatically synchronizing data with a phone or computer. These may just be the icing on the cake, though, as PRESS really focuses on creating a bit of euphoria when you complete a task and hit that big, orange button.