Core77 Design Awards
- All Winners
- 2015 Jury
- The Trophy
- Other Years
goTenna pairs wirelessly with your smartphone, allowing you to text and share your location with anyone who has the device, even if you have no service. goTenna addresses the needs of users in a variety of different scenarios, from remote outdoor adventures, to overcrowded networks at music festivals, to emergency situations. We designed and engineered the device to combine a paired down, elegant look and feel with robust and flexible functionality.
Pensa Design Team
goTenna represents a new type of communication. In simplest terms, goTenna sends information over VHF radio waves, similar to a traditional 2-way radio. But, that's where the similarities end. goTenna is a decentralized, secure radio antenna for your smartphone. Thus it allows its user to send text and GPS location to other goTenna users with complete end to end encryption. No service. No towers. No satellites. No Subscription. The use cases are many. Some of the most common we looked at: camping, hiking and skiing outside of a network; emergency situations where the network is down; an overcrowded network at a music festival or conference (you have full service and yet no messages are going through); international travel with friends and family to avoid roaming network charges.
What is this stick? Since this product represents a new way of communicating off-grid, and is a combination of functionalities that most potential users had not before considered, we began by asking ourselves these questions: How will people know what this device does? What types of functionality, characteristics and feedback should the product have? How and where will people carry it? What should it look and feel like? What are appropriate materials? What should the design language of the product express and how can that become the core of the goTenna brand?
We observed the core scenarios of use and found much common ground in the needs of potential users of this product. The design needed to be robust, simple and confident. It's construction needed to be water proof. A user would need to be able to attach it to his or her body or backpack in a variety of ways. The length of the antenna necessary to achieve the proper range was known and would likely be cumbersome to carry when not in use. We knew it likely needed to be collapsible.
In our concept exploration, we concentrated on a simple and confident design language. Clean, bold forms with no extraneous details made sense. We found fertile ground for exploration in thinking through the ways in which goTenna would be carried and attached. goTenna functions best when when spaced slightly away from the body. It was important to encourage users to attached the product to their pack, or jacket. But, clips and lanyards leave products dangling and bouncing around when hiking, skiing or making your way through a disaster site. Through a series of mockups and iterations we settled on a flat form factor with strap band that doubles back and hugs tightly against the form of the product. goTenna is a clean, tight form factor that is defined by its details. Anodized aluminum is clamped over a watertight PC/ABS body with a custom, precision texture. When the antenna is extended, the snap is solid and reassuring. This is a game changing device. A typical two-way radio is a limited tool designed for a select group of outdoor enthusiast users. All conversations are verbal, and not private. goTenna is designed and engineered to appeal to enthusiast groups as well as a wider audience. It's interface is a smartphone allowing its user to text and share GPS location. goTenna's design is meant to live at the intersection of performance and lifestyle.
Prototypes have gone through rigorous testing to ensure that these units will have lasting impact in the field. goTenna is currently working with international relief agencies, such as Doctors Without Borders and UNICEF, who need connectivity everywhere and at all times in disaster situations and in areas with no centralized communication.