As buttons go, there are few as popular as Staples’ “Easy Button”– a brilliant, Staples-red button that was included in a series of advertising campaign beginning in2005 The ads were so popular that Staples ended up actually offering genuine replica versions of the Easy Button shortly after they debuted– and it’s considering that offered millions of the desk toys.
The fictitious Easy Buttons featured in the commercials possess wonderful qualities that permit the user to sorcerously resolve their (normally office supply-related) concerns with the press of a button. Instead, it simply plays a recording of the business’s “That was simple” motto when you press down the (satisfyingly clicky) button.
Beyond the metafictional context of Staples commercials, however, the idea of a wonderful big red button that you can press to solve an issue is one that resonates with the whole concept of hardware style. Sure, the real-world Easy Button is just a charming toy to leave on your desk or irritate your colleagues with. But nearly every hardware button that exists is born out of the very same principles as the more wonderful variation from the commercial: it’s a physical item that’s created for users to press, push, switch, or spin in order to resolve a specific problem or achieve a job.
The Easy Button simply thinks of a world in which our buttons have been raised to an even higher aircraft. One where no problem is too big or complicated that it can’t be solved with a single push of a button.
However the Easy Button’s journey from marketing gimmick to real item does not end with a crazy cubicle device– due to the fact that the internet took the initial idea of the Easy Button and kept up it, with any number of tutorials offered on how to hack the $9 toy. Most typical hacks revolve around modding the hardware with a microphone to tape your own catchphrases for the Easy Button’s tinny speaker to spout.
Other hacks go even more, like installing an Arduino microcontroller that enables the once-useless button to be connected to a computer system or custom hardware setup. And with that kind of hardware and some programs chops, the sky’s the limitation for what you can have your Easy Button do, like boot up your computer, stopped a Zoom call, or even buy some more paper from Staples.
It’s still not rather the level of actual magic that Staples pledges in its commercials, but after years, the converging forces of a marketing campaign developed into a workplace toy became a Do It Yourself tool have actually come full circle: a definitely programmable button that can, in theory, do practically anything with just a push. And really, what else could you request for from a button beyond that?