Last year, the Bium wifi router took home the Bronze award from the Asian Design Prize for its unique mission: to help users disconnect from the internet. Ironic? Perhaps. But in the Internet age, it’s easy to become overwhelmed with information and mild distractions. The occasional break from social media can do wonders for your mental health.
Sometimes, it’s hard to step away from our devices. The Bium has a setting that switches off the internet periodically, helping users clear their minds of digital distractions. The length of these internet-enabled intervals is indicated by four glowing antennas on the router. As the data “runs out,” the light fades — almost like a candle flame. Users can also extend the Bium’s self-imposed internet limit by placing their phone on the little tray that appears to double as a wireless charger. This is such a clever feature because it truly stops users from going online; they can’t be tempted to use their phone data. No cheating allowed.
When you first look at the Bium, its function (as a wifi router) is not immediately apparent. It looks more like an electronic incense holder – a smart design choice that helps foster a calm, meditative environment. However, its appearance and function perfectly embody its name, bium, which translates to “emptiness” in Korean. The digital world is full of distractions, which is why the Bium encourages users to put down their devices and embrace the bium.
Designer: Jonghoon Yoon