Framed digital canvases aim to bring interactive art home

Digital photo frames used to be oddities, but now they are becoming rather popular it seems. Not too long ago, Electric Objects introduced a Kickstarter campaign for a digital canvas that can display any art. Now, Framed has launched its own crowd funding campaign for two digital art displays.

Framed plans to offer two high-end digital canvases should its Kickstarter campaign succeed. The more office-friendly, space-saving model features a 24-inch, full HD IPS display, while the larger, more art gallery-inspired model comes with a massive 40-inch display. The company is also offering a limited number of 55-inch displays for those who really want to have larger than life paintings in their homes or gallery spaces.

“For a long time I have been looking for a simple way to display my work in an interior space, in the same way we would with traditional paintings on a wall.”

In addition to having gorgeous Full HD displays, Framed’s digital canvases feature gesture controls and can be controlled by an app on your smartphone. The displays are powered by quad-core processors that clock in at up to 2.4GHz. Framed also included integrated HD graphics up to 854MHz, Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, motion sensors, a 720p camera, 2x stereo speaker output, and mono microphone input. The idea is to create a super high-end digital display that can display any art from animated GIFs and digital creations, to fine art and performance art.

Will Lai Co-Founder and CEO of FRM decided to create Framed along with designer and engineer Yugo Nakamura because he wanted to help bring digital artists’ works into the home.

“I work in the design field, and many of my works are screen-based,” Lai told Digital Trends. “For a long time I have been looking for a simple way to display my work in an interior space, in the same way we would with traditional paintings on a wall.”

Framed display

Although most people can’t really afford original paintings or purchase a digital artist’s work, Lai hopes that framed will bring art into more people’s homes and lives, the same way postcards and prints brought the works of Da Vinci and Monet into the home. However, he recognizes that Framed has to change the way people think about digital displays before any of his grander ideas can come to fruition.

“Works categorized as digital or interactive art are now past flourished, and we regard them as daily matter,” Lai told us. “Screens are also everywhere and we’ve grown to be quite comfortable with them, but digital devices are expected to be ‘multi-players’ with multiple functions. It’s hard for a single-task device, with the sole-purpose of being an ‘art frame,’ to be developed. On the other hand, traditional paintings have always had a fixed framework on which they’ve developed their history—the canvas and the art frame. I’m not sure if our experiment will ‘rule the future’ so to speak, but the timing seems to be ready and matured.”

Framed home

One of the things that sets Framed apart from other electronic displays is its fine craftsmanship. The frame is made of walnut wood and can be customized. The display is meant to blend into your home decor and display any kind of art. It’s especially great from those who love interactive, performance, or audio art because you can actually interact with the art work via gestures or speech.

“What makes Framed special is that it packages the usual details necessary for interactive art (camera/mic, sound, motion sensors, graphics processing), which opens up the possibilities for some truly magical experiences,” Lai said.

It’s also extremely easy to switch out a piece of art when you want to see something new. Simple gestures allow you to flip through your image library and the app allows you to add and change your collection at any time. Framed has already commissioned several artists, including Aaron Koblin,Takashi Kawashima, Mirai Mizue, Chris Davenport, and more for original artwork. In addition, Lai says Framed will offer a marketplace for artists to publish and sell their work to Framed.

Framed Original Art

So far, the final retail price for Framed’s digital displays hasn’t been finalized. Currently, a 24-inch display will cost you $250 on Kickstarter. No prices are set for just the 40-inch display alone, though one package deal, including 3 original artworks, beta access, and the 40-inch frame will cost you $1,500.

“Our plan was to fund the project up to a certain point, then gather product and market feedback before moving into any kind of production, and setting a final price based on this feedback,” Lai told Digital Trends.

Assuming all goes well and Framed raises its $75,000 goal, the displays should be available sometime in March 2015. Just a few hours into the campaign, Framed had already raised more than $21,000.

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