It is interesting that although retro tech has made a massive comeback across the globe, it is still digital that rules the controllers and interfaces. The old-school watch face is popular, but on closer inspection, it’s digital that keep the hands going. Digital controls are here to stay, and for many will further serve to make modern living a great deal more hands free. This article provides two simple examples of how the digital world is now converging with our personal space and shows that even our most basic habits and activities are now digital: components of our homes and the simple act of listening to the radio.

Smart Homes

The rise of the smart home has become more of a reality than anyone could have imagined. From alarm clocks that will automatically adjust themselves to consider a change in your schedule or to your online office calendar, to a health sensor that is used at home and yet reports to your clinic in real time. 

The list is becoming endless and although the thought of Siri, Alexa, and Google was almost a bridge too far just a few short years ago, we are now in the midst of a fourth industrial revolution. The use of digital potentiometers for controllers and joysticks is on the increase as switches in the home disappear and controls are digital and moving fast towards universal voice recognition.

The technology that allows for the smart home with the Internet of Things as the genesis of this is the future and it is here now. Smart home device sales are projected to reach $53 billion by 2022. There are  opposing arguments as to how useful some of these smart devices actually are and whether they will serve to change our homes for the better, but it’s being bought up and used by the truck load. Everything is digital and there is soon to be no need for switches and controls.


Listening to the radio is such an old-school pasttime and for many “TV did indeed kill the radio star.” However, it is still increasingly popular, and not just for the older generation out there. The changes in this aspect of daily living are a prime example of the digitalization of modern life.

Digital audio broadcasting is yet another means by which we are able to entertain ourselves without too many complications or effort on our behalf. Digital radio means that there is no need for knob turning or the irritation of not finding a channel. The new tuners are automatic and very much akin to a home entertainment system, yet they are not currently voice controlled. The availability of DAB also means that there are fewer frequency networks required to broadcast, and using a multiplexed set-up makes for much more efficient and effective broadcasting. Many have argued that DAB is the end of FM radio as we know it and in various Scandinavian countries and Switzerland this has indeed been the case, as FM stations have simply faded away as the DAB trend picks up instead. 

The increase in automated systems is about the seamless control of our surroundings and environment. It has been a human trait over the ages to control and adjust our living environment and spaces. We are simply in an age where the nature of technological development and change has reached levels that we have never seen before. The world as we knew it has changed, and yes, it is hands free and digital.


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