With innovations from smart lightbulbs to digital home assistants becoming more commonplace within the home, sadly, this increased connectivity is can become a target for cybercrime.
Devices to provide network protection to prevent hackers from listening to private conversations, tracking movements, and stealing passwords are growing in number, but few provide the small and cute design of Hedgehog, which like its namesake proves prickly in the face of an attack.
Hedgehog uses Zobi Home Intelligence to detect and prevent cybercrime across your entire home network, but rather than being another piece of technology hidden away, its designers have looked to make it as attractive as it is protective.
James Melia, founder of the design agency behind the product, Blond, says that technology in our homes shouldn’t have to be hidden away. “At Blond we are interested in designing technology like homeware.
“We designed the Hedgehog to be an object that you would be happy to have on your bookshelf or mantel that could easily sit alongside other objects in your home.”
Almost uniquely for Blond’s design workflow, the name of the product came first before the design process began. “A branding agency (not Blond) came up with the name and a lovely bit of copywriting, which we fell in love with: ‘small and cute, but prickly in the face of attacks’ – this informed even our early design work,” says Melia.
A deeply ridged surface that references a Hedgehog’s spikes which are used to defend itself. Functionally, this element provides the device with ventilation and conceals a hidden aperture for the device’s lighting.
When under attack, Hedgehog’s LED light ring flashes red, a function that can also be adjusted in the accompanying product app.
The design takes inspiration from current homeware trends; available in four colours: white, green, brown, and blue, the main body is made of recycled plastic. The pastel colour palette reflects the natural environment of a hedgehog, while also fitting into the aesthetics of any home environment.
Melia explains that Blond follows a very systematic approach to almost all its work; with a team of 10 based in its London headquarters, and working remotely on the project throughout lockdown with the aid of online ‘whiteboard’ ideation tools like Miro.
Following research, the design process drew on the creation of many ideas utilising a mixture of rough CAD in Rhino, and sketching. Design development of a selected few concepts, using Keyshot to produce renders, helped hone the product before final design for manufacture.
The product’s iconic fins proved the hardest element to perfect, designing them with draft and fading seamlessly into the roof of the product proving quite challenging.
Physical prototypes proved useful, even in the early stages where FDM 3D printed mock-ups produced in-house helped the team work with the client to decide upon the design direction.
“Tech in our home is here to stay and we believe that everything that surrounds us should feel natural in our environment,” says Melia, adding that Blond has also designed an accompanying wi-fi booster called the Hoglet (the name of a baby hedgehog), which implements the same design aesthetic.