How many times have you been torn between simply enjoying a moment and taking out your phone to document it for the world to see?
South Philly design and development firm P’unk Ave wants to simplify that discussion for hikers brave enough to take on the majestic Appalachian Trail.
— P'unk Avenue (@punkave) August 17, 2016
In partnership with the Appalachian Trail Conservancy, P’unk Ave is working on Latch, an application geared at capturing the trail through a multimedia experience. The app features a simple interface that allows hikers to share these moments but still stay connected to the experience itself.
It's that tension between this desire to disconnect and be in nature, and at the same time the desire to reminisce later.
Through a survey of Conservancy members and a workshop with hikers, the firm was trying to understand how technology and nature come together.
“We heard one of the Conservancy workers say, ‘I’m sitting on this beautiful rock and I take out my phone to Instagram it and I feel disgusted with myself,'” said P’unk Ave honcho Geoff DiMasi. “It’s that tension between this desire to disconnect and be in nature, and at the same time the desire to reminisce later. Balancing all these issues became an important topic for us.”
The app will allow trekkers to put their phone on “Backpacker mode” — similar to airplane mode. In it, users will only be able to capture what they see and hear but not look at the photos or edit them. One possible feature is an automatic text response to be able to go offline without freaking out friends and family.
“The idea of you determining your relationship with technology as you experience the trail is one of the main things,” said Dimasi.
Some of the app’s functionality is yet to be determined. But one of the cooler ideas is a map of users’ hiking routes that is geotagged with all the media that was recorded and where on the route it was captured.
To better tackle the project, the firm and the Conservancy launched a Kickstarter campaign to raise $25,000 toward the design and research of the app. The research part is crucial, as the app will have to fit the needs of the hiking community.
“The reason why we’re excited about the app is that we love the idea of serving a really passionate community,” DiMasi said.
Here’s the obligatory, ukulele-laden video of what the app is going to look like:
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