As designers we're constantly alive to the potential of design to improve our lives. And so creatives are constantly applying new technology and imagination to radically reinvent everything from the GIF (opens in new tab) to the music video (opens in new tab) to the fashion magazine (opens in new tab).
It takes a brave designer, though, to try to rethink such a fundamental concept as the ball.
But that's just what product design company Made by Many (opens in new tab) is attempting, with the Hackaball (opens in new tab).
From football to basketball to baseball and beyond, humankind has spent centuries in the enthusiastic pursuit of sports involving spherical objects that bounce - so how could you possibly improve on this basic design concept?
Many by Many's answer is simple: make it talk to your smartphone.
"Hackaball is an iPhone connected ball," they explain. "A ball is a toy you play with, throw, bounce, kick, chase... but what happens if the ball knew it had been kicked and responded?"
This functionality, they reason, opens the ball up to a near-infinite possibility of new games.
"Hackaball is full of outputs, it turns many colours, vibrates, plays sounds and it can sense many things like shaking, falling, quick passes, slow passes… and more.
"We think of these outputs and sensors as game variables that can be mixed up to invent new games."
There are two components to Hackaball, a ball and an app. You choose the game on the app (or invent your own) and then play it with the ball.
After working with children over 18 months to prototype the design, Made by Many launched the Hackaball at SXSW in March (opens in new tab).
It's not gone into production yet but we can't wait till it does. Will this be the future of playground games?
Have you seen the future in a design concept or prototype? Share it with us in the comments below!