人体工程学在进步还是倒退 怀念旋钮
本文摘要:I studied psychology as a subsidiary to my politics degree at university. In the mid-1970s, psychology was the media studies of its day — fashionable but usually chosen because it was easy, and most of the stuff we were taught was friction


I studied psychology as a subsidiary to my politics degree at university. In the mid-1970s, psychology was the media studies of its day — fashionable but usually chosen because it was easy, and most of the stuff we were taught was frictionless. There was not a lot to get to grips with.我大学时主修政治,辅修心理学。上世纪70年代中期的心理学就像现在的媒体学:时髦,但科目这门课一般来说是因为学一起更容易,而且我们习的绝大部分东西都没什么可玩性,没有多少东西要认真对待的。One lecture, however, has stayed with me. It was about ergonomics, the science of designing machines, systems and processes that are efficient and comfortable to use. It was the heyday of awful design and I was so taken with the thought of a job in which you could spend your time improving things, I flirted briefly with the idea of becoming an ergonomist.但有个讲座给我留给了深刻印象,那就是人体工程学。这是一门研究如何合理设计机器、系统和流程,使其用一起更加高效更加舒适度的学科。

当时是番茄设计盗贼的年代,我对你可以投放时间去改进事物的职业如此神往,以至于一度想要沦为一名人体工程学专家。It did not happen, and I have never knowingly met one. But I get the sense — ergonomists will doubtless send me user-friendly emails to confirm or deny this — that ergonomists are not rock stars of modern industrial enterprise.那未能沦为现实,我也从未遇上一位人体工程学专家。但我能感觉到,人体工程学专家不是现代工业企业的摇滚明星。

(他们认同不会给我发送到深入浅出的邮件来证实或坚称这一点。)In kitchen appliances especially, the ergonomist’s voice is ignored — at least if the absurd counterintuitiveness of so many products is any guide.特别是在是在厨房电器上,人体工程学专家的声音被忽视了——最少从如此多奇葩的反直观产品来看是这样。A friend who knows Heston Blumenthal has just adopted a microwave which, he told me, the British chef and restaurateur was not using at home because it was “too complicated”. That must be one complicated microwave.一位了解赫斯顿.布鲁门塔尔(Heston Blumenthal)的朋友刚使用了一台微波炉,他跟我说道,这位英国大厨和餐馆老板在自己家里不必,因为它“过于简单”了。

那认同是一台非常复杂的微波炉。For simplicity and ergonomic bliss, the most perfect mechanism for controlling levels has to be the old-fashioned rotary knob. I say old-fashioned because knobs — volume controls you turn, tuning knobs, treble and bass controls, brightness on a television, all of them — have almost disappeared over the past 20 years.就简练和符合人体工程学而言,掌控水平的最极致机械装置当科老式旋钮。

我说道老式是因为旋钮在过去20年完全几乎消失了,比如音量旋钮、回声旋钮、高低音掌控旋钮、电视亮度旋钮,诸如此类。In the mid 1990s they were supplanted by buttons with left, right, up and down arrows on them, by which you “incrementally” (some might say jumpily) increased or decreased a level. They needed a display to show you what your hand and ear, in a wholly intuitive neurological combo, had previously told you.20世纪90年代中期,旋钮被上下左右箭头按钮代替,让你可以“逐步地”(有些人也许不会说道“冲刺地”)调低或下调一级。

这种按钮必须一个显示器来向你展出的东西,过去你的手和耳朵(两者包含一个几乎直观的神经系统人组)可以告诉他你。Knobs fell into demise for understandable reasons. Behind the volume and tone, knobs in the pre-digital age were potentiometers — mechanically variable resistances, which as you turned them provided a smooth, analogue change in the energy reaching the amplifier.出于可以解读的原因,旋钮遭出局。在数字化之前的时代,掌控音量音调的旋钮是电位器,即机械可变电阻,当你旋转它们时,可以稳定、适当地转变输入到扩音器的电量。

Tuning was done with a variable capacitor, also wholly mechanical — a stack of fins that intermeshed in concert with your knob-turning to change the capacitance, which, in combination with a tight coil of wire, determined the frequency you heard.已完成回声的是一个星型电容器,它也是全机械的,由一叠互相凸轮的翅片包含。当你旋转旋钮时,星型电容器转变电容,因应一个密切卷曲的线圈,可以要求你收听的频率。Both components could be miniaturised. Old transistor radios had tiny versions of each. But when devices began to be run by software, “pots” and variable capacitors became redundant. Level changes and tuning could be done “solid state” — meaning without mechanical parts, which was cheaper for manufacturers and looked futuristic.这两个部件都可以小型化,老式晶体管收音机就有微型音量旋钮和回声旋钮。但当电子设备开始通过软件运营时,电位器和星型电容器显得多余。

水平变化和回声需要在“固态”下构建,意思就是没机械部件,这对制造商来说更为低廉,看起来还有未来感觉。The downside was that the new forms of software control were horrible to use — fiddly, slow and imprecise. Car radios, where all-button controls were enthusiastically adopted, were dangerous because they required you to take your eyes off the road to squint at the display.缺点是软件掌控这种新的方式并很差用,繁复、较慢且不准确。大力使用仅有按钮掌控的汽车收音机带给危险性,因为它们拒绝你把目光从道路上交还,眯着眼去看显示屏。Almost overnight, anything with a volume control — the older and ergonomically superior choice — came to be seen as retro and quirky.完全一夜之间,任何有音量控制——老式、从人体工程学上说道更为良好的自由选择——的产品,都被看作复古和古怪。

In 1999, Tom DeVesto, a Boston audio engineer, had the idea of building a radio with no controls other than volume, tuning knobs and simple dials.1999年,波士顿音频工程师汤姆.德维斯特(Tom DeVesto)想要作出一个只有音量、回声旋钮和非常简单回声度盘的收音机。“They’re nicer to use,” he says. “Other people might like holding buttons down, but to me the intuitive way to control things was to turn a knob. There was no need to reinvent the wheel.”他说道:“它们用一起更加挑。其他人有可能讨厌按下按钮,但对我来说,转动旋钮才是更加直观的掌控方式。


没有适当新的发明者车轮。”But when he started showing his Tivoli One radio to stores, retail buyers in the US did not get it. “I still remember one shaking his head. He said, ‘You have to have a dial, a display, that lights up, with all kinds of levels on it.’”但当他开始向商家展出他的Tivoli One收音机时,美国的零售买家们并不买账。“我还忘记其中一个人摇着头说道,你必需有一个回声度盘,一个显示器,能暗一起的,上面能看见一级一级的。”Mr DeVesto says his Tivoli radios went on to sell more than 10m units globally, usually in the nicer, John Lewis-type stores. Como Audio, a radio company he founded this year, also majors on knobs — even if today, with old-style components having almost disappeared, the knobs synthesise mechanical controls.德维斯特说道,他的Tivoli收音机后来在全球卖出多达1000万台,一般来说是在约翰.刘易斯(John Lewis,英国百货商店——译者录)这类较高档的商店。

今年他创立了Como Audio,这家收音机公司仍主打旋钮。即使当今老式组件完全已消失,但可以用旋钮来制备机械掌控。“You have to work today to give it some feeling that turning the knob is doing something, when all it’s really doing is sending zeroes and ones to the computer,” says Mr DeVesto.德维斯特说道:“如今你得想要办法,让旋转旋钮的人获得一些对系统,即便其确实用途是向计算机发送到一堆0和1。

”Knobs still feature on some expensive HiFi equipment and recording engineers’ control panels, but other attempts to reintroduce the joy of the knob to a younger generation have, sadly, not been very successful.旋钮仍经常出现在一些便宜的高保真音响设备和录音工程师的控制面板上,但是很惜,将旋钮之体验新的讲解给年轻一代的其他尝试不怎么顺利。Marshall, the British guitar amplifier-maker, launched a mobile phone last year called the London, which had a thumb-wheel control knob that it called a “scroll wheel”. The phone is still available but it is not one you often see in use.英国吉他音箱制造商Marshall去年发售一款手机,取名为“London”,该手机有一个被称作“滚轮”的拇指旋轮掌控旋钮。市面上仍能看见这款手机,但你不少见到人们用于它。LG had even less of a breakthrough in 2013 when it brought out a 32-inch LED television, the Classic, with old-school on/off, channel change and volume knobs. You can still get them, but the Classic did not precipitate a rush back to knobs.LG在2013年发售了32英寸LED电视“Classic”,另设老式的电源、频道调节和音量旋钮,该产品甚至更加谈不上突破。

Classic现在仍能购买,但它没带给旋钮的重返。A shame. Knobs you turn (and, while we are at it, big, chunky buttons you press) are not some atavistic relic, but an ergonomic advance — albeit a nostalgic one. In a perfect technological world, they would be the next big thing, not a throwback.过于惜了。你旋转的旋钮(既然说道到这里,还有我们现在用于的胖乎乎的大按钮)并不是什么返祖余孽,而是人体工程学的众多变革——尽管具有浪漫情怀。




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