Toyota’s Kikai Concept: the Anti-Gadget Vehicle
The increasingly interesting time we live in has been referred to and referenced as many things, one of those—the “Gadget Age”—emphasizes to what effect the abundance of technological gadgetry has had on our lives. From touch screens to voice commands, we are, for better or for worse, an age defined by these small gadgets. It is, however, perhaps this being defined by our gadgetry that makes something like Toyota’s Kikai concept car so—well, so beautiful.
Kikai means “machine” in Japanese and, honestly, could be accurately defined as the “anti-gadget” vehicle. “While most vehicles conceal their inner workings beneath smooth sheet metal,” notes Toyota in a press release, “this concept encourages us to appreciate the complex beauty of the mechanical aspects of cars. More broadly, it reminds us of the appeal of the physical and tactile in a digital age.”
And it is not the aesthetics of the Kikai that are winning people’s hearts and minds, but more so the meaning behind the vehicle. That is, in a time where technology is looking more and more like magic—the goal being to hide the how of the technology, the clockwork of the machine—the Kikai takes the opposite approach, nakedly displaying its inner-workings and guts with a kind of vulnerability not particularly attributed to this day and age. This, then, serves as a reminder to everyone—drivers, passengers, witnesses on the sidewalk, et cetera et cetera—of just what it takes to make a vehicle move from point A to point B, of the gears that are fundamental to the car.
In order to do this, Toyota places the driver’s seat at the center of the dashboard, which “gives a more instinctive sensory connection with the vehicle,” the automaker mentions. The Kikai also has a window panel at the driver’s feet that shows anyone inside the vehicle just how the wheels and suspension work. Analog gauges are dispersed throughout the interior, which might be the most interesting feature of the Kikai concept. That is, more specifically, one of the more interesting features is thelack of touchscreen inside the vehicle.
The point of all this, for Toyota, is rather simple. Toyota says that the Kikai “reminds us of the appeal of the physical and tactile in a digital age,” which is honestly a very easy concept to get behind.
As is always the case, keep checking back in here with us at Elmhurst Toyota for more information with regard to the Toyota Kikai concept as it develops; too, while you are at it, you might as well sign up for a test drive of one of our current models, you certainly won’t be disappointed.