German firm Senic wants you to spend less time stuck scrolling through your phone and more time appreciating your music – and the artwork on your walls.
That's why it created Muse Blocks. At 7cm x 7cm and 0.4cm thick, they look a bit like stylish coasters and start at just €15 (opens in new tab) for three (including your choice of image, either from their collection or one of your own – as long as you own the rights), but they offer a lot more than a pleasing wall aesthetic.
Hold your phone 2cm away from one and, without opening another app, the NFC sensor reads the NFC chip stored within the tile, revealing your pre-loaded favourite playlist, movie or smart home scene.
You might, for example, have a picture of you in Chaturanga Dandasana on a Muse Block for easy reference – that'll be your yoga playlist. Simply make sure your phone's hooked up to your Sonos or Bluetooth speaker, bring your phone close to the tile, hit play and start those sun salutations.
Muse Blocks work with Netflix, YouTube, Apple Shortcuts and Homekit as long as the app is loaded on your phone, and in terms of device compatibility, iPhone XS, XS Max, XR, 11, 11 Pro as well as all NFC powered Android phones, will all support the tiles' NFC pairing functionality. The key here is your smartphone's ‘NFC Background' reading feature.
Senic doesn't want you to spend a lot of time using it, but thanks to its free iOS app, you can choose the playlist or content to save to each of your Muse Blocks and change it at any time. For Android, the company recommends the app Trigger.
In terms of gifting, it's a hark back to the heady days of mix tapes, but instead of nervously-written biro on the case, you could have a memorable photo of the two of you on it.
The Muse Blocks are made from acrylic glass with a soft finish that can withstand being dropped from up to 10 feet and, at just 20g per block, they score good marks for portability too.
Want to buy a few more? The Muse Block Art Set comprises seven blocks and an ash wood bar for wall mounting, all for €69. (opens in new tab)