Culture of the Multitool

A tool is something we use in order to complete a specific task. Thus it follows that any tool that can be used for more than one task is a better tool and more suited to survive the test of time. There are many famous examples of this like the Swiss Army Knife which has typically came with five to ten tools in it. Other, more crazy versions, have sought to include as many as absolutely possible. One of the higher end versions includes 85 different tools.

The process becomes a debate on where usability becomes an issue of design. As in the case of these tools, electronics have slowly performed a similar process. As time has gone on, different peripherals have grown and combined with each other in order to take on the functions and abilities of both. The moment computers came out on a personal they needed keyboards in order to provide through data input. While originally attached to the system as a whole, it was later pushed to being connected by a wire for interchangeability. This would also eventually be replaced, closer to today, with onscreen keyboards.

While this means that if the screen were to be damaged that the whole device would need fixing or replacing, it meant that both are sold as one unit with a lower average price. For a time, people working on graphical design projects or artwork on a computer in general would use special pads in order to reproduce the same level of quality of drawing as that on a typical surface. Similarly, this has transitioned to a phase in which touch screens can handle the input in similar ways.

A stylus can be used to enhance the effect and provide a much more accurate design medium as well. Does this combining sort of multitool culture push groups towards making the most advanced and general devices able to do the broadest range of things?

Many would argue that it is a driving force behind the sales of new devices. If new features can not be created, why not adapt the current hardware for features that are not supported? Most people are aware of the portability that tablets and phones provide. Sometimes they do not provide the capabilities that are needed by a group. This need is what led to the development of laptops able to flex almost 360 degrees around the hinge in order to close in a reverse fashion, making the laptop more like a tablet in use. Even things like the scanner, printer, and fax machines have been combined into a all-in-one device. Its easy to see the need and use of this on different venues, but it can be a little upsetting at how fast this occurs.

It is not a far fetched thought that sees phones with scan/print/fax capabilities all while being able to run as cameras, message/calling devices, virtual reality headsets, projectors, personal identification, and more.

This also begs the question of when this multitool mentality begins being applied to people. Already it is a common workplace practice to seek out hires that are talented on multiple fronts instead of hiring several people to each individual part. It saves money while also insuring that the company is able to handle many different problems that may arise. There are some people that are considered too overqualified in these fashions, leaving them in the same position as overly filled multitools.

This is not to say they are a bad fit, but too much makes  person seem more upward bound then what some are willing to hire.
Furthermore, where is the line on modifying the human body with new tools or genes to make it more effective? A future filled with bionic humans is also not far-fetched. Some believe that this is purely due to the culture of multi-tool that has been developed by so many over time. Whatever the outcome, it will be interesting to see as time goes on how much things are condensed.

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