BusyBox is a sign of these distracting times

One way of classifying distractions is internally-driven interruptions versus externally-driven ones. The latter in particular may often be beyond your control. BusyBox, though, aims to minimize them by putting an illuminated sign outside of your mental temple. It warns all those who might enter that you are engaged in any manner of activities such as podcasting, gaming, or just being busy.

The sign, designed can be affixed with 3M Command Strips, is clearly inspired by the “On Air” signs that have graced studios for years, but repurposed for the pandemic era that often sees multiple family members doing office or school work at home.

The product comes in both a low-tech “standard” version that uses one of six templates and a surprisingly high-tech “digital” version that allows the creation of custom signs with graphics via an app that can even control distinct groups of BusyBoxes. It can be activated via popular voice assistants such as Siri and Google Assistant. While the standard version costs $90, the digital one costs a whopping $300. Both versions are available at half-price through the campaign.

Despite the price difference, the standard BusyBox will work for more than 120 hours per charge while the digital one will last a bit more than 10 despite it having twice the battery capacity of the standard version. The BusyBox team is also selling a remote activation button for $24.

The BusyBox looks like an effective way to siliently communicate to fellow family members or officemates that you’re working on something specific, particularly if, like its “On Air” sign inspiration, it’s something that demands quiet. Still, it seems expensive for what it is and raises the quesiton why it’s not easier to do something like this with a simple digital signage or remote screen control application and a smartphone or tablet.