Musipen MP3 Player Concept

small1 Musipen MP3 Player Concept

In an industry which can every so often become congested in imitation and unoriginality, it’s always refreshing to see a new design that is exceptionally innovative. Chris Williams set out to create a music player with a unique design, rather than conforming with current players, which can still provide a highly usable interface.

The resulting Musipen confidently moves away from familiar formats, yet should prove to be equally portable and practical. Not only does the cylindrical form of the Musipen allow an increased screen space, but consequently the controls are very simple. Twisting and sliding each edge of the player navigates through menus and adjusts volume. The imaginative design would certainly provide a welcome change to the MP3 player industry.

If you would like to contact Chris he can be reached at chomefz at hotmail dot com.


JDGAFFLIN on July 9, 2007 3:33 PM

I like the design a lot. Any ideas on capacity and what not?

Chris Williams on July 9, 2007 4:08 PM

Thank you. Sadly not, as it is merely a design study I undertook in my spare time. The interface is designed to navigate within a large music collection, so by the time a flexible colour screen of this kind is feasible to manufacture on a large scale I would hope a significant amount of storage would be viable in a unit of this scale (certainly 60gb+ at a minimum).FYI I approached a number of leading DAP manufacturers (they shall remain nameless for now) but none of them even had the courtesy to reply – the likely reason being there are likely to be thousands of Product Designers and Design students out there approaching these companies every single day, so what hope does a one-off design study by a non-trained Product Designer have!?RegardsChris (UK)

Dede Ainbinder on July 9, 2007 4:20 PM

Depends on how good the design is. This is killer. =DAs for the screen, you’re right. The technology is out there (OLEDs can be quite flexible and thin.) but mass producing it is a whole different story.You don’t need to say who you contacted but I think you should talk to iRiver. If you look at some of their concepts, they’re willing to take risks. (But personally, I think of this as more of a gold-mine, not a risk. =D)

jongee on July 9, 2007 6:41 PM

love the design chris :D good luck with pitching it… i’d buy one!

good!! on July 10, 2007 1:21 AM

very good!!!! i’d buy one…

wdm on July 10, 2007 4:38 AM

it’s very nice i want buy one,but where?

Hondo on July 10, 2007 11:37 AM

Good Design. Send it to Steve Jobs ;-)

xkiz on July 10, 2007 11:42 AM

everyone should help this thing get some momentum and get Chris some backing on this. I for one love the concept, not only the way it looks, but the originality, and as the article states, shifting away from what currently is the norm.Great job Chris, hopefully you can get the ball rolling on this Musipen. (no pun intended! well.. maybe..)

Chris Williams on July 10, 2007 11:59 AM

Appreciate the comments so far :) And thanks to the guys at there are another 1/2 dozen or so tech+gadget sites following up the story, so here’s hoping something will come of the design.Chris.

Ben on July 10, 2007 3:42 PM

It’s a very nice design, but it’s been done before and mass produced, albeit not in a standalone player. The remote control that Sony used to include with its minidisc players looked almost identical and had nearly identical functionality, with the twisting and pulling motions, and the button placement on the tips. The only major difference aside from the Sony being only a remote was that the screen on the Sony did not wrap all the way around.Additionally, Sony adapted these controls for its initial foray into mp3 players.

Ben on July 10, 2007 3:47 PM

One additional note: apparently, Sony currently uses a similar design for at least one line of mp3 players, though the Sony product has a miniscule screen.

TuxMeister on July 10, 2007 5:27 PM

Really good job. Ben’s comment is true… no Sony (nor other manufacturer) has a design like this and yes, IT IS KILLING BEAUTY. Now I stand for you with all the rest that commented here, and… if Gizmodo reached you, everybody can (not like Gizmodo were the only gadget news web on the planet, but one of the best and more viewed). So hopefully, some willing company will contact you to make you rich, and on the side effect, make us all rich, meaning that if a product like this reaches the mass stores, it would be a very different, but cool an fashion way to see music and carry it with you.So what is left? Appologize for the extension of the comment and wish you the best luck in the world. With designers like you, we will hopefully get rid of all the serious-boring-grey-not-useful things that we all buy these days.Cheers!

Chris Williams on July 10, 2007 5:31 PM

Hi Ben – yes I am well aware of the Sony players, however the MusiPen concept as a whole hasn’t been done before due to the innovative screen.This was the primary factor for the evolution of my design : ie – one that is wide enough to display long filename strings (eg: Artist – Album – Track# – Title – (Year)) and one that is tall enough to display tracks within sight, in an album context. The nature of the screen layout then dictated the rotational and push/pull nature of the MusiPens buttons ; one can’t re-invent the wheel you realise!Sony’s products use (of course) existing technology with tiny screens where track information is highly compacted – frustrating to those of us who use PC mp3 players where space is less of an issue. The MusiPen is a fantasy solution to this problem and is purely a concept for that reason. If you’d like to see another candy-bar format DAP, just hit F5 on your browser on any gadget site and make sure you tell them it’s been done before also.RegardsChris.

Light on July 10, 2007 7:23 PM

Impressive graphical design, but I wouldn’t get this mp3 player if it were created for various reasons.1. The screen curves around a large part of the player, so pulling this out of your pocket, holding it with one hand, or even putting it down without smudging and damaging the screen would be difficult.2. The thin and elongated nature of the screen is a waste of space. The whole point of navigational menus and file hierarchies is so you don’t need a really large screen to get to files within folders within other folders. Why do I need to see “artists, albums, etc” when I am selecting a song within an album?3. The industry is heading in the direction of video capabilities. Clearly, the shape of the screen does not lend itself to video playback.I admire your effort and the graphics, but that’s just what it is. Graphics. There is a saying in logic when something is trying to establish a point with flashiness called “proof by awesome notation.” That is essentially what your design is; it looks interesting, but it has way to many practical problems.p.s., the phrase “don’t re-invent the wheel” means “don’t waste your time by recreating things that have already been invented,” not “there are only so many ways to create things,” as you had said. Besides, the wheel has been re-invented numerous times (bike wheels with their structure, wooden wheels made by stretching wood around supports, the invention of vulcanization to create durable rubber for automobile wheels, etc.)

terrence on July 11, 2007 2:28 AM

Hey Chris! Get a patent on that brilliant invention ASAP!!! I don’t want anyone stealing you ideas

steve on July 11, 2007 10:11 AM

Trés trés jolie vivement que cette objet sorte…

ryan on July 11, 2007 10:39 AM

“And thanks to the guys at there are another 1/2 dozen or so tech+gadget sites following up the story, so here’s hoping something will come of the design.”In regards to that, I arrived here via the link on

T. on July 11, 2007 11:53 AM

I like it. I agree with Chris though. Video playback is going to becoming something of a necessity in the near future. Perhaps a cover for the player could protect it when not in use?Still, it looks so damn cool I’d still buy it!

T. on July 11, 2007 11:53 AM

I like it. I agree with Light though. Video playback is going to becoming something of a necessity in the near future. Perhaps a cover for the player could protect it when not in use?Still, it looks so damn cool I’d still buy it!

Rozario Rohit on July 11, 2007 11:53 AM

Chris your design is absolutely superb, very simple and yet out of this world. A brushed metal or anodized brush aluminum look I think would look cool with the blue display.I’m a mechanical engineer and pursing industrial design,Which software did u use to design this? What about the electronics, software and working,Is this just a 3-D model design??Please let me know, and all the best in pitching your design, why don’t you try some Korean manufacturers, there are a hundred of them on the lookout.

T. on July 11, 2007 11:55 AM

Shawwie abt the first comment. Mixed up the names!!

Chris Williams on July 11, 2007 12:19 PM

Rozario – thanks, and yes it is indeed just a 3D model design (and Flash prototype interface) at this stage, feasability is a whole different ball game.Light / T – personally i don’t agree that video playback is a ‘necessity’ at all, in fact it is at odds with the portability of small devices : small device+large screen=compromised with todays tech. I’m all for convergence, but sometimes many gadgets are still trying to do too many things “well” but not their core functions “superbly” (mobile phones seem to be a case in point).I also believe that the viewing of *videos* on iPod Photos is extremely low overall; 10% of use at a *maximum* for iPod Photo owners (source: Nielsen Media Research) – hardly a huge sway towards necessity I’d say.However, soon we will begin to see more of the flexible ‘roll-out’ e-ink displays companies like Philips, Sony are developing – which is a step in the right direction as far as portability and screen size are concerned.regardsChris

DaHarder on July 11, 2007 12:41 PM

This is certainly an interesting variation/evolution of one of my favorite DAP units, the SONY NW-S20xF series.The display is brilliant.

Ben on July 11, 2007 3:08 PM

“If you’d like to see another candy-bar format DAP, just hit F5 on your browser on any gadget site and make sure you tell them it’s been done before also.”Point taken. My comment was only a response to the note stating that you were looking for something unique. While I don’t think anyone would disagree with the fact that the wraparound screen has not been seen previously, I found the overall design reminiscent of the old Sony remote.Regardless, as I mentioned in my original comment, it is nevertheless a very nice design. I don’t agree with “Light” that because many players are moving toward video that your particular design is untenable. In fact, I think that it could be a bonus for those (like me) who do not want video on a DAP; it’s the form factor, you see. The only practical problem I see is that the overall size of the player might end up being quite a bit larger than anything else out there.Best of luck.

BEN on July 11, 2007 4:04 PM

The latest IPod, IPen Maybe? xD I think this would be very successful on the market.

Light on July 11, 2007 8:12 PM

I don’t know why the only people who respond to my comment talk about my video criticism. You will notice that my third comment about video is not only the third of three, but also the shortest. My first two comments still stand, especially the second one. I’m pretty indifferent when it comes to video (I only used it as a complaint because I was thinking about what some consumers may look for), but my main concern is that the player is inefficiently large (why do you need to see “artists, albums, etc.” when you are selecting a song? This goes back to my file hierarchy point. One reason for file hierarchies is so that we don’t need ridiculously large screens to access information in a subset of a folder.

Utew on July 12, 2007 4:10 AM

Great design Chris! Nice to see some real innovation in user interfaces. Hope this becomes a real, live product.. count me in if it does.

k_j on July 12, 2007 4:59 AM

im interested in that chick wearing the mp3 player =]

Josh on July 12, 2007 5:04 AM

I love the design. It’s portable and well designed. I’d apply for a patent SOON.

Benny on July 12, 2007 11:29 AM

The first impression was superb. I love the blue glow. After the wow, I have a second thought … how will I carry it around? The only place I see it fitting is a shirt pocket. Anywhere else seems to be a challenge to me. Considering it about 3 times the thickness of a normal ball pen, it is too much to put inside a jeans/pants pocket. It will be also too big too hang it round the neck. Putting it in a back pack or hangbag is possible but the curved and elongated screen makes it more prone to scratch and break. My verdict is: I will admire its cool design when someone is holding one, but I will let him or her worry about those problems. I will pass on this one myself. Sorry Chris.

Chris Williams on July 12, 2007 9:51 PM

Hi Benny, yes I totally understand your comments about scale – this is of concern to me also. However, if a 5G iPod Photo screen is 5cm wide, my MusiPen concept could reach 2 or 3 x that screen width…. and hopefully still be portable. This provides a considerable amount more of readable information about what you’re listening to than an iPod. Additionally, the sheer joy of ‘spinning’ lists of your music tracks with the selection ring is something I still get excited about myself – and it was designed over a year ago now…. regards, Chris.

Joyce Pualani on July 26, 2007 2:20 AM

Just came across your design on and had to take a closer look. WOW! I want one. I like being able to see album, artist, etc on one line.As far as the screen being scratched, it could be coated like glasses for scratch resistance, covered by something transparent that is scratch resistant and cleanable… I know there are clear protective covers out there that would work. It could even be replaceable. That sort of thing is in the fine tuning of a design. First you must have a design worth fine tuning. This is definitely worth it.As for video play back. I’m more interested in sound. although a fav music video in sur-round picture would be really cool. It would be fun to be able to play it length wise or width wise.. the tall and short of it. :-) Great design. Hope it becomes a reality. Let me know if it does so I can get one.Love the blue!! :-)

libo from China on October 20, 2007 12:25 PM

very excellent design! i want to know when i can buy one ,and where to buy,thank you Chirs.

good on January 3, 2008 4:27 AM


ohnoes on June 26, 2008 8:56 AM

“In an industry which can every so often become congested in imitation and unoriginality, it’s always refreshing to see a new design that is exceptionally innovative…”idea and basic design concept imitated from

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