Real radio buttons

In the hotel we stayed during our snowboard trip there was a small night table next to the bed. It looked just like a regular table, but this piece of furniture had multiple buttons and a dial on it. It was a radio…

When I took a closer look I discovered that the buttons work as a channel selector (buttons 1-5). The buttons work like the radio buttons we use in a digital interface; if you press one, the other will reset, so there’s always only one selection activated at the same time. Of course, nothing new here, but it’s actually very neat to see an analog version of the digital form element.

Then I noticed that there is also an option to turn off the device by pressing the first button in the same row. This means that you either select a channel or you turn it off. The interface does not allow having a preset for you favourite channel; either you select a channel or turn the machine off. Sometimes this logic is applied with the volume button, where zero volume is actually turning the machine off.

Real radio buttons on the night table

You could “hack” the system by pressing an non-active button a little bit so the active buttons clicks and resets, but without selecting a new channel. The radio just kept on playing the channel it used to play, but I wonder what this option would do in a digital interface. Would that possibly reset a default selection? Is this “off-line” manipulation-pattern something we should include to our online Interaction?