Posted by Teshia Treuhaft
| 22 Dec 2014
Chances are if you're a designer, artist, musician or use a computer daily, you have encountered that fateful moment when your mouse keeps you from making that perfect color selection or nudging a layer into exact position with Photoshop. While most computer aided drawing and modeling programs account for clumsy hardware (thanks magnetic lasso), isn't it about time we demanded better hardware? The fact is—from fancy Wacom tablets to every incarnation of touch screen and foldable keyboards—UI tools still fall into the uninspired categories of keyboard, tablet and mouse.
Recently however, the Y Combinator alumni and Berlin-based startup Senic has tackled this exact issue of high precision interface with their wireless device aptly named 'Flow.' The freely programmable controller is not only compatible with most computer based applications but also has potential integrations for connected home objects and even Internet enabled microprocessors.
The sleek aluminum, stainless steal and polycarbonate casing pays not-to-subtle homage to Dieter Rams-ian simplicity. At just under 2.75 inches, Flow boasts 360 degree angular positioning, capacitive touch and infrared-based hand gesture recognition. Additionally, with 3,600 values in just one rotation of Flow, exact manipulation of brush sizes, color selection and anything else is right at your fingertips.
The four co-founders represent a broad skill set and media prowess enviable to most start-ups launching a crowdfunding campaign. We caught up with CEO Tobias Eichenwald to discuss the campaign, the frustration that gave birth to Flow and the future of UI.
C77: How did Senic start? What first put you on the path to designing a tool like Flow?
Tobias Eichenwald: We're three friends and co-founders from Germany and we use digital tools like Photoshop, Illustrator, Premiere, Rhino or Eagle on a daily basis. We need to be fast and we need to be good at what we do. Browsing through menus and pulling a fake slider with a mouse didn't feel that way. Existing interfaces don't give us the pixel-precision we need; they are time consuming and interrupt our workflow.
We found similar problems in other fields like controlling our connected devices for example. We grew up with the assumption that you turn on a light by hitting a big white button on the wall without thinking about it. Now that smart devices are replacing traditional devices and the market for connected homes is exploding, we are expected to browse through apps and spend time waiting in a hallway, just to turn on a light.
Posted by core jr
| 22 Dec 2014
Fish or foul? Check out #14 from our Top Design Stories of 2014.
As we wind down the year and settle into the holiday cheer of family gatherings, movie marathons and an unending parade of sweets, here's a look back on 2014 from your friends at Core77. Over the next two weeks we'll be rounding up our favorite stories from the past year and revisiting the ideas and innovations that have captured our imagination.
It's been an exciting year of the big and small—from the publication of our first book, Designing Here/Now to the publication of our first newspaper, the Design Daily for New York Design Week. And who could forget the Core77 Conference? With speakers like Carla Diana, Michael DiTullo, Casey Neistat and Jordan Brandt, (watch their presentations here!) 2014's Object Culture conference provided a snapshot of the changing shape of product design and an opportunity to connect with familiar faces and meet new friends.
We've had a tremendous year at Core77 and can't wait to share another year with you. But before we get too ahead of ourselves, here's some required reading—a roundup of our top 15 stories to read before 2015.
* * *
15. Dungeons, Dragons & Design: Geek Chic's Gorgeous Gaming Tables
14. California Oil Spill Turns out to be A Massive Amount of Fish
13. Knee Defender: Industrial Design Gone Awry? [Editorial Note: Although this post was originally published in 2013, the product became a news story in 2014 when a plane was grounded due to an altercation involving the Knee Defender]
12. Getting Hired: How to Score a Job at Google X
11. How Adding Bike Lanes Actually Improve the Flow of Car Traffic
Posted by core jr
| 22 Dec 2014
Advertorial content sponsored by Post-it Brand
Let's admit: designers' minds work in mysterious ways. As fluid as the design process claims to be, it's most often a product of mismatched thoughts, tangential scribbles, and, in my case, Post-it Notes. However, the job of organizing those thoughts—whether for a client brief or personal sanity—causes a headache that most of us would rather avoid.
Post-it Plus, a new app from Post-it Brand, is designed to digitally catalog the brainstorming process. After covering a surface with Post-it Notes full of ideas, users snap a photo of the mess and the app visually recognizes each note. A green check mark means the Post-it Note has been recognized and captured; those not recognized can be enlarged for greater visibility.
While optical recognition is nothing new (a 3M-supported Evernote app released last year has similar recognition technology), the Post-it Plus App has organizational abilities to distinguish it as a useful tool for design teams. Captured Post-it Notes snap onto project- or topic-specific virtual whiteboards, and different users can combine their boards, allowing for team collaboration. Finished boards can be shared via text, email, and social media, or exported to PDF, Powerpoint, and Excel.
By applying grid-based whiteboards and document export capabilities, Post-it Plus accomplishes what many designers have struggled to do: make the ideation process look professional. In a field where some of the best work starts on coffee napkins or paper stuck to a wall, Post-it Plus provides a polished format to support a design decision, particularly to clients who are unfamiliar with brainstorming's background mess. That clarity in presentation can make or break the brief—especially if your brief, like most of mine, began as a piecemeal of scrawls, asides and coffee.
Post-it Plus is a free universal iOS app. Download it here, and then get back to scribbling.
The holiday season is when we start seeing some wacky promotional products, and this first one's a cake-taker. Johnnie Walker partnered up with shoemaking outfit Oliver Sweeney to produce these Leather Brogues. And yes, what you're seeing is real: The $489 kicks come with hollow compartments in the heel for the wearer to stash airplane-sized booze bottles.
Moving up from the feet towards the top of the body, the manufacturer of the Whisker Dam figures their drink-topping gewgaw will solve a pressing problem for the mustachioed. This "handcrafted to perfection" piece of copper, "dressed with a timeless patina," is meant to protect your moustache from beer foam. H.I.A.H.
And finally, YouTube tippler The Drunken Woodworker shows you how to make a candle holder. I mean, you tell your spouse and in-laws that it's a candle holder, but we all know the thing is for serving whiskey flights:
Posted by Carly Ayres
| 19 Dec 2014
When Micah Baclig embarked on his senior degree project at the Rhode Island School of Design last year, he wanted to create an object that spoke to the ideals of our modern society. "We are a more globalized community with almost instant access to unprecedented amounts of information," Baclig says. "We are constantly striving to do more, learn more and experience more of this life around us." So he created...a spork.
Specifically, Baclig created a compact aluminum spork that he has dubbed Kuma, and which he is now funding on Kickstarter in an effort to do a production run for next year. (As of press time, he had raised more than 80 percent of his $18,000 goal.) But wait—why exactly does today's globalized, information-soaked society need a reusable aluminum spork?
Kuma is the result of Baclig's insatiable curiosity and fascination with eating utensils—their history, how they work and what cultures created them. "From forks to chopsticks to even our own hands, what we eat with says something about who we are and where we came from," Baclig says. "Growing up in Hawaii with multi-ethnic parents, I constantly experienced this dynamic between food, utensils and culture. I fondly remember the times at the dinner table when my father, a first-generation immigrant from the Philippines, would put down his utensils to eat a meal he particularly enjoyed with his hands."
For his degree project, Baclig focused his interest on eating tools that were both multifunctional and portable, which immediately brings to mind the spork. "In trying to be both a fork and spoon the spork is neither, which for some reason fascinates me," he says. "I also appreciate the spork's subtext of trying to achieve an ideal functionality."
Posted by Hand-Eye Supply
| 19 Dec 2014
These beautiful and affordable chefs' knives are hot off the presses in Tosa, Japan and ready to head straight into the hot mess of your kitchen. Great for both beginners and cooks with an eye for quality, their hand forged blades ideally blend toughness with incredibly sharp accuracy. High carbon steel (hagane) on the inside, forged to hammered iron (jigane) for tensile strength on the outside, with a simple handle that will gain patina with use. The Nakiri is a perfect prep knife for careful chopping, its double bevel and square shape comfortable for controlling large broad cuts and general vegetable business. The Funayuki is a deft single-bevelled all-purpose knife that shows particular strength in precise cuts, fillets, skinning and peeling. Combine their powers and the world gets more delicious. $40-$48 at Hand-Eye Supply!
We've seen the design approaches taken by Jupe and Fletcher to create a circular expanding table. Now let's take a look at the more common table form factor, the rectangle, and some different approaches used to make it expandable.
The first question a designer's got to answer is, where do the leaves go? Are they stored integrally, in Fletcher-like fashion, or meant to be stowed externally, a la Jupe? Resource Furniture's Goliath table takes the latter approach. And while it may seem cumbersome to remove each panel manually and find a place to store them, this is offset by two benefits: The table shrinks down to an almost absurdly small size, offering unmatched space saving, and the length can be customized rather than locking the user into predetermined end lengths.
Scott Stowell's Design for People was one of our Gift Guide picks this year, by way of Etsy Creative Director Randy Hunt. But we've gotta plug it again because it's in danger of not happening.
To refresh your memory, Design for People is a book by Scott Stowell, founder of design consultancy Open. The purpose of the book is to "[tell] the stories of our biggest projects through interviews with clients, consultants, designers, interns, vendors—and regular people who use the stuff we make, including my Mom and Dad (and maybe you!)," Stowell writes. "If you like to get into the details of how things work, Design for People is for you." The book also features the contributions of Core77 veterans Emily Pilloton, Bryn Smith and Alissa Walker.
Stowell has opted to self-publish, and the book is currently on Kickstarter. Here's the thing: It's short of its target with $44,000 pledged towards a $50,000 goal, and there's only three days left to pledge. The book is close, and just needs that final push!
Have a look at the trailer and see if it doesn't tickle your fancy:
Fancy tickled? Then get in there and pledge!
It's time again for Hankook Tire's biennial design school team-up, where they task ID students with developing futuristic tire concepts. Last time 'round they paired up with Cincinnati's DAAP, and this year they're at Germany's University of Design, Engineering and Business in Pforzheim. And once again, not only did the students did not disappoint, but pulled off some real socks-knockers!
The central trend is to stop looking at the tire as a rubber cladding for a wheel, and to think of it instead as something that works together with an actively transforming wheel to create some ker-azy functionality. Now maybe I'm biased because I know ID students were involved, but the following video showing the three winning concepts in action is more exciting than any action movie trailer you'll see:
Posted by Sam Dunne
| 19 Dec 2014
This post includes photos and an excerpt from the photoessay Christmas, Handmade in China originally published by Make Works. Make Works is an organization based in Scotland championing local manufacturing by making it easier for designers to work with manufacturers and makers. Photos and the original article are by designer Gemma Lord, documenting her experience on as part of the expedition program of Unknown Fields—a nomadic design studio exploring behind the scenes of the modern world, visiting manufacturing landscapes, mines and infrastructural fields.
It's the most gallingly consumeristic time of year, and (for anyone with even the slightest understanding of modern day globalized production and manufacturing) it takes, I'd suggest, a feat of remarkable mental strength and endurance to block out the social and ecological impact of season (squirming uncomfortably in the back of our minds) and actually enjoy it. Fortunately for us, a lot of the new objects appearing in our stores—santa hats and the latest plastic kids toys dropping like some Christmas bloody miracle every year without fail—shield our innocence and let us get on with the admittedly important task of celebrating with our loved ones.
On a mission to shine a light on the realities of global manufacturing practices and make a path for new forms of localized production, Make Works have recently published a photo-essay by designer Gemma Lord documenting her experiences as part of an Unknown Fields expedition project, posing as a European buyer inside a Christmas 'decorations' factory (of course, during the height of summer in advance of the season) supplying vast quantities of jolly tat to the Western world. As well as a fascinating look behind the scenes with some stunning photography, the piece is a much needed reminder of the impacts of Christmas consumer behavior. Whilst the conditions might not look too appalling (grim, definitely, but not the worst by a long stretch), perhaps the most troublesome thought that these pictures provoke, is that so much human life is spent dedicated to the production of something so trivial, to be shipped half way round the world and in landfill by New Year's.
Imagine a Poundland store so enormous that it takes two whole days to walk from one end to the other. Even then, you'll have missed an aisle or two. Well this is Yiwu International Trade Market. Covering over 4 million square metres it is the "largest small commodity wholesale market in the world."