When modern warplanes have missiles fired at them, they deploy flares or chaff to lead those missiles off-target. The magnesium-containing flares are designed to burn hotter than the airplane's exhaust, drawing heat-seeking missiles to the flare rather than the plane. Meanwhile the reflectiveness of chaff—typically small pieces of aluminum or reflective plastic—are meant to dazzle and confuse radar-guided missiles. This overly dramatic video of a Eurofighter Typhoon shows you how it's supposed to work (at least with flares):
Posted by core jr
| 23 Sep 2014
This is the latest installment of our Core77 Questionnaire. Previously, we talked to designer and design educator Josh Owen.
Name: Peter Marigold
Occupation: I'm a designer and maker of objects.
Current projects: For the London Design Festival, I did an exhibition at Gallery Libby Sellers, who I've worked with for a long time. I made a large series of tables with this kind of warped wooden texture. There's no wood in the exhibition, but it's called Wooden Tables.
I also recently completed a project for an organization called Workshop for Potential Design—I created a series of objects that are based on making the invisible visible. And I'm designing a doll's house interior as well. That's for an exhibition at the Museum of Childhood, who I've designed some furniture for in the past. They're doing an exhibition of contemporary dolls' houses, so I'm doing one of the rooms in a doll's house.
Mission: God, I don't know—I just kind of graduated into doing things; I don't have any kind of game plan at all. I just get up in the morning and start doing things. I've never been the sort of person that plans, really.
Two pieces from Marigold's Wooden Tables series, now on view at Gallery Libby Sellers in London
Above and below: furniture from Marigold's recent Wassamassaw series
When did you decide that you wanted to be a designer? I knew from when I was a little boy—like, three or four years old. I was really interested in buttons and switches and doors, in taking objects apart and putting them back together. I always wanted to be part of that object world. And I've finally ended up doing that. I've taken a lot of wrong turns along the way, but I've ended up doing that now.
Education: I studied sculpture at Central Saint Martins. I never really wanted to be an artist, but I got pushed into doing art, which was a bad wrong turn. So I ended up, finally, going back to the Royal College of Art and studying product design. But that was after lots of jobs in scenography and making props and models and costumes and things like that. So I've had quite a broad range of types of employment and experiences.
First design job: I've only ever tried to get one job in design. I went for a job at Thomas Heatherwick's, and they told me that I should go into advertising. It was crushing. So I gave up on that. I realized I'm pretty unemployable, so I just do this now.
Who is your design hero? Donald Judd. I find him amazingly pure in one way, because obviously he's doing these incredibly pure objects. But at the same time it's not clear-cut; they're very complex objects. And I like the fact that there's this kind of weird ambiguity in such simple things.
Marigold's Wooden Forms are plaster or metal vessels made using a single small piece of wood as a mold
In 2011, British tabloid The Daily Mail reported that "The last company left in the world that was still manufacturing typewriters...has shut down its production plant in Mumbai, India with just a few hundred machines left in stock." The tone of the article suggested that typewriters were no longer being made anywhere in the world, but this was an error; in fact Brother was manufacturing typewriters in the UK as late as 2012 before shutting it down.
Today a German company called Triumph-Adler is still making typewriters, but what's initially surprising—then not surprising after thinking about it—is who's buying them. An article last year from this Russian news website reported that after taking note of Wikileaks, Edward Snowden and allegations of even friendly governments spying on each other, the FSB (Russia's successor to the KGB) was placing an order for 486,000 Rubles (USD $12,500) for Triumph-Adler typewriters and ribbons. And the FSB isn't alone—the article claims multiple Russian agencies use typewriters.
The thinking here is twofold: Obviously you can't hack what's not on the internet, but the second benefit to using typewriters is that using forensics, documents can be traced back to specific machines, similar to how bullets can be matched to the guns that fired them.
What's fascinating is that, according to Germany's Der Spiegel, the wait time between placing an order and having the Chinese factory crank out the product is some five months. Kinda puts that iPhone 6 shipping delay in perspective.
This logic is not limited to Russia, of course. Germany's The Local reports that Diehl, a German defense manufacturer, has also switched over to keys and ribbons, and that the German market for typewriters is actually growing. Bandermann, the German company that distributes Triumph-Adler's machines, says they move 10,000 units a year, with business up one-third from the previous year; meanwhile competitor Olympia "expects to sell more typewriters this year than at any time in the last 20 years, with sales set to double in 2014."
The next trend that we're hoping for: People start limiting their naked selfies to Polaroids.
Posted by Hand-Eye Supply
| 23 Sep 2014
Tonight at the Hand-Eye Supply Curiosity Club, we talk metal! Artist and fabricator Jill Torberson brings us a user's guide to steel design.
6pm PT at the Hand-Eye Supply store, or streaming online!
23 NW 4th Ave.
I will talk about the structural integrity of steel, and how it allows the fabricator to create solid and visually interesting objects that appear delicate and light in form. This is a re-occuring theme in my steelwork, as I reject the idea that steel has to be heavy and massive in interpretation. I will also discuss my design influences.
Jill Torberson is an artist, educator, and musician from Portland, Oregon. Jill works in steel, creating custom ironwork for homes throughout the metro area. Aside from her gallery shows, Jill has several commissions involving custom steel fabrication for residences in the Portland area. She is a licensed contractor, and creates custom gates, trellises, fences, railings, fireplace mantels and screens, as well as site-specific art for both indoor and outdoor enjoyment. Public work includes commissions from Portland general Electric, The Maryhill Museum of Art, and most currently the Hoyt Arboretum in Washington Park. Jill is a musician, and plays the horn in several groups in Portland, including the Columbia Symphony Orchestra, the Portland Festival Symphony, and the Northwest Horn Orchestra. Jill serves an adjunct faculty member at Portland State University. She works in the School of Architecture, teaching metal shop skills to the students in the school of architecture.
Posted by core jr
| 23 Sep 2014
Advertorial content sponsored by PolyOne
PolyOne GLS Thermoplastic Elastomers has launched a contest to find the best ideas for its innovative shape memory technology. This patent-pending technology is a new class of stimuli-responsive materials that can change shape under thermal stimulus. After heating the polymer with a substance such as hot water, it can be formed into any shape, and it will hold its shape when cooled. The polymer can be reheated and reshaped multiple times. Check out the video to see this shape-changing technology in action.
The shape-memory polymer belongs to a class of polymers called thermoplastic elastomers (TPEs). TPEs are flexible, resilient materials that can be made in any color and a variety of textures. The polymers can range from hard to soft, and can be used in single or multi-component constructions. For example, some types of TPEs are popular for "soft touch" grips on everything from toothbrushes to hammers because the soft, textured polymer can be "overmolded" on top of a harder polymer. Learn more about the shape memory TPE's properties and how shape-memory technology works here.
So, how can this shape-memory TPE add value to existing applications? What new products could be made from it? PolyOne thinks it can be used to create user-customized, ergonomic enhancements to a variety of products in the sports, consumer and healthcare industries. Its shape-changing ability could allow users to tailor products to fit their specific needs. For example, an athlete can make a custom mouthguard by putting the warmed polymer into the mouth and shaping it to the teeth. Because the polymer can be reheated and reshaped, deformed parts can be easily repaired. Send PolyOne your best idea using the form on PolyOne's contest page. The deadline is October 31.
Posted by core jr
| 23 Sep 2014
Founded in 1987 by three engineers, SRAM became known in the cycling world for Grip Shift road bike shifters, the first ergonomic, indexing shift levers that easily allowed a rider to change gears without removing their hands from the handlebars. Easy-to-use and ultra-simple (they were made of just three parts where a typical shifter from Shimano was composed of nearly 30 pieces), Grip Shift established SRAM as a company that could innovate unique solutions to complex engineering design problems. Acquiring 100 year-old German manufacturer Sachs in 1990s allowed SRAM to broaden its immediate offerings to chains, derailleurs and ultra-complex internal hubs. It also gave SRAM the ability to develop and iterate new drivetrain products at a level that was not previously possible.
Multi-gear bicycle drivetrains have been around for over 125 years and, while there have been a steady stream of incremental improvements, there hadn't been major steps forward in decades. With gearing systems becoming more complicated as riders searched for more gears to tackle varied terrain, a simpler solution was needed.
SRAM's acquisition of Sachs and their massive development center in Schweinfurt, Germany, set the stage for drivetrain innovation, with Sachs' history of making simple and intuitive drivetrains for urban consumers. In fact, Sachs had some existing products that would prove instrumental in the development of a mountain bike drivetrain with just one ring. In 2010, working out of the old Sachs factory in Schweinfurt, Germany, a team of engineers led by American Chris Hilton began to develop the 1X system, inspired by modifications made by top professional cross-country racers.
Chris Hilton, External Drivetrain Product Manager
An integral part of the 1x system, the 11-speed X-DOME™ 10-42 tooth cassette delivers an incredibly wide gear range while maintaining even, optimized steps
SRAM's two-chainring system (2X10) was becoming wildly popular by 2010, replacing the established three-ring set up. Most component companies were offering a 10-speed rear cassette instead of a 9-speed which allowed a comparable gear range to the three-ring set up. However, elite cross-country professionals, always in search of the lightest solution possible, took things further by using only one ring in front. SRAM quickly took notice and set out to design a mountain bike component system like nothing the market had seen before. By assessing the needs of the athlete and building the new system from the ground up, the German engineering team wanted to design a dedicated 1X system that made vast improvements to what existed at the time.
Clockwise from top left: Frank Schmidt, Design engineering manager; Markus Klier, Test engineering manager; Andreas Benz, engineering team leader for rear derailleurs; Robert Boehm, senior design engineer for rear derailleurs; Thorsten Hamisch, senior industrial design engineer; Henrik Braedt, advanced development engineer, who realizes prototype ideas and designs before they become actual projects
Posted by Sam Dunne
| 23 Sep 2014
Design fair designjunction once again took over 120,000 sq. ft. of old warehouse space in central London, displaying all that is hot in furniture and object design with international brands, smaller cutting-edge labels and pop-up shops all getting in on the action.
With an unexpected twist on last year's format in MINI x Dezeen's take over of the entrance space, there was also of course plenty of the usual eye candy we've come to expect from this jewel in the London Design Festival crown across the three vast stories.
Fitting quite perfectly with the old industrial interior of the venue, design duo Soderlund Davidson took over a large portion of the ground floor with a clever never ending conveyor belt display for their ceramic creations.
Tom Hanks is a noted vintage typewriter fanatic who often bangs out thank-you notes on one of the machines in his collection. When he released the Hanx Writer—an iPad app that simulates old-school typing with sound and visuals, includes one free "model" and allows the user to purchase additional virtual models and ribbon colors—last month, many probably scoffed... but in four days it had shot to the top of the App Store with effusive reviews.
"Hanx Writer is beautiful, aesthetically pleasing app that fulfills its mission of bringing a certain level of pleasure back to the writing experience," wrote one reviewer. "I've been sitting here typing in the new Hanx app wondering why I find this so delightful," wrote another. "I can't help it, I just do."
It may sound silly, until you see it in action and understand the allure:
Posted by Kat Bauman
| 22 Sep 2014
Weird Crap On Kickstarter can be a pretty depressing beat, but sometimes the odd and terrible offerings can give us opportunities to reflect, to learn, and to better ourselves. Today I present the case of Seatylock: yet another bike lock/bike seat hybrid. This thing addresses a few common complaints about riding in urban areas, namely that it's important to use a strong lock yet irritating to have to bring a strong lock around with you. Additionally, seats are easy to steal with nothing but a crescent or allen wrench. And so, in the age-old tradition of trying to solve too many problems with too little innovation, we get Seatylock. It's a chunky, quick-releasing seat where the attachment rails fold out as a 3-foot folding bar lock.
Yes, it's a neat package. But, obviously, your humble hate-filled author takes issue with several of these "features":
- Two-sizes-fits all approach to ergonomics? Check.
- Dubious attachment mechanism? Check.
- Proprietary parts? Check.
- Questionably tested claims about security? Check.
- Seat that bolts on and off with an allen wrench anyway? Check!
- And colors? Ch-ch-check.
Posted by erika rae
| 22 Sep 2014
With all of the culture available to NYers, it might have been easy to miss the massive Picasso original that's been hanging in what is now the Four Seasons restaurant (in the Seagram Building) on Park Avenue since 1959. That being said, there are plenty of locals and tourists alike who wait hours to have the chance to see one of the area's many hidden art gems. "Le Tricorne"—a depiction of a bullfighting scene—is a 19’ × 20’ canvas, originally painted in 1919 and used as a stage curtain for the Ballets Russes. At the time, his wife Olga was a ballerina in the troupe.
The real question here is, why is it being moved at all? It turns out that Aby J. Rosen, owner of the Seagram Building, doesn't want the piece up in the space anymore and wants more room for "other art"—I'd be interested to know what he will find worthy of replacing a Picasso. This didn't really present much of an issue, considering that Rosen doesn't even own the piece. That honor goes to the New York Landmarks Conservancy.
The handlers in charge of moving the piece had no idea as to how or what was keeping the art attached to the wall, making for an adventurous and relatively risky removal process. The New York Times recently put together a fantastic look at how "Le Tricorne" was analyzed and moved from the area: