In my high school days, the threat of moving earth for a living was meant to keep us in line. "If you don't hit the books, you'll be digging ditches," the teachers warned.
Digging ditches might suck, but what they didn't tell us was that mowing ditches would be awesome. Because then you'd get to work machines like this beastly Claas Xerion 3300 VC Octopus Ditch Bank Mower.
"How ya like me now, Mr. Peterson?"
Operated by Holland-based agricultural contracting firm Hack Harvest, this Dutch ditch monster boasts four mowing booms built from machinery firm Herder's Grenadier tool-carrying arms. And judging by the video, this thing's no cinch to drive, as the operator must set up all four booms independently:
Looking at Dino Ignacio's work made me start thinking about fantasy-based UI design. The first time I really became aware of motion graphics cooking up digital UI's was probably way back during Minority Report or one of the Matrix movies. Being over ten years ago, you can see how primitive it looks now:
It's obvious the operator isn't really doing anything, unless there's some value to aimlessly moving an on-screen tile back and forth. But the first time I saw it, it was fairly mind-blowing, monochromatic though it was.
Fast-forward to today and sci-fi movie UI is nothing short of jawdropping.
In the theatre we see it flash across the screen in too-short instances that never give us the time to appreciate them. But thankfully the motion graphics houses that create them turn them into "sizzle reels" readily found on YouTube and Vimeo, where we can freeze-frame them and pore over them at will. Here's Territory Studio's stunningly beautiful Guardians of the Galaxy interfaces:
One more from mathematical madman maker John Edmark, this one on the furniture front. Practical? No; but his Four-Legged Chair has to be the most creative two-person bench I've ever seen:
Six simple pieces of wood. But you just know that if a design student came up with this and presented it at crit, their accompanying thesis would weigh more than the piece itself and be filled with heavy-handed metaphors: "We ARE our furniture," "We SUPPORT each other," "We INTERACT with furniture when we truly FACE each other," et cetera.
Posted by Anki Delfmann
| 26 Jan 2015
Corinna Sy and Sebastian Daeschle from cucula
Every January, the international furniture and interiors show IMM Cologne covers a vast area of exhibition space along the Rhine with more than 1,200 exhibitors showing their work to over 120,000 visitors. While parts of the show can become a little monotonous after looking at the umpteenth copper light shade, faux-vintage table or stylized bathtub, the Pure Talents group in Hall 1 is a collection of exciting ideas by schools and young designers.
This year's outstanding projects represented a broad range of design innovation—explorations of new ways of construction or materiality, applying design processes for social change, or reinterpreting the user experience of neglected everyday objects—work that reached beyond the idea of furniture as detached glossy object.
A beautiful design-led approach to help refugees help themselves comes from cucula, above, in Berlin. Corinna Sy and Sebastian Daeschle have launched this pilot project together with five young refugees from West Africa. Having survived the dangerous journey from their home countries, refugees arriving in Germany without residence or work permits are often forced into passivity. Cucula aims to build the foundation for self-determined living. Rather than a process to be 'administered,' it is an association, a workshop and an educational program all rolled into one. The refugees all become part of a group, all learn German, and all learn to build furniture;mdash;not only for themselves but also to sell and in turn, finance the program.
They are currently building the 'DIY' furniture program 'Autoprogettazione' by Enzo Mari, who has granted cucula the design rights. The furniture also works as a memorial to the origin of the project, telling the stories of the refugees by partly reusing materials from the boats they came to Europe on. Cucula has just finished one of the biggest crowdfunding drives to ever take place on the German platform startnext, raising a whopping 123,000 Euros.
Our favorite school exhibition this year also came from the German capital. Universitaet der Kuenste Berlin (UDK) presented 15 final projects from the product design faculty.
Fynn Freyschmidt has developed a 'pneumatic knit' for his material project On Air. When inflated, the loops compress and cause the structure to harden. Chapeau, above, shows a possible application of the material for bike helmets. When not in use, the helmet can be deflated for easy transportation.
While L. Young has four albums out and a host of TV music credits, the Kentucky-based R&B singer has been toiling in relative obscurity for years. But 10 months ago he began playing around with an iPhone app (we've not been able to find out which) that records multiple takes of him singing different parts of the same song, then strings them all together into a single split-screen video for upload to social media. Though he's the only member of this "band," he attributed the subsequent videos—primarily covers of R&B classics—to "L. Young & Da Youngstaz" in a nod to his on-screen clones.
The videos were modest hits, with the least-viewed barely cracking 15,000 views and one just squeaking past 100,000. But last week he quietly posted this one, covering "Uptown Funk," Mark Ronson's collaboration with Bruno Mars:
At press time the YouTube version only had 166,000 hits. But uploading the same video to his Facebook account racked up 1.8 million in less than a week.
Posted by core jr
| 26 Jan 2015
A 3D printed umbilical cord clamp, co-created with medical workers in Haiti
By Danielle Perretty
Haiti is both a land of beauty and a land of suffering. Among the awe-inspiring mountain views and coastal areas, eroded lands and deforestation are abundant. Five years after the devastating earthquake, a slow reconstruction continues. The capital, Port-au-Prince, is a city pulsing with a lively energy but the citizens there also face difficult barriers for improvement. The World Bank estimates that 59% live under the national poverty line of just $2.44 per day and 24% under $1.24 dollar per day. The majority of people lack adequate shelter, clean water and access to health care.
Recently, I witnessed some of these contrasts while collaborating with the nonprofit, Field Ready. They provide humanitarian aid by using technology and education as a vehicle to transform logistical supply chains. The team of aid workers, designers and technologists are bringing 3D printing to the healthcare space for developing countries. Eric James, a co-founder of Field Ready, explains "3D printing offers a lot of flexibility and this will only improve in the future. And the future is what we're working on now."
As the cost of 3D printing continues to go down and usage goes up, collaborative design initiatives are empowering people to overcome low socio-economic environments and also enabling new ways to provide humanitarian aid. The growth in 3D printing has also encouraged an exploration of new materials and applications. This inspired Field Ready to begin recycling ABS and to investigate how to recycle other polymers with the goal of turning plastic waste into filament.
Mark Mellors shows a UPMini Printer to Johnson and Willio of iLab Haiti in Port-Au-Prince
By co-creating with medical workers in Haiti, Field Ready identified medical tools and parts that could be 3D printed to meet localized demand. One example is the umbilical cord clamp. Many traditional birthing attendants are women living in villages without easy access to healthcare and medical supplies. Given the lack of sterile tools and training, newborns may suffer from a high rate of infections or postnatal umbilical sepsis. Typically, birthing attendants will use what is available to them—ranging from shoelaces to the improper use of a sterile string. Even when using a hygienic cord, the risks are high from improper use—either tying too tight and severing the cord, or tying too loose and causing hemorrhaging. Clamps, on the other hand, have a precision grip and clamp, leaving no guesswork for birthing attendants.
Posted by Coroflot
| 26 Jan 2015
OXO was founded in 1990 with the introduction of 15 OXO Good Grips kitchen tools. It has since grown to over 850 products, including cooking, storage, cleaning, office and organization tools. A philosophy of making products that are usable by as many people as possible is what drives OXO, and they're seeking the same passion in their next Product Engineer.
As a Product Engineer, it is your job to be the owner of all technical aspects of a project from conception through mass production. This means you will perform a variety of tasks that are necessary to bring an idea that starts as a sketch to life, so every day is different. You will have the opportunity to work with several top industrial designers as well as cutting edge manufacturing partners in Asia. Don't let this opportunity pass you by - Apply Now.
Our entries on the types of wood used for boardwalks might have you wondering: What types of wood are more durable than others?
You may recall that in our wood series, we went over the Janka hardness ratings of wood. But when it comes to durability, Janka numbers only tell part of the tale; the hardness rating of a wood has to do with its ability to resist nicks and scratches, and gives you a heads-up on what types of blades you'll need to machine it.
Outdoor durability, on the other hand, has a slightly different scope. Even though wood used in building boardwalks or houses is almost always elevated off of wet soil on concrete pilings, there are other environmental factors the material has to deal with. For one thing, moisture—whether from rain or in the case of boardwalks, sea spray—and the fungi this can bring. On top of that you've got UV rays, temperature changes and pesky insects. Working in concert, this group of difficulties can impact how long a piece of wood can last and continue to serve its function.
While you can find tons of Janka breakdowns online, we couldn't find many charts that specifically linked wood types with durability. So here's one from Woodworkers UK, a Welsh outfit that makes wooden gates and garage doors—items that are meant to withstand the elements for as long as possible. (Graphically speaking, the layout of the chart is a bit confusing, particularly since we had to edit the image to fit our format, but at least all of the info's there.)
Posted by Carly Ayres
| 23 Jan 2015
When Microsoft approached Azusa Murakami and Alexander Groves last November, offering to partner with them to realize a project of their dreams, it probably goes without saying that the duo jumped at the opportunity. Murakami, an architect, and Groves, an artist, make up the London-based studio SWINE (short for Super Wide Interdisciplinary New Explorers), and they were given only one requirement by Microsoft: to use its Surface Pro 3, a 12-inch, all-in-one tablet meant to compete with laptops currently on the market.
SWINE typically focuses on what Murakami and Groves describe as "luxury artisanship," with projects that are often handcrafted using a range of production techniques and innovative material applications. (You may have seen SWINE's Hair Highway, which uses hair to create a series of vessels, when it made the rounds of the design blogs a few months back.) With the Microsoft-sponsored project, the duo wanted to push things in a new direction. "We aren't a very tech studio," Groves says. "So we embraced the opportunity to do a lot of tech things, such as 3D scanning, modeling and CNC milling."
Murakami and Groves had been closely following the recent NASA mission to place the Philae lander on comet 67P. "It was such a plucky and inspiring mission," Grove says. "We really wanted to celebrate that incredible feat in some way." In addition, he notes, the studio had "always wanted to make heels." Those two desires came together with the Meteorite Shoes, a pair of high heels that, as Groves describes them, "capture the look and sensation of large rocks suspended in zero gravity."
Top and above photos by Petr Krejci
Groves first called up a geologist he knew at London's Natural History Museum, pumping him for everything he knew about meteorites. The designer then made a trip to the vaults deep beneath the museum to see what is widely considered the best meteorite collection in the world. "We put together a proposal and had just three weeks to do the research, design, find the fabricators and make the project," Groves says. "It was like D-Day. There was no time for a prototype." For the material, they settled on aluminum foam, typically reserved for industrial processes such as energy absorption and compression beams in luxury cars—but perfect for its ability, Groves says, to form "bulky, rock-like irregular forms and be incredibly light and strong."
You've seen John Edmark's trippy Fibonacci Zoetrope Sculptures, which bring animation to 3D-printed pieces via a turntable. For those of you who've read up on multicreative, multi-hyphenate Edmark's background, it'll come as no surprise that he's got more tricks up his sleeve than those. Check out other examples of his "playable art," this time made with a laser cutter:
That's the Helicone, which is now carried by the MoMA Store and the Guggenheim.
Maybe one day, someone will make a spiral staircase that unfurls on-site like Edmark's Nautilus Column: