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Carly Ayres

The Core77 Design Blog

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Posted by Carly Ayres  |  25 Jul 2014  |  Comments (1)

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On any given day, many Marines carry more than 15 pounds of batteries along with all their other rations and gear. Add that to the fact that they're mostly on their feet, constantly moving, and you have a recipe for fatigue. But what if you could harness the energy from their movements and the weight of that gear while also decreasing the amount of poundage these Marines have to heft? That was the idea that brought together Lockheed Martin and STC Footwear to design and develop a pair of boots that capture the energy from all those footsteps and turn it into usable power.

The Kinetic Boots were announced early last May at the Marine Corps' Experimental Forward Operating Base (ExFOB) event, where Marines demonstrated their ability to generate around three watts of power after an hourlong walk, enough to charge an iPhone 5 three times. This just a start—Lockheed Martin and STC anticipate that the boots' have the potential to generate nearly twice as much power after further development.

"There were two or three key challenges that we identified on day one," says Michel Bisson, CEO and Chairman of the Canada-based STC Footwear. "The main one was that we wanted to use only the wasted energy generated when the person walks or runs. It was very critical for us that no additional work be required by any part of the body (i.e. joint) other than carrying the two to three ounces that the system weighed." Lockheed had previously explored solar-power chest panels and helmets, but those devices added significant weight, and STC was determined to avoid that trap.

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Posted by Carly Ayres  |  18 Jul 2014  |  Comments (2)

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Walking through a vast museum filled with paintings and sculptures, you might be surprised learn that what you're seeing is, on average, only 2–4 percent of the museum's entire collection. The other 96–98 percent is tucked away in climate-controlled storage rooms deep beneath the museum or at off-site locations. Recently, the Dutch art historian and designer Maaike Roozenburg unveiled the first results of a project intended to give these hidden objects a new life, putting them in museumgoers' hands and helping people get back in touch with their heritage.

Roozenburg has spent years exploring museum archives, and about four years ago she started examining the possibilities of 3D scanning technology as a way to put out-of-reach museum objects back in the hands of everyday people. "These objects are meant to be used, not just exist in a museum," she explains. "I want to bring their existence, their soul, back. That's where my work as a designer comes in. I really wanted to make these objects accessible."

MaaikeRoozenburg-SmartReplicas-2.jpgA 17th-century teacup and saucer (left) and its 3D replica

MaaikeRoozenburg-SmartReplicas-4.jpgThe final porcelain replicas are enriched with an Augmented Reality overlay that can be viewed on a smartphone or tablet.

During one of her research trips to the Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, in Rotterdam, Roozenburg fell in love with a set of 17th-century glasses. "I just wanted to have them," she says. "They looked very modern somehow and I wanted to use them in my home." Unfortunately, the glasses were among the most fragile objects in the museum's collection, and not allowed to be touched.

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Posted by Carly Ayres  |  16 Jul 2014  |  Comments (0)

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Look up at the sky on even the clearest, most perfect summer night here in New York City and you might realize that something is missing. Sure, the moon hovers brightly above the skyline, but the stars are getting harder and harder to find. Just check out this Yahoo Answers thread from a girl growing up in Queens: The stars are gone and it's all your fault.

Maybe it's not entirely your fault, but the folks at Slow Factory want you to take a minute and take note of the light pollution taking place in some of the world's largest cities. With their latest series, "From Above," the silk scarf company aims to draw attention to the light pollution caused by manmade luminescence, the electric twinkle from dusk until dawn outshining the distant cosmological beacons of yore. The scarves feature satellite images of the U.S.A., New York, Paris and London at night, printed on silk to show the illuminated urban sprawl in all its glory.

Founded by Celine Semaan Vernon, Slow Factory is a company based in Brooklyn that prints satellite images taken by NASA onto silk scarves. After her family left their home in Beirut, Lebanon, Vernon was always on the move and found the stars to be a source of guidance and comfort. "Another reason why I began Slow Factory is because as I have grown up, I can see fewer and fewer stars in the sky," shares Vernon. "Considering that we traveled a lot and that I never really felt grounded or connected to a home, I felt the need to look at telescope and satellite images of the stars."

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Posted by Carly Ayres  |  11 Jul 2014  |  Comments (0)

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As the line between fine art and design becomes increasingly blurred, Ian Stell stands somewhere in the middle, crafting furniture that is just as much a feat of engineering as it is a work of art. I first stumbled upon the Brooklyn-based Stell when he presented a few pieces from his Pantograph Series at the Sight Unseen Offsite show during New York Design Week, and was so enraptured that I decided to dig a bit deeper in this column.

The Pantograph Series takes its name from the drawing tool, a mechanical copying device developed in 1603 for the scaling and copying of text and pictures. (Fun fact: Thomas Jefferson was known for making copies of his letters via a type of pantograph called the polygraph, which copied but didn't enlarge the original.) Stell became interested in the device last year while completing his MFA thesis in furniture from the Rhode Island School of Design. "I found something really fascinating about it, in that the core mechanism is a hinged parallelogram that can transmit motion in a very controlled way," Stell says. "The possibilities of how that can be used are limitless."

Stell was curious if the horizontal movement of the hinged parallelogram could also be transmitted vertically—specifically, down the leg of a table. Taking a leap of faith, he began to test his theory by prototyping, and soon found himself drilling a multitude of holes into bits of wood and hinging them together with pins.

IanStell-PantographSeries-2.jpgStell's Big Pivot is one of three new tables that transform when pulled—in this case, from a desk or dining table (top image) to a console (above).

IanStell-PantographSeries-3.jpgBig Pivot is made of more than 1,500 pieces of ebonized white oak.

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Posted by Carly Ayres  |   3 Jul 2014  |  Comments (0)

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Last April, we wrote about Logbar's Ring, a smart-jewelry concept that aims to provide gesture control of a host of smartphone apps (and that raised more than $880,000 dollars on Kickstarter). But Logbar is hardly the only company competing for this wearables niche. In June, Ringly announced a pre-sale for its own smartphone-connected ring, and hit its sales goal of $60,000 in just eight hours. Clearly, some people really want a smart ring.

Where Ring promises magic wand–style controls, Ringly is more about discreet notifications. The company's CEO, Christina Mercando, came up with the idea for the device after missing a series of important calls, messages and appointments. "I started asking around and noticing other women having similar problems," she says, "so I set out to create a solution that I was also proud to wear."

Through colleagues at her previous employer, the collective-intelligence startup Hunch, Mercando was introduced to Logan Munro, an MIT-educated engineer who became Ringly's co-founder. Together, they worked on creating a device that was, first and foremost, aesthetically pleasing. "The entire idea around Ringly was to create technology that was small and discreet and incorporate it into beautiful jewelry and accessories," Mercando says. "We wanted people to fall in love with the design first and then get excited about what it can do."

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