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Posted by core jr  |   6 Sep 2013  |  Comments (3)


Text & images courtesy of Zach Kaplan / Inventables

This year at the IDSA International Conference, Inventables teamed up with Computer Aided Technologies, Stratasys, Models Plus and the 3D Printer Experience to hold a pinewood 3D-printed derby contest, Launch Day. Back in July, we made an open call to any designer in the world to create a car that used pinewood derby wheels, a ball bearing, and would be launched off of a ski jump style track. Entries would be judged on three criteria: best flight (farthest distance), best crash, and best looks. Each of these three winners would win an Up Mini 3D printer from Inventables.

Over 100 designers from all over the world submitted cars. It was difficult to narrow it down, but Paul Hatch, founder of TEAMS Design and conference chair, and I narrowed it down to the ten cars we thought would be most likely to win in each of these three categories. The cars were then printed by Stratasys, Computer Aided Technologies, Kalidescope and The 3D Printer Experience. Finally, Models Plus built the track that the cars would race down to their destruction.


With the ten cars printed and on display before the 1,000 designers who attended the conference, the excitement for the race was building. For those of you who missed it or attendees who want to relive the experience, we had six cameras capturing the action, including a slow motion camera to grab the crashes. Check it out:

See more on the event on the Inventables blog.

Posted by Ray  |   2 Sep 2013  |  Comments (1)


This is the second of two posts on the INDEX: Design to Improve Life 2013 Awards program. See the previous post on the 59 Finalists here.

This past Thursday, we had the opportunity to attend the announcement of the winners of the INDEX Awards, recognizing "Design to Improve Life." Once again, the esteemed jury of the INDEX awards selected five winners (from the 59 finalists) to receive prizes of €100,000 each, albeit with a different tack than in previous years. Not only did the organization introduce a new 'telecast' format for the fifth edition of the biennial event, but they held the festivities in a handful seaside venues in Elsinore, Denmark, about 45km north of Copenhagen for the first time. Following a VIP cocktail reception at the Kronborg castle, historic site of Shakespeare's Hamlet (where one speaker attempted an ill-advised riff on "To be or not to be"), attendees took their seats at the adjacent Culture Yard for the live announcement. The massive, hangar-like space was a Siemens factory as recently as three months ago, and the raw space offered a nice contrast to the slick movie set feel of the production itself. All told, the fast-paced and tightly-scripted presentation was a welcome change from the plodding ceremonies of the past, and the threat of rain cleared up for the warm reception afterward.


The winning entries themselves are stronger than ever, not least for the fact that several of them have already made an appreciable impact in the real world, demonstrating the potential of design to improve life. Drum roll please...


Copenhagen Adaptation Plan

Along with execs from the INDEX Awards, Lord Mayor Frank Jensen made a few introductory remarks at the press conference, welcoming us to the lovely city of Copenhagen, only to return to the stage just a few moments later to accept one of the top prizes for the Copenhagen Adaptation Plan. Although the city has been considering plans to explore new models of urbanism for over a decade now, the crippling floods of 2011 sparked a renewed effort to create the city of the future.

And while the fact that the city is host to the awards—founded as a private initiative, INDEX now has government support—the Copenhagen Adaptation Plan is impressive both for its scope and the fact that it's on track to meet ambitious deadlines within the next few years and decades.




Posted by Ray  |   2 Sep 2013  |  Comments (0)


It's a common refrain: ambitious designers develop brilliant, potentially world-changing solutions to the large-scale problems... which never leave the poster presentation or PDF precisely because they're simply too far-reaching. Even when researched and developed to a degree of realizable specificity, few designers have the resources or network to actually execute their vision, and investors are more inclined to support the likes of, say, Rap Genius, as opposed to a water filtration system for the developing world, which may never see any kind of quantitative ROI.

Yet social problems such as lack of food and water beleaguer the everyday lives of billions, and (perhaps more insidiously) environmental issues haunt our existence with no ostensible consequences... until a 100-year storm ravages a city or nation.

The organization also partnered with CNN to produce video 'vignettes' on each project

Thus, the INDEX Design Awards represents a new definition of design that is at once broader and more nuanced: moving beyond beautiful objects towards the intent to "improve life." The very premise of the award is that it might ultimately render itself obsolete—that humankind might eventually prevail over the various humanitarian crises that we face today, that we might achieve ecological homeostasis, that we might reach a point where there is nothing left to improve.

If it seems like a grand vision for what design could or should be, the organization is putting its money where its mouth is, with a total of €500,000 in prize money, as well as new initiatives to connect 'designpreneurs' with business training and savvy investors. And if the notion of "improving life" seems like too broad a directive, each of the finalists of the fifth edition of the biennial celebration of design offers a concrete solution to a remarkably broad range of issues.


The jury team winnowed the field of over 1,000 entrants down to 59 finalists, which can be viewed on the site (we'll have more on the five winners shortly). We've covered several of them before, but the INDEX Awards were a nice occasion to catch up with the likes of Massoud Hassani, who mentioned that his team is working on a new version of his much-lauded Mine Kafon; Dong-Ping Wong and Archie Lee Coates IV are hoping to launch the + Pool test tank in the East River next summer; and Scott Summit of Core77 Design Award-winner Bespoke Innovations, who mentioned that they'd actually started collaborating with another finalist, Ekso Bionics, just before we'd suggested that they work together in our write-up of the latter. We were also glad to see several previously-covered projects in the mix, including hydrogel, the Nest, Rabalder Parken, Skillshare and Wilmington Robotic Exoskeleton.


Posted by core jr  |  22 Aug 2013  |  Comments (0)


Insofar as the so-called Internet of Things is increasingly regarded as, well, a real thing, the tech and design communities alike have found common ground in pioneering and speculating as to just what those Things might be and how they might work. We've seen a fair share of them—from concept to prototype to final product—but it remains to be seen as to whether, say, Google Glass will see the widespread adoption.

Nevertheless, the connected devices represent the future of technology, and digital agency R/GA recently announced a partnership with startup accelerator Techstars to lead the way: "The R/GA Connected Devices Accelerator is a three-month, immersive, mentor-driven program for ten tech startups. Show us how you combine hardware, data, digital services, and innovative design—anything that adds to the ever-growing Internet of Things—and your company could go from startup to success story."

For three months starting in early December, R/GA will host the startups at their NYC offices, where the teams will have access to dozens of mentors, as well as up to $120K in funding. The deadline to apply for the Connected Devices accelerator is October 11, and the program will culminate with the presentation of the projects at SXSWi 2014. More details are available at

Hat-tip to Tech Crunch

Posted by core jr  |  22 Aug 2013  |  Comments (0)


With the cost of bandwidth ever in decline, the likes of Twitter and Instagram have been able to introduce moving images as well as still ones. It's too soon to determine Vine's destiny in the crowded social network space (pun intended), but the Twitter spinoff certainly has potential—and the folks at Airbnb are looking to make the most of it with an ambitious project called Hollywood and Vines. "Help shoot a first-of-its-kind short film made entirely of Vine videos. If your Vine is selected it will be featured on the Sundance Channel and you'll receive a $100 Airbnb coupon."

The team at Airbnb will be calling the shots starting right now, at 8am PT, releasing instructions every hour until 5pm—ten per day—for four days straight (through Sunday, August 27). There is a 48 hour window for submissions for each set of instructions, and they will be judged based on several weighted criteria: Originality & Creativity (40%), Compliance with Instructions (40%) and Video Quality & Clarity (20%). In addition to inclusion in the final film, each of the 40 winners will receive a $100 Airbnb coupon.

We had the chance to speak to Airbnb's Vivek Wagle about their metaphorical journey:

Core77: Let's start from the beginning—how did this project come about?

Originally, we were looking for interesting ways to galvanize our Los Angeles community around the "spirit of Airbnb"—that is, creating amazing experiences and stories through sharing. When we landed on the idea of Hollywood & Vines, we realized that we could create a much bigger, more beautiful story if we invited our global community rather than just Angelenos. We realized that this was something that had never been attempted: not an ad, but a true work of art. It was a chance to use a new form of technology to explore the boundaries of collaborative creation. And we loved the poetry of linking the history of filmmaking (Hollywood) with the future of filmmaking (Vine).


Posted by Ray  |  12 Jul 2013  |  Comments (0)


In what we'd say is a particularly big coincidence, news of two noteworthy technological feats, both named "Atlas," hit the web yesterday: aerospace startup Aerovelo won the Sikorsky Prize with an aptly-named quadcopter, and DARPA officially unveiled a humanoid robot of the same name... within 500 miles of each other, in Toronto and Waltham, MA, respectively. Seeing as each breakthrough is worth a detailed investigation of its own, we'll refer you to Popular Mechanics and the New York Times for the full scoop on each story, but here's a quick rundown on just what humans have achieved this week.

On Thursday, July 12, the Aerovelo team, led by engineers and co-founders Cameron Robertson and Todd Reichert, claimed the Igor I. Sikorsky Human Powered Helicopter [HPH] Competition, 33 years after it was established in 1980, one hundred years after Sikorsky successfully designed, built and piloted the world's first four-engine fixed-wing aircraft (he passed away in 1972; his namesake prize is administered by American Helicopter Society International). Piloted by Reichert, the Atlas met or surpassed the three criteria for the prize: the craft must hover at least three meters above the ground in a horizontal area no larger than ten square meters for at least 60 seconds. Per PopMech:

[The prize-winning flight,] which lasted 64 seconds and reached a maximum altitude of 3.3 meters... came at the very end of five days of test flights [at an indoor soccer stadium near Toronto], after which the space would no longer be available. On two earlier flights, Reichert pilot [sic] the craft, called Atlas, to heights of 2 meters and 2.5 meters. With just minutes remaining before the team was scheduled to vacate the stadium to make way for an evening soccer practice, Reichert managed to squeeze in one last flight. Within 10 seconds a horn sounded signaling that he had exceeded the 3-meter mark.


Their accomplishment is all the more remarkable because it took them only 20 months to bring the Atlas quadcopter from concept to history-making reality. After six months of initial planning, Robertson, Reichert & Co. turned to Kickstarter to raise $30 large towards their projected $170,000 budget (no word on the final bill for the project; the estimated delivery for the prize, per the June 2012 campaign, was last September, so I imagine they sought another round of funding at some point). The quadcopter comes in with a rotor radius of just over 10m and weighs in at 55 kilos (just over 120lbs)—far less than Reichert himself, a longtime athlete who weighs in at 80kg; full tech specs here.


Posted by core jr  |  10 Jul 2013  |  Comments (0)


Our favorite Japanese purveyor of no-brand quality goods is pleased to partner with All Nippon Airways a new sweepstakes to promote MUJI to GO, "a category of MUJI products curated based on the concept of 'Good Travels with Good Products.'" The global campaign "Mini to GO" will launch at the Times Square location on July 12, and run for just over a month. From this Friday until August 15, customers who shop at the MUJI stores can bring their receipt to the store at the New York Times Building to get a 3D photograph taken. Participants can enter for a chance to win one of ten free 3D-printed figurines (from the scans) and the grand prize, a vacation courtesy of ANA.

The MUJI Times Square store is located at 620 8th Ave (at 40th St), New York, NY 10018. See more details here.

Posted by core jr  |  21 Jun 2013  |  Comments (0)
Content Sponsored by Heineken

Retirees may have all the free time in the world, but entrants to the Heineken Ideas Brewery 60+ Design Challenge have just SIX DAYS LEFT to submit their ideas to reinvent the beer-drinking experience for the 60-70 year old demographic. The brief calls for innovative new designs for anything and everything from beer itself to the packaging to the serving experience.


Posted by core jr  |  12 Jun 2013  |  Comments (0)

AIGA-CommandX-MichaelBierut-GLORY.jpgPhoto via Alissa Walker

Command X, the ultimate reality show for emerging graphic designers, is back for a fourth season this fall with Matteo Bologna as emcee and Sean Adams as roving reporter. Seven up-and-coming designers will have the chance to win the title and break into the industry at "Head, Heart Hand: AIGA Design Conference" in Minneapolis.

And this year, contestants who make it through the first round will have the chance to work with an AIGA Medalist mentor—including design legends Jessica Helfand, Jennifer Morla, Lucille Tenazas, Michael Vanderbyl and Lorraine Wild. Think you can make the cut? Visit for complete rules, application details and prizes.

Posted by core jr  |  29 Apr 2013  |  Comments (0)
Content Sponsored by Heineken

Heineken is pleased to announce the next challenge in their ongoing Ideas Brewery innovation platform: they're inviting designers to come up with new ways to reach and reinvent the beer-drinking experience for the 60–70 year old demographic, based on crowdsourced observations from earlier this year.

An often over-looked demographic, Heineken is using its crowdsourcing platform,, to gather ideas on how to cater for this 'liberated' generation of consumers who enjoy more freedom from jobs, children, stress and strive more for quality of life, well-being and self-development.
HEINEKEN invites creative people from around the world to submit fresh ideas that will enhance the drinking experience for 60–70 years olds, taking into consideration the beer, the packaging and serving method. The challenge is to cater these new propositions to the unique lifestyle, attitudes and needs of this group. This is the second stage of the Ideas Brewery campaign which was launched at the beginning of the year, where Heineken challenged the public to submit their observations on the lifestyles for 60+.
These insights, gathered from consumers across five continents via, fell under three main categories and should guide the thinking for the 60+ Ideas challenge responses:
- Quality experiences: The 60+ demographic is becoming increasingly more quality focused. The quality of a meal or beverage far outweighs the quantity for these consumers.
- Learning and re-discovery: This generation is committed to continued learning, new perspectives and self-development. They want to stay relevant and vital.
- More time for social activities: The 60+ generation of today has more time, space and liberty to enjoy hobbies, sports and traveling. They have a strong attraction to new or more frequent activity-related social occasions

Entrants have until June 27 to submit their best ideas on for a chance to win a share of the $10,000 total cash prizes. Following the entry period, Heineken will select six finalists to a two-day workshop in Amsterdam; an expert jury—Dominic Wilcox, Alex Goh (Design Taxi), Daniel Quinn ( and two senior HEINEKEN innovation experts—will select the top three winners, who will receive $5,000, $3,000 and $2,000.


Posted by core jr  |  17 Apr 2013  |  Comments (1)


Adblock Plus, the "open-source community project to block obnoxious online ads," is pleased to announce their first Creative Challenge. Here's a short, um, promotional video of their product:

In any case, they've just launched a contest to further their mission to clean up the visual clutter that passes for websites these days, with the goal "to make the Internet a better experience for everyone by (ironically) encouraging advertising of a different sort."

As click-through rates have declined, advertisers get desperate and try to make more noise by making intentionally obnoxious and disruptive ads, which just further depresses click-through rates. We're in a downward spiral, and we want to reverse it with clever, creative, responsible ads that meet our Acceptable Ads guidelines.

In other words, it's not so much a wholesale boycott of advertising as a campaign to make ads better. As Till Faida, Managing Director of Adblock Plus, told the Times, "I am not against ads in general... just annoyed by the current state of ads."

In the interest of "getting more designers involved," Adblock Plus is challenging filmmakers to produce a 30–90-second video for a chance to win the grand prize of a four-week filmmaking workshop at the International Academy of Film and Television in the Philippines (or, if he or she prefers, a prize pack of video equipment of their choice.


The Adblock Plus Creative Challenge is open to would-be adbusters above the age of 16 worldwide; see full rules here and submit your entry by the May 31 deadline for a chance to win.

Posted by core jr  |  16 Apr 2013  |  Comments (0)


Our friends at Herman Miller have recently launched "Everywhere in Your Day," an online trivia / scavenger hunt contest for a chance to win an Eames Lounge & Ottoman or one of four other prizes. The contest launched last week with the first pair of bi-weekly clues; six more will be posted over the course of the next three weeks.

Check out the stop-motion video for the contest, which holds the answer to today's bit of George Nelson trivia, as well as the first clue (you'll have to view it in their embedded player to submit your answer):

And even if you haven't heard of Irving Harper, the unsung MCM designer whose work we explored at some length in an article on George Nelson Associates, the second clue should be easy enough.

Posted by Coroflot  |   9 Apr 2013  |  Comments (0)


Our sister portfolio site Coroflot is pleased to announce a unique opportunity for footwear designers to develop their portfolios and get their foot in the door, so to speak. Once again, we are sponsoring five scholarships for PENSOLE's annual Future of Footwear Awards and Master Class, held in partnership with FN Platform at MAGIC and

To hear PENSOLE founder D'Wayne Edwards tell it, "Our mission is to provide aspiring footwear designers a platform to create their own brand and become the future of the footwear industry. This year we are welcoming Industrial Designers Society of America (IDSA) and Coroflot as scholarship partners to reach an even larger base of emerging talent."

Future of Footwear entrants are required to "submit an original shoe design drawn by hand and rendered in color, using a marker" on the Mesh01 platform by May 26. PENSOLE will announce the 20 winners live on Google+ the following week, each of whom will receive scholarships to experience PENSOLE's rigorous "learn by doing" curriculum, in which students are assigned projects in the following categories:

1. Athletic - Footwear designed to help perform a sport or activity better

2. Dress - Footwear designed to wear at formal events

3. Kids - Footwear designed for kids of all ages

4. Made in USA - Footwear designed for manufacture in the USA

5. Sustainable - Footwear designed with recyclable materials and more efficient manufacturing processes

Coroflot will award one scholarship in each of the five categories, as will our friends at IDSA; the last ten will be selected by PENSOLE. All students will have an additional merit-based opportunity to present samples of their work at a major tradeshow:

At the end of the third week of class, a panel of industry judges and the PENSOLE Google+ community will vote to select 10 semi-finalists who will have samples of their designs made and be awarded a trip to Las Vegas to have their designs on display at the PENSOLE booth at FN PLATFORM, August 19-21, 2013.



Posted by Ray  |   1 Apr 2013  |  Comments (3)


Now in its 17th year, 2013 marks the first time that the International Bicycle Design Competition has partnered with iF Design Talents. Although the judging took place in October, following the submission period, the winners were announced just a couple of weeks ago at the Taipei International Cycle Show. Given the sheer backlash to two of the more recently-seen bicycle concepts here, we'll offer no more than a measured critique of the winners of the 2013 International Bicycle Design Competition. Far be it for me to take issue with the judges' selections of 22 prize winners from a field of 590 entries, who earned an invitation to a three-day workshop in Taiwan (the top ten won a cash prize as well)... though I couldn't help but notice some of the usual suspects, from hubless wheels to stylized e-bikes and, of course, lights galore.

IBDC-Judging.jpgJudges Michael Tseng (Merida Bikes) & Martin Kessler (Process Group)

In any case, here are the 12 'Third Place' winners, who earned the invitation to a three-day workshop in Taiwan, with a few discursive comments where applicable.


Brian Franson - NC State University, Raleigh, United States

ALIGHT is a retractable lighting device that attaches to the rear seat of a bicycle, [incorporating] stretchable electronics and a retractor mechanism, which allows it to be coiled up or extended out. By extending the light to the rear wheel axle, it creates more surface area and a larger visual impact [which can be seen from all angles]. ALIGHT emits a bright green light, which will turn red when braking and flash yellow when turning left or right.

- Definitely a novel approach to bicycle lighting, but I wonder how other road-users will interpret the lines of light, which don't explicitly indicate a bicycle (or any vehicle, for that matter). Drivers and other cyclists alike might find it confusing.

* * *


Anti-Theft Pedal
Yao Ying-Liang & Hsu Ting-Yun - SHU-TE University, Kaohsiung City, Taiwan

Using the profile of the pedal, the two sides of the pedal are extended to form a fork-shape, it is then fixed at the support of the rear wheel, locking the pedal. Thus, the pedal cannot move forwards, offering an elegant anti-theft function.

- I find that pedals protrude rather awkwardly when locking up; this concept turns them into an ad hoc locking mechanism. I'd be curious to see if this could be extrapolated into some kind of integrated U-lock, but I imagine the additional bulk/weight would be a limiting factor.

* * *


DORA Helmet Concept
Balázs Filczer - MOME, Budapest, Hungary

DORA has been designed for cyclists who travel through the city very often, especially at night... its lights can be seen from every direction. The other problem is the non-equivalent signals between the cyclist and the drivers, mostly during direction changes. DORA helps you change direction easily and safely. The front light on the helmet gives you light directed toward the road; moreover you can leave your bike (and its light) behind, because the light is exactly where you look.

- I've seen some similar concepts, so it's not entirely original, but it benefits from strong presentation, and the handlebar-mounted Bluetooth remote is a nice touch. Still, I think it would make more sense to somehow integrate the buttons into the brake levers (though this means that each one would either have to have its own battery, or be wired to a single battery).

* * *


Gran Turismo
Justin Chan, Paul Czarnietzki, Mina Lee & Andrew Lesniak - University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada

Known for their ergonomics, recumbent tricycles allow people with injuries that prevent them from riding a normal bike to still enjoy riding. However, recumbent tricycle designs have remained unchanged and stagnant. The Gran-Turismo is an update to improve on the areas of aesthetics, safety, materials and technology. Inspired by the essence of a modern super car it aims to match their road bike counterparts in building materials and to stand out in style and performance. Using an existing recumbent tricycle, we overhauled the frame while keeping the same dimensions and geometry to maintain its ergonomics.


Posted by hipstomp / Rain Noe  |  14 Mar 2013  |  Comments (1)


This year's James Dyson Award design competition, which as always carries the appealingly simple brief of "Design something that solves a problem," opens today. What's different this time around is the reward money. Whether in a bid to attract more competitors or to more richly reward the victors, the International Winner's purse has been doubled to US $45,000 for the student or student team, and a further $15,000 to their associated university department.

The prize for the International Runners-up is nothing to scoff at either: Both will receive $15,000, while National Winners will take home $3,000 for their troubles.

Though he only won half of what's on offer this year, Dan Watson put the money to good use after taking home last year's top prize. The designer of the SafetyNet (see video below) forwent the Porsche-leasing I'd have been tempted into and instead set up a company, SafetyNet Technologies: "I have used the prize money to improve and test my prototypes," he writes. "The exposure the award has given me has opened a lot of doors for me, from television appearances to meetings with government officials. The future for SafetyNet is extremely promising."

You've got until August 1st to get your act together and make like Watson. Get started now!

Posted by core jr  |   6 Mar 2013  |  Comments (2)

Congratulations to our App to the Future Design Challenge finalists and winners!! We asked designers to change the future by designing an app for Windows Phone that would help us create, connect or simply impress our future selves. You answered the call with hundreds of amazing and inspiring submissions from scrapbooks and font managers, trip trackers or convoy road managers, to diaries that don't broadcast your every thought or will even seal them up for the future. After hours of review and deliberation by our fantastic jurors Chris Caldwell (, Jennifer Bove (Kicker Studio), Corrina Black (Microsoft), Pratik Kothari (Techark Solutions), and Eric Ludlum (Core77), we are proud to announce our 50 finalists and five winners!

All winners and finalists will receive a 1-year subscription to the Windows Phone Dev Center development community and any finalists who launch their apps in the Windows Phone store will become our notable finalists, scoring a Windows Phone. Winners not only receive a subscription to Dev Center, Windows Phone and Microsoft Surface with Touch Cover, but they also get an app design consultation with a Windows Phone design team member and their app featured on Microsoft's Channel 9. Keep checking back over the next few months as we start Phase 2 of the competition: watching the winners and finalists turn their ideas into reality. And now, the Apps to the Future...


4weather—a weather app that lets you zero in what the weather will be like when and where you actually plan to be outside by utilizing a new adaptive forecast feed at its root, an extended and more informative set of "climacons" and finally the choice of the best forecast data vendor for your region.

"Of all the weather apps I've seen this is the only one that actually does something useful for you as well as telling you the weather." —Chris Caldwell
"Lots of thought into the data/algorithm, smart use of sensors, phone in idle mode, seems like content/utility delivery is simple. Prototyping with users would show whether passive information presentation is contextually relevant / useful and if the user input is too laborious." —Jennifer Bove
"This could be boiled down to a simple AI + GPS that would quickly learn what weather conditions you like or dislike in which locations." —Eric Ludlum
"Very unique idea. The description of the app concept provides a very good explanation behind why there is a need for such an app. Instead of providing a general weather forecast, this app exemplifies the Windows Phone's You paradigm by personalizing weather based on you and your information." —Pratik Kothari


Alexander UhligApp Designer:
Alexander Uhlig
Leipzig, Germany

Alexander is currently a Master of Physics student and expects to graduate by the end of 2013. Right now he is working on his Masters project, which is related to an econometric subject.

At the age of 16 he gained his first insight into human-computer interaction as a tutor and not long afterwards took over the soft- and hardware- support of a small pharmaceutical company.

Getting to know different cultures, and new people with other traditions fascinates him. Right after finishing school he went to Australia on a work & travel visa. He completed the first part of his Master studies in Leeds, UK as an exchange student.

Alexander's strength is blending creative and problem solving abilities. He is passionate about solving versatile tasks and looks forward to the challenges the development of 4weather will bring along.

fitCHAMP—a social fitness app that combines the powerful APIs of the personal fitness trackers that you and your friends use onto a single, beautifully designed dashboard where you can track and compete with your friends through certain metrics like distance moved, steps taken, and calories burned.

"Could be fantastic if the platform API's work well together and you can map data onto similar and comparable points." —Chris Caldwell
"Great socialization/gamification of the dataset and activity." —Eric Ludlum
"Similar apps exist but the design of this app provides a fresh look. Social component is certainly a motivating factor to challenge someone." —Pratik Kothari

App to the Future: fitCHAMP

Christian Valencia & Shelby BlairApp Designers:
Christian Valencia & Shelby Blair
Seattle, US

Christian Valencia and Shelby Blair are User Experience Designers who work at Ratio Interactive, a small digital agency in Seattle, WA. They design experiences for: Web, iOS, Android, Windows 8 and now Windows Phone.

Christian recently graduated from Seattle Central Creative Academy where he mainly focused on Interaction Design. He loves designing simple, yet engaging interfaces for any of the platforms listed above.

Shelby graduated from the University of North Texas and got into UX design just over a year ago. She is an explorer at heart, and will always love illustration and print design.

HappyAppy—a smile is contagious and what better way to spread a smile than by sharing a dance? HappyAppy is an interactive mobile application that allows friends to connect by dancing for one another when words are not enough. This allows people to virtually connect in a physical and emotional way that is not currently possible.

"I started smiling instantly :) You made my day! Besides being unfathomably simple, this is an experience that you'll have fun creating as well as receiving." —Chris Caldwell
"Simple, delightful, great use of physical gesture. Adorable characters, smart constraints around time limits, movements, etc." —Jennifer Bove
"It is cute and there is opportunity for a broader spectrum of sentiment (angsty appy? morose appy? estatic appy?)." —Eric Ludlum
"Uses various Windows Phone accelerometer features to create a customized greeting. This is certainly designed to connect and delight." —Pratik Kothari
"What a creative and fun way to connect with your friends and family and make them smile! This app makes me smile :D" —Corrina Black

App to the Future: HappyAppy

Yian Ling Cheong & Sarah SykesApp Designers:
Yian Ling Cheong & Sarah Sykes
Singapore & Wisconsin

Yian Ling and Sarah met while attending graduate school at Carnegie Mellon University. Although they come from opposite ends of the world, their backgrounds are surprisingly similar. Both Yian Ling and Sarah have a bachelors degree in industrial design and work experience in design research. When they are not designing, both of them enjoy traveling the world, collecting fresh inspiration and getting their hands on new projects.

Tide&a Surfing forecast app that creates a more gestural way of exploring the waves through time whilst allowing fast access to the data that most is important to surfers.

"This makes me want to buy a surfboard, abandon my landlocked city, and drive thousands of miles to the nearest ocean and start surfing!" —Chris Caldwell
"Simple, quick access to info on the go. Fluid use of gesture, application interface doesn't get in the way. Easy to share." —Jennifer Bove
"Awesome and beautiful. The sine wave display feels like the pure essence of the phenomenon and is at home in the Windows UI." —Eric Ludlum
"Overall very good design and a useful app." —Pratik Kothari

App to the Future: Tide

Martin SpurwayApp Designer:
Martin Spurway
Warwick, United Kingdom

Martin is a young Industrial Designer currently working for DCA Design in Warwick, United Kingdom. Having graduated from Loughborough Design School in 2011 his work focuses on creating connected products, brands and experiences. When these are designed at the same time, really new and interesting experiences emerge. This is not currently being implemented by most companies.

It is an exciting time for design, where different fields such as UI/ UX, Web Design, Packaging and traditional Industrial Design are coming together and the boundaries are becoming more and more blurred.

TripUs—connect all your social activities about a trip through one app. Organize all your pictures, Facebook updates, check-ins and tweets into a Trip timeline with invited friends and share information and photos with those friends in your network.

"Where were you on my last road trip? What a great way to spread the travel bug!" —Chris Caldwell
"An easy way to organize personal media into a narrative—trips are a natural for this." —Eric Ludlum
"Good design and layout." —Pratik Kothari
"Fun way of connecting with friends to capture shared events in a visually compelling, immersive, and memorable manner." —Corrina Black

App to the Future: TripUs

Sittitsak JiampotjamanApp Designer:
Sittitsak Jiampotjaman
Bangkok, Thailand

Sittisak is a Web/UI Designer living in Bangkok.



We can't reveal too much about these apps before they're launched, but here are the finalists we'll also be keeping an eye on:


Posted by core jr  |   1 Mar 2013  |  Comments (0)


Following our recent announcement of an ongoing partnership with the IDSA, we'd like to invite our readers to enter the "CAD" Rendering Challenge in anticipation of the IDSA Northeast District Conference in Hartford next month. They've partnered with GrabCAD, with sponsors Keyshot and BikeID providing prizes for the winners, for a design competition with a particularly vibrant brief, in keeping with the conference theme, "The Color of Design":

Simply download any CAD model from the GrabCAD library—then develop it, re-arrange it, cut it, splice it, hack it... but most importantly implement color in a fresh and creative way.

Think about how color affects the design, improves the user experience and brings a 4th dimension to how an object, product, assembly or landscape is perceived. Use this challenge as an outlet for you and your design team to reimagine how we incorporate color into our creative process. Then submit your rendering to the Challenge in JPG format.

Our jury of leading industrial designers, engineers and graphic designers will evaluate and select the best and most creative submissions to be highlighted at the IDSA's 2013 Northeast District Design Conference "The Color of Design" in April in Hartford.

Enter by the March 25 deadline for a chance to win prizes such as a custom ride from BikeID, complimentary conference registration, Keyshot licenses and more.


See the full contest rules and regulations here (and check out some of the entries here.)


Posted by core jr  |  26 Feb 2013  |  Comments (0)


The Massachusetts College of Art and Design and Wentworth Institute of Technology have something no other two schools have, two different Industrial Design programs within a stones throw away from each other. 16 Hours to Glory is a culmination of Massachusetts College of Art and Design and Wentworth Institute of Technology students working in small teams researching, brainstorming, designing, and finalizing a solution to a problem which is given at the start of the competition. The next day, students are given the opportunity to present their 16 hour solutions to a panel of outside judges. The goal of the competition is to create some friendly competition, and camaraderie between the two schools of industrial design, and celebrate their differences and styles.

Saturday, March 2nd will be the Design Phase from 8AM to 12AM and March 3rd will see presentations and judging. Both will be held in the Trustee's Room at MassArt, floor 11.

Sponsored by Staples, Bose, Design Museum Boston, Monster Energy and Keyshot.


  • Team sign up deadline is Thursday, February the 28th at 6:30 pm.

  • B.Y.O.C [Bring Your Own Computer]

  • You will find out the design challenge at 8am sharp, on the morning of the competition.

  • We will provide desks, chairs, some supplies, scanners, printers, Monster, and music.

  • If you have a Cintiq or any Wacom tablet, bring it, we will have a few, but the more the merrier.

  • We will provide blue foam, Olfa knives, cutting mats and straight edges.

  • Model shop: if you feel you have to, please utilize it before you are too tired. Be smart.

1. Teams of up to three. Students only.
2. All work must be new and original. Don't cheat, be honest.
3. Start time is 8 AM, Saturday March 2nd, end time is midnight Saturday March 2nd.
4. You will have from 10 am until noon on Sunday to work on your presentation.
5. Presentations will start exactly at 12:30 on Sunday. The order will be random.
6. Presentations will be a maximum of 6 minutes. There will be a buzzer.

Sign up by Thursday, February 28: Send an E-mail with "Team Registration" in the subject line to 16hourstoglory[at] to sign up, state the members of your team and what school you are from. If you want, a team name would be cool as well.

Posted by StuCon  |  14 Feb 2013  |  Comments (1)


Can you feel it? We are officially in the thick of awards season and with all those deadlines looming, it's important to keep your dates in order.

The next major program deadline coming up is for the International Design Excellence Awards. Their late deadline for entry is February 25th. While you'll pay a bit more for the privilege of the late entry, all the recognition, glory and bragging rights are still up for grabs to everyone who enters.

If you're curious about what won the judges over in years past, the IDSA website has 12 year's of winners online. You can also check out our favorite winners from 2012 and 2011. Then, imagine what it would feel like to see your work featured there, and go enter!

2013 IDEA Deadline: February 25, 2013 - Enter here

Posted by hipstomp / Rain Noe  |  12 Feb 2013  |  Comments (2)


I used to teach middle school kids in Japan, and this is one of the funnier things I observed in the classroom:

GIRL: It's hot in here, isn't it?
BOY: It is.
GIRL: Shall I open a window?
BOY: Yes, about five centimeters.

The girl opened the window wide.


To say there are a subset of Japanese people concerned with precision is a bit of an understatement. And speaking of block planes, I guess it comes as no surprise that Japan is home to an annual wood-planing competition.


Posted by core jr  |   8 Feb 2013  |  Comments (0)


This is it, folks—this weekend's your LAST CHANCE to put the finishing touches on your brilliant, useful, touching and stunning Windows Phone app design and submit it to our App to the Future design challenge! Entries must be in and uploaded by 11:59pm EST this Sunday, February 10 to be eligible to win, so don't wait until the last minute. If you're looking for a bit more inspiration, check out the previous Lightning Design Review Sessions or step up your game by watching the Windows Phone Design Bootcamp 201 videos.

Winners will receive a Microsoft Surface and Windows Phone device as well as being featured in "Amp Up Your App" on Channel 9 and getting a direct consultation from the Windows Phone Design team and write-ups on Core77. All finalists will receive a 1-year free subscription to the Dev Center and any finalists and their developers who complete and launch their apps in the Windows Phone Store can also win a Windows Phone.

Our team and jurors are eager to start plowing through the already impressive stack of entries to select 50 finalists and then narrow those down to five winners. The winners and finalists will be announced in early March on Core77 and the App to the Future site. That's also when we'll announce the deadline to have your apps launched in the Windows Phone Store for finalists who want to win the notable Windows Phone prizes, and we'll provide some extra resources to help you make that happen.

So best of luck to all you daring app designers—we can't wait to see your plans for the future!

Posted by hipstomp / Rain Noe  |   4 Feb 2013  |  Comments (4)


That's supposed to be a 3D-printed question mark

You could spend three or four figures buying a 3D printer of your own—or you could design one, have a machine given to you for free, and take home $2,500 for your trouble.

A company called Layered Labs has apparently designed a prototype 3D printer, or at least the bare machinery, but apparently the thing is so ugly they won't even post a photo of it. Instead what they're doing is a sort of cheapo way of hiring industrial design talent: They're holding a competition to design the rest of their printer, and first prize means you get a free one plus the $2,500 prize.

As mentioned above they're not posting images of what they've got so far, but entrants in the contest will receive a 3D file revealing the guts you're meant to work with. "[The] file shows a prototype version of the machine with mounted panels that are bolted onto aluminum extrusions," they write. "The ENTIRE design needs to be CHANGED from a bolt-together chassis to an elegant stamped and folded SHEET METAL design with good structural characteristics and manufacturability kept in mind."

We HOPE that's ENOUGH information for YOU to GO on.

Click here for details.

Posted by core jr  |   1 Feb 2013  |  Comments (0)


Alright app designers—you've got one week left to review, finish up and submit your App to the Future designs! The FINAL Lightning Design Review before submissions close is next Thursday, February 7th at 2pm ET. Registration for that review session closes Tuesday, February 5th at 2pm ET, but space is limited so you'll want to submit your designs for review as soon as possible. You can also sign up to watch the session live, or view previous sessions.

Don't forget to also watch the Windows Phone Design Bootcamp videos to get the most out of Windows Phone design principles. The series is broken up into five 101 and three 201 videos so you can pick how far and deep you want to dive.

Submit your App to the Future Windows Phone designs by midnight Sunday, February 10th. The future's getting closer every second!

Posted by Dave Seliger  |  30 Jan 2013  |  Comments (0)


Over the past weekend, Core77 ventured up to Boston to check out the inaugural edition of the HarvardxDesign conference, a collaboration between the students of the Harvard Business School and the Harvard Graduate School of Design. The conference explored ways to use the principles of design to transform business and education and included both a speaker series and a design challenge. We hit the ground running on Friday night with a series of rapid-fire presentations from the likes of Hunter Tura, CEO of Bruce Mau Design; Paul Pugh, VP of Creative for Software Innovation at frog; and Marco Steinberg, Director of Strategic Design at the Finnish Innovation Fund.

Hunter Tura preached how imperative it is for designers and businesspeople to collaborate as early in the product development process as possible in order to create the most holistically successful results. "The Design School students need to introduce themselves to the Business School students," said Tura, "because these people will one day control the fate of your brand." Tura continued with describing how innovation, certainly the buzz word of the conference, has become like irony. "It's very difficult to define, but you know it when you see it," said Tura, while showing examples of products that have changed stagnant markets. Most importantly, though, innovation is not some stand-alone goal to achieve—"innovation is not something that exists in a vacuum"—but rather something that is dependent on the design process.

Paul Pugh talked about bucking the stereotypes in design in order to find happiness. He put up the typical design thinking process, with steps like Discover, Concept, Refine, and Deliver. "These are really marketing diagrams about how design works," said Pugh. "At frog, we try not to stick to that." The very rigid process of design thinking can be limiting, so teams at frog are allowed to come up with their own processes and ways of working, all in the pursuit of turning a sort of happy chaos into the best end results. Pugh described how software design projects are often regarded as trivial, especially in comparison to social innovation projects. "But look at software design as a humanitarian project," said Pugh, flipping the modality on its head. "People sit in front of screens all day—we can make them happier and make their lives better. Always think about how products can change a person's life."


Lastly, Marco Steinberg stole the show with a passionate and down-to-earth talk about using design to face the world's biggest problems. "Our challenges are on such a grand scale. Combine that with diminishing resources and now it's about redesign, not just making the systems more efficient," said Steinberg. He described the aging populace in Finland where the tax base is shrinking, yet the need for services is quickly increasing. This seemingly necessitates the need for service designers, yet solely using service designers as the solution "will only make the services more pleasant—we'll just die more pleasantly," but not solve the root of the problem. Government needs to engage all stakeholders into to administer its services better.

During the panel, Steinberg continued to inspire the audience with his stories of struggling to change the culture of government through embedded designers. "The public sector has no history [of design]," said Steinberg. "If we can figure out how to get in, then we're not burdened by any legacy." However, unlike the oft-repeated design thinking maxim of failing early and often, designers in government cannot be allowed to fail since there won't be another opportunity to try again. Steinberg also offered two "sinister" strategies that he uses to effect change more rapidly: the Trojan horse—"we give you what you want, but load it with what you need"—and creep—"do small things, work at the margins, then take bigger and bigger bites." Although we had never heard of Marco Steinberg before today, he is definitely worth keeping an eye on.

Saturday started off with a somewhat status-quo yet highly enjoyable lecture on using design to shape business strategy from IDEO's Colin Raney, who proffered Richard Buchanan's Orders of Design as a basis for understanding business design. The Orders of Design start with graphic design, then evolve to products, to interaction design, and finally to system design, which includes businesses, government, education and other organizations. "Business is the platform for design," said Rainey. He then described the steps for integrating the design thinking process into business strategy, which include visualizing the system, looking for areas of potential leverage, and then implementing a series of systemic changes to redefine the system.



Posted by core jr  |  28 Jan 2013  |  Comments (0)


Guess what app designers? Your response to the App to the Future challenge has been so overwhelming that we're officially increasing the number of finalists from 30 to 50—AND extending the submission deadline to February 10th!

All 50 finalists will receive 1-year Dev Center subscriptions (where valid) and are eligible to receive Windows Phone devices by launching their apps in the Windows Phone Store. The app submission deadline will be posted when the App to the Future winners and finalists are announced in early March.

So you've got one extra week get your app design reviewed by a professional Windows Phone interaction designer in a Lightning Design Review (read his tips here), refine your app's focus by watching the Design Boot Camp video series and put the final touches on your entry before submitting it by 11:59pm EST February 10, 2013. That's 20 more chances to be an App to the Future—time to get crackin'!

Posted by core jr  |  25 Jan 2013  |  Comments (0)

The best design meets our needs before we can even articulate them. With the App to the Future design challenge, Windows Phone and Core77 intend to foster the circumstances for intelligent, practical and beautiful design. The ingredients to get designers started are all here on the contest site: a smartly conceived UI, clear and helpful developer tips, and an evolved Windows Phone 8.

We held our first call for Windows Phone app designs last year and had incredibly conceived winning entries. This year, contestants will be designing for the next generation device. Windows Phone 8's changes include a new OS, faster processing, additional user features and general bug-stomping after careful review of Windows 7.5 feedback. The results have delighted developers and users alike. Many updates built upon well-received, existing elements like Live Tiles and grew them—literally. Live Tiles can now be resized with the added option to personalize content hierarchy based on user preference.

The 120k+ apps in the Windows Phone Store (formerly Marketplace) are a strong beginning for a phone that initially received the mixed praise of being a superior choice to Android but a latecomer to the game. Microsoft is aware that its well-built platform requires the buy-in from app developers and community in order to flourish. Developers new to Windows Phone could be understandably reluctant to invest their resources in building for a smaller market, but Microsoft has greatly expanded global access to the Windows Phone Store in just a year and continues to promote Windows Phone apps through various channels and provide regional Windows Phone Champs tasked to help developers locally. And this chicken/egg cycle yielded its own positive side effect: a remarkably clear design, development and submission process to the Windows Phone Store. After creating the platform and outlining hardware standards, Microsoft understood that removing barriers to creation and encouraging innovation are key in both catching up with iOS and Android app offerings and building their own app process.

Windows Phone's particular design principles mean that apps run nearly identically across different hardware. That reassurance of similarity is one less headache for users and developers alike. For example, Kid's Corner—a terrific feature that gathers all the games, apps, music and videos for your child into one place while securing the rest of the phone from prying fingers—will be precisely the same experience on Nokia, Samsung and HTC models.

Adding to the list of features developers can play with and users can enjoy, the technical overhaul includes support for HD screens and multicore processors. Business users can happily edit a Word document or create an Excel spreadsheet. And linked email means you can view all messages from different accounts in one inbox (something iOS users are accustomed to), then save your documents, photos and chats to Microsoft's cloud, SkyDrive.

For this challenge in particular, we suggest going through the Boot Camps on Windows Phone Design Language. After considering the app you'd like to design and mocking it up, have a Windows Phone interface designer take a look by signing up for a Lighting Design Review. Afterwards, you'll be able to integrate their feedback and further refine your app. Then, there's the business of actually getting 'er done. If you're not a seasoned developer, you still might want to give app dev a try via the Windows Phone Dev Center (their 2-day Jump Start has been widely lauded as great watch-and-do training). We had three winning teams last year develop their own apps (with one team being total—but gifted—noobs at developing) and submit them to the store. And developers that are looking for new design ideas to implement and grow (or simply would like a chance to win a Windows Phone 8) can offer their dev muscles.

So, onwards, potential Windows Phone 8 designers and developers! You probably have an incredible idea brewing in your noggin. The resources to make that concept a reality are at your fingertips...and now you've got a little fire under your tush with this contest. Good luck and happy designing your App to the Future!

[Editor's Note: For some great tips on designing for Windows Phone, check out 8 insights from Senior Interactive Designer Lincoln Anderson, who hosts the lightning design reviews!]