Posted by Sam Dunne
| 29 Jan 2015
Late last year, Jony Ive stirred up perennial debates surrounding the failings of contemporary design education to turn out students ready to take up gainful employment. Speaking at an event at London's Design Museum, Ive used the word 'tragic' to describe the many (presumedly Western) design schools' inability to teach students how to make physical products and relying too heavily on "cheap" computers.
If current models of industrial design education have indeed been floundering, perhaps educators should be looking at developments in education in designs newer fields (though, I guess we could probably draw some correlation between the rise of one and the fall of the other...but let's leave that for another day). Founded in Sweden, Hyper Island has been carrying the torch for the progressive creative education in recent years, with diversely experienced students educated in teams at the deep-end of live projects with big clients, taught by practitioners at the cutting edge.
Perhaps testament to the model's success (and quite unusually for a higher education establishment) Hyper Island has been expanding like wild-fire with satellites already popping up in the likes of NYC, Singapore and Sao Paolo. In 2012 the school opened up its most recent hub in the happening Northern Quarter of Manchester, England. Just over two years on, the school is now set to launch a Masters degree dedicated to Experience Design in a bid to further shake up design education and meet the needs of an increasing disgruntled industry.
With the course currently accepting applications for its inaugural intake later this year, we caught up with the guardian of the course and Scottish service design mover and shaker Program Manager Lauren Currie to hear more about her vision for design education.
Posted by Kill Screen
| 29 Jan 2015
This post originally appeared on Kill Screen, a videogame arts and culture website.
Story by Gareth Damian Martin for Kill Screen
George Trevor is perhaps the most unassuming character of Resident Evil's long history. Among the videogame series' absurd cast of bio-engineered mercenaries and steroid pumped special forces agents he is little more than a whisper on the wind, a faded echo of a faceless man. His relative obscurity is for good reason: Shinji Mikami, Resident Evil's lead designer, cut Trevor's storyline as the original game neared its 1996 release, citing a lack of time to fully develop the story. Apart from a few notes published in a Japanese-only book on the making of the game, Trevor's narrative only reappeared 5 years later, in the 2002 Nintendo Gamecube remake. Expanded into a second story, with its own haunting boss fights and concealed passages, it was an important addition to the classic survival horror.
George Trevor's importance lies in his role—he is the architect of the Spencer Mansion, that decaying piece of mock-victorian masonry on the outskirts of Raccoon City in which the entirety of Resident Evil is set. He is the man who orchestrated the mansion's ornate puzzles, hidden passages and twisted corridors. In the fiction of the game, he is its designer, a cipher constructed to explain away why this so-called house is more like a maze, a dark labyrinth of yellowing wallpaper and dust-choked chandeliers. In a game where character confrontations are confined to passing exposition spaced liberally among hour upon hour of empty corridor stalking, Trevor is also the character with whom the player has the most significant, if indirect, interaction. His whimsical ground plan for the mansion is the ultimate object of mastery for the player—once it is mapped, understood and exploited, the game becomes distinctly easier. That is the duplicity of Resident Evil: the feeling of both observing the game's ornate architecture and the experience of forging a path through it first hand.
Maze-treaders, whose vision ahead and behind is severely constricted and fragmented, suffer confusion, whereas maze-viewers who see the pattern whole, from above or in diagram, are dazzled by its complex artistry. What you see depends on where you stand, and thus, at one and the same time, labyrinths are single (there is one physical structure) and double: they simultaneously incorporate order and disorder, clarity and confusion, unity and multiplicity, artistry and chaos. They may be perceived as a path (a linear but circuitous path to a goal) or as a pattern (a complete symmetrical design) [...] Our perception of labyrinths is thus intrinsically unstable: change your perspective and the labyrinth seems to change. - Penelope Reed Doob, the Idea of the Labyrinth
The duplicity of Resident Evil's design is the same duplicity as that of the labyrinth. To use Mary Reed Doob's terms, the game casts the player as both "maze-viewer" and "maze-treader." The Spencer Mansion is a maze you can plan a route through, room by room, from the confines of your map. In this phase the game offers order, clarity. But step outside of a safe room and confusion sets in, fear and disorder picking at your self-consciousness. This is a piece of architecture that satisfies as both path and pattern, but, as with any two-faced entity, the game's labyrinth is not to be trusted.
Posted by Coroflot
| 29 Jan 2015
CAR-FRESHNER is the leading automotive air freshener company in the world. With a team of world class product, brand and sales experts, CAR-FRESHNER's products can be found from London to Rio de Janeiro. How would you like to join the company behind those iconic little trees, as well as the SILLY STRING brand? This is your chance to join as an Industrial Designer at their headquarters in Watertown, NY.
With 3 - 5 years of experience in developing consumer products and demonstrated project management experience with practical budgeting and organizational skills, you'll be a great addition to this team. In this role, you will have the creative latitude to champion new ideas and the resources available to prototype them, as not all great products are the result of "standard" processes. If this sounds like the opportunity you've been waiting for, Apply Now.
Photo by J. Adam Fenster / University of Rochester
Hitting metals with a laser to make the metals turn black doesn't sound very sexy. But for Dr. Chunlei Guo, a professor of optics at the University of Rochester, it's normal research. The ability to turn something dead black, which will thus absorb all light, is of optical interest.
However, Guo discovered something else could be done with these tools. By using a laser to etch microscopic patterns into the surface of the metal, he found that water was super-attracted to the surface—it just gets sucked onto it, as you'll see in the video below. Curious to see if he could create an opposite effect, Guo then managed to laser-etch the metal such that water could not stick to it. "The material is so strongly water-repellent, the water actually gets bounced off. Then it lands on the surface again, gets bounced off again, and then it will just roll off from the surface," Guo explains.
Unlike a Teflon coating, Guo's technique means the metal itself is actually rendered super-hydrophobic, no coating required. This means Guo's treatment cannot be rubbed or worn off. And while dust and dirt can still stick to the surface, a droplet of water rolling across it will pick it all up, like the ball in Katamari Damacy. The result is super-easy-to-clean surfaces.
Holy COW this is cool, or at least, looks it. A California-based company called WayTools has developed the TextBlade, a diminutive, minimalist keyboard that nevertheless provides the same key spacing (19mm on center) as you'd get on a desktop or laptop, and 2mm of travel, which they claim "outperform[s] a Macbook Pro." And check out how this thing breaks down for storage and comes together for usage:
What you can't see in the video is that the TextBlade components apparently have some type of material or texture on the bottom that provides "rock-solid grip that hugs the table closer than a MacBook Air." It seems that that, in concert with the magnets, is enough to keep the thing from sliding around and/or disassembling, but to be fair I haven't actually touched one IRL.
As my Auto Shop teacher explained to us in high school, cars from the 1950s had powerful motors for two reasons: Highways and people socializing. A 1955 Chevy Bel Air might hold three couples on an outing, six adults—three across the bench in the front, three in the back—and when merging onto a highway, had to be able to quickly get all that weight up to 55 miles per hour.
To a 1950s engineer, that kind of torque required lots of iron: V-8 engines, four-barrel carburetors and tons of gas. And back then a 13-second 0-60 time was reckoned respectable. But nowadays a Tesla with an electric engine—or say, two electric engines—has cut the acceleration time by some 75%.
Yes, folks, Tesla's Model S P85D ("D" for "dual engine") can do 0-60 in a blistering 3.2 seconds, subjecting the occupants to 1G in the process. It's called "Insane Mode" and here are unsuspecting passengers' reactions (Warning, NSFW):
Here's what veteran auto journalist Damon Lavrinc wrote on Jalopnik after receiving a ride in one:
Luxury suites in sports stadiums are not the sole domain of America. The Hartwall Arena in Helsinki, Finland, home base of the Jokerit hockey team, has a rather special one. Guests in Skybox 408 can order drinks from the bar or food off of the menu, and the maximum capacity is 72 people.
The thing is, they can do all of these things naked.
That's because Skybox 408 has within it a fully-enclosed, 20-person-capacity sauna where guests can strip down and watch the game while drenched in their own sweat. One-way glass protects their privacy, and it's one-sex-at-a-time, women first.
Posted by Hand-Eye Supply
| 27 Jan 2015
Every once in a while at Hand-Eye we decide to make a really kickass deal - a deal WE'RE excited about. To celebrate the latest addition to the Hand-Eye line, we're bringing back the Spectacular Apron Combo. Through Feb. 5th you can pick up one of our brand new USA Made Work Aprons and a pair of classy retro Aviator Safety Specs (a HES NOS exclusive) for just $42. These are some of the most basic and badass workshop staples you can find, and we're super excited to share. Grab it while you can!
If you hear voices in your head, that's bad. If you hear piano music in your head, that's not so bad, particularly if you're a professional pianist. Yet Gergely Bogányi still found it disturbing, because the sonorous quality of the music in his brain exceeded the sound a piano can actually produce. "[I] was intrigued to find out how I could make a difference," Bogányi writes. "How could I bridge the gap between the 'miraculous' sound in my head and that of the sound I was hearing?"
If it was a question of tuning, we can assume his long-suffering piano tuner might've found the solution. "[I] spent countless hours with my professional piano tuner, who travelled the world with me. Trying to find that consistent, quality sound in every piano. It was always so difficult with each concert hall having such different conditions that affected the piano. Dryness, dust, humidity were always a factor. Could we find a way to keep this quality consistent?"
Bogányi decided he'd have to custom design a piano, both inside and out, to get the sound he wanted. He assembled a team of designers, engineers, craftsmen and music technicians, and ten years and 8,000 team-hours later, they'd produced the Bogányi Piano you see here, which the pianist claims can produce "the clearest, boldest, [most] premium sound quality possible."
While it contains the wood and iron you'd find in an ordinary piano, the Bogányi has a proprietary carbon fiber soundboard design that is reportedly weatherproof, i.e. remains unaffected by humidity or dryness. The exterior is unusual in that it stands on just two legs, "to allow an additional bottom passage for the sound to reach the audience." (I'm not much of a classical music lover, but to you concerto-goers, does that third leg in the back really muck up the sound that much?
Met Life Stadium
America is crazy about at least two things: Sports, and segregating the rich and the poor. When you combine these two passions inside of a sports stadium, you get luxury boxes.
Great American Ballpark
Luxury boxes, a/k/a skyboxes, executive suites or hospitality suites, are the earthbound, sports-watching version of First Class. Well beyond the financial reach of your average American family, they are the domain of the rich and the corporate, requiring leasing that can run into the millions of dollars. Wealthy folks use them to entertain and corporations lend them out to certain individuals as perks of corporate friendship. This can sometimes lead to resentment from the masses.
"Bad news, Brian, someone keyed your Lamborghini in the parking lot again."
Luxury box denizens get designated parking spots and private entrances away from the huddled masses. They can often reach their suites via private elevators or private staircases:
Posted by Coroflot
| 27 Jan 2015
Since 1980, the Industrial Designers Society of America has set out every year to find designers and designs that epitomize quality across design mediums and platforms. The annual International Design Excellence Awards competition is underway so don't miss your chance to enter!
The regular deadline is February 16th, but your last chance to enter is February 23rd. Winners of this award enjoy immediate benefits including pride, self-satisfaction and bragging rights, as well as some longer-term perks, like a stronger professional reputation and increased career opportunities. Find more information about how and when to enter here. Good luck!
Posted by Sam Dunne
| 27 Jan 2015
'The Wrist Report' is the semi-serious, bi-somethingly bulletin from the frontier of forearm fashion and functionality.
Even earlier this month at CES it was clear that the wearables frenzy had lost some of its vigor since last year (presumedly as manufacturers try to make good on some of their overblown concept promises). Of the news that there was, it seemed that technology on the wrist was being met with much more modesty by manufacturers—Withings going simpler and cheaper with their brand activity tracker in traditional timepiece form and Swiss watchmaker Montblanc making tentative steps into the world of wearable tech by strapping a tiny OLED screen to the underside of the wrist (yeh, it looked as good as it sounds).
Fast-forward only a couple of weeks and it seems that some new entrants into the forearm function/fashion fanfare are doing away with the tech altogether. In remarkable concurrence with Debbie Chachra's article in The Atlantic critiquing the hero worship of 'makers', Portland multi-tool manufacturer and Core77 fav Leatherman is gearing up to launch a multi-tool that straps (rather proudly) around the wrist. Introducing Tread.
Those that live in blackout-prone areas don't keep their flashlights in the back of a drawer. Instead it's in some easily-accessible place, so they don't have to fumble around looking for it when the lights go out.
UK-based lighting manufacturer iViTi reckons they've solved this with their LED iViTi ON, a lightbulb they'll begin manufacturing next month. It's simple and clever: It's got your standard Edison screw base and roughly the same form factor as a standard lightbulb, along with an internal battery that stores juice. So when the power goes out and the bulb stops receiving wired electricity, it switches over to the battery to provide an extra three hours of light.
Another consumer they should target: Deadbeats who don't pay their electricity bills on time.
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:
Posted by Coroflot
| 27 Jan 2015
Uniting engineering, design and business to cross train students to become elite innovators... enhancing the innovation process and generating impact... The Integrated Innovation Institute at Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) welcomes applications for a combined faculty member and assistant program manager for its Master of Integrated Innovation for Products and Services (MII-PS) degree soon to launch in Brooklyn New York. This administrative and special faculty teaching appointment will start in fall 2015 as part of CMU's new Integrative Media Program (IMP) at the Steiner Studio in Brooklyn.
They are looking for a talented and enthusiastic person who can help them realize their vision to extend their valued MII-PS degree into New York. Check out all the qualifications and contributions on the next page and Apply Now.
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.