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Posted by hipstomp / Rain Noe  |  19 Jan 2015  |  Comments (0)

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Southern Siberia's Lake Baikal has a lot of distinctions. By volume it's the largest freshwater lake in the world. It's also the deepest. And according to biologists who study zooplankton and how light penetration affects their activity, Lake Baikal is one of the clearest lakes in the world.

The clarity of the water may not sound exciting for those not engaged with zooplankton, but it does mean that when the lake freezes, the visual effect is stunning:

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Posted by hipstomp / Rain Noe  |  19 Jan 2015  |  Comments (0)

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Choosing the material to build a boardwalk out of can be tricky. Never mind the amount of people traipsing over the thing; being located on the shore, it is subject to salt spray. And in a place with four seasons, the wood is subjected to brutally humid summers and freezing cold winters.

So what did people make boardwalks out of, in the days before pressure-treated lumber? In the late 1800s Atlantic City put up the first large-scale public boardwalk in the United States. For material they used Atlantic White Cedar, conveniently harvested from New Jersey's nearby forests. Technically not a cedar at all, but a cypress, the tree grew well in wet areas and was naturally rot-resistant.

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Ironically, these excellent properties are what made the wood an unsustainable choice. In a 1934 book called "Trees You Want to Know," American botanist Donald Culross Peattie wrote that Atlantic White Cedar would "endure moisture indefinitely," and wood that weathered well was in demand; lots of folks began using it for fencing and roof shingles. As it became popular, we started overlogging it, and soon it became both expensive and scarce.

Atlantic City thus had to find a different wood to maintain, repair and update their boardwalk, and they switched over to Western Red Cedar. The stuff was also pricey because it had to be shipped in from the Pacific Northwest, but it was easier to get than Atlantic White Cedar; and being a rainforest wood, it dealt well with moisture.

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The rise of pesticides changed the wood game after World War II. By the 1950s Atlantic City had switched materials once again, this time going with chemically-treated Southern Yellow Pine. Relatively affordable, this is the same stuff that wooden roller coasters, like Coney Island's famous Cyclone, were made of.

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Posted by hipstomp / Rain Noe  |  19 Jan 2015  |  Comments (0)

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John Edmark is one of those guys whose fields of interest would be impossible to fit on a single business card. While he's officially a design lecturer at Stanford, the inventor/designer/artist pursues everything from photography to motion graphics to geometry, and his courses cover "design fundamentals, product design, chair design, paper as a sculptural medium, color, and animation."

During his time as an artist-in-residence at Autodesk's Pier 9 program, Edmark combined several of his interests to create these 3D-printed Fibonacci Zoetrope Sculptures. By designing the Fibonacci sequence into the forms, then placing them on a turntable and synching his camera's shutter speed with the rotation rate, he's managed to create some stunning, slightly vertigo-inducing animations:

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Posted by Sam Dunne  |  19 Jan 2015  |  Comments (0)

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Crossrail is the massively ambitious £15 Billion railway project in the south of England cutting new tunnels under London to connect towns in the east and west with the ever growing metropolis. For anyone with even the slightest interest in architecture and engineering, the progress of the project—begun in 2009 after years of negotiations—has been a jaw-dropping (and at times nail biting) spectacle to behold. With what must be the biggest PR success in UK infrastructure building ever, the British public have been kept well up to speed with events going on under Londoners' feet—all happening with remarkable punctuality—with plenty of pictures of cavernous completed tunnels and smiling workers in orange overalls. With the service set to start in 2017, we're also eagerly awaiting the upcoming design for the trains, both interior and exterior, by Barber Osgerby.

It wasn't really until I watched the BBC's four-part documentary showing the work going on behind (or perhaps, before) the glossy press pics, that I began to fully appreciate what a masterpiece of engineering and detailed planning this development represents. The first episode follows engineers undertaking one of the toughest challenges of the project codenamed 'threading the needle.' Unfathomably, the Crossrail tunnels intersect with the busy Tottenham Court Road station by worming through a mess of cables, pipes and sewers to pass only 85cm above the crowded and fully functioning Northern Line platforms and 35cm below the station's escalators. Needless to say, the engineers were successful in their mission—threading the needle without crushing unwitting commuters or pulling down the Centrepoint building.

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Posted by Carly Ayres  |  16 Jan 2015  |  Comments (0)

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Patrick Paul and Adam Leeb were frequenting the same co-working space in Michigan in early 2014 when they first began discussing the pros and cons of various distraction-free writing software. Paul, a software developer, was telling Leeb all about programs that don't allow the user to backspace, or that begin to delete what's been written if the user pauses for more than 30 seconds. From these discussions came the idea for the Hemingwrite.

"If someone's going to that extreme to help them write, I figured, okay, maybe there's something to this," says Leeb, a mechanical designer. "So we came up with this idea to make a writing-dedicated hardware device and take that distraction-free software one step further." Together, Paul and Leeb designed and built the Hemingwrite, essentially an update of the standalone word-processor machines of yesterday, with an e-paper screen and cloud storage for documents. As of this writing, the device has surpassed its Kickstarter goal of $250,000 by almost a hundred grand.

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Despite diverse backgrounds that span everything from investment banking to political science, Paul and Leeb's respective focuses on software development and mechanical engineering were the driving force behind the creation of the Hemingwrite. With Paul handling the on-board software as well as Postbox, Hemingwrite's unique web application for saving and syncing documents across platforms, Leeb tackled the physical product side of things, from initial rough sketches to final 3D models and production.

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Posted by hipstomp / Rain Noe  |  16 Jan 2015  |  Comments (2)

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No, it ain't real, but we'd love to see it if it were. German website CURVED/labs worked up this concept design for an anniversary edition of the original Macintosh, echoing that machine's shape while flaunting the thinness possible with 2015 technology. Of course some of the design elements make no sense—if you can even find a physical disk to stick into that slot, does it just fall out of the back?—but it's still pretty cool to see.

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Posted by Coroflot  |  16 Jan 2015  |  Comments (0)

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The RKS Sessions are back and the first event of 2015 took place last week at the Cross Campus workspace in Santa Monica. Leading the discussion was CEO of FloWater, and serial entrepreneur, Rich Razgaitis. During the session Razgaitis detailed the company's mission of eliminating bottled water pollution for good with the innovative FloWater water-refill station.

In addition to discussing the company's plans for expansion in the future, he also spoke on past experiences and lessons that helped him during his growth as an entrepreneur and a leader in the business world.

Watch the full session here for all the details:

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Posted by hipstomp / Rain Noe  |  16 Jan 2015  |  Comments (0)

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I loved KnobFeel from the moment we first covered the site. To refresh your memory, it's a guy in the UK who provides succinct, non-verbal video reviews of knobs, like so:

Tells you all you need to know in just a few seconds.

And while knobs are fairly straightforward, the most recent KnobFeel review tackles something a good deal more complex: Saitek's X52 Control System, a pair of sprung joysticks bristling with multiple knobs, dials, lights and switches. Ex-videogame-tester and video editor Drew Scanlon provides the special guest review in the proper style, though with a rather KnobFeel-atypical ending:

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Posted by Sam Dunne  |  16 Jan 2015  |  Comments (0)

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Just the mention of the word "termite" can send many American homeowners, wood workers or furniture enthusiasts running for the hills. So it seems an unusual idea that we might actually consider welcoming these little home wreckers into our living rooms voluntarily.

Enter Chris Poehlmann—an exhibition builder veteran who fell for these misunderstood wood munchers whilst constructing a live habitat for them as part of a museum installation. Since then, Chris has been experimenting in his workshop, trying to find a way to bring the beauty that he saw in the swarm of insects devouring a log, into the home. Fast-forward the duration of one Kickstarter campaign and Chris has raised a over $18k (his original target was $5000) to produce two sizes of what he has dubbed "Termitat", an escape-proof exhibit for your very own colony.

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Posted by Jeri Dansky  |  16 Jan 2015  |  Comments (0)

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Magazines appeal to almost everyone; every home I enter has magazines laying around. Magazines racks can be a good way to keep current magazines visible (rather than buried under piles of papers or whatever) so they actually get read.

The Strata magazine rack from Headsprung is a nice example of a basic magazine rack which could sit on the floor or on a flat surface such as a desktop. It has two sections and can hold up to 12 magazines; the divider helps ensure magazines will stay upright even if the rack isn't full. If the Strata is being used on the desk, the front panel could also serve as a magnetic board. It has four anti-slip feet, too.

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The Float magazine rack from J-Me, which also holds 12 magazines, makes it super easy to see what's being stored. The users can remove one magazine without disturbing the others, which isn't possible with many other racks.

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The Sprung magazine rack from Liv'it (designed by Michael Sodeau) keeps the magazines in a stack. This reduces the visibility of the magazines, which is a significant concern—but it does allow the rack to hold a lot of them. It's also super easy to just toss one more magazine onto the pile.

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Posted by core jr  |  16 Jan 2015  |  Comments (0)

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As part of a new interview series on the Autodesk Foundation's new blog, ImpactDesignHub.org, Allan Chochinov, Editor at Large of Core77 and Chair of the MFA Products of Design program at SVA discusses impact design and the role of designers in social change with John Thackara a writer, educator, producer, speaker and connector in the worlds of design and transition.

Thackara's Doors of Perception conference was the first gathering to bring designers and the environmental movement together. John has worked to deepen this connection in projects with cities, organizations and companies in many countries. He writes frequently on design and stewardship, and his book, In the Bubble: Designing in a Complex World, is one of the foundational texts around systems thinking and design.

On Impact Design Hub, John talks about eating dirt, getting fired and what the West can learn from India's hacking economy.

Posted by Coroflot  |  16 Jan 2015

Work for Apple!

Apple is looking for candidates with a strong interest and aptitude in digital 3D modeling for the Industrial Design group's CAD sculpting team. Although this role is designated for a 3D modeling specialist, a background in industrial design is beneficial in facilitating a working relationship with a designer. Wouldn't it be great to put this experience on your resume?

An ideal candidate will have a strong passion and enthusiasm for a 3D modeling career. Proficiency in Alias or Rhino is preferred, as is the ability to go beyond the limitations of software tools and manually manipulate or refine surfaces. Experience in industrial design, computational geometry, model making, product design, or related field is desired; however, recent graduates with advanced surface modeling skills will also be considered. Any level modeler is encouraged to Apply Now.

Posted by hipstomp / Rain Noe  |  15 Jan 2015  |  Comments (1)

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While the presentation is somewhat underwhelming, the concepts are interesting: Jaguar is reportedly working on a "360 Virtual Urban Windscreen," which aims to increase driver visibility and awareness through technical trickery and screen overlays, as demonstrated in this video.

The red-flagging of humans in the windscreen seems entirely doable with modern-day sensors and a heads-up display. I think what would make it more compelling is if it could show living beings below the beltline, like toddlers and pets.

The idea of transparent B-pillars is similar to the "invisible Prius" concept we saw last year, though the Keio University researchers working on the Prius actually demonstrated workable technology, whereas Jaguar is merely showing us a rendered-over video. Assuming Jaguar actually has the technical acumen to get this to work, I'd actually prefer to see it applied to C-pillars, as the current auto design trend of making them fatter (at least in my experience) seems to create the most troublesome blind spots.

The "follow-me" business with the ghost car seemed somewhat silly to me, but then it might prove useful for delivery drivers—and the increasingly awful taxi drivers that New York City is currently hiring. Though I suppose we won't be getting Jag taxis anytime soon.

Posted by hipstomp / Rain Noe  |  15 Jan 2015  |  Comments (5)

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And we mean quick 'n dirty. For every finely polished shop solution is an equally functional, nasty-looking one that you quickly bang out because you need it. And if there was a museum filled with people's ad-hoc shop creations from around the world, I'd be there once a month.

The Los Angeles-based crafter behind the Cheltenham Road blog needed someplace to store his drill bits. Being numbers-challenged—"I keep thinking if I just concentrated I could remember that 7/32nds was smaller than 15/64ths," he writes—he wanted something that would not only keep the bits in size order, but let him quickly know which bit to grab while pre-drilling for a particularly-sized screw or dowel.

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Posted by hipstomp / Rain Noe  |  15 Jan 2015  |  Comments (6)

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Dillon Markey is a Los Angeles-based stop-motion animator who works for Robot Chicken and the film director PES. And as we saw in the Boxtrolls video, stop-motion work requires making hundreds upon thousands of minute adjustments. But what we didn't see in that video was the animator stepping away from the stage after each adjustment, the constant back-and-forth dance the artist must do to interact with his capture equipment.

Markey, tired of this dance, sought to create a body-mounted remote control solution that would allow him to remain within arm's reach of the stage. With no such product existing on the market, Markey hacked one up himself with a little help from an electrical engineer. What's most impressive is what they used: A Nintendo Power Glove, a failed game accessory product from 1989.

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Here's how they did it. And be sure to pay close attention around 4:25 in the video to check out Markey's brilliant integration of a self-parking tweezer dock.

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Posted by hipstomp / Rain Noe  |  15 Jan 2015  |  Comments (5)

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Italian design engineer Guido Medana has invented eyeglasses with a new type of hinge called Spine. Created through metal injection molding (although the website, perhaps erroneously, lists the definition of MIM as "micro injection metal,") a series of small "vertebrae" interlock to create a housing for a spun wire cable threaded through springs. The result is a resilient, self-closing hinge.

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Posted by Teshia Treuhaft  |  15 Jan 2015  |  Comments (0)

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Over the last few months, the hot topic of conversation among myself and my female startup friends (and a number of male friends too) has switched from the usual suspects of Shinola, YikYak, Casper etc to an unlikely pick: the New York-based underwear company Dear Kate.

Dear Kate's marketing campaign for their Ada Collection—an underwear line taking its namesake from famed programmer Ada Lovelace—sent a controversial ripple through the press last August in response to its use of high ranking women in tech as underwear models. The small but outspoken company responded publicly to the criticism of 'setting back women in tech' with the hashtag '#notcontroversial,' backed by overwhelming social media support via photos from their devotees outfitted in the company's wares (and not much else).

The incredible devotion of Dear Kate users combined with the ability to strike just the right marketing cord has pushed them into the spotlight, often overshadowing the not-to-be underestimated design and technology credentials of their product. Admittedly, I had mixed feelings about the brand following the launch of the Ada collection, however the quality of their products and attention to the needs of their target audience wins me over every time. As their recent Kickstarter campaign for their new line of yoga pants proves, Dear Kate is doing something very right. The yoga pants use the same Underlux technology as their underwear and solve a number of sensitive issues for their users, unabashedly tackling everything from panty lines to incontinence. I caught up with CEO and Founder Julie Sygiel to shed some light on designing the yoga pants, Underlux technology and outspoken marketing.

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Core77: What's the history of Dear Kate?

Julie Sygiel: The business plan for Dear Kate was hatched in my college entrepreneurship class. At first it was a fun, unique idea (especially given that our class was 80% male), and then the longer we worked on it, the more committed I became to actually creating the underwear. Studying chemical engineering in school gave me the confidence to dive in and start learning about technical fabrics. Once I got started, it snowballed into collaborating with textile development teams at fabric manufacturers to create Underlux. Instead of having to totally outsource product development, my science background allowed me to be the one guiding everything from the fabric to the designs to the construction and fit of the product, which is something that I continue to be very involved in today as we develop new products.

How has your background influenced the trajectory of the company?

Aside from my technical background, I've always had an interest in fashion and feminism. I was also a Girl Scout for 12 years and sold over 10,000 boxes of Girl Scout cookies so the notion that I could create and then market a product that is fashionable, plus make women's lives easier, was a dream come true. It checked all of my boxes in a way that I didn't know was possible and just felt "right." Once I started working on the business idea, it was addictive and became all I thought about.

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Posted by Coroflot  |  15 Jan 2015

Work for Utley's Incorporated!

Taphandles is a high energy and collaborative award winning beer marketing firm based in Seattle. They are the leader in supporting the brewing industry with the most innovative and unique product marketing available. Their products consist of tap handles, promotional items, point-of-sale displays, and signage for breweries across the globe. If you're a Junior Designer with "mad skillz" who wants to see their designs turned into production samples in a matter of weeks, this job is for you!

You will contribute to and assist in bringing concepts to life from sketch through to full 3D renderings for point-of-sale products. Your ability to meet tight deadlines with a high productivity rate is essential to this position. You can also enjoy a daily happy hour, playing darts and ping pong at work. What are you waiting for? Apply Now.

Posted by hipstomp / Rain Noe  |  14 Jan 2015  |  Comments (1)

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In his 20s, Michael Walker worked as a jewelrymaker. But one day his wife gave him a copy of American Blade, a magazine for knife collectors. Walker looked through the pages and figured he'd give knifemaking a try.

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That was way back in 1975, and by 1980 he was making knives full-time. His highly-sought-after creations sell for as much as five figures. And they're not just pretty: Walker holds some 20 patents and trademarks for folding knife mechanisms, starting with the "Linerlock" mechanism for folding knives that we'll describe below.

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Posted by Kat Bauman  |  14 Jan 2015  |  Comments (2)

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How do we fathom fathoms? Often by referring back to our own bodies. It's startling to realize that the much beloved metric system and the idiosyncratic imperial only became widely adopted in the 20th century. Human Scale is a fun look at how we quantified things before measurement systems became standardized. Leila Santiago was spurred to start the project while working as an international grad student in New York, experiencing innately common systems of weight and height and temperature without a comfortable base of reference.

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"When I moved to New York for my master's program, I found it difficult to discuss formal specifics with my classmates around our projects. "Should it be 5 feet deep, or 6?" I didn't know; in essence, I was having to learn the basics again." The little book was a project for a graphic design and illustration class in SVA's Products of Design program, and highlights interesting ways we've made sense of quantities in everyday use.

Larger units, like how much rice a person eats in a year, may be hard to wrap your head around with much specificity, but could have been more palatable information in simpler times... with fewer corner stores. Others, like the distance a dog's bark will travel, are both recognizable and poetic. Taken with their contemporary units, the project is a nice exercise in exploring human communication and history.

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