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Posted by Kat Bauman  |  20 Oct 2014  |  Comments (0)

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Portland is a solidly 2D town. We do great graphics, our branding is beautiful, and the interactive design coming out of here is innovative and interesting. Which is really lovely... but leaves us a little lacking in the physical department. Traditional crafts are on the rise, but where are the really interesting product design projects? Apparently, they're still in school.

Of all the events and all the open houses attended last week, the University of Oregon Product Design show was easily my favorite. Possibly because I was the only one there and thus didn't have to contend with two dozen graphic designers drawling about their current shows while pretending that they were there for something other than free wine. Also possibly because 97% of the work in the small show was clean, slightly surprising, and whimsical without pretense.

The show features work produced in Asst. Professor Wonhee Arndt's studio, the theme was "Home Away From Home," and selected pieces made an early debut at Milan's Design Week. Here are my favorites.

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It's easy to imagine this rolling storage bin by Chris Lau being used as a fun organizer for kiddos or slightly absurd adults. Nice lines, easy to move, easy to clean inside and out.

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Ceramic oddities by Trygve Faste and Jessica Swanson titled "Intertidal Deployment Objects" show a fun blend of nautical and traditional pottery influences with disconcertingly neon glazes, and could ostensibly be producible. I'd own one—in this climate you never know when you need to deploy some intertidal objects. The structured but cozy "Construction Quilt" by Wonhee Arndt makes fort building more interesting and wrapping up an architectural affair. Less compelling when wall mounted, but it looks like it would be plenty of fun.

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Posted by core jr  |  20 Oct 2014  |  Comments (0)
Advertorial content sponsored by Dassault Systèmes
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The AliveCor heart monitor is the first FDA-cleared device to let patients monitor their heart rhythm through a smart phone, enabling cost-efficient, timely diagnosis of cardiac arrhythmias for those at risk. Designed by Karten Design.

With the explosion of wearable technology and legislation like the Affordable Care Act, the medical product industry is rapidly evolving. Healthcare is seeing unprecedented changes, creating new opportunities for devices that connect consumers and doctors to information faster, easier, and more efficiently.

"It's coming to a point where there are just amazing breakthroughs every day," says Tor Alden, Principal and CEO at HS Design (HSD), where he has been directly involved in medical design for over 14 years. "[Technologists] are innovating and changing the landscape of how healthcare is going to be done to the point where we're not going to recognize it in the next three or four years from where it is now." It's a changing landscape that has caught the eye of many innovative startups, who now make up half of HSD's client list. "These new products have amazing technology, but it needs to be humanized and centered on user needs to be successful." HSD is positioning itself to be a bridge connecting the medical and healthcare startups with the investment banker communities. Alden predicts that if the growth continues at this rate, that number could be closer to 80% in the next few years.

One of the factors opening the door for innovation in the medical device industry is the Affordable Care Act. As requirements roll out for health care providers, there is an increasing need for new tools and products that ensure patient compliance. Take a typical hip replacement, for example: Under the Affordable Care Act, if a doctor or hospital is not tracking the compliance and rehabilitation of that patient and they return within a year with no improvement, the hospital owes money to the government. There's a financial incentive to make sure patients get better and, therefore, to track and evaluate their progress. This could spur invention around hip replacements—possibly leading to one with a chip (i.e., embedded UDI) to track rehabilitation or remind patients to get complete their physical therapy exercises.

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Posted by Ray  |  20 Oct 2014  |  Comments (0)

Snohetta-Beaufort.jpgReddit-USD.jpgAt top: Designed by Snøhetta, the reverse sides of all five denominations of Norwegian kroners form a continuous pattern; above: A proposed redesign of the U.S. Dollar

By now, you've probably caught a glimpse of what were widely hailed as "the most beautiful banknotes ever." Somewhat less widely reported, at least in the first wave of press, is the fact that the Snøhetta-designed reverse side of the new Norwegian kroner is based on the Beaufort Scale for windspeed, or the fact that the jury actually selected Enzo Finger as the winner but that Norges Bank overruled their judgment and, um, split the bill between runner-up Metric System—who, in fairness, received credit for the obverse—and the architecture firm's PR-friendly abstraction. (A curiously contrarian interview with Snøhetta's Matthias Frodlund in Creators Project is perhaps the most interesting window into the process behind the pieces; "[Since] this might be the last [paper] money to be produced in Norway, [it's like] giving the digital world a little sneer—look we can be like you, digital and pixelated, just much more beautiful.")

NOK100.jpgThe front and back of the 100kr note, designed by the Metric System and Snøhetta

In fact, all of the entries are available for viewing in the exegetical catalogue [PDF] (published with the October 7 press release), which elaborates on requirements such as standardized dimensions and colors of the notes—these properties remain consistent with extant currency for easy identification by both blind and sighted users—and judging criteria. Taking the theme of "The Sea," each denomination was required to express a subtheme, i.e. "Sea that brings us into the world" (100kr); "Sea that brings us further" (1,000kr). Other considerations include acceptance by the general public, aesthetic longevity, and, interestingly, the fact that it will represent the national idenitity as "a businesss card for Norway."

NOK1000.jpgThe front and back of the 1000kr note, designed by the Metric System and Snøhetta

That much I gleaned from some de rigueur Google translating; the 64-page document (only about 15 of the pages have text) is a fairly straightforward outline of the competition, but I won't deny you the surprise at seeing Aslak Gurholt Rønsen's entry (pp. 16–21)

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Posted by Coroflot  |  20 Oct 2014

Work for Feetz!

In Chattanooga, TN, Feetz is challenging the most basic elements of the footwear industry. Mass Manufacturing is dead. Mass Customization is the future. They combine 3D design, computer vision, biomechanics, additive manufacturing / 3d printing, robotics, and material science in ways that will make you go "WOW". Feetz is also seeking the entrepreneurial game changers, the self-starters, and the team players to join their small funded startup team to create the future.

To join this team, you must turn ideas and sketches into manufacturable designs. You must know what it takes to make something real and have experience in the fabrication space - from additive manufacturing to welding to textiles. You should also want to enjoy all the benefits of living in Chattanooga. If you want to be part of solving big problems in a fast changing environment, Apply Now.

Posted by Ray  |  17 Oct 2014  |  Comments (1)

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Last we wrote about Black Eyed Peas' irrepressible frontman Will.i.am, he was dispensing nuggets of wisdom about logo design; earlier this year, he debuted a smartwatch on Alan Carr: Chatty Man, which he unveiled in earnest this week at the Dreamforce conference in San Francisco. Here's the debut of the as-yet-unnamed Puls from April:

Billed as a cuff, as in cufflink or handcuff, the wearable.i.am. was reportedly two and a half years in the making and is noteworthy in that it need not be paired with a smartphone. Like the Samsung Gear S and Timex Ironman ONE GPS (both released in August), the Puls connects directly to a data network so it can function as a standalone device. Although the user can send and receive calls and texts, "it's on the wrist, therefore it should not mimic a phone." So says Will.i.am in a product walkthrough with the Wall Street Journal, in a video that is a appreciably less surreal than his talk-show appearance:

Jimmy Iovine reference duly noted; not entirely sure why he's pictured with Dr. Dre though...

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Posted by hipstomp / Rain Noe  |  17 Oct 2014  |  Comments (4)

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If you live in a rural area with four seasons, you know that maintaining your property is a lot of work requiring a lot of tools. And when it comes to powered items, at a minimum you need a lawnmower for the summer, a leaf blower for the fall, a snowblower for the winter and maybe a pressure washer when it comes time to clean the house in spring. That's four contraptions taking up space in your garage, each with their own motor.

Which is why Troy-Bilt's forthcoming FLEX line of products is brilliant, at least in theory. The idea behind the FLEX line is that you buy a single motor (a decent size, too, at 208cc's), then buy lawn mower, leaf blower, snowblower and pressure washer "attachments" as needed, and you can swap each of them in and out, so you've only got one motor to maintain.

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As of yet there's no details on the FLEX's "Lock & Latch" connection system, but since the devil is in the design details, we imagine the ease or difficulty of swapping attachments is something that will boost or kill sales after customer reviews hit the web. Which will be next year; the FLEX line is slated to roll out in Spring of 2015, exclusively through Lowes.

Via Consumer Reports

Posted by Carly Ayres  |  17 Oct 2014  |  Comments (0)

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If you have ever shipped mass quantities of products worldwide, it's likely that you've worked with a packing solutions company. Experts in cardboard, foam and other packing products, these companies work with clients to make sure your beautifully designed product reaches the hands of consumers in one piece. "It's like the walls of a house in a tornado," explains Mike Martinez, Director of Consulting Services at Ernest Packaging Solutions, based near Los Angeles. "We protect your contents from the outside elements."

But that's not all Ernest Packaging Solutions does. Last month, to kick off its Cardboard Chaos series—in which the company hopes to push its skills by inventing alternative uses for its paper products—Ernest collaborated with Signal Surfboards to create a cardboard surfboard, a far cry from its daily services.

Martinez led the endeavor, putting together a small team at Ernest with each member specializing in various packing techniques, from food handling to shipping fragile china. The crew at nearby Signal Snowboards introduced Martinez and his team to Jeff "Doc" Lausch, a legend in the world of surfboard shaping. With Lausch's help, the team decided to model its board after a standard foam surfboard, using Hexacomb, a paper-based honeycomb, as the underlying structure.

Taller and thicker than cardboard, Hexacomb's structure makes it ideal for safeguarding objects, with crushable air cells that protect on impact. In a surfboard, these pockets of air provide buoyancy. "To recreate a foam-core surfboard out of paper, we needed to maintain buoyancy through compartmentalization that will keep that air inside," Martinez says. "Foam is just a bunch of small, trapped air bubbles. We wanted to create these air pockets and knew that Hexacomb was a great medium to do it."

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Posted by hipstomp / Rain Noe  |  17 Oct 2014  |  Comments (5)

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This young student's name, country of origin, and the specific design school she attended are not important. But in this video she explains why she was motivated to study industrial design. At nearly ten minutes long the video is a bit rambling (cut the kid some slack), but one of the relevant stories is from 1:45 to 3:30 in the video; around 6:28 she discusses how she sees ID as the perfect blend of art and science, although it was actually her second choice as a major; and starting at 8:20 she reveals her perception of ID programs as being more cooperative than competitive. (Was not the case for me, but I guess your mileage may vary.)

So why are we showing you that video? Because later on she decided to quit ID, and explained why in this next video. At just over four minutes this one's a bit tighter, and while some of her points obviously have to do with her specific personal traits, other points she makes might hit home for some of you, depending on your program:

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Posted by Ray  |  17 Oct 2014  |  Comments (0)

AerialBold-NOAA.jpgL: ABC Dataset Samples; R: Photo credit: NOAA, Vancouver Aquarium.

We've long been enamored with the Eames' Powers of Ten short film, which is as much an introduction to aerial photography as it is to the math behind astronomy and biology. Just as everyone now takes beautiful images (and the retina displays to view them on) for granted, there is also a sense in which we are collectively GPS-enabled: After all, digital cartography is perhaps the most practical application of constant connectivity, and we can thank one company for the ability to zoom out to god's-(or satellites'-)eye view with a pinch of the fingers.

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Benedikt Groß & Joey Lee take it even further with Aerial Bold, the "first map and typeface of the earth."

The project is literally about "reading" the earth for letterforms, or alphabet shapes, "written" into the topology of buildings, roads, rivers, trees, and lakes. To do this, we will traverse the entire planet's worth of satellite imagery and develop the tools and methods necessary to map these features hiding in plain sight.
The entire letterform database will be made available as a "usable" dataset for any of your art/design/science/textual projects and selected letterforms will be made into a truetype/opentype font format that can be imported to your favorite word processor.

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Posted by hipstomp / Rain Noe  |  17 Oct 2014  |  Comments (2)

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The invention of a man named William Louden is a great example of industrial design in the era before the term "industrial design" was invented.

One of the first issues dealt with by the earliest farmers was where to keep their livestock. So they designed and built barns. They also needed a place to store the hay to feed those livestock, so the hay went into the barn too. The amount of livestock a farmer could keep, and feed, was thus limited to the size of the barn's footprint.

One early design solution to this limitation was to add a hayloft, or "mow," so you could keep the hay up above and maximize your floorspace below to house more livestock. But getting all that hay up to the mow was a lot of work, even after you rolled the hay wagon into the barn and stood on it to get a little extra elevation.

Enter William Louden, one of nine children born on a farm in Iowa in the 1800s. Louden was sickly and suffered from rheumatism, meaning he couldn't engage in the farm labor that his siblings did. But by observing their work, specifically the way that they had to pitch hay up onto the mow from the wagon, he designed a clever way to cut the workload down drastically.

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This being 1867, ropes, pulleys, wheels and beams had all long existed. But Louden put all these things together in a novel way, starting with the beam, which he suspended from the ceiling and used as an overhead track—an early monorail. His resultant monorail-based design for a hay carrier allowed men to get bales of hay up into the mow with a fraction of the effort required when done manually. Here's a modern-day demonstration of the Louden Barn Hay Carrier:

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