The animated GIF is ideally suited to certain types of subject matter. Adorable animals? Check. Out-of-sync Super Bowl dancers? Of course. Confused John Travolta? Yes, please. But product design—not so much. Nevertheless, 2015 did see a number of design-centric GIFs worth commemorating. Here are our ten favorites.
10. Introducing BB-8 To kick things off, let’s acknowledge how cool it is that everyone’s favorite new Star Wars character is an actual remote-controlled robotic unit and not just CGI (even if some people argue the rolling droid is a poor design).
9. Tokyo Police Drone Finally, chronic worriers can stop obsessing about a future in which we’re all terrorized by drones. Relax—now we can just send bigger drones to catch them in nets! (Read more here.)
8. LED “Black Hole” Water Slide It’s at an indoor water park in Bremerhaven, Germany, if you’re looking to make a pilgrimage. See also: Maybe it’s a bit too fast
7. Awesome Swing-Arm Backpack As we wrote last August, this invention by Paxis alleviates a major ergonomic flaw of backpacks.
6. Water-Transfer Printing in Action Also known as hydrographics—here’s more on how it works.
5. What an Autonomous Car Sees Aaaaand now our cars have Terminator vision. This cannot end well.
4. Tesla’s “Solid Metal Snake” Speaking of autonomous cars—uh, would you really be able to sleep at night with this snakelike robo-charging device lurking in your garage?
3. Giant Red Ball Terrorizes Toledo Granted, this one is more art object than product design—but why split hairs when there’s a 250-pound rubber ball rampaging through downtown Toledo, over and over and over? (Thankfully, no one was hurt.) See also: Mutant tomato escape
2. Duck Army (sound required) Another slight cheat—technically, a Vine is not a GIF. But please set aside any objections and let this brilliant and profound loop—a parable of the unintended side effects of mass production in our over-commercialized society?— wash over you. (H/t to Vulture)
1. Lego-Compatible Prosthetic Arm The IKO Creative Prosthetic System, a 2015 Core77 Design Awards winner, embodies the best of contemporary product design: It’s ingenious, fun and has the potential to make a real difference in users’ lives. Here’s to seeing more of this inventive spirit in 2016.
More from Core77's 2015 Year in Review
• 15 of Your Favorite Posts from 2015
• The Coming Age of Automobility and What It Means for Designers
• 10 Clever, Innovative or Bizarre Design Processes from 2015
• 10 Brilliant and Beautiful Objects from Our 'Designing Women' Series
• 12 Projects to Inspire Future Living
• The Year in Furniture Designs, Part 1: The Beautiful, the Innovative and the Unusual
• The Year in Furniture Designs, Part 2: Design/Build Techniques and Learning from the Past and Present
• 15 Tools and Tool-Based Projects We Loved in 2015