Take note: within days steampunk kids across the globe will be clapping their faux leather-gloved hands with glee and trying to invest their bitcoins in something big. Really big. The UK just unveiled the world's biggest aircraft, and it looks a hell of a lot like a dirigible. Originally developed by the US military for surveillance purposes, the hybrid-airship was dropped due to budget constraints... and possibly the fact that there is nothing subtle about being spied on by a 302 foot long aircraft. It has since been sold to savvy business minds in the UK, who renamed it the Airlander and see affordable cargo and travel in its massive future. Perhaps most importantly, its development is being backed financially and publicly by Bruce Dickinson, the lead singer of Iron Maiden who also happens to be a commercial pilot and wicked smart investor. (Be still my heart.)(more...)
Like a lot of successful entrepreneurial ventures, Chrome Industries was born of out dissatisfaction. Its founders were a group of Boulder, Colorado, cyclists who couldn't find a messenger bag that met their standards—so they started making their own, using military-grade materials and salvaged seatbelt buckles. Now based in San Francisco, Chrome has been selling those messenger bags for almost 20 years, alongside a growing collection of similarly tough backpacks, apparel and other gear.
The latest addition to that collection is a line of what Chrome calls "knurled welded waterproof rolltops," released two weeks ago. The four bike bags (two backpacks, a front-rack duffle, and a saddle bag) sport roll-top closures and distinctive exterior seams with a nubby texture—evidence of that "knurled welded" technique, which the company says creates superior durability with very little weight.
So how does knurled welding work? Knurling usually refers to a surface treatment used on wrenches and other metal tools; in those cases, it creates a raised pattern that provides better grip. In knurled welding, that raised pattern is printed on both sides of the tool used to RF-weld pieces of fabric together. (Envision two waffle irons coming together.) This creates more surface area along the seams, which equals greater strength.(more...)
I love Japanese over-design. As an industrial designer, are you not awed by their willingness to fire up a whole new tooling line to create some product to tackle even the most minute, mundane problem? Case in point: Check out Mitsubishi subsidiary Uni's Promark View highlighter, which pushes the tip out to the end of a clear piece of plastic, so you can see precisely where you're highlighting. The only visual obstruction is the thin straw feeding the water-based ink out to the felt.
The Promark's chunky body will take up an undue amount of space in your pencil jar or pocket, but perhaps it's not designed to be stored in either: As this Japanese pen reviewer has noted, the wide, flat cap means it can stand up on your desk.(more...)
In a good, pixelated way. LEBLOX was created by Mathieu Lecoupeur and Soy Phompraseuth and it's coming your way... someday. Combining the worldwide love of 8-bit anything and our irrational desire to reproduce our own faces and images ad nauseum, LEBLOX lets you turn anything into a low-res 3D object. The French design team hopes to support an interactive community, sharing designs, advice and art. Towards that they've built what looks like a simple, user-friendly app to design and test prints you'd like to make right on your phone. The app is due to be released "soon" according to their exceptionally uninformative website. I suppose their work speaks for itself.(more...)
The largest producer of quality chocolate in North America and a global leader in chocolate and sugar confectionery wants you to provide innovative design solutions for specific packaging problems and customer needs as the newest Package Design intern for the Hershey Company.
The best candidate for this role will be able to participate effectively in brainstorming events and be confident in presenting ideas, communicate ideas and concepts clearly through hand drawn visuals and renderings and demonstrate the ability to manage multiple priorities while working both independently and in multidisciplinary groups/teams with a high level of self motivation. If you think you have what it takes and want to work on designs for this iconic brand, Apply Now.
The 1993 Jean-Claude Van Damme vehicle Hard Target was director John Woo's first U.S. film. Woo, the acclaimed action director hailing from Hong Kong, was for the first time exposed to American production largesse: Six cameras where once he might have had two, and a variety of expensive, elaborate camera rigs well beyond the budget of your average HK flick.
In this little-seen spot produced by the L.A. Times, the Muscles from Brussels himself—in fine 1993 form and style—gives you a brief look at the unusual rigs used to "make the magic" on the set of Hard Target. (Who knew they had drone cameras back in '93?)(more...)
While knife blocks and wall racks work well for many kitchens, not everyone has the counter or wall space for these items—and people with pets or young children may not feel comfortable with some of those products. So how else can we solve the knife storage dilemma?
In my own kitchen, I store my knives in a drawer, using an in-drawer knife organizer—my cats get into almost everything, but they haven't learned to open drawers. Of course, people with small children will need to ensure those children can't reach (or open) the drawer.
The organizer above comes from Rev-A-Shelf; it's designed to be trimmed, as needed, to fit various drawer sizes and to accommodate the number of knives needing to be stored.(more...)
This winsome widget might provide the seamless, socially interactive music experiences we've always wanted. Tap the Chune with your bluetooth equipped digital music holding rectangles, tell the app what genres you care for, and away you go to Margaritaville or down the Highway to Hell. According to the young design team, the Chune is a "playful social music service that intelligently curates playlists depending on who is around, and how much fun they're having." Finally! An object that judges both my taste in dance music and the quality of my social life!
The device pulls from social music streaming sites and combines tastes on the fly. The goal is to curate a communally acceptable party soundtrack that reflects both the interests of those present and the current energy level of the gathering. Accordingly, the minimalist controls include both a vitally important Skip button ("uh haha I have no idea why THAT came on!) and a Vibe dial. How the vibe dial affects the party propriety of the music isn't exactly clear, but the idea is interesting.(more...)
Someone has finally taken note that throughout the day, we use our smartphones in at least two different ways. There's the active way, where you're futzing around with an app and your thumbs are flying across the screen. Then there's the passive way, where you're glancing at it to reference some piece of information you need. And with that latter usage, it would be better if the information was persistently presented, not something you had to call up by doing a home-button-press/swipe/access-code-enter/app-button-press.
Thus Russian tech manufacturer Yota Devices produces the Yota Phone, billed as "The world's first dual-screen, always-on smartphone." While one side has got the familiar color touchscreen we're all familiar with, flip the thing over and there's a black-and-white, EPD electronic-ink-type display that draws no power once its pixels are in place. (The image or text will stay "burned" there even if the phone's battery dies.) In other words you send whatever data you want to that second screen and it stays there, ready for immediate viewing when you pull the phone out of your bag, no button presses necessary. If I owned this phone I'd constantly avail myself of the convenience of having a grocery list, boarding pass, map snippet, reference dimensions, addresses and appointment times, etc.
First gen: Square-ish
Once upon a time bicycles were made from tube stock. These days it seems they may go 3D-printed. But until they get there, there are guys like California-based Brent Foes, whose Foes Racing USA company uses a hybrid of old and new technologies, like having a waterjet cut aluminum sheets into components that are then hydraulic-pressed and welded to create incredibly strong bike frames.
The Prolly is not Probably bike blog was allowed into Foes' shop, where they treated us to these shots:
[Images via Prolly is Not Probably](more...)
Emergencies bring a slew of unexpected issues: information technologies fail, power is not available, the water supply is cut, food is scarce and health problems spread quickly. UNICEF and Socialab got together, discussed these problems and fell upon an important question: How can we assist victims of disasters more efficiently and save more lives? The decision was to co-launch the "Global Innovation Challenge: First 72 Hours."
To date, there are over 100 ideas from all around the globe focused on taking action in the first 72 hours after the on-set of a catastrophe. Some of the ideas are focused on finding and re-uniting families, others on accessing basic services and many on how to keep children safe post-disaster. An entire archive of the submitted ideas can be viewed here.(more...)
An Innovative and Entrepreneurial Work Experience are Waiting for You at Ringers Gloves in Houston, Texas
Ringers Gloves, the world leader in hand safety, is looking for a highly motivated, self-driven,pro-active and passionate Soft Goods Designer with at least 3-5 yrs experience in soft goods to join their core R&D team in Houston, TX. This is your chance to be immersed in an entrepreneurial work environment with the emphasis on innovative thinking.
To succeed in this role, you must have an amazing attention to detail, have good project management skills, have a thorough understanding and strong interests in innovative materials, yet also have a great team work and collaboration attitude to interact with the rest of the design and manufacturing teams. Don't let this opportunity pass you by - Apply Now.
There are two things that Ben Foster most certainly knows how to do well—create gorgeous industrial versions of animal silhouettes and compose a damn good photo. It's not just luck or coincidence, either. There's a reason his work looks so fantastic nestled among the lush New Zealand scenery. His website explains:Ben Foster draws upon the physical landscape of home with his static, stylised figurative works mirroring the dramatic forms of the mountains which are his backdrop. Similarly, his kinetic abstract sculptures echo the restless coastal waters and winds which swiftly reshape the stony shores. His artistic practice serves as a vehicle through which he explores human interaction with the land and the animals with which we share our lives and spaces. (more...)
How Designing Something Into the Shape of an Animal Can Actually Improve Human Health, and Why You Shouldn't Put Condoms on Broomsticks
Design can sometimes make all the difference in very unpredictable ways. A case in point: Utility is one thing, but it was a change in design that led significant improvements to the public health of Cambodia. Here's that story...
About five years ago an epidemiologist Christopher Charles traveled to Cambodia to research anemia, the most common red blood cell disorder. Essentially it's caused by a decrease in the number of red blood cells or hemoglobin in the blood. And it can be caused by a lack of iron and it is especially common in third world countries—about half of all Cambodian children suffer from it. Symptoms include heart palpitations, shortness of breath and muscle fatigue. Over time it can lead to growth and cognitive impairment.
Anemia can be easily treated with iron supplements, or increasing the intake of iron-rich foods. One of the problems is that few can afford such supplements or food in these poorer countries. Often cast-iron skillets are used to infuse food with iron during cooking. But these are also expensive to buy. So Charles thought if they could distribute smaller iron blocks to families to use in their cooking pots, as they boiled water or made soup, it might solve a big problem. He tested it out with a few families. But when he came around to check in on their progress he found they used the small chunk of iron as doorstops. (An aside: It reminds me of a family planning expert who taught sub-Saharan Africans how to use condoms by demonstrating with a broom handle. Later he learned that men and women were fitting their condoms on a broom handle, propping it up against the corner of the bedroom and then proceeding to have sex.)(more...)
Is the Huffington Post written and edited by teenagers? I was surprised to see, making the social media rounds, an article touting a "new" packaging technology for ice cream: Ben & Jerry's Cores, which combine several flavors together in the same container, keeping each separate but contiguous. The unattributed writer breathlessly refers to it as "[a] new (mind-blowing/world peace-solving) concept," wonders "What will Ben & Jerry's think of next?" and states "we can't believe no one has thought of this yet."(more...)
There's less than a month left to enter your work in the 2014 Core77 Design Awards program. The entry period closes on March 20th, but there's plenty of time to put together a submission. To give you that extra push of motivation, we're going to feature a number of past winners in the next couple of weeks.
First up, we've got a 2011 Consumer Products/Equipment winner, "Load Carrier for Labour." We chatted with designer Vikram Dinubhai Panchal to see what the life has been like post-awards. Read on to see what winning has done for him and submit your own entry!(more...)
One of our first assignments as industrial design students should have been to design and build our own carrying cases. But no, we students were too busy being taught crap like theory, so we all coughed up twenty bucks for a plastic ArtBin. Which is a shame. A simple modular toolbox would have been relatively straightforward to design and build, while providing us with the perfect, individualized product to field test and tweak the design of over the course of a semester.
From Germany comes what they're calling the Toptainer, seen here. Once loaded up with tools, it's meant to fit into an older plastic Systainer design.(more...)
What purpose does a library serve in a contemporary middle school? Beyond its broad definition as a place to read, relax, explore and discover, we also feel that educational spaces should be designed with the input and ideas from the users—the students themselves. Now, with the help of Studio H and Ms. Nini (Hallie Chen), a cohort of 108 eighth graders at Berkeley's REALM Charter School have done exactly that, and they need your help to make the library of their dreams into a reality.
Besides the bookmarks, stamps and bags, the students have also designed an X-shaped unit of modular shelving, STAX, which is made of low-cost plywood and fabricated with CNC technology, courtesy of Autodesk's Carl Bass. "You can do anything with STAX: you can make your new favorite shelf," reads the project page on Kickstarter. "You can make supports for a table or legs for a bench. You can make a mile long wall if you want. Whatever you do with them, they'll definitely be the coolest piece of furniture you own."
Some of you may also remember that we last spoke to Pilloton during the release of If You Build It, a documentary about their previous project in North Carolina:First launched in Bertie County, NC and now based at REALM Charter School in Berkeley, CA, Studio H students apply their core subject learning to design and build audacious and socially transformative projects. Students of Studio H have previously dreamed up, designed, and constructed a 2,000-square-foot farmers market pavilion, a pop-up park, laser-etched skateboards, sculptural concrete public furniture, roadside farmstands, and more. Through experimentation, non-stop production, tinkering, and a lot of dirt under their fingernails, students develop the creative capital, critical thinking, and citizenship necessary for their own success and for the future of their communities. Studio H is an initiative of the nonprofit Project H Design.(more...)
Work for the Small Company That Makes Big Products. Logitech Wants a Product Designer in Cork, Ireland
Move fast. Speak up. Decide and own. Drive change. Exceed customer needs.
Are you a creative original thinker who also has a passion for making a difference? Are you ready for the next step in your career? Here is the chance to be a key part of something new. Logitech Design Lab is looking for an Industrial Designer to join their multidisciplinary strategic design team.
Logitech Design Lab has recently been established as an "internal design agency" to service Logitech's broad range of product design and experience needs. In it's state of the art design studio in Cork, Ireland, the lab focuses on strategic projects aimed at leading & disrupting our product portfolio. If you have a proven track record of conceiving & bringing new ideas to life in rapid sketching, visualisation and prototyping, Apply Now.
We've landed in Cape Town, 2014 World Design Capital, for this year's Design Indaba Conference, which kicks off today with the likes of Experimental Jetset, Jake Barton and Thomas Heatherwick, to name a few (and that's just on day one!) and will continue through the rest of the week and weekend with the Expo. Stay tuned for reporting live from South Africa, but in the meantime you can check out Daniel Charny's presentation from last year, in which he covers the "Power of Making" exhibition at the V&A to a more recent project called Fixperts.(more...)