We all know the oceans are filled with plastic waste, and we've seen the horrific photos of dead animals that have ingested the stuff. It is up to activists, responsible corporate citizens and lawmakers to stop these plastic garbage patches from growing. But that won't solve the problem of how to get rid of the stuff that's already floating around in there.
Enter Boyan Slat, just 19 years of age. At 6, he was diving in Greece—that country whose postcards show pristine beaches and blue water--and was horrified at the amount of floating garbage he encountered. "I saw more plastic bags," Slat told the BBC, "than fish." When he returned home to the Netherlands, he started working on a way to rid the oceans of garbage—and his design solution is as promising as it is out-of-the-box.
The conventional thinking goes that ships need to be sent out into these garbage patches with huge tow-nets. The problem is that these nets would capture aquatic life as well as the garbage they're trying to collect. And ships burn fuel. So Slat took a closer look at how oceans operate and how the garbage migrates around.
Oceanbound trash tends to gather into their own little garbage continents, driven by "gyres," or rotating currents. There are five of these trash gyres worldwide.
Although the concentration of plastic in these areas is high—it's sometimes described as a plastic soup—it's still spread out over an area twice the size of Texas. What's more, the plastic does not stay in one spot, it rotates. These factors make a clean-up incredibly challenging.
"Most people have this image of an island of trash that you can almost walk on, but that's not what it's like," says Slat. "It stretches for millions of square kilometres - if you went there to try and clean up by ship it would take thousands of years." Not only that, it would be very costly in terms of both money and energy, and fish would be accidentally caught in the nets.
Slat reasoned that it would be more efficient to let the ocean move the trash around, as it does on its own. We would then simply place floating barriers in the known trouble spots, allowing the floating garbage to simply run into the barriers. Aquatic life could still flow under the floating barriers unmolested, with no nets for them to get caught in, and the barriers would be anchored to the seabed via cables to prevent them from floating off. Garbage could then be harvested and recycled from an area with a much smaller footprint.
Drawing is about muscle control, and muscle control comes from reps. Which is why Professor Gary, our Drawing teacher at ID school had us draw hundreds, then thousands, of cubes in perspective. And once we'd gotten those down to his satisfaction, we drew yet more cubes in perspective, then started filling the planes with ellipses.
There is no shortcut, he taught. If your circles suck, draw 10,000 of them and at some point they'll stop sucking.
Well, turns out there is a shortcut, at least for drawing circles of a few specific sizes. Not much applicability for ID sketching, but it was clever enough that we at least had to show you:
Posted by Sam Dunne
| 20 Oct 2014
With London Design Festival having wrapped up only a couple of weeks ago, we headed over this week over to the other LDF in Łódź, Poland. Although the design scene of Poland may be relatively in its infancy, this year's festival in Łódź—the country's third biggest city, pronounced something link 'wodch'— marks the 8th year for the event, the words 'Brave New World' having been chosen as title and theme of this edition.
A large part of the festival hub in Łódź this year has been handed over to London-based designer and thinker Daniel Charny—founder of studio From Now On and rebel rousing advocate of the maker movement—to create a prototype of his proposed 'Fixhub' spaces. Building on the models and cultures of public makerspace like FabLabs and Repair Cafe, Charny's Fixhubs are part fix-shop, part library and part gallery brought together in a one stop shop for communities to be inspired, informed and equipped to action to extend the lifespan or usefulness of their belongings.
With lots of making workshops going on and a rack of materials to read, the gallery portion of the space showcased a wide range of making and hacking projects—a collection that Charny believes points to the coming of age of the maker movement. Likening the process to the early days of filmmaking, all the novelty and wacky experimentation (arguably much need to allow for learning) is finally giving way to works of much greater significance.
Launching officially at Dutch Design Week, Belgian studio Unfold gave festival goers in Łódź a sneak peek of their incredible 'Of Instruments and Archetypes'—a set of instruments that measure physical objects and transfer the dimensions to a digital model in real time, allowing users to then send these files off for 3D printing. On show with the video of the tools in action was a selection of vessels hacked with tools, different objects having been used for handles.
Posted by Kat Bauman
| 20 Oct 2014
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.
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.
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.
Posted by core jr
| 20 Oct 2014
Advertorial content sponsored by Dassault Systèmes
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.
Posted by Ray
| 20 Oct 2014
At 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.")
The 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."
The 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 of seeing Aslak Gurholt Rønsen's entry (pp. 16–21)...
Posted by Coroflot
| 20 Oct 2014
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
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...
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.
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
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."