November 2013

Block Calls with a wooden block

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MIT PhD student and famed Arduino prototyper David Mellis has developed an affordable DIY mobile phone for all you tinkerers out there.  Consisting of a simple Arduino board and laser cut timber, it’s a hobbyists’ dream.

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The programming is available for free online, and although this little pup can’t stand up to the power of your every day smartphone, it can make calls, receive and send text messages, and event set an alarm.

Check out the full story over at Designboom.com.

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Images property of Designboom.com, 2013

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Ystudio Repurposed Camera Lamps

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Taiwanese design firm, Ystudio, have breathed new life into old analogue cameras in the form of desk, floor, and table lamps.  Dragging the old shooters out of retirement, the firm has produced some very cool stuff. Combining the old, worn products with shiny new fittings made to fit each camera, these stylish lamps will add history and style into the home or office.

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Images courtesy of Designboom.com, 2013

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Trans X – One Size Fits All Battery

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We’ve all been there.  You’re device runs out of battery power at a pivotal moment.  You rush to that cupboard where you keep all the miscellaneous items of any household.  Scissors, paddle pop sticks, string, rubber bands, and of course, batteries.  You desperately search for a new 9 volt only to find you’ve depleted your stockpiles and have only left yourself a meagre triple A.

How could this tiny, wimpy excuse for a battery ever help you out of the jam you’ve liberally smeared all over your life.

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Oh ye of little faith.  Behold Trans X.  While it might sound like an extreme sports T.V. show for those who enjoy wearing the other genders’ clothes, it’s actually the solution to literally every problem you have right now…possibly.

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A simple recycled cardboard and copper component converts any smaller battery into a useable larger one.  Although a single triple A won’t last as long as a regular 9 Volt battery when scaled up, it’ll still be enough to let you get a bit more use out of your depleted devices.

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The premise is simple.  Pick the battery wrap size you need, fold it around the batter you have, and slip it into your device.  The Trans X provides a simple and elegant, and cheap solution to a long running problem.

Designers: Chen Yi-An & Chen Yi-Ying

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The Ambassador Watch – Death is only moments away

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Sometimes we need a little reminder that time is precious.  The Ambassador watch from Mr. Jones Watches has a stark little reminder for you in the form of a very interesting timepiece.

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The Ambassador features a rotating face with a seemingly incoherent jumble of colours aligned with the minute hand of the watch.  As the minutes grind away, part of the watch face turns with it.

For most of the day it seems to  be showcasing a pretty display of multi-coloured bliss.  However when the watch and minute hand align a rather disturbing image presents itself.

Inspired by the 16th century work of art, ‘The Ambassadors‘ created by Hans Holbein, the watch provides a stark reminder that time and death walk hand in hand with each other.

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Mercedes and Gran Turismo 6 – Vision of the Future

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Gran Turismo 6 is set to features some pretty cool rides upon release.  The developers over at Polyphony Digital commissioned the world’s leading automotive manufacturers to design concepts cars for the game with an emphasis on the future of motoring.  The one catching the most eyes around the internet at the moment was created by Mercedes-Benz for the upcoming racing feature.

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What is essentially an extreme SLS, the concept features an aluminium frame, gullwing doors (for those of you who felt gipped by its inability to fly), and a healthy dose of the carbon fiber treatment.  This beast features an AMG Biturbo Engine and eight tailpipes, to keep that 485hp engine under wraps.

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The new Mercedes Benz Research Centre in Sunnyvale California will be showcasing a 1:1 scale model of their concept from this week onwards.

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Starck’s Pibal Bike’s See First Release in Bordeaux

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A test series of electric bicycles for public use in Bordeaux have been released by Phillipe Starck in conjunction with Peugeot.  The city’s ever increasing uptake of cycling over the past decade make it an ideal testing ground for the freshly designed bikes, with twenty being introduced into the city from November 8th.  2014 will see 4000 Pibal bikes being introduced into Bordeaux.

What do you think of the design?  Starck’s often peculiar style generally splits the audience down the middle, for or against.  The famed creator of the Juicy Salif has had his share of successes and failures.  How do you think this one will go down in history?

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The Juicy Salif: Starck’s Most Iconic Design

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The V+ Volteis was not as well received.

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inFORM Dynamic Shape Display


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Developed by the Tangible Media Group at MIT, inFORM and its dynamic display may just be the coolest thing we’ve seen in a while.  Not just that, but it’s also something with a whole deal of potential for how we interact with technology, our environment, and each other.

Employing only a projector, xbox kinect, pins, linkages, actuators, and a computer, inFORM allows users to remotely control a physical display and interact with objects sitting on it.

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The applications are limitless and the potential for integration into everyday screens like those on your smartphone proposes some very interesting interactive possibilities.  Architects and designers could use the technology to rapidly prototype 3d models, and collaborate on designs with others.  Doctors could employ the technology to analyze data in three dimensions.  It’s an exciting horizon, and we can’t wait to see where it goes, particularly on a much larger scale.

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Hammock, Trampoline, or Interactive Sculpture? Yes.

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 In life I have found love for many things.  Right near the top of my list are trampolines and hammocks, and it looks as though the Croation-Austrian design collective Numen/for use have looked right into my black little heart and created something from my dreams.

This is what dreams coming true looks like.

This is what dreams coming true looks like.

This interactive art sculpture currently on display in Yokohama, Japan, consists of a white inflatable box with tight black webs woven inside.  The hybrid trammock design (trademark) allows users to climb, bounce, lunge, or relax in its bright white confines.  You leapt to high in a fit of exuberance?  Never fear, trammock’s got you covered wherever you might fall.

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I imagine that my trip to the kitchen from the living room each day would be a lot more interesting if I had those webby bad boys lacing the halls.   Thank goodness this exhibit is touring the globe, it may be time to dust off your old Spiderman cosplay costume.

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The EX¹ – 3D print those circuit boards

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We’ve always been big fans of Kickstarter.  The opportunity for creatives to crowd-fund their ideas is good for two things.  It saves makers from compromising on their ideas by going through limited large investors, and it lets potential users decide whether an idea is good enough or not to warrant their time and money.

The growth of the consumer 3D printing industry has grown from the Kickstarter environment and seen development after development stem from the process.  It’s great to see that trend is still continuing on, the EX¹ being the latest development in the range of 3D printers available to consumers.

Cartesian Co. has been developing a 3D printer that speedily produces make-shift circuit boards, allowing users to prototype their own electronics  quickly and efficiently.  They can be printed on any flat, solid surface and are just as effective as hand soldered units.  The ability to produce and alter circuit boards faster will serve many a designer and engineer well.

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The guys and gals over at Cartesian Co. have already fulfilled their $30,000 goal, and then some.  Head on over to Kickstarter.com quick as you can to see if you can to catch the last EX¹ printer before they cut off initial production.

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