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Meet the Dutch Company Transforming Plastic Debris into Floating Parks

Core 77 - Mon, 2019-12-09 18:47

The Recycled Island Foundation is taking a smart, proactive, and circular approach to the issue of marine plastic pollution (h/t Inhabitat). The Rotterdam-based organization has devised a passive litter trap design that collects plastic debris in local waterways before they reach the sea. The collected plastic is then sorted and recycled to create floating parks, wildlife habitats, and other products.

"Considering that most of the plastics in our oceans actually come there via rivers, we found the potential to retrieve plastic from our own local river and to prevent these plastics from entering the sea," founder Ramon Knoester said in an interview. "Retrieving marine litter in rivers is much easier than trying to take the plastic from the open sea or even the ocean. We're now retrieving the plastic close to the source, which also helps to ensure that the quality of the material is still very good."

Initially a local solution, the litter traps (which are themselves made of recycled plastic) have gotten global traction and are currently installed in Belgium and Indonesia with plans in the works for Vietnam, France, the Philippines, and Brazil. According to Inhabitat, each trap in Belgium is emptied twice a week and collects an average of 1.5 cubic meters of waste each month.

Last summer the foundation opened its first floating park prototype in Rotterdam, which is currently open to visitors. The park is composed of 28 hexagonal blocks made out of plastic picked up by the litter traps in nearby Meuse River. Together they cover a total area of about 1,500 square feet. "Through the park runs a small canal about half a meter deep, where birds, fish and micro-organisms find food, breeding ground, and shelter," the company explains on their website.

They've also begun partnering with other companies to develop different types of products from the plastic materials. They currently offer a series of 3D-printed outdoor sofas and are partnering with Unibrick to develop a durable plastic brick to be used as an affordable, easy-to-assemble housing material.

If My Old Boss Was Giving Me Real-Time Feedback While I Tried to Design a Smartphone

Core 77 - Mon, 2019-12-09 18:47

I came across this photo of the evolution of Google's smartphone designs over the years:

Image credit: DemanKing3003

It reminded me of an early industrial design gig I had, where I worked under a micromanaging supervisor. I'd produce on-screen drawings while he stood behind me, telling me to slant this line a bit more, adjust this radius, soften this edge; it was so bad that my co-workers and I called him "The Millimeter" behind his back, as he was always saying "Just move that line a millimeter to the left."

He was also flighty, indecisive and easily distracted. So the Google photo made me think of what each of his notes would've been, if this was a single design project I was working on while he was standing behind me:

Speaking of micromanaging, I had a design buddy at a different gig who told me his boss would put his hand on my buddy's hand to steer the mouse while making CAD adjustments. Top that.

Design Details Debate: Ought Dining Chairs Have Handles on the Sides?

Core 77 - Mon, 2019-12-09 18:47

Here's a ridiculous ritual: When you go to a fancy restaurant, and a server lurks behind you as you sit, trying to correctly time when to push your chair forward for you. I do this weird crouch and turn my head over my shoulder to indicate it's go-time. After I sit, I feel ridiculous that another human being helped me get there.

Image credit: Jay Wennington on Unsplash

When we're on our own, we belly up to the table by grabbing the sides of the chair and scooting. I never thought about how weird and inelegant this act is, until I saw this photo:

Image credit: Thoteman

Image credit: Thoteman

That's clearly a DIY fix that doesn't integrate well into the design, but I'm guessing it's functionally perfect.

So, yea or nay: Ought all dining chairs be designed with this aspect of their use in mind? Surely there's an elegant, unobtrusive way to do this.

A Sketchy Café Trend: Interiors Designed to Look Like They're 2D Line Drawings

Core 77 - Mon, 2019-12-09 18:47

For years now, savvy retailers and restauranteurs have known that if you make your interior Instagrammable, you'll increase business. As one example of an eye-catching interior, check out 2D Cafe, located in Tokyo's Shinjuku district:

Some of the interior elements are indeed flat and drawn, like the curtains and the banquette pillows. The tables and chairs, on the other hand, are 3D, but it looks like someone went over all of the edges with a Sharpie to make them look, well, "sketchy."

As expected, patrons are posting shots of themselves on Instagram:

Within Shinjuku, the café is located in the Shin-Okubo area, where Tokyo's Koreatown is located. And I also see that there's a nearly identical-looking 2D Cafe in Seoul, Korea:

Furthermore there's a 2D Bubble Tea Cafe in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia:

If they're all affiliated, there's no mention on any of their sites. Perhaps one of them is the original, and the others are knockoffs? Actually, in my book they're all knock-offs--of a popular '80s music video.

Design Job: Make Your Mark as a Product Designer at Willowtree in Columbus, OH

Core 77 - Mon, 2019-12-09 18:47

WillowTree is an award-winning digital product agency driven by innovation and grounded in strategy and user-centered design. We create long-term partnerships with the world’s leading brands to design and build digital flagship products crucial to their core business. Through a recent partnership acquisition with Dynamit in Columbus, Ohio, WillowTree is continuing to grow and thrive as the largest independent agency in the US. Some of our clients include HBO, National Geographic, Anheuser-Busch,

View the full design job here

The 2020 Core77 Design Awards Will Open for Entry on January 7

Core 77 - Mon, 2019-12-09 18:47

Calling all designers—the Core77 Design Awards will be returning and open for entry starting on Tuesday, January 7, 2020! After 10 years of awarding excellent design work, the Core77 Design Awards continues to champion the principles of inclusivity, innovation, and excellence. Our annual collection of awarded projects have solidified the awards as a showcase of groundbreaking design over the years, granting awards to successful products such as the Google Pixel Buds, Nest Thermostat, the Biolite Stove, the Oculus Rift VR Headset and much more.

In recognition of the broad spectrum of the design field, our Awards program offers 19 distinct categories, each further broken into dedicated sections for professionals and students. Each category is judged by esteemed Jury Captains and their chosen team members, which grants designers the opportunity to present their work to the best of the best in their respective fields. Past Core77 Design Awards Jury Captains have included industry leaders such as Airbnb co-founder Joe Gebbia, OCD co-founder & 2016 Hillary for America Design Director Jennifer Kinon, Project H founder Emily Pilloton, and LAYER design lead Benjamin Hubert.

Here are just a few of the projects that took home awards last year:

A Device That Helps You Learn Chinese Characters Through Kinesthetic Learning

Voiceblox, a device designed by Royal College of Art student Yang Gao was awarded in several categories this year, and took home the Student win in the Interaction category. This program cleverly takes into account the challenges of learning words using the four tones int the Chinese language, and allows users to memorize tones associated with different words using a device that mimics the shape of the four tones.

A Piece of Furniture Designed to Flat Pack In a Clever Way

Designer and student at Massey University College of Creative Arts Wellington took home the Student Winner awards in the Furniture & Lighting category for CLICK-, a chair designed for people living mobile lifestyles. The design uses a simple click-in system to attach the legs and backrest, making for even easier assembly and disassembly.

A Government Form Redesigned to be Easier for Citizens to Complete

Service design firm Civilla partnered with the Michigan Department of Health and Services on this project, called "Project Re:Form", that ultimately won them the Professional Winner award in the Service Design category. These two organizations' work together help reform a previously 40 page government service document—the longest of it's kind in America—to a version 80% shorter and more user friendly using design research.

A Vision of How We May Consume "Fruit" in a Food Scarce Future

Meydan Levy's "Neo Fruit" project was a Speculative Design Student Winner for its novel approach to addressing future food scarcity while allowing these synthetic foods to maintain a archaic, poetic form we can continue to recognize even when precious produce may no longer be available.

A Full Service Gym System for the Home

The Peleton Tread took home the Professional win in our brand new category as of last year, Sports & Recreation. Peleton's system stood out for its envisioning of the treadmill as a motivational community activity and the design of its accessories that allow for a full body workout.

2020 Core77 Design Awards Schedule

Design Awards Open for Entry: January 7, 2020

Early Bird Deadline: January 31

Regular Deadline: March 9

Final Deadline: April 1

Winners Announced: June 11

Have any questions before January 7th? Feel free to email us at awards@core77.com.

Want to stay up to date on awards news, discounts, and deadlines? Subscribe to our newsletter via our homepage sidebar.

The 2019 Wanted Design Student Winners: A Closer Look at the Team!

Core 77 - Mon, 2019-12-09 18:47

In June we told you about the WantedDesign's Design School Workshop results from this past year's NYCxDesign, and now we're introducing you to the members of the winning team!

The winning team at the 2019 workshop results ceremony (Photo Credit: Sandrine Charvet)

The team who took home the win created a project titled "This Is Stairs", a simple street installation on a barren street near Industry City where the workshop took place. The design is meant to visually entice pedestrians while also encourage new ways of navigating the urban space.

The "This is Stairs" installation

Duncan Bonar

Tell us a bit about yourself.

I'm an industrial designer, in my final year of study at ArtCenter College of Design with a focus on branding, soft goods, color/material, and informed innovation. Besides all that fun stuff I restore and modify vintage motorcycles, photograph plenty of things on film, and breakfast is the best meal.

Which school are you part of and what did it mean to be part of the WantedDesign Schools Workshop?

ArtCenter College of Design. The opportunity to participate in a Wanted Design Workshop is a nice honor to have your school select you to participate. It's a tremendous opportunity to uproot everything you know, throw it in an easy bake oven, and plug that bad boy into a 220v industrial socket and see what happens. That's what an accelerated design workshop environment should be and Wanted delivered just that.

What is your perception of the notion of Open Space for Well Being in your own neighborhood and your every day life?

The notion of Open Space for Well Being is easily overlooked and misunderstood. An open space is the environment around us that we pass through on a daily basis without even realizing, nor considering it as an opportunity for more. Reflecting on Well Being, we may consider that as change, a change in routine or perspective. Something we can peak in that pass through space we experience on a repetitive basis, day after day. In a general gesture we'd consider an open space as a space for reflection, solitude, and peace - but that's not at hand for many of us along our paths.

How did the Sunset Park/Industry City area inspire you for the project and why do you think it resonated so well with the Jury?

The area surrounded by our project offers a lot. It's diverse, embodying a healthy amount of old with a splendid allotment of new. It felt authentic but that may easily be questioned. Our project focused on the idea of passing through a space, thus allowing the concept to be readily implemented in many locations with simple twists in execution. It's a pop up, made on the spot, with a few simple rules.

What is for you the best outcome of the the workshop experience?

Participation, collaboration. and shifting perspective. The pleasure to work with an internationally rooted, multi-disciplinary team on a topic we all understood in our ways - yet, worked together and delivered work we are all confident to stand behind.

Where do you see yourself in the world of design and what will be your dream career?

The world of design is a big one within a much much larger world. I'm currently interning at Steelcase in Michigan as a Surface Material Designer. I have a tremendous interest in material and applying the right resources and materials to design to create unique experiences. Beyond that my goal is to open a concept consultancy with a number of focuses to be discussed at a later time.

7. Where can we learn more about your work? (website/portfolio/social media?)



Tianlan Deng

Tell us a bit about yourself

My name is Tianlan Deng (AKA: Tillian). I'm a traditional Chinese painter, installation artist, instructor and currently practice as an interior designer. I've come from Shanghai and have been studying and practicing design in the United States for several years.

Which school are you part of and what did it mean to be part of the WantedDesign Schools Workshop?

I'm a graduate student who studies interior design at Pratt Institute. For me, participating in the workshop WantedDesign means to join a bigger design community, learning and getting inspired by people with different backgrounds and culture, and establishing new connections.

What is your perception of the notion of Open Form for Well Being in your own neighborhood and your every day life?

I live in Clinton Hill in Brooklyn, NY. I believe this notion there's still so much potential for development here. Based on some of the social activities in Clinton Hill such as block parties, if their theme becomes more abstract or ambiguous, people will start to wonder and explore more, therefore these activities will become more vivid. [This concept] has also affected my daily life in some ways.

"Shadow Writing" mini diorama by Tianlan Deng

How did the Sunset Park/Industry City area inspire you for the project and why do you think it resonated so well with the Jury?

Sunset Park has a rich history and increasing diverse population. For me, an area like Industry City is full of potential and opportunities, but also has problems like the infrastructure, which [if resolved could] benefit to the communities' daily life. I believe our team found one of these problems, and developed a simple but effective way to solve it. By using tape to create simple and abstract shape, our project resonates with the "open form " idea. It brings enjoyment to the local children, so I believe our project contributes to the true happiness (well-being) of this community.

What is for you the best outcome of the workshop experience?

For me, the best experience was the five day journey of not only learning and practicing to cooperate with different people with various backgrounds, but also being able to see and understand myself better.

Where do you see yourself in the world of design and what will be your dream career?

Although I've been an artist and instructor for several years, the design world is still new to me. I see myself as a passionate young designer, who looks forward to transforming my knowledge and experience to design in order to contribute something to the society. For future, I wish to have my own studio to produce works, which can gather people together with surprise, joy and at the same time raise awareness of social or environmental issues.

Where can we learn more about your work? (website/portfolio/social media?)

My website has most of my design and art work:



1. Tell us a bit about yourself.

I'm Denisse and i'm 23 years old. I'm a design strategist and big daydreamer. My passion is to have meaningful conversations with family, friends or even strangers.

Which school are you part of and what did it mean to be part of the WantedDesign Schools Workshop?

I'm in my last year of Strategic Design at Escuela de Comunicación Mónica Herrera in El Salvador and what it means to me is that I'm representing Salvadoran designers and Latin American designers in an intercultural and international design event.

What is your perception of the notion of Open Space for Well Being in your own neighborhood and your everyday life?

[What the workshop taught me is] the Open Form for Well-Being concept can incorporate small changes for big effect, it's all about making the user feel something. It can be through a pattern in the sidewalk, just opening a window so natural light can come in or putting a cactus on a desk in an office.

How did the Sunset Park/Industry City area inspire you for the project and why do you think it resonated so well with the Jury?

The place that we got is a very boring site, it's a double wide sidewalk that was just for that: walking, getting from point A to point B. We didn't want to interrupt that interaction, but shift instead the perspective of the pedestrians while walking thru that sidewalk. Our implementation was a distilled maze in which the path is all up to the pedestrian and at no point were blocked. I think it resonated so well for the jurys because we had the opportunity to witness— and film—kids having an interaction with our installation when we had not finished the installation yet. The kids were scootering, jumping, walking along the lines or avoiding the lines.

What is for you the best outcome of the the workshop experience?

It is an honor to be the first design student from Mónica Herrera that is part of the Best Team because now students of other years are asking what to do to represent the Escuela when the time comes for them. In a certain way I'm showing that Salvadoran designers have all the skills needed to be the part of the best team in an international design workshop.

Where do you see yourself in the world of design and what will be your dream career?

In a few years I see myself in a company that focuses on young women, that inspires, entertains, and empower its audience through the design of experiences and storytelling. In a couple of years I see myself in the field of design education.

But definitely, I see myself providing complex, complete and long lasting design solutions that help others.

7. Where can we learn more about your work? (website/portfolio/social media?)




Stina Ruusuvuori

Tell us a bit about yourself.

I consider myself being an open, positive, and most importantly curious about life in general. I always tend to find myself in situations I never could've imagined being in. I do seek for adrenaline, especially on my spare time. Depending on where I am it could be underwater, on top of a mountain or on my bike riding. So, I guess you could call me very outdoorsy and I do appreciate the nature we are surrounded by, both in Finland and overseas. I believe this can be seen in my work and how I see design and how it should be thought of. I have lived in a few different countries in my adult years, searching for those experiences and nurturing my curiosity. I find it easy to adapt to new cultures, places and habits, in the end us humans we are all the same. I am a big fan of good wine, great conversations and yes, I do love the sauna. In my work, I like to focus on the balance between the user and the space, and how we act in particular spaces. I have found lighting design being a very interesting tool to work with for creating emotions and experiences, without one even noticing the tricks used.

Which school are you part of and what did it mean to be part of the WantedDesign Schools Workshop?

From Aalto University. It was a great opportunity to participate in the workshop on behalf of Aalto and our Interior Architecture department. I've always enjoyed the collaborations that Aalto has with other schools and partners overseas since they bring so much more to the regular curriculum and you can always bring something new to the table afterwards. Obviously, the chance to work with a wide range of cultures, and especially in a place like NYC, the experience was very eye-opening and I am sure I'll benefit from the new perspectives in the future, too.

Interior concept by Stina Ruusuvuori

What is your perception of the notion of Open Space for Well Being in your own neighborhood and your everyday life?

I do consider it as a valuable asset in our local community, yet I don't think it has been thoroughly executed. Helsinki has a wide variety of community based projects ranging from urban gardening to public saunas that run by volunteers, yet the full capacity of theory could be developed in our region, too. As I live in a very vibrant neighbourhood of Helsinki, close to the downtown core, the effects of the theory can be seen in smaller things such as murals, library bikes or continuous events that fill out our parks and plazas frequently. Also, the fact that Helsinki is surrounded by woods, beaches and great trails the wellbeing aspect is usually something we don't even consider as a separate "tool" hence our great accessibility to peaceful surroundings. You can always find a place where you can be all alone, and it's quiet.

How did the Sunset Park/Industry City area inspire you for the project and why do you think it resonated so well with the Jury?

As an area, the Sunset Park region brought out the vivid colours of the strong Hispanic culture to our project. The joyful way of life in the area definitely was pictured in our project through the playfulness, colour selection and the size of project. We wanted to combine the great cultural atmosphere on to the project and give something to the community whilst considering all ages and abilities.

What is for you the best outcome of the the workshop experience?

The experience as a whole offered a wide look into the working methods and design drivers of other nationalities, and cultures. I've always found it interesting how we all work in so many various ways and see things very differently depending on our educational backgrounds and cultural heritages. But somehow in the end you always get something new out of it and end up finishing a project, crazy huh?

Where do you see yourself in the world of design and what will be your dream career?

I am aiming to focus more on lighting design towards my Master Degree Thesis and gain more knowledge in sustainable interiors through research projects in the near future. My dream job would combine these two, and focus on integrating a more sustainable approach to design through lighting and providing experiences to the public. I strongly believe that design doesn't need words, it's only emotions and how we as humans reflect the spaces around us.

Where can we learn more about your work? (website/portfolio/social media?)

I don't have an online portfolio at the moment, but you can always reach out to me via LinkedIn.

Olson Van der Vorst

Tell us about yourself.

My name is Olson van der Vorst, I am from the small town of Spruce Pine, located in Western North Carolina. I grew up in the mountains and have always been in love with my surroundings. From a young age I grew a passion for working with my hands and thinking outside of the box. Naturally, Industrial Design attracted me as it combines creativity and engineering into a wide and deep subject matter.

Which schools are you a part of and what did it mean to be part of the WantedDesign Schools Workshop?

I go to Appalachian State University, where I will be starting my Senior year (fourth and final) study Industrial Design with a concentration in Furniture Design. It was a great honor to be selected ot attend the Wanted Design School Workshop as I knew it would be an outstanding opportunity to explore design with a wide range of schools and creative thinkers.

What is your perception of the notion of Open Space for Well Being in your own neighborhood and your everyday life?

Growing up in a rural area, and going to University in a relatively uncompressed town, open space was never hard to come by. However, using open space a as a form of well being was something I seldom thought of. However, having given the prompt for the workshop, it was easy to connect that open space has such a great potential to affect one's wellbeing.

How did the Sunset Park/Industry City area inspire you for the project and why do you think it resonated so well with the Jury?

The area around Industry City in Brooklyn has a social environment that is quite impactful to a passerby. It has such a rhythm, in good ways and in bad, that as a team we wanted to challenge. Our "place", a very wide sidewalk with an architecturally Brutalist sidewalk sort of exemplified our view of this area of Brooklyn. It had little character and most people wouldn't give it a second look. We wanted to change that by possibly changing one's path as they made their way down the sidewalk. I think what affected the jury the most is that we achieved this in the simplest way possible using tape and simple shapes. The beauty of our outcome is that it could be implemented in other places, maybe not exactly, but using the same design process we went through.

What is for you the best outcome of the workshop experience?

The most important thing I took home form the workshop was the opportunity to work with a large multinational group. It was a once in a lifetime opportunity to work with that many people—each from a different background—and come up with something that truly affected the community.

Where do you see yourself in the world of design and what will be your dream career?

I really enjoy creating things from start to finihs, and going through the design process of failing and succeeding. My dream career is to start a design and fabrication studio, where I can design for change.

Where can we learn more about your work?


Online portfolio

A Playable "Six-Sided" Vinyl Record With Overlapping Tracks

Core 77 - Mon, 2019-12-09 18:47

Experimental musician Dimitri Manos has released something I didn't even know was possible: A playable, "six-sided" vinyl record.

Image credit: DudeThatsAGG

As you can see, the tracks are separated into their own zones across the platter, each with their own hole for the spindle. Interestingly, when the needle crosses the overlaps between tracks, it produces a chirping noise--which Manos has figured into his composition.

Here's how it plays out:

I do feel that "six-sided" is a bit of a misnomer; by my count there are five tracks on each side, for ten total spread across both sides.

In any case the record is part of Manos' American Monoxide project, and the album is called "Fucked Up Sounds From a Haunted World." It can be ordered here.

"This is by far my favorite record I've ever made," writes manufacturer Michael Dixon, who makes records (including this one) by hand, cutting the grooves with a vintage record lathe. "It is the product of many hours of experimentation, measurements, blind luck, and dumb jokes being made real by sheer force of will."

Dixon runs no less than five vinyl-record-based companies, and you can learn more about them here.

Good Design: Carpet-Based Orientation Cues in a Confusing Space

Core 77 - Mon, 2019-12-09 18:47

When backpacking through Scandinavia, I took the cheapest method then available to get from Stockholm to Helsinki: An overnight berth in a cruise ship's steerage. I was in a shared interior cabin on the bottom level, below the waterline and obviously with no portholes. Navigating those lower levels was well confusing, and after you got turned around a few times, you couldn't even tell which way the front of the ship was.

That was in 2005, and cruise ships have since upped their orientation game. Here's a shot of the Norwegian Bliss, which was launched by Norwegian Cruise Line in April of last year:

Image credit: Ben/u/blp9

"The fish in this carpet pattern swim towards the bow of the ship," explains Ben, who captured the photo.

"For slightly more context, the photo was taken in 2018 on the Norwegian Bliss, but the carpet pattern is used throughout their fleet. When you are on an interior passageway where the passenger cabins are, the left and right sides are mirror images, so you need some point of reference to orient yourself."

Sure it's a bit cutesy, but I still think this is good design. Props to the person(s) who came up with the idea, and thanks to Ben for capturing the shot.

Thrifty Material Use: A Solid Wood Door Made When Times Were Tight

Core 77 - Mon, 2019-12-09 18:47

As I'm learning here on the farm, there are a million things that need fixing or replacing in an old house. But one great thing about an old house is that the interiors have nice, solid wood doors. For reasons of insulation (both noise and R-value) a solid wood door is always better than the cardboard-web-containing hollow-core doors common in modern homes.

However, when times were tight--think of the Great Depression, or World War II--even solid wood might not be easy to come by. Thus we see this 1940s DIY door example by an unknown thrifty craftsperson, captured by UK-based photographer Rich Sayles:

Image credit: Rich Sayles Photography, Facebook, Instagram

Those are solid wood strips sandwiched between two layers of thin plywood, providing the desired mass. I want to believe that these are cut-offs from some factory process, primarily because I shudder to think of someone taking the time to mill each piece to fit. And while it was undoubtedly time-consuming to assemble, I still think this is a better use for cut-offs than if they'd gone up the chimney.

It's worth noting that the UK's WWII-era motto was "Use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without."

Uber & Lyft Reduce Drunk Driving--and Increase Overall Alcohol Consumption

Core 77 - Mon, 2019-12-09 18:47

Unintended consequences of technology: A new study by economists Jacob Burgdorf and Conor Lennon of the University of Louisville, along with Keith Teltser from Georgia State University, reveals that "Ridesharing services, such as Uber and Lyft, reduce intoxicated driving. However, ridesharing may also have negative health effects by increasing alcohol consumption."

Photo by Yutacar on Unsplash

Interestingly, their study shows that boozing was actually declining in areas before ridesharing arrived--and once it had been established for a couple of years, started steadily ticking upwards, yielding "a 9% increase in the prevalence of heavy drinking." And that's where mass transit exists.

"When we focus on areas with relatively weaker public transit options, we estimate UberX is associated with a 17.5% to 21.8% increase in instances of binge drinking."

So while ridesharing services have undoubtedly saved many people who'd have been killed in drunk driving accidents, we humans would still like to harm ourselves, and are compensating by abusing our livers.

"I'm not going to put my shirt on, nor dry my shorts, before getting into that Lyft." (Photo by Jason Briscoe on Unsplash)

The real winners are the bars:

"UberX is associated with a 2.4% increase in employment and a 2.3% increase in total earnings at drinking establishments."

Photo by Eaters Collective on Unsplash

The next study I want to see: What is the rate of people vomiting in the back of an Uber or Lyft?

Peter and Calvin, feeling good at 7pm (Photo by Donovan Grabowski on Unsplash)

Peter and Calvin, 2am in the back of an Uber (Photo by tobi feder on Unsplash)

The Weekly Design Roast, #28

Core 77 - Mon, 2019-12-09 18:47

When archaeologists dig up a bench from ancient Chinese or Roman times, you can recognize it's a bench. When they dig this thing up in a thousand years, they're going to assume it was the result of a manufacturing defect.

"My design cleverly prevents you from pushing the chair against a wall. This way the chair takes up more space, which will become important as more of us move into crowded city apartments."

"Once I learned that fiber optic cables are not recyclable, I figured I'd do my part to fuck the planet up and designed these curtains out of them. They offer none of the functional benefits of fiber optic cables, yet will ultimately do the same damage to the planet. Winning!"

"Square tables have four legs and four sides, meaning even small ones can accommodate up to four people. I don't like that kind of flexibility, so my design dictates that this table is only for two."

"The thing I hate about removing books from shelves, is that the shelves remain so stable. I'd much rather they swing a bit during loading and unloading, so I designed this. Also, I don't own many books but want to look like I do, so I needed a way to take up a lot of space with very few copies."

"To be honest I don't know what the fuck this is supposed to be, but I hear that 'modular' is hot, so I just went for it."

"Our design research shows that people want furniture-like geometric shapes that can be configured in different ways. If you want useful functions, go talk to someone else--I'm a designer, not an engineer."

"I wanted the structural support provided by connecting the backrest to the front legs, but without the comfort provided by a usable armrest. Also, critics said these would never sell, and they were wrong--I'm already selling them to Tesla Cybertruck showrooms."

"I designed this chair to allow you to surprise-tickle the sitter from behind without the backrest getting in the way."

True story: The words in quotes were written by another design blog who "loved these" wire tables. "For small objects that might otherwise wobble or fall between the gaps"--you know, exotic things like drinking glasses or coffee cups--you can buy "a series of zigzag-bottomed solid wood plates and trays [that] enable you [to] use them."

Following that thinking, I'm going to design some drinking glasses with razor-sharp rims, and the only way you can drink from them is if you attach an additional grommet I'll design. Eff you, Design World.

A New Milestone for 3D-Printed Construction is Reached in Dubai

Core 77 - Mon, 2019-12-09 18:47

3D-printing startup Apis Cor recently completed its latest claim to greatness: the "world's largest" 3D-printed building to date. The 6,889 square-foot, 31 foot-tall structure was built in Dubai—where the goal is to 3D print a quarter of new construction by 2030—and will serve as a government facility.

According to Smart Cities World, the structure was built floor-by-floor and directly on-site in an uncovered area. The company created a printing mixture consisting of sand, cement, gypsum, and "other proprietary components." One of the main challenges with this type of construction is in finding the right blend of materials to withstand the local climate. "The Dubai climate is very harsh—temperature and humidity change significantly even within a day," says Apis Cor founder and CEO Nikita Cheniuntai. "The material has to behave the same way all the time, despite the changing environmental conditions."

The company's 3D printer was repositioned around the site and used to build the walls, but traditional construction techniques were used for the foundation, adding rebar, windows, and roofing. They say it took three weeks to complete the project.

In 2017 Apis Cor announced that they had completed a tiny home near Moscow in only 24 hours and for $10,000 but recent reports show that it actually took four months. 3D-printed construction is a promising field and advances are no doubt being made, but companies have a tendency to inflate their capabilities to appeal to investors. At least for now, we should take any lofty claims about affordability, speed, and structures being "entirely" 3D-printed, with a grain of salt.

Rocket Steel

Core 77 - Mon, 2019-12-09 18:47

Earlier this fall I had an opportunity to head down to a windy piece of land near the Mexican border to tour the Starship Mk1 This is the first of many prototypes that will one day become the ship that carries us to the moon and Mars and back. Seeing the gleaming 165-foot high rocket at night, standing at the end of the lonely nondescript Texas State Highway 4, seemed at once like a Hollywood movie set and the world's greatest manifestation of optimism. It was also just beautiful.

Starship is 30 feet in diameter and will extend its height to a remarkable 387 feet when supported by the Falcon Heavy booster that will hold up to 37 Raptor engines, with a force necessary to push Starship out of Earth's gravitational pull, and into far orbit. Starship will be refilled with methane and liquid oxygen in orbit and so will be able to carry 100 passengers and 150 tons of cargo to the moon and also, as part of SpaceX's plan to develop a self-sustaining colony, onward to Mars.

I used to write a regular materials science blog for this magazine years back, and so the thing about Starship that lingered with me is this: The decision to build Starship using steel. Musk and his SpaceX engineers intended to build the rocket with carbon fiber but then last year the team switched to steel, a decision that Elon Musk described as maybe his "…best idea ever." And during his public presentation of Starship on September 28, he proclaimed, "Honestly, I'm in love with steel."

The first reason for this is its thermal properties. Steel isn't brittle at extremely cold temperatures and it won't melt at extremely high temperatures. But recently I mentioned this quality to a few industrial engineers and they responded skeptically insisting, "steel cannot maintain stability at extremes." These structural engineers were steel experts, so I needed to figure out what I was missing.

The first thing we need to be clear on is that SpaceX is using stainless steel. And this makes a huge difference. As most of us know, steel is used everywhere and there are many kinds. Steel isn't just steel. Steel is an alloy, a combination of iron and lots of other elements like manganese, sulphur and carbon. And if you add elements like nickel, titanium and specifically chromium you can really alter steel's properties.

Stainless steel has more chromium than other steels (requiring a minimum of 10% chromium), and Starship is using stainless steel 301. This has 17 percent chromium and 7 percent nickel. It remains solid until 1,500 degrees Centigrade which allows it to handle the insane heat of re-entry, without a heat shield. And this makes Starship much lighter.

On the other end of the temperature spectrum stainless steel has higher cryogenic toughness due to the nickel content—meaning that at crazy low temperatures (i.e., -150 to -273 degrees Celsius) it has high ductility and high tensile strength, so it can be stretched thin without snapping. In fact, at cryogenic temperatures the tensile strength of stainless steel is higher than at ambient temperatures. This is the underlying secret. If you rely on basic steel manuals that assume relatively normal ranges in temperature, you might miss the magic of stainless steel. At cryogenic temperatures 301 stainless steel is as strong as any other advanced composite or aluminum-lithium.

Additionally it is less corrosive, easier to maintain, with a zero need for paint and with its brilliant mirror-like sheen steel is very attractive.

Most stainless steel alloys have excellent resistance to corrosion in normal conditions. Stainless steel alloys tend to possess a strong and thin layer of oxide that prevents rusting, hence the name "stainless" steel. Starship is evidence of this corrosive resistance, as it was welded with no factory protecting it. The crew of engineers build it outdoors by the highway, with a strong salt wind constantly whipping.

The chromium in the alloy forms a self-healing protective clear oxide layer. Even if the material surface is cut or damaged, it will self heal and corrosion resistance is maintained. This is why I love materials science…it's pure magic!

Carbon fiber is considered to be ideal for industrial applications because of its strength-to-weight ratio. But it is expensive. Turns out this stuff is a major pain in the ass to make. Before carbon fiber becomes carbon fiber, it starts as a base material—usually an organic polymer with carbon atoms binding together long strings of molecules called a polyacrylonitrile. Which brings us to the coup de grace: carbon fiber is $130K per ton while stainless steel is $2.5K per ton. For a company that is paying its own way to Mars this detail is a game changer.

Like so many breakthrough discoveries stainless steel was an accident. In the early 1900s Harry Brearley explored different alloys for gun barrels and he noticed that some never rusted. These were the combinations with higher amounts of chromium. Brearley went on to use these in cutlery and in the 1920s Sheffield become world famous as the birth place of mass-produced cutlery. And now rockets!

The speed at which SpaceX plans to iterate on Starship Mk1 seems impossible, with a plan to have Starships Mk4 and Mk5 built in about six months. And the aspirational goal is to head to Mars (without humans) by 2022. Crews will follow in 2024.

Design Job: Exercise Your Material Skills as a CMF Designer for Peloton in NYC

Core 77 - Mon, 2019-12-09 18:47

As a Color, Material, and Finish (‘CMF”) Design Lead - at Peloton, you will be responsible for leading CMF strategies and projects for all hard products in our core line. You will be working hand in hand on the ID team in collaboration with Engineering and Sourcing to develop a CMF strategy for our long term road map.

View the full design job here

Tutorial: What are the differences between force, torque, pressure and vacuum?

Design News - Mon, 2019-12-09 18:39

Most second-year university engineering students can easily explain the differences between force, torque and pressure. The reason for their confident answers is that engineering schools typically require a term of study in both static and dynamic forces by a student’s sophomore year. However, from that point on, further studies in these areas are usually confined to aerospace, civil and mechanical engineering disciplines. Few electronic engineers need or will take advanced force mechanic courses.

But modern advances in material properties and device miniaturization as in micro-electro-mechanical systems (MEMS) and sensors mean that force, torque and pressure are relevant across all of the major disciplines. A quick technical review will help remind everyone of these basic concepts.


Simply put, a force is a push or a pull upon an object. A force can cause an object with mass to change its velocity, i.e., to accelerate. Since a force has both magnitude and direction, it is a vector quantity.

A unit of force in the International Systems (or SI) of units is a newton. One newton is defined as the unit of force which would give to a mass of one kilogram an acceleration of 1 meter per second, per second. In terms of an equation, force equals mass times acceleration (F = ma).

Actually, Newton’s Second Law of Motion defines force as the change in momentum over time, not mass through an acceleration. But the momentum equation is reduced to F=ma for basic engineering calculations.

Sometimes the word “load” is used instead of force. Civil and mechanical engineers tend to make calculations based on the load in which a system (e.g., a bridge) is resisting the force of gravity from both the weight of the bridge as well as the vehicles driving over it.

Newton’s Laws have been called the basis for space flight. According to NASA, understanding how space travel is possible requires an understanding of the concept of mass, force, and acceleration as described in Newton’s Three Laws of Motion. Consider a space rocket in which the pressure created by the controlled explosion inside the rocket's engines results in a tremendous force known as thrust. The gas from the explosion escapes through the engine’s nozzles which propels the rocket in the opposite direction (Law #3), thus following F=MA (Law #2) which lifts the rocket into space. Assuming the rocket travels beyond Earth’s atmosphere, it will continue to move into space even after the propellant gas is gone (Law #1).

Newton’s Three Laws of Motion


Every object in a state of uniform motion will remain in that state of motion unless an external force acts on it.


Force equals mass times acceleration [F = ma]


For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.


The first university course in static forces is usually followed by a course in dynamic forces in which the idea of rational force or torque is introduced. Torque is the tendency of a force to rotate or twist an object about an axis, fulcrum, or pivot. It is the rotational equivalent of linear force.

Formally, torque (or the moment of force) is the product of the magnitude of the force and the perpendicular distance of the line of action of force from the axis of rotation.  The SI unit for torque is the newton metre (N•m). 

Image Source: Wikipedia by Yawe (Public Domain)

Deriving the equation for torque is often done from a purely force perspective. But it can also be accomplished by looking at the amount of work required to rotate an object. This was the approach the Richard Feynman used in one of his lectures on rotation in two-dimensions.

“We shall get to the theory of torques quantitatively by studying the work done in turning an object, for one very nice way of defining a force is to say how much work it does when it acts through a given displacement,” explained Feynman.

Feynman was able to show that, just as force times distance is work, torque times angle equals work. This point is highlighted in several avionic and aeronautical examples from NASA’s Glenn Research Center where NASA designs and develops technologies for aeronautics and space exploration. Force, torque and pressure concepts continue to exert their influences far beyond the earth’s atmosphere. Concern the release of a large satellite like the Cygnus Cargo Craft from the International Space Station (ISS). The satellite is connected to a large robotic arm that removes it from the ISS prior to release into space. The robotic arm acts just like a huge moment of force in space subject to forces, torques and pressure acting in space.

Image Source: NASA Glenn Research Center


Pressure is the force per unit area applied in a direction perpendicular to the surface of an object. Many of us are familiar with gauge pressure from measuring tire pressures. Gage pressure is the pressure relative to the local atmospheric or ambient pressure. This is in contrast to absolute pressure or the actual value of the pressure at any point.  This will make more sense shortly.

Pressure is the amount of force acting per unit area. The SI unit for pressure is the pascal (Pa), equal to one newton per square meter (N/m2). Pressure is also measured in non-SI units such as bar and psi.

In his lecture on the The Kinetic Theory of Gases, Feynman introduced the concept of pressure by thinking about the force needed for a piston plunger to contain a certain volume of gas inside a box. The amount of force needed to keep a plunger or lid of area A would be a measure of the force per unit area of pressure. In other words, pressure is equal to the force that must be applied on a piston, divided by the area of the piston (P = F/A).

Image Source: CalTech – Feynman Lectures

Applications for pressure technologies exist both on and off the planet. In space, however, pressure is so low that it may almost be considered as non-existent. That’s why engineers often talk about vacuum rather than pressure in space applications. A vacuum is any pressure less than the local atmospheric pressure. It is defined as the difference between the local atmospheric pressure and the point of a measurement. 

While space has a very low pressure, it is not a perfect vacuum. It is an approximation, a place where the gaseous pressure is much, MUCH less than the Earth’s atmospheric pressure.

The extremely low pressure in the vacuum of space is why humans need space suits to provide a pressurized environment. A space suit provides air pressure to keep the fluids in our body in a liquid state, i.e., to prevent our bodily fluids from boiling due to low pressure (via PV = nRT). Like a tire, a space suit is essentially an inflated balloon that is restricted by some rubberized fabric.

Homework question: Why didn’t’ the wheels on the Space Shuttle bust while in space, i.e., in the presence of a vacuum? Look for the answer in the comments section. 

In summary, force, torque, pressure and vacuum are important physical concepts that – thanks to advances in material sciences and MEMS devices – cross all of the major disciplines. Further, these fundamental concepts continue to have relevance in applications like space systems among many others.

The 15 Most Influential Technologies of the Decade

Design News - Mon, 2019-12-09 12:00



Chris Wiltz is a Senior Editor at  Design News covering emerging technologies including AI, VR/AR, blockchain, and robotics.


A climate-change solution: remove carbon dioxide from the air

Design News - Mon, 2019-12-09 07:00

Researchers at MIT have designed a specialized battery that can remove carbon dioxide even at small concentrations from air, a device they believe could be used as a tool to fight climate change.

Chemical engineers, including Saha Voskian—an MIT postdoc who developed the work as part of his PhD research—invented the technique, which is based on passing air through a stack of charge electrochemical plates.

In this diagram of a new system invented at MIT, air entering from top right passes to one of two chambers (the gray rectangular structures) containing battery electrodes that attract the carbon dioxide. Then the airflow is switched to the other chamber, while the accumulated carbon dioxide in the first chamber is flushed into a separate storage tank (at right). These alternating flows allow for continuous operation of the two-step process. (Image source: MIT)

The system can process carbon dioxide at any concentration level, even down to the roughly 400 parts per million currently found in the atmosphere. This is different from most current methods of removing carbon dioxide from air. Other methods require a higher concentration of the CO2 in the air, such as what’s present in the flue emissions from fossil fuel-based power plants.

There are a few solutions that can work with lower concentrations, but the new device that Voskian and his collaborator, T. Alan Hatton, the Ralph Landau Professor of Chemical Engineering, have invented is less energy-intensive and expensive. “Our system relies solely on electrical energy input and does not require and thermal or pressure swing,” Voskian told Design News. “It operates at ambient conditions.”

Absorbing carbon from the air

The device is essentially a large battery that absorbs carbon dioxide from the air, or another gas stream, passing over its electrodes as it is being charged up. As it is being discharged, it releases the gas it collected.

In operation, the device would simply alternate between charging and discharging, with fresh air or feed gas being blown through the system during the charging cycle, and then the pure, concentrated carbon dioxide being blown out during the discharging. “The device comprises of a stack of electrochemical cells with gas flow channels in between,” said Voskian. “The cells have porous electrodes which are coated with a composite of electro-active polymer and conductive material. The polymer responds to electric stimuli and is activated or de-activated based on the polarity of the applied potential.”

That electro-active polymer and conductive material is a compound called polyanthraquinone, which is composited with carbon nanotubes. This gives the electrodes a natural affinity for carbon dioxide so they can readily react with its molecules in the airstream or feed gas, even when it is present at very low concentrations.  “The electrodes either have strong affinity to carbon in their electrochemically activated mode, or have no affinity whatsoever,” said Voskian.

Binding gas molecules even in low concentrations

This binary nature of the interaction with carbon dioxide lends the system its unique properties, giving it the ability to bind to the gas molecules from very low to very high concentrations.

The reverse reaction takes place when the battery is discharged, ejecting a stream of pure carbon dioxide. During this process, the device can provide part of the power needed for the whole system, which operates at room temperature and normal air pressure.

Researchers published a paper on their work in the journal Energy and Environmental Science.


The team envisions the solutions used in a wide array of applications—from industrial plants with high carbon-dioxide emissions, to medical and even consumer applications—given its versatility. The researchers have set up a company called Verdox to commercialize the process and device, and hope to develop a pilot-scale plant for carbon-dioxide processing within the next few years.

Elizabeth Montalbano is a freelance writer who has written about technology and culture for more than 20 years. She has lived and worked as a professional journalist in Phoenix, San Francisco and New York City. In her free time she enjoys surfing, traveling, music, yoga and cooking. She currently resides in a village on the southwest coast of Portugal.

DesignCon: By Engineers, For Engineers

January 28-30: North America's largest chip, board, and systems event, DesignCon, returns to Silicon Valley for its 25th year! The premier educational conference and technology exhibition, this three-day event brings together the brightest minds across the high-speed communications and semiconductor industries, who are looking to engineer the technology of tomorrow. DesignCon is your rocket to the future. Ready to come aboard? Register to attend!


What does every engineer want for the holidays?

Design News - Mon, 2019-12-09 06:00

During the holiday season, one tends to think of presents. But today’s designers, manufacturers and sellers tell us the product is but a commodity and what we really want is the experience.

Engineers and scientists are really like most ordinary consumers except in their interest in experiences that deal with great technical achievements, failures and the future – technologies that are yet to be. So, rather than a set of catchy products, this list will focus on unique experiences with particular appeal to engineers and scientists. 

I. Books 

Reading is an experience unlike no other in that it can be done by any literate person at almost any time and in any place. Here is a very short list of science and engineering related books released in 2019:

> Infinite Powers: The Story of Calculus – The Language of the Universe, by Steven Strogatz (Atlantic Books) 

This is the story of mathematics’ greatest ever idea: calculus. Without it, there would be no computers, no microwave ovens, no GPS, and no space travel. But before it gave modern man almost infinite powers, calculus was behind centuries of controversy, competition, and even death.

Professor Steven Strogatz charts the development of this seminal achievement from the days of Archimedes to today’s breakthroughs in chaos theory and artificial intelligence. Filled with idiosyncratic characters from Pythagoras to Fourier, Infinite Powers is a compelling human drama that reveals the legacy of calculus on nearly every aspect of modern civilization, including science, politics, medicine, philosophy, and much besides.

> Six Impossible Things: The ‘Quanta of Solace’ and the Mysteries of the Subatomic World, by John Gribbin (Icon Books Ltd.) 

Quantum physics is strange. It tells us that a particle can be in two places at once. Indeed, that particle is also a wave, and everything in the quantum world can be described entirely in terms of waves, or entirely in terms of particles, whichever you prefer.

All of this was clear by the end of the 1920s. But to the great distress of many physicists, let alone ordinary mortals, nobody has ever been able to come up with a common sense explanation of what is going on. Physicists have sought ‘quanta of solace’ in a variety of more or less convincing interpretations. Popular science master John Gribbin takes us on a tour through the ‘big six’, from the Copenhagen interpretation via the pilot wave and many worlds approaches.

> Hacking Darwin: Genetic Engineering and the Future of Humanity by Jamie Metzl (Sourcebooks) 

At the dawn of the genetics revolution, our DNA is becoming as readable, writable, and hackable as our information technology. But as humanity starts retooling our own genetic code, the choices we make today will be the difference between realizing breathtaking advances in human well-being and descending into a dangerous and potentially deadly genetic arms race.

Enter the laboratories where scientists are turning science fiction into reality. Look towards a future where our deepest beliefs, morals, religions, and politics are challenged like never before and the very essence of what it means to be human is at play. When we can engineer our future children, massively extend our lifespans, build life from scratch, and recreate the plant and animal world, should we?

Image Source: Sourcebooks

II. Engineering Coding Boot Camps 

All engineers need to stay current in their own discipline as well as learn new skills. What better way to accomplish that goal that with an uber-focused bootcamp.

> Flatiron School

Flatiron School offers on-campus (throughout the US) and online programs in software engineering, data science, and UX/UI Design.  The school’s immersive courses aim to launch students into careers as software engineers, data scientists, and UX/UI designers through a rigorous curriculum and the support of seasoned instructors and personal career coaches. Through labs and projects, this school teaches students to think and build like software engineers and data scientists. The  UX/UI Design includes a client project to give students client-facing experience.

> Hack Reactor

This 12-week immersive coding school provides software engineering education, career placement services, and a network of professional peers. The school has campuses in major US cities as well as an online. During the first six weeks at Hack Reactor, students learn the fundamentals of development, full stack JavaScript and are introduced to developer tools and technologies. In the final six weeks, students work on personal and group projects, using the skills they have learned. After 800+ hours of curriculum, students graduate as full-stack software engineers and JavaScript programmers.

> Codesmith

This program offers a full-time, 12-week full stack software engineering bootcamp in Los Angeles and New York City. Codesmith is a selective program focusing largely on computer science and full-stack JavaScript, with an emphasis on technologies like React, Redux, Node, build tools, Dev Ops and machine learning. This program enables Codesmith students (known as Residents) to build open-source projects, with the aim of moving into positions as skilled software engineers. Codesmith Residents gain a deep understanding of advanced JavaScript practices, fundamental computer science concepts (such as algorithms and data structures), and object-oriented and functional programming. The program helps residents develop strong problem-solving abilities and technical communication skills.

(Image Source: Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash)

III. Engineer-themed video games

Tired of playing Minecraft, Tetris and other teckie games? Add these new challenges to a virtual stocking stuffers.

> Scrap Mechanic

Scrap Mechanic is a multiplayer sandbox game which drops players right into a world where they literally engineer your own adventures! Players choose from the 100+ building parts at their disposal and create anything from crazy transforming vehicles to a house that moves.

> Automachef

Automachef is an indie puzzle game in which players have to build automatic kitchens for a robotic fast food tycoon who believes he's a human. Sounds good, doesn't it?

> Factorio

Factorio is a game in which you build and maintain factories. Players will mine resources, research technologies, build infrastructures, automate production and fighte enemies. Players must use their imagination to design your factory, combine simple elements into ingenious structures, apply management skills to keep it working, and protect it from the creatures who don’t like them.

Image Source: Factorio

Image Source: Mind-Field Escapes

IV. Engineer-Themed Escape Rooms

An escape room is a game in which a team of players cooperatively discover clues, solve puzzles, and accomplish tasks in one or more rooms in order to progress and accomplish a specific goal in a limited amount of time. The goal is often to escape from the site of the game.

While such escape rooms have become popular in recent years, few tend be filled with puzzles that are based on engineering or science. One that fits the latter categories is called

LabEscape, created by University of Illinois physicist. There are 3 separate missions, each dealing with renowned quantum physicist Professor Schrödenberg. Each mission features a unique set of awesome puzzles and challenges, all designed to amaze, delight, and astound!

Another example is the recently opened Mind-Field Escapes. “All Clear” is an engineering-focused mission that takes place in a bomb shelter. The scenario is as follows: It’s been four years and the shelling has stop. Now it’s time for the surviors to come out. Unfortunately, someone fed several of the instruction manual to the rats, which means no one really remembers how everything works. All Clear has electrical, mechanical, pneumatic, hydraulics puzzles and more. It’s fun for any engineer. Other engineering focused future missions will include Mr Harvey’s Room and Dr. K. L. Koff’s lab.

V. Tours for Engineers

Here’s a short list of engineering-related adventures to get off the bucket list.

> Arecibo Observatory

Ever wonder about the radio telescope buried deep in the jungles of Puerto Rico, which has served as a backdrop for TV shows and movies like the X-Files and James Bond, among others. Then maybe a trip to Arecibo is in order.

> Manhattan Project National Historical Park – B Reactor

The B Reactor National Historic Landmark is the world's first full-scale plutonium production reactor and part of the Manhattan Project National Historical Park. Sign up for a tour and learn more about the people, events, science, and engineering that led to the creation of the atomic bombs that helped bring an end to World War II.

> Apollo Mission Control Center

In 2019, NASA finished refurbishing the iconic room where space exploration began. In honor of the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission to the Moon, the Agency has refurbished the historic mission control center at Johnson Space Center in Houston, where engineers guided astronauts to their one small step.

Image Source: NASA

VI. Movies for the engineer in all of us

Engineers and scientist like a variety of movies and TV shows, especially those that have cool technology or a science fiction theme. Here are three that made the list in 2019.

> Deadly Engineering – 2019 edition, Amazon Original

Engineering failures are Icarus-like moments when our overreaching, greed and desire to conquer the impossible can cost not just reputations, but millions of dollars, the environment and lives. Each episode will focus on one disaster, looking at dramatic archive news footage of the disaster occurring and its devastating impact. Check out a few of the recent episode titles: The Chernobyl Conspiracy, NASA’s Challenger Disaster, Doom on the Titanic, and Nightmare in Hell’s Valley.

> Avengers: Endgame

Whether you are a Marvel fan or not, Endgame presents some pretty cool tech – from Tony Stark’s Ironman suit, Antman’s quantum adventures to the time-traveling machine.

> The Current War

The Current War is the latest film to retell the major events of the decade-long battle between Thomas Edison, George Westinghouse and Nikola Tesla to bring electricity to America of the late 1800’s. This current retelling focuses on the personality differences between these great inventors and entrepreneurs but includes enough technical bits to ensure the film’s interest for electrical, mechanical and manufacturing engineers. It is well worth the price of admission.

Image Source: 101 Studio




John Blyler is a Design News senior editor, covering the electronics and advanced manufacturing spaces. With a BS in Engineering Physics and an MS in Electrical Engineering, he has years of hardware-software-network systems experience as an editor and engineer within the advanced manufacturing, IoT and semiconductor industries. John has co-authored books related to system engineering and electronics for IEEE, Wiley, and Elsevier.

Currently Crowdfunding: Stay Fresh With an Eco-Conscious Cooler, Turn Your Smartphone into a Microscope, and More

Core 77 - Sun, 2019-12-08 18:32

Brought to you by MAKO Design + Invent, North America's leading design firm for taking your product idea from a sketch on a napkin to store shelves. Download Mako's Invention Guide for free here.

Navigating the world of crowdfunding can be overwhelming, to put it lightly. Which projects are worth backing? Where's the filter to weed out the hundreds of useless smart devices? To make the process less frustrating, we scour the various online crowdfunding platforms to put together a weekly roundup of our favorite campaigns for your viewing (and spending!) pleasure. Go ahead, free your disposable income:

Smart material choices (like swapping conventional polyurethane foam insulation for natural wool) make this cooler completely recyclable. Couple that with its sleek design and convenient features (there's a built-in cutting board!) and the Wooly Mammoth Cooler looks like a perfect companion for your outdoor dining adventures.

Already near its funding goal with just under a month to go, the Altered Shower employs a patented "dome technology" to rotate water at a high speed so you can enjoy a normal shower while using 75% less water.

A modular lunch box/food storage solution that checks off all the right boxes: it's leak-proof, shatter-proof, easy to open, keeps food hot or cold, and made of PBA-free recyclable plastic.

We all have a camera in our pocket, but what if you could use it to explore the world around you in microscopic detail? DIPLE is an add-on kit that will kick your smartphone camera up quite a few notches with its 1000x magnification capability.

Made of bamboo and aluminum, Ice Mouse is designed to stay cool to the touch no matter how many hours you work with it.

Do you need help designing, developing, patenting, manufacturing, and/or selling YOUR product idea? MAKO Design + Invent is a one-stop-shop specifically for inventors / startups / small businesses. Click HERE for a free confidential product consultation.