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A System of Modular Reusable Containers Designed for a Refill Economy

Core 77 - Wed, 2021-09-15 04:12

A refill economy, whereby we bring our own vessels to hubs that dispense consumables rather than buying new packaging each time, would go a long way to reducing single-use plastic.

Whether you're urban or rural, the concept isn't difficult to grasp. When I was in Manhattan, you could bring a growler to Whole Foods to tank up on local craft beers. Out here in the sticks, everyone brings a Jerry can to the gas station to gather fuel for their lawn mowers.

What would come in handy is a system of vessels for all of the other stuff we could conceivably refill: Milk, shampoo, cleaning supplies, detergent, et cetera, which are all items that are consumed at different rates. For that reason Mimeos, a sustainability consultancy, commissioned Argentinian ID firm Sich Design Studio to mock up, design and refine these Reusable Home Containers:


"They are flexible containers that come in 3 capacities, 1 L, 3 L, and 5 L."

"To enhance the use, operation, and user experience, we design containers that fit into one another and help transport the containers regardless of weight."

"Its compact design is perfect to be stored at home and to be transported. The family has accessories that make its use more flexible and adapt it for daily life."

You can see more of Sich's stuff here.


G-Shock Goes Metal with GM2100 Series

Core 77 - Wed, 2021-09-15 04:12


When you hear "G-Shock" you think resin and digital, but now the brand's moving diagonally into metal and analog. Their new metal-clad GM2100 series beefs up the structure with stainless steel bezels, and adds chunky hands that look strong enough to be little tools.

"A stainless steel bezel with exceptional strength and inner case made of damage- and deformation-resistant glass fibre-reinforced resin safeguards the module. Tiny protrusions on the inner case reduce surface contact with the bezel to cushion shocks to the module. Cutting-edge technology is applied to the original G-SHOCK concept of hollow construction to deliver a shock-resistant structure with a metal exterior."

"The bezel adopts the octagonal design motif the G-SHOCK has featured since the very first watch. Undergoing painstaking processes of forging, cutting and polishing, the bezel is precisely crafted — from its intricately shaped face to the form of its back, which is the key to the precision fit it makes with the inner case. A round hairline finish is applied to the top surface and a mirror polish to the sides, giving the bezel a beautiful gleam."

If you're worried it's gonna be too chunky, Casio says they've "achieved shock resistance with the bare minimum case thickness by adopting a metal-clad shock-resistant structure," and refer to the new design as "an exceptionally slim design for an analogue-digital combination model with a metal case and a comfortable fit on the wrist." Incredibly, the 40mm version is just 11mm thick, and the 44mm version is 11.8mm thick. (For comparison's sake, Apple Watches in those dimensions are 10.7 and 10.74mm thick, respectively.)


Facebook's Ray-Ban Eyeglass Cameras

Core 77 - Wed, 2021-09-15 04:12

Facebook is now competing for eyeballs in a new way. The company has partnered with Ray-Ban to release Ray-Ban Stories, a pair of $299 sunglasses (or eyeglasses) with two built-in 5-megapixel cameras, wireless connectivity, and speakers and a microphone for making calls through your phone. You can also uses the glasses to listen to music.

The cameras, which are activated by tapping on the touch-sensitive stems, can take both snapshots and record 30-second videos (the aspect ratios for both are square). The user then wirelessly transfers these files to a Facebook View app, from which they can be uploaded to Facebook or Instagram, or saved on your phone's camera roll.

Hilariously, the glasses project was initiated by a division of the company called Facebook Reality Labs, as if reality is a service they provide. Facebook Reality Labs VP Andrew Bosworth says the glasses were "designed to help people live in the moment and stay connected to the people they are with and the people they wish they were with…. We're introducing an entirely new way for people to stay connected to the world around them and truly be present in life's most important moments, and to look good while doing it."

In actual "reality" the company presumably wants an easier way for users to generate the chum that keeps Facebook and Instagram going. That being said, I cannot deny the utility of having a wearable, hands-free camera mounted at eye level, and I could see it being incredibly useful for a variety of work applications: Documenting, inspecting, cataloguing, appraising, et cetera.

What I don't want, however, is to live in a world where everyone is recording everything all the time, but I guess that ship has already sailed. Facebook just made it so that you don't have to lift a glass rectangle to do it anymore. With the glasses, LED lights on the temples illuminate to indicate one is actively recording; in a hands-on review posted on Wired, the two product testers reported that initially, no one noticed the LEDs nor realized they were being recorded.

The possibilities for what could go wrong, should malevolent hackers learn to exploit the capabilities of these glasses, is obviously tremendous. In that sense, the product is a perfect fit for Facebook: It's a powerful and potentially useful tool that was created without much thought to the potential downsides.

I bet these sell like hotcakes.


A Desktop Pressure Forming Machine (Think Vacuum Forming on Steroids)

Core 77 - Wed, 2021-09-15 04:12

Since 2015, London-based company Mayku has been making the Formbox, a desktop vacuum forming machine. Now they've released a new machine, the Multiplier, that can do pressure forming.

For those of you unfamiliar with pressure forming: You know how vacuum forming works by pulling the vacuum on the mold side? Pressure forming does that, but then simultaneously adds compressed air on the top side, sandwiching the material between the mold and the pressurized atmosphere inside the tool. Whereas vacuum forming gives you radii rather than corners and cannot closely follow complex surface changes, pressure forming gives you a level of detail closer to injection molding—at a fraction of the cost.

Hence the Multiplier "can capture detail finer than a human hair and perfectly sharp edges," the company writes. And, they say, "the process of making a mold" (which is apparently what they envision most folks using it for) "takes just 1 minute." They also claim no draft angle is needed (though you may or may not have fun trying to fish the part out).

Here's what it looks like to operate the machine:

Do the aesthetics of the physical UI look familiar to you? The Multiplier was designed in collaboration with Teenage Engineering.

Though there's no word on when the machine will start shipping, Mayku says they'll start taking pre-orders next month, with early-bird pricing set at two grand (which they say is a 58% discount).


Conductive Thread Magically Turns Shirt into Lifesaving EKG Heart Monitor

Design News - Wed, 2021-09-15 02:47
Researchers have used a carbon nanotube fiber they developed eight years ago to fabricate smart clothing for a variety of uses, including this EKG heart monitor.

Apple Supplier Foxconn Will Dive into the Competitive EV Market in 2023

Design News - Tue, 2021-09-14 12:22
Foxconn aims to become a behind-the-scenes contract manufacturer for electric car companies in much the same way it builds most of Apple's products.

Konstantin Grcic and Polestar Rethink the Electric Cargo Bike, Ditch the "Bike" Part

Core 77 - Tue, 2021-09-14 03:22

A collaboration between Konstantin Grcic and electric car startup Polestar has yielded a design for a speculative and new type of delivery vehicle. In essence, they looked at an existing form factor, that of the electric cargo bicycle, and seemed to conclude: If it's electric-powered, why do we still need the bicycle part?


The result is this "multi-functional electric transporter concept," which they call "a more sustainable approach for last-mile delivery." There's also more room for packages on it, given the cargo area in relation to the overall footprint. The deliveryperson now stands at the rear of the vehicle, chariot-style. And though the design is envisioned as a replacement for delivery vans, the overall dimensions are still bike-sized:

"The multi-functional electric transporter is only 750 mm wide – perfectly suited to bicycle lanes – and is capable of carrying loads of up to 180 kg.

"The low-carbon aluminium chassis has an electric tilt mechanism, allowing the vehicle to 'lean-in' to turns, improving stability and manoeuvrability, and reducing its turning circle to less than seven metres. Disc brakes instill further dynamic confidence in the EV while a damped rear swing arm is designed for driver comfort and to reduce fatigue. Always-on lighting improves forward visibility for the driver, while brake lights, optional indicators and a horn help to ensure the vehicle is visible to pedestrians and traffic."

Interestingly, the company states that in addition to executing urban package delivery, the concept could bring "cargo transportation to rural areas lacking developed infrastructure." I think that might be a bit optimistic, depending on how rural we're talking. The area I'm in features two-lane roads with no bike lane nor shoulder, and a decent flow of enormous logging trucks that render double-yellow lines a suggestion; I'm not sure drivers of this transporter would be eager to share such roads. And with electric cargo bikes in general, we still haven't seen anyone addressing the issue of inclement weather.

Other collaborators on the project were Swedish electric bike company Cake, who supplied the battery, hub and technology and aluminum producer Hydro, who provided the frame's low-carbon aluminum, which was produced with renewable energy.

"The passion and expertise our partners have brought to this project shows the power of great design," says Thomas Ingenlath, Polestar CEO. "Electrifying vehicles is the start point, not the end game. Our engineers have proven that this kind of open collaboration will accelerate innovation and the shift to truly sustainable mobility."

Wasteful Hospital Practices: Disposable Single-Patient-Use Landline Telephones

Core 77 - Tue, 2021-09-14 03:22

Well, this is disturbing. A company called Scitec Inc., which manufactures telephones for hotels and institutions, manufactures a disposable landline telephone for hospitals. Designed to be mounted to a bedrail, it's intended to be used by a single patient, then thrown away—after it has performed its function of generating profit, of course.

"Scitec single-use disposable healthcare telephones and accessories help reduce patient room cross-contamination, cleaning and repair costs," reads the sales sheet, "and increase telecom revenues."

Incredibly, these cost just $13.95—for the hospitals. How much do you reckon they mark them up to the patients?


The Landscaper's Equivalent of a Standing Desk

Core 77 - Tue, 2021-09-14 03:22

In previous decades, professional lawn mowing machines came in two form factors: The riding mower, and the self-propelled walk-behind. The former was faster and could cover more ground, but the latter could get into tight spaces and through narrow gates.

The problem: Professional landscapers are occasionally faced with situations where narrow gates make it impossible for the bulky riding mower to access the target area. This means a worker must tackle it with a walk-behind—no matter how large the pasture. In the 1980s Bill Wright, an inventor who owned a landscaping business in Maryland, found that his "mowing crew members were walking behind their mowers up to 20 miles a day, fatiguing and slowing down as the hours went by."

To solve this, Wright and his mower mechanic, Jim Velke, invented the Velke Sulky. This was a small, fold-out wheeled platform that was hitched behind the self-propelled walk-behind. The worker could stand on it and let the machine's power tow him.


By 1997 Wright re-thought the mower entirely, and created the world's first stand-on mower.

Essentially a self-propelled chariot with a mowing deck, this form factor provided numerous advantages to the landscaper:

Today the company offers six different models of stand-on mower, with differing wheelbases and mower deck configurations depending on the terrain type. Here's a look at the benefits of Wrights' designs:


Turning Waste Into Opportunity: Behind the Design of the Nutshell Sustainable Cooler

Core 77 - Tue, 2021-09-14 03:22


Nutshell Coolers

Mother nature often provides the best packaging design, from the humble, peelable banana to the durable coconut. That was certainly the thinking behind Nutshell Coolers, the first travel cooler produced from recycled coconut husks, available on Kickstarter until September 16. These sleek, bio-friendly containers were created by Stanford grads David Cutler and Tamara Mekler, whose work alongside small farmers and fisherfolk in the Philippines inspired them to craft packaging able to withstand the unrelenting sun while keeping the day's catch cool and easily transportable, in the process contributing to the low-waste, circular economy.

A natural insulator, the coconut's husk fibers are hollow with tiny pockets, allowing them to trap air and regulate temperature, making it an ideal substitute for plastic foam insulation. (In fact, under a microscope, Styrofoam and the cell structure of the coconut husk are almost identical.) Unlike traditional plastic coolers, the Nutshell pack can also fold to half its width and be frozen for more than 48 hours—allowing it be easily stashed away between outdoor adventures.


Nutshell Coolers

Designing for the real world—and real people

The pair were first introduced to the many facets of the coconut trade during their fieldwork as graduate students at Stanford. "We were in a class called 'Design for Extreme Affordability' which brings together students from across different departments into teams which are then partnered with international NGOs to develop affordable solutions to some of the world's biggest problems," said Mekler, explaining that they were assigned to work with small-scale tuna fisheries in the Philippines with the goal of improving the livelihood of local fisherfolk. As they explored the area, they noticed an abundance of roadside coconut trees and farms, inspiring them to research the nut itself, and discovering its insulating qualities.

After three years of conceptualization, with local farmers and fishers as beta testers, they were able to prototype an insulation system similar to a styrofoam container but collapsible enough for workers to easily carry onto boats and transport to market. "Living in a fishing community and making prototypes alongside the fisherfolk, we were going each day to the beach with a new design, and they were taking it out to sea. They were coming back with feedback, and we would start over again." Through this trial-and-error process, the pair built a grassroots network of advisors and supporters in the Philippines who they continue to work with today. They were also able to conceptualize a new way to empower entrepreneurship in the region. "Without a market for their husks, farmers generally burn that waste," Cutler explains, noting that each year billions of leftover shells and husks are discarded, releasing tons of CO2 into the atmosphere. Now, the team sources these leftover coconut husks from farmers, providing an additional stream of income for necessities and community investment—all while encouraging more sustainable farming practices.


Nutshell Coolers

Designing outside (and inside) the box

Created in collaboration with Box Clever, the design studio that helped bring Nebia showers and Away luggage to life, the entire cooler is created with sustainability in mind. Even the Nutshell Ice Pack is made with recycled polyester that ships empty to minimize its carbon footprint. Each unit is made from the husks of 24 coconuts, the bulk of which are in the biodegradable insulation. There is also a liner on both the outside and inside made from upcycled textiles and recycled plastic bottles. "Of course, that part is not biodegradable, but we've designed it in such a way that it's easy to pull out the insulation panels so you can compost it and then recycle the rest of the cooler," explains Cutler.The Nutshell Cooler is part of the pair's sustainability-driven company Fortuna Cools, whose first product was a collapsible, six-foot cooler designed for at-sea cold storage for fishing boats. "From the beginning, we've focused on performance," says Mekler. "We've seen many cooler products that were so bulky, so inconvenient to carry. They're heavy. They don't fit anywhere. They sometimes barely even fit in the trunk of your car when you're taking it out on your trip. So, collapsibility was a huge feature for us."


Nutshell Coolers

Crowdfunding the coconut dream

For the creators of Nutshell Coolers, there was never any doubt that they would use Kickstarter to fund their project. "The platform was an obvious place to build our early adopter community and create a moment and a customer base that was going to not only get excited about the product itself but also join us on this journey that we're on," explained Cutler. "And you can tell that the journey, the community, and the story is a huge part of what motivates us."While Cutler and Mekler are pursuing a few directions post-launch, they are mostly eager to finally unveil a product that they've worked so hard toward and which has taken them around the world and back. "This has been the product of many conversations. The design itself is easily adaptable to different sizes, anything from a lunch box to a larger multi-day cooler," says Mekler, explaining that they have developed an innovative insulation material that can also be used in everything from construction to supply chains. "The sky's the limit when it comes to uses. But we're most excited to see what happens out of this campaign and put some of the ideas that we've been sketching for so many years into the world."

Nutshell Coolers

A cooler world is possible

"One of our core values is learning and demonstrating that there are solutions that come directly from nature that can address some of the challenges that we're trying to solve in different ways," says Mekler. "There is so much potential in natural materials and natural solutions if we can harness them to create better products, with better materials and with a lower footprint." In addition, she explains that working toward a more sustainable society will have a positive impact on both the people and partners that make these products a reality as well as on the environment itself. The cooler's success on Kickstarter also points to a growing enthusiasm from consumers and design-lovers for aesthetically-superior products that are mindful of resource extraction and the lifecycle of the product. "There are so many more opportunities to be making products and businesses around those types of win-win situations, and I'm excited for this to be a demonstration that that can happen."

Nutshell Coolers are available on Kickstarter until September 16.
Watch to launch your own Kickstarter campaign? Click here.

 



DefeXtiles' Sustainable 3D Printed Fabric Has the Potential to Revolutionize Textiles

Core 77 - Tue, 2021-09-14 03:22

Over the past several years, concerns about the ethics of textile production have substantially increased. A significant percentage of fabrics are produced in sweatshops that require intensive, intricate labor for extremely low pay. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, only 14.7 percent of all textiles were recycled in 2018, while 11.3 million tons accumulated in landfills. A popular current solution to these concerns is upcycling, which involves using the lowest possible amount of waste to produce items.

One recent exciting and ambitious approach to sustainable textiles is DefeXtiles, a tulle-esque printed fabric compatible with all common 3D printers. Thanks to intelligent engineering, these textiles are flexible, durable, and versatile. Per their name, DefeXtiles intentionally exploits a 3D printing defect known as under-extrusion, which add gaps to fused deposition modeling (FDM) printing.

"Gap defects [can] afford the prints greater flexibility than a continuous sheet of plastic," said a statement by the DefeXtiles team. "By leveraging the periodic deposition and stretching of thermoplastics, we generate textiles in a single nozzle pass."

With DefeXtiles, users of various skill levels can easily turn digital clothing designs into tangible items. The fabrics are extremely intuitive and can be used in a wide variety of ways without complicated training. Just a few processes users can explore with DefeXtiles include decorating the fabrics with intricate patterns, heat bonding or sewing them to existing textiles, or de-pleating them.

DefeXtiles' patterning process uses glob-stretch printing, which stacks globs of fabric on top of each other. This warps the fabric in a way that makes it ultra-flexible and stretchy while allowing the user to control its look.

"A key advantage of our approach is it requires no preparatory steps, no mandatory post-processing, no extra nozzle movements, and no specialized printing hardware," said the DefeXtiles team. "Because of this, our approach allows us to combine the affordances of textiles with nearly all the benefits of well-developed 3D printing workflows. That is, support of a diverse range of materials and forms, hands-free fabrication, rapid production and iteration, full use of the print volume, and computer-aided design."

The DefeXtiles team hopes to revolutionize fashion by drastically decreasing waste. One proposed use is as a safe, physical alternative to virtual dressing rooms. In this scenario, a consumer could try on a DefeXtiles prototype of the garment in question to make sure it fits correctly. The material could also replace samples in fashion and costume design, which would help designers cut back on fabric waste and cost.

"Once the try-on is complete, the [garment] can be remelted and recycled into a new 3D printing filament to be used in the future," the DefeXtiles team said.

DefeXtiles presents an alternative to fabric production that is not only environmentally friendly, but easily accessible to new designers, and can satisfy a wide range of functions and aesthetic possibilities. The team created a handful of examples to illustrate the versatility of their fabric. In addition to a layered skirt, the designers used the fabric to make a lampshade, a badminton shuttlecock, an iron-on pocket, and an interactive dancing puppet.

"Due to the widespread use and accessibility of FDM printers, we envision this approach can immediately empower a wide audience with the ability to fabricate fabric into finished forms," the DefeXtiles team continued. "We hope DefeXtiles can enrich HCI's maker toolbox and lower the barrier of entry to computational textile design."

DefeXtiles is a Student Notable in the Strategy & Research category of the 2021 Core77 Design Awards. You can check out all of the 2021 winners now on the Core77 Design Awards website.


Want Fresh Views on Your Development? Send Your R&D Out

Design News - Mon, 2021-09-13 19:10
Outsourcing your research and development can help streamline operations and offer a fresh perspective.

Industrial Digital Transformation Is Fine but Does it Solve Tech User Pain?

Design News - Mon, 2021-09-13 19:07
The Industrial IoT Consortium, formerly the Industrial Internet Consortium (IIC), considers ways to really deploy the industrial IoT or IIOT.

Need to Improve Surgical Robotics? Focus on the Motion Control

Design News - Mon, 2021-09-13 19:05
Many of the advances in surgical robotics are coming from motion control companies.

10 Important Trends in Semiconductor Electronics for Next Year

Design News - Mon, 2021-09-13 19:00
Today’s trends have already begun to shape next year’s technology and economy.

Adding Plastic Waste to Asphalt Reaps Environmental Benefits

Design News - Mon, 2021-09-13 18:28
Dow, the University of Missouri, and Missouri Department of Transportation are partnering to take plastic out of the waste stream and put it in roadways.

How MIPI Alliance is Enabling the Smart Factories of the Future

Design News - Mon, 2021-09-13 16:06
MIPI specifications are helping to create advanced capabilities in smart factories.

Will Having a Chief Digital Officer Help Ford Focus on Data, Software, and Tech?

Design News - Mon, 2021-09-13 14:56
Ford hires Mike Amend from Lowe’s to bring C-level attention to the company’s digital transformation.

How Do You Build a Better Machine? You Can Use Artificial Intelligence

Design News - Mon, 2021-09-13 10:25
Smart machines are created with smart processes. That includes AI, digital twins, and AR.

Need a Smarter Robot? Try Adding AI

Design News - Mon, 2021-09-13 09:52
A new algorithm developed by University of Michigan researchers helps machines find successful paths more quickly when navigating disaster or constructions sites.