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"Daily Life Tools:" New Housewares Designs that Look Old

Core 77 - Fri, 2023-01-27 09:10

Architect Shinichiro Ogata has plenty of modern-day commissions, mostly high-end interiors. But "at some point, I became strongly attracted to the things that were created with the wisdom and technology that had been cultivated over a long period of time," he writes. "I want to cherish 'tradition.' That is to think of someone from the distant past who shaped me."

To scratch this itch Ogata formed S[es], a product brand that creates "daily life tools," primarily centered around things we all do, like eat and drink. Practically speaking, the brand creates new objects that look old; Ogata's modern design sensibilities are distilled through the traditional craftspeople he seeks out to produce the objects using traditional techniques.

Here are some examples, some of which have detailed descriptions, while others don't:

This Afternoon Tea Stand, which breaks down for storage:

"A copper afternoon tea stand with two cedar trays."

"In order to bring out the texture of copper, the craftsmen have applied a deep discoloration process. Because it is unpainted, you can enjoy the aging characteristic of copper that becomes more attractive the more you use it."

"The round trays are made of Akita cedar and hand-made by artisans in Hirosaki, Aomori Prefecture. Finished with 'Uzukuri,' a process that makes the wood grain stand out beautifully by scraping off the soft parts of the wood while polishing."

This Sake Warmer, which is a low-tech way to keep the hooch from cooling:

"A sake warmer is a tool that keeps drinks such as sake and tea warm by pouring hot water into the main body and lighting a candle at the bottom. (Because it is only for keeping warm, you cannot boil water.) In order to enhance the antibacterial properties of the pitcher, the inside is tinned."

"In addition, it comes with a handle that can be removed, so you can move the sake warmer."

"Manufactured in Tsubame Sanjo, Niigata Prefecture, which has advanced sheet metal technology."

This Lamp Shade of hand-blown glass, which softly distorts the light:

This copper Tsutsu Teaspoon, for dishing out tea leaves:

There's more eye candy to see on S[es]' Instagram.

Great Industrial Design Student Work: Closet as Drying Rack

Core 77 - Fri, 2023-01-27 09:10

With the exception of us energy-hog Americans, much of the world dries their laundry electricity-free, on a rack.

You might assume that after the clothes are dry, everyone folds them up and puts them away. But Lukas Bazle and Lukas Stotz, while studying Industrial Design at Germany's Hochschule für Gestaltung Schwäbisch Gmünd, looked into it and learned different. "Our research has shown [that] many people skip putting clothes in the wardrobe and use the clothes directly from the drying rack," they write, describing the impetus for their Haarlem design. "The goal was to create a product that adapts to this behavior."




"Haarlem is a systematic solution for storing and drying fresh laundry. It combines the traditional closet with a drying rack. In the process of going from dirty laundry to having the clothes freshly washed in your closet again, there are several unnecessary steps that can be simplified."

"Additionally it becomes more clear which items are being worn often and which ones you could manage to live without."

(Text reads "Now the next wash cycle can be hang-dryed.")

While this might not be ideal for an enclosed and non-ventilated closet (think humidity problems), at the student level I love this kind of outside-of-the-box thinking based on a better understanding of how people actually behave.

Both Bazle and Stotz are now graduated. Bazle works as a designer for Ikea, but I was not able to learn what became of Stotz.

Bazle also credits design professor Klaus Marek on the project.

Anker Re-Thinks the Multi-Device Wireless Charger Form Factor

Core 77 - Fri, 2023-01-27 09:10

For wirelessly charging an iPhone, Apple Watch and Airpods, most of the options on the market are some variant of this form factor:

The designers at accessories brand Anker, however, have pushed themselves into thinking outside of the box (paradoxically, by making a box) with their 3-in-1 Cube with MagSafe charger:

While I don't know if I'd qualify it as "compact for travel"—is a cube ever an ideal shape to go into a bag?—it certainly presents a more compact form on the tabletop than the competing designs. And I think that when not in use, the bare cube is easier on the eyes than the clotheshorse-style units.

The device runs $150.

Securing Cryptography in the Quantum Computing Era

Design News - Fri, 2023-01-27 07:29
DesignCon keynote will discuss challenges of developing cryptography standards that withstand quantum computing attacks.

Engineering Job Market Insights for Managers in 2023

Design News - Thu, 2023-01-26 21:43
Engineering managers should consider these key strategies for hiring and retaining staff in today’s challenging market.

Mercedes’ Level 3 Drive Pilot Debuts

Design News - Thu, 2023-01-26 13:36
Approval in Nevada brings the Mercedes-Benz SAE Level 3 driver assistance system to U.S. roads for the first time.

Autonomous Yard Truck Operations Emerge in Supplier News

Design News - Thu, 2023-01-26 12:24
We’re also looking at RHINO Pro DC-to-DC converters.

Audi Activesphere’s Open-Bed Surprise

Design News - Thu, 2023-01-26 12:20
Audi’s latest concept car bends the rules by offering a retracting cover for an open cargo bed.

Tech Layoff Methods Add Insult to Injury for Those Let Go

Design News - Thu, 2023-01-26 11:02
Terminated workers up in arms over e-mail notices and abrupt loss of company network access.

The Next Big Thing in EDC? The Swedhook

Core 77 - Thu, 2023-01-26 09:00

The Swedhook is a small, portable hook that doesn't look like much, and might be easy to dismiss as silly:

However, look closer and you'll see it has a ton of practical applications, both inside and outside your house as well as on-the-go:

The video sells it:

Sadly, this Swedish invention is only distributed in that country, Finland, Denmark and Norway. But I think it's only a matter of time before someone in the American EDC market makes one of these out of titanium. If Swedhook's lawyers are reading this, do yourselves a favor and set up a licensing deal ASAP.

Do Aftermarket Products Point to Design Failures?

Core 77 - Thu, 2023-01-26 09:00

A designer's role is usually that of a problem solver. Once you start thinking this way, you soon start to discover all sorts of problems in need of solutions. Recognizing the need for a missing product or experience can be easy when you start thinking "why is there not a __________ for this?" You then turn your frustration with the short sightedness of a given product into ideas for products. Lately, my focus has been on vehicles and their lack of utility.

I recently purchased a set of hangers for my car. These clip onto the head rest supports and offer a place to hang things off of the rear of the seat. Simple, inexpensive and effective, they have seamlessly become a part of how I carry things in the empty space behind my seat. The more I used them, the more I pondered how and why these products came to be.

Perhaps it was done through ethnographic research? Maybe. Did the inventor notice a lack of hang hooks in vehicles? Probably. Then I wondered what else I could do to improve the storage and utility in my vehicle.

I usually carry a small cooler in my trunk, just big enough for a few items. Ice cream, milk, fresh fish... things I don't want to spoil when out doing errands, or during longer trips. Is it unreasonable for most vehicles to have an insulated well in the trunk that is waterproof and drainable? It is not complicated nor expensive. I know that some cars have this already- between the seats, or even in the glovebox. My point is that there are widespread needs and not enough solutions.

Speaking of the glovebox, the typical design of this compartment is a disaster. A disorganized bucket requiring you to remove everything inside when trying to find anything. Why isn't this useful space compartmentalized with bins, dividers, flat folders or pockets with flaps? Let's put the registration in a slider pocket right on the inner door, where you want it when you need it. Wheel lock nuts and touch up paint can be stored elsewhere in the trunk. The thick manual? That could be under the driver's seat or trunk, never to be seen unless needed. The driver can't even reach gloves if they were in there, it needs a new name to match its newly designed functionality.

Most car keys have evolved into a bulky fob, no longer needed to stick into the steering column. How about a dedicated spot for this fob, like a hook on the dash, or a perfectly sized pocket? This silent need might not be the highest on the annoying list, but it is also not expensive to solve. Watching users' behaviors would illuminate many small frustrations such as this one. Every time I get into my car, I look for a place to stash my keys.

Imagine if the dash was customizable, with areas for notes with hanging clips, magnets with cups for holding small things like pens and sunscreen, sunglasses storage, a garage door opener slot, a toll pay pass holder that should be mounted where it can be easily read through the windscreen. How hard are these ideas to fathom? I haven't even mentioned the need for cell phone support in order to play music, follow directions and to order up food at 75mph. I am always plugging in my phone, so I went through the trouble of mounting a magnet on my dash.

Has anyone really observed the rear passenger behavior? What changes would you make to that experience?

Reclining rear seat backs is a start. What else are you supposed to do in the rear seats besides relax or sleep? Why is this request, this need, this obvious oversight ignored, leaving the rear seats still in their upright, rigid and uncomfortable position? Also, let's take advantage of the back of the front seats, with hooks, clips, a storage tray, some pockets with real usage. Heck, that spot is easier to reach for the driver than the glovebox. Personally, this is where I keep a small roll of paper towels, for messy emergencies.

But forget about all those ideas - the glaring problem I have with my car are the black holes between the center console and the front seats. Anything dropped in that general area vanishes immediately to a hellishly small space under the seat. I can't fit my hand in the thin slit there, nor can I squeeze my mitts under it from the front seat. I have to stop the car, get out, open the rear door, get on my knees, and fish my whole arm under the seat and hope that I can pry the object from its tangled lair. Its ridiculous and it happens more often than I expect.

There are solutions, and the names are hilariously appropriate -
Drop Stop Seat Gap Filler Package - its basically a foam noodle that prevents this nightmare. It's patented, it works and it is inexpensive.

At my job we have an open channel for feedback from consumers regarding product complaints. That data is recorded, discussed and taken into consideration as part of the product development process. We listen and adjust to this input, based on the belief that complaints are easy targets for improving our products. There is no easy or direct way to provide feedback or suggestions to car designers. It makes me feel like they don't care about their customer needs, when they should. A simple way to send ideas to the design team would give people the belief that the company is listening, and this simple belief might be enough.

Fooling Facial Recognition by Wearing Ugly Clothing, No Mask Necessary

Core 77 - Thu, 2023-01-26 09:00

Rachele Didero has an unusual skillset: Multiple degrees in Fashion Design from schools in three different countries, and a Ph.D. in Textiles, Machine Learning and Privacy from the Politecnico di Milano in her native Italy.

The peculiar combination--fashion design skills, textiles knowledge and privacy concerns—has motivated her to create clothing that can defeat facial recognition systems.

Her company, Cap_able, produces a Manifesto Collection of sweaters and pants that we'd read as discordant and ugly; something like a casino carpet you wear on your body. But the patterns have been carefully selected to fool YOLO (You Only Look Once), a neural-network-based Deep Learning algorithm that can identify people and objects.

When you're wearing a Manifesto garment, YOLO doesn't even bother looking at your face; instead it assumes (most of the time) that you are an animal.

To be clear, YOLO is just one of many facial recognition systems; it's the one that Cap_able chose to test against, so your fashion sacrifice isn't going to work everywhere. Instead "The Manifesto Collection was created to create awareness of the risks associated with the improper use of facial recognition technology," Cap_able writes.

Here's Didero explaining Cap_able's mission:

A Unique Production Method for Coloring Glass Lampshades

Core 77 - Thu, 2023-01-26 09:00

Barcelona-based product designer Jordi Canudas came up with a unique way to color a glass lampshade: "Dipping the globes in paint [and] drying each coating before applying a new one to create a layered color lampshade," he writes.

"[The] manufacturing process begins by dipping the shade into liquid paint several times," writes Dipping Light manufacturer Marset writes. "Thus, each Dipping Light is different and unique because it depends on the paint mixture, drying and atmospheric conditions at the time. These factors will determine that the color stripes will have different sizes and textures in each of them."

By dipping again and again, he's able to get delineated gradations. The end results are pretty wonderful:

The lamps retail from €317 (USD $345).

Bender: Unusual Wall Hooks, by Industrial Designer Christian Neumeier

Core 77 - Thu, 2023-01-26 09:00

Industrial designer Christian Neumeier designed Bender, these highly unusual wall hooks:

"Bender transforms every wall into a wardrobe. The wall hooks made of powder-coated steel can be arranged as you wish, so that a beautiful, individual and at the same time useful wall picture can be created."

"With great ease, Bender carries any type of clothing and accessories without taking up much space. The charming angular wall objects are available in three different sizes and many colours. Bender is also available in a set."

Frustratingly, there is zero mention of how these things are affixed to the wall. I assume adhesive strips (making these a no-no for renters) but I suppose it's possible that there's an unseen catch on the back that mates with a screw in the wall, as the shadows in some of the photos seem to indicate the object does stand off of the wall a bit. But if that's the case, for the longer ones I'd assume lining up the two screw holes would be a nightmare.

These are in production by Neuvonfrisch, the Bavaria-based design brand Neumeier runs with fellow industrial designer Natascha Harra-Frischkorn.

A Marble Space Heater

Core 77 - Thu, 2023-01-26 09:00

Design professor Claudio Larcher, director of the catch-all Design Department at Milan's New Academy of Fine Arts, designed Heatty, this unusual marble space heater:

Judging by the cord, it's electric. For a design professor, you'd think he'd have a better description:

"An object of common use revisited in the form and in the unconventional choice of materials, this is how Heatty was born. Compact and performing, it combines functionality with a completely new aesthetic, drawing attention to itself and furnishing a corner of the house."

There's no word on what those little hooks are for, what the interface is, how much heat it puts out, et cetera. And while it was apparently designed for an Italian brand called Clique Editions, their listing for the object mentions neither price nor whether it's in production. But it is interesting to look at, and I'm throwing this one out there in case it inspires one of you to do something more comprehensive.

A Telescoping Pillow for On-the-Go Napping

Core 77 - Thu, 2023-01-26 09:00

This bizarre napping-on-the-go accessory is a pillow with a telescoping aluminum rod inside of it.

Called NapEazy, the extendable pillow promises proper support for your head in places that'd ordinarily be difficult to nap in:

The water-resistant and hypoallergenic pillow is filled with memory foam and weighs 1.3 pounds. It's offered in two different sizes, you're meant to select one based on your height…

…but either version does seem like they'd be a bit bulky to carry around:

These are going for $69.

Keeping Innovation and Collaboration Flowing With Interoperability

Design News - Thu, 2023-01-26 08:30
This Q&A shows that a collaborative platform that provides full access to workers and tools is key.

SAE is Paving the Way for Wireless Charging Heavy-Duty EVs

Design News - Thu, 2023-01-26 07:25
SAE has published its first Technical Information Report (TIR) that specifies both EV and ground-system requirements for heavy-duty wireless charging of electric vehicles.

Tomorrow’s 3DP Technology Is a Reality at Our Universities

Design News - Thu, 2023-01-26 01:00
Protolabs is working with college programs to push 3D printing technology into space, racing, and the deep blue sea.

Nodar Stereoscopic Imaging Looks Ahead

Design News - Wed, 2023-01-25 16:34
Widely spaced cameras provide accurate object detection and distance information like lidar at a lower price.