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Updated: 2 hours 34 min ago

How to Create LED Light Panels, Build a Hideaway Home Gym, Construct a Computer Desk & More

2 hours 34 min ago
Pixelstick with Image Processing

Wow! La Fabrique DIY creates an Arduino-based LED stick that can "paint," with light, 40-pixel-wide images:

How to Make Bödvar's Viking Helm

Bob Clagett uses his prop-/costume-creating skills to make this Viking helm from videogame Brawlhalla:

Super Bright Tunable LED Light Panels

Ever wanted to build your own dimmable, light-temperature-controllable LED light panels? Here Linn from Darbin Orvar shows you how:

DIY Candles with Concrete Bases

Ben Uyeda shows you how to use discarded water bottles to cast a concrete base, then molten wax right on top along with a wick to create your own candles:

DIY Home Gym In A Box

Another from Ben, who manages to design a home gym that hides away inside a leather-topped bench:

Making A Wooden Computer Desk

John Heisz designs and builds a multi-part, multi-level desk to serve as his editing station:

Woodworking with Lego

A short, humorous one from Chris Salomone, who recreates a George Nelson bench out of Lego:


How to Make an Ultra-functional Leather Tool Vest, Build a Table Saw Sled for Cove Cuts, Create a Coffee Pod Hopper & More

2 hours 34 min ago
Candle Cage Made with a CNC Plasma Cutter

A short video from Jimmy DiResta this week, who gets to try out a new toy: His Torchmate 4400 CNC plasma cutter.

Blower Impeller Design Experiments

Matthias Wandel uses his building skills and some science to compare three different blade styles for a blower impeller:

How to Build a Table Saw Sled for Cove Cuts

This is wicked: Izzy Swan shows you how to build a table saw sled specifically for doing cove cuts (in addition to building a regular one first).

Office 2: Repurposing a Custom Storage Unit

Frank Howarth is switching locations for his domestic office, and here he turns a wall-mounted storage unit into separate bookshelves:

Building Front Porch Steps

With a scheduled knee surgery, April Wilkerson's dad was having trouble getting up and down the steps to his home. Here she rips out the too-steep stairs and creates a new set with deeper treads:

DIY Kitchen Organization: K-Cup Coffee Dispenser

Just as I was contemplating building a coffee-pod dispenser for my Nespresso machine, Steve Ramsey makes one for his Keurig. At the end he discovers a design flaw, which I am trying to figure out how to correct for:

Tool Vest Updates And Revisions

Years ago we posted about the Samurai Carpenter's awesome DIY leather tool vest. Here he gives it a ton of functional updates and improvements:

Pool Cue Shadowbox Display | Tribute to Dad

David Picciuto recently lost his father, a skilled pool player, to cancer. Here he builds a beautiful tribute to him with a display case holding his sticks and the winning orbs of his games of choice, 8-ball and 9-ball:


The Levi's x Jacquard by Google Denim Jacket is a Garment, Not a Device

2 hours 34 min ago

Jacquard by Google has teamed up with Levi's to create a smart denim jacket, specifically with bike commuters in mind. The collaboration has been going on for quite some time—back in 2015, Ivan Poupyrev, technical program lead at Google's Advanced Technology and Projects (ATAP) division and Paul Dillinger, vice president of global product innovation at Levi Strauss & Co spoke at our conference about the initial stages of the project. Now, two years later, the jacket is a reality and is set to release this fall.

At first, the result of the collaboration just looks like a Fitbit sewn into a jacket sleeve, but the making of video reminds us that Jacquard by Google's mission is to seamlessly integrate tech into textiles. And their mission doesn't stop at concept—below you can see the surprisingly traditional methods used to construct the conductive yarn:

The smart tag on the sleeve serves as a middle-man between the tech infused threads and the user's mobile device. Its easy removal allows the jacket to be washable like regular, non-robotic denim.

"Jacquard yarn structures combine thin, metallic alloys with natural and synthetic yarns like cotton, polyester, or silk, making the yarn strong enough to be woven on any industrial loom."

Yeah, the tech is cool, but I'm most interested in how the indigo dye will fade on the one wrist the wearer will frequently be rubbing. It's slightly unfortunate the other wrist won't get any love. You heard it here first—if you have any form of OCD, consider rubbing both wrists from the start.

Denim is a textile with rich history, a history that its hardcore fans take very seriously. Does adding technology to the mix take away from this? In a way, yes. However, it's tough to argue that Jacquard by Google and Levi's are completely disrespecting denim culture. At least they're remaining as traditional as possible when it comes to the manufacturing and the jacket's silhouette. 

A Cringe-Worthy Video, Apps Drawn as Anime Characters, a List of Services that Support Creative Projects & More

2 hours 34 min ago

The Core77 team spends time combing through the news so you don't have to. Here's a weekly roundup of our favorite finds from the World Wide Web:

Botnet, self driving trucks, facial recognition... This article on breakthrough technologies in the MIT Technology Review sounds like a checklist for an episode of Black Mirror.

How all those live-action Disney remakes are actually made.

6 everyday objects we really know nothing about.

Can they work this out so that we don't need to, er, stop for bathroom breaks?

The history of green dye. And the history of blue pigment in art while we're at it.

The first truly intelligent machine will be humanity's last invention.

Looks like things are about to get interesting.

The March Madness of sneakers—except you decide who wins the bracket.

Working on something? Adobe's creative tutorials for businesses are actually helpful. So is Kickstarter's list of services that can aid in the process of completing all types of projects.

Highly upsetting.

NY Mag explains the social media phenomenon in design that is "Millennial Pink."

If you've ever wanted to travel to Westeros...

Remix 2007 forever with the Magipod.

Electric Planes: Interesting idea, and I wonder what it would sound like. Electric power aside, it would still have turbines, no?

A new drone-car hybrid from Airbus—autonomous flying cars!

This artist draws apps as anime characters.Hot Tip: Check out more blazin' Internet finds on our Twitter page.


Meet the Designers Chosen for the Core77 x A/D/O Residency

2 hours 34 min ago

After reviewing a number of fantastic submissions from Core77 readers, we've finally chosen our design residents who will be spending 3 months in the A/D/O space working on a number of their dream projects. And given the pool of applicants was so great, we couldn't pick just one!

So without further ado, here are two short chats with our chosen residents: design studio byjimmi, who will be working with a large format 3D printer they've recently developed to create a number of different hand tools and products (all the while hoping to collaborate on projects with our A/D/O residents as well), and Casey Doran Lewis, an accomplished designer who just recently took a leap to form his own freelance practice in New York. 

Harrison Tyler & Evan Roche, byjimmi Design Studio
Tell us more about what you're going to work on during your residency at A/D/O. 

We recently built a large format 3D printer and it has a couple unique features—one is that it has a build area of 1 meter cubed and the other unique feature is that it has a large nozzle size, which is 0.25", so those two things together give us some new tools we can use to explore 3D printing on a slightly more macro scale. During the residency, we'll be using the printer and exploring different use cases for what can be printed on the machine. We'll also be working towards a small collection of printed objects that really take advantage of the advantages provided by the machine.

We're really interested in seeing how the printer can be used in conjunction with other fabrication methods. To get the results we need, it's not really as simple as just pressing a button and letting it print. It's more using a 3D printer at this scale as one tool amongst many, so we'd like to see how we can integrate plastic welding, for example, or heat bending around jigs in conjunction with 3D printed parts.

Can you tell us a little bit about your background in design and engineering as well?

Harrison and I both went to school for sculpture at MICA and that's where we began exploring digital fabrication, so 3D printing and CNC milling, and since then we've been working in a variety of capacities also relating to digital fabrication. Initially, we had a series of workshops where people build 3D printers with us and then we got into 3D bio-printing and engineering our own machines for bio-printing reasons. So it's kind of been a long legacy of different projects and in many ways we're self taught as engineers although we do have a design education.

What aspects of being in the space at A/D/O are you most excited about?

Lots of stuff. It's an awesome community there so I"m really excited to be able to work on that project and collaborate with other people. Also having the project be visible I think will be really exciting, just because it is such an exciting thing to watch. It's funny when you're printing on a small scale because it's small and kind of private, but as soon as it becomes larger on a more architectural scale it really just inherently invites a lot of collaboration and engagement. So for me, I'm just super excited to be at A/D/O and meet and collaborate with other people and be able to share what we're working on.

What are you hoping to get out of this experience?

I think one of things we want to get out of it is an idea of next steps. These first applications [we've envisioned for the printer] may be good applications for the machine but it would be cool to leave the residency with even more specific and exciting applications. Originally we were thinking about creating tools that we could use for ourselves, but now I'm thinking it'd be cool to create tools that could be useful in the A/D/O space for other people. Maybe other people could take part in helping to ideate what those tools might be. Ultimately, I would be excited to find some application that would be valuable for someone else or an idea of a real problem that could be solved [with the printer].

Casey LewisCan you tell us a little bit about your background in design?

I graduated from design school in 2009 and am now an Industrial and Space designer based in New York. Prior to setting up my own freelance practice, I designed under Yves Béhar at fuseproject in San Francisco, trained under Dror Benshetrit in New York, Form Us With Love in Stockholm, and Smart Design in New York and Barcelona.

Why were you interested in applying for this residency?

After nearly 9 years of working under various designers, I decided recently to venture on my own. When designers go solo, you typically don't have access to the machinery and materials that were once readily available. I was happy that Core77 and A/D/O seemed to be interested in sponsoring this leap that can sometimes be a difficult one.

Lewis worked on this project for Herman Miller under the direction of Yves Béhar—the project was designed "to support fluid interactions and spontaneous conversations across the entire landscape, keeping the office in a state of flow and allowing people to move freely between collaborative and individual modes of work."What aspects of the A/D/O are you most excited about utilizing?

I think the connection with other designers is going to be pretty key for me, being able to collaborate with other people and start hopefully integrating into the New York design scene. I lived here for a couple years from 2009 to 2011, moved to San Francisco and Stockholm and I just moved back. I've been out of the New York design scene [for a while] so it'll be nice to get back in and kind of start collaborating with people. And then also the 3D printer, CNC machine, all of those bigger machinery I don't have access to I think will be really valuable. Also, if there are new ways to manufacture or create—I saw the work Assemble was doing with clay extrusions at their A/D/O residency and I'd love to explore [processes like that]. 

What do you hope ultimately to get out of this experience?

I'd like to be able to be in a space where I'm able to collaborate with people, make connections, and come up with a good product. And hopefully gain some traction and publicity to be able to sell an idea I come up with in the space to manufacturers. [What I ultimately make] may be a one-off piece, but I want to keep it open to being manufacturable as well.

byjimmi and Casey will be working within the A/D/O space through the spring and summer seasons. We'll be keeping up with both residents to learn more about the projects they're working on as the months roll by—so stay tuned!

And if you're interested in learning more about A/D/O and how you yourself could work in this design space, visit their website at a-d-o.com/workspace.

Design Experience that Matters: Lessons Learned in Rapid Prototyping

2 hours 34 min ago

The process of prototype fabrication is really a series of problem-solving exercises. Slot A suddenly refuses to accept Tab B, the beautiful CAD model reveals monstrous qualities when it emerges from the 3D printer, the Arduino code refuses to compile. We always find ourselves doing lots of just-in-time self-education, reading product manuals and watching YouTube HOWTO videos.

In brief, here are some of the most valuable lessons learned from our summer design sprint:

Vacuum Forming PolycarbonateSo many bubbles!  This bassinet is meant to be transparent.

Vacuum-forming clear quarter-inch thick polycarbonate sheets isn't for amateurs! We milled molds out of stacked sheets of MDF (medium-density fiberboard), both to accommodate the limited z-height of the ShopBot CNC and to machine vacuum-channels in the middle layers. Before vacuum-forming, we had to bake the heavy polycarbonate sheets and the mold in a brick oven, or else it would develop thousands of little bubbles that made the material cloudy (see above). Unfortunately, the MDF molds took a beating from the hot polycarbonate, and after a few pulls, the polycarbonate started tearing chunks out of the mold. No mold lasts forever--even the hardened steel tools that LEGO uses for injection molding eventually wear out. Next time, we might skip MDF and instead cut a tool from the more expensive but more robust renshape.

Cleaning 3D Printed Parts

Parts from the 3D printer often come out of the machine with scratchy surfaces or other imperfections, for example marks left by the "raft" or other support material. We've learned that if you plan to sand the part to make it smooth and more aesthetically appealing, you are essentially committing to covering the sanded part with bondo and finishing paint. Sanded parts, especially those made from light-colored PLA, just seem to magnetically attract grubbiness. It might be skin oil from handling, smudgy whatever from dirty surfaces, but the part soon looks dingy. If you don't have the time to sand, bondo, prime and paint, we recommend you remove the unwanted material with a chisel, blade or other scraper rather than sandpaper.

Working With Nichrome WireEnter the bare metal butt crimp

The Otter prototype was an opportunity to learn a lot about nichrome heating wire. Here's the challenge: you want to establish an electrical connection with a wire that immediately heats up when you introduce a current. Soldering this kind of wire won't work (solder melts when it gets hot). Automotive crimp connectors, which have plastic housings, don't work (think: melting plastic). In the end, we learned that the best connectors involve mechanical clamping, for example a bare metal butt crimp (which sounds like an awesome band name), or a screw terminal.

Powering Arduino With A Buck Converter

We've powered countless little Arduino projects either (1) directly from the computer through a USB cable, (2) with a rechargeable lithium cellphone powerpack and a USB-B connector (Arduino Uno) or micro-USB connector (Arduino Micro), or (3) a 5V alkaline battery pack wired to the Vin pin.

For the Otter prototype, we needed the Arduino to control a relay that was sending 24V to the heater wires. It was easy to generate 24V using an off-the-shelf AC adapter power supply, but how could we also get 5V to power the Arduino without using a second power supply? Enter the humble and amazing buck converter--an inexpensive component that can efficiently generate an output of 3-12V given a 24V input. Presumably this is old hat to any electrical engineer. There exist countless varieties of "DC/DC step-down" or buck converters (ie Adafruit), so you ought to be able to find one that's a perfect match for your project.

Cloud-Based CAD File Sharing

Autodesk's cloud-based CAD server, called A360 (aka the web interface for Fusion360), is an amazing collaboration tool. We were able to generate CAD models on the big ThinkStation P910 desktop machines in the DtM studio, and then instantly open the same files on our ThinkPad P50 laptops when we were working at the CNC machine. Hooray for a cloud-storage system that actually works as advertised!

DON'T SHAVE THAT YAK!

Any kind of production rush can easily devolve into fun adventures in "yak shaving": you were supposed to be testing the prototype thermal control system, and two hours later you find yourself wandering the aisles at Home Depot in search of T-handled allen wrenches.

HOWTO replace a lightbulb

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This "Design Experience that Matters" series is provided courtesy of Timothy Prestero and the team at Design that Matters (DtM). As a nonprofit, DtM collaborates with leading social entrepreneurs and hundreds of volunteers to design new medical technologies for the poor in developing countries. DtM's Firefly infant phototherapy device is treating thousands of newborns in 21 counties from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe. In 2012, DtM was named the winner of the National Design Award.


Fitbit's VP of Industrial Design on Career Transitions and Designing the Future of Wearable Tech

2 hours 34 min ago

Jonah Becker, Fitbit's VP of Industrial Design, is nothing short of a design veteran. Shortly after graduating from the industrial design program at California College of the Arts, Becker co-founded the industrial design agency One & Company. During his time at One & Company, he worked on numerous projects with major companies, including Burton, HTC and Under Armour. After over a decade of working as an independent design agency, Becker and his team sold One & Company to HTC and were acquired by the mobile phone manufacturer.

Becker's transition to Fitbit's VP of Industrial Design yielded an even wider range of design wisdom for the industry native. For Becker, the career move was an opportunity to "build a design team from scratch and help make design an integral part of the culture and future of a business"—a challenge he was ready to face.

We sat down with Becker to talk about his diverse work experience, what we can expect to see from the world of wearable technology in the near future and his advice for young designers.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

Core77: You used to work at One & Company/HTC, which involved working with a wide variety of brands and products, but at Fitbit, you're instead honing in on one product line. What was it like for you transitioning from working on a diverse number of projects to one line of very specific products?

JB: There are pros and cons to every type of creative design situation. Something I've always enjoyed is gaining category expertise. As a designer, you're expected to go in and identify and understand the issues your team is trying to solve. How can we apply a design process to come up with the best solution? I also think—often as a consultancy—your relationship and role with the client can vary with how you are involved in central decision making and things of that nature.

Fitbit Charge 2

At Fitbit, I report directly to James Park, the CEO. I get to work intimately with all the engineering teams and our advanced process development team, which puts me in tune with all the different manufacturing processes. I'm able to build those relationships and understand how we can work best together and learn over time, as opposed to in a consulting model, sometimes you'll do one project and then you're off to a different industry.

I also think it's important for designers to feel uncomfortable and continually challenged. Sometimes that can come from integrating new technology, finding new materials or developing a new process working within a different type of organization. But it's also being exposed to different types of products. For example, I don't think of Fitbit as a wearables company. We started with wearables, but I think at the core is, "How can we get information from humans, real people, about their physiology and their behaviors, and provide real health guidance, so they can hit their goals and achieve the health outcomes they want?" So that does not, in my mind, restrict us to wearables.

Can you talk about your design aesthetic for Fitbit and how you've developed it over time?

In some ways, I see a couple distinct generations of products to date. There's the original designs—Flex, and Charge, Charge HR and Surge. In many ways, their design language symbolizes the early days of what it meant to have a connectivity tracker—very simple from a form standpoint. There was this period of time when people started doing the, "Hey, I got one, I'm part of this movement" thing.

Fitbit Blaze

The next generation is where we are today, which is products like Blaze, Charge 2, Alta and the Alta HR. I think these are inspired a little bit more by geometric forms as opposed to the early generation. If you look for example at Charge 2 and Alta, they're built on a hexagonal form that's extruded and wrapped around the wrist. It thins where it becomes the band, but it's continuous form breaks where the body or brain of the product is.

Fitbit Blaze

What's interesting about this geometric form language is that it's something people are very familiar with. When you take those forms and apply them in three dimensions, you also infer a little bit of a jewelry aesthetic. There's a balance of these strong, structural elements, but it also looks a little bit like an emerald cut stone with faceted edges. The design weaves in an out of functional and fashionable aesthetics to fulfill multiple needs. When you're going out to dinner it doesn't feel out of place, but when you're going to the gym, it feels like it takes on a slightly different character. 

What do you see being the most important design features to take into account when designing wearables for the future?

I think we're wrapping up this early adopter phase in wearables, where people were sort of that loud and proud, "Hey, I got one." Part of it is moving beyond advertising the technology or advertising that you have the technology. How do we more seamlessly integrate it into a person's everyday life? The answer is through material selection and color palettes but also through the overall ecosystem supporting the product. We've been focused on building accessories for our products as well—so you can change their character implementation.

Fitbit Charge 2

In terms of designing for the future, I think taking inspiration from things people are already comfortable wearing all day every day, sleeping in, and spending all their time in is important—things like eyewear, which you can change over time and can change by getting a new product or with accessories. These pieces add a little bit of character, personality, and elegance to what you're wearing but at the same time are not these huge statement pieces.

At times, there's a tendency for industrial designers to think about the museum—the white pedestal, displaying your product and all its intricacies and beauty. But thinking about your product in the context of the entire body and what people are wearing across different occasions is critical.Fitbit Alta HR

When I went to HTC, I thought of the mobile phone as this unbelievably personal thing. Certainly it is—they're in your pocket, you put them up to your face, and phone calls are very personal interactions. But they're still disconnected, right? I could take my phone out of my pocket and leave it on my desk. Whereas a wearables are more attached. The next big step is ingesting or embedding technology, which some people are starting to do. Investigating how personal technology can become and that boundary between the person and the technology is important—it's getting closer and closer together. For example, [one of] my favorite Fitbit features is the heart rate monitor. The more I use it, the more I learn about myself. Heart rate is something that used to just be measured at the doctor's office, so I think it's also interesting to see the healthcare space and consumer space start to move in different ways.

What do you think young designers should focus on now to prepare for the their futures? 

A few things. I would say thinking beyond the borders of your expertise is important. Look for the right solution for the problem you're trying to solve—it may not always lie within your area of expertise, or it may require collaboration with other disciplines that may not even be design related. 

Following a passion and thinking of it as continual learning is also important. There are a lot of opportunities to pay off student loans quickly, and I think they are not always in the best service of your growth as a designer. I would encourage designers to consider those first five years or so out of school like graduate school. There's just so much to learn and explore. Find opportunities that are best for your long-term career and for your passion.

When you become too comfortable with something, it's good time to think about shifting your role, career or focus. If too much of your day is spent with, "yep, I've done this. I know how to do this, I know how to do that..." then you're not growing and learning.

*******

A Weatherproof Mobile Monitoring Camera by Panasonic

2 hours 34 min ago

Panasonic Nubo security camera is world’s first mobile monitoring camera. The Nubo is weatherproof and connects to WiFi and 4G/LTE mobile networks so no matter where you go, you can stay connected. When the camera senses movement or sound it sends a notification to your phone.

View the full content here

The Intimacy of Autonomous Vehicles

2 hours 34 min ago

"I hate solitude, but I'm afraid of intimacy." —Iris Murdoch

Currently, most of the attention on autonomous vehicles is focused on the technology that lets cars drive themselves. However, in the near future, the industry will need to broaden its focus to include what is arguably just as important: the passenger. At Intel, we've been working on technology platforms that will allow cars to actually drive themselves for some time. More recently, our UX team has turned to designing, prototyping, and testing a number of experiences for how passengers will operate autonomous vehicles, how passengers will feel safe and confident during a trip, and how these automated systems will communicate clearly, so passengers will understand what an autonomous vehicle is doing, and why.

Much of this work has led us to spend quite a bit of time inside vehicles—incorporating new technologies and new interactions to understand what should be optimized on our platforms—and in this process, we've started thinking about the ways in which the physical interiors of autonomous vehicles may need to change. So I'd like to share a few initial thoughts as we begin to form hypotheses about what will be important in these new physical interiors.

One aspect of car ownership we often take for granted is the relationship between driver and passenger. With the exception of picking up a hitchhiker, a driver knows his or her passengers—family members, friends, co-workers, acquaintances—and because of this, there's a familiarity that lets people share such a small space. And even with taxis and ride hailing services, a front seat/back seat separation exists between driver and passengers, where passengers who share a ride almost always know each other. However, with ride hailing services introducing reduced-rate "pool" options, strangers are now riding in the backs of cars together. And with driverless "mobility-on-demand" services likely to be one of the first ways autonomous vehicles enter the market, we will likely see an increase in the number of passengers who don't know each other, sharing rides regularly in vehicles without a driver.

Of course, most people have experience sharing rides with strangers. Buses, subways, airplanes, and trains are just some of the ways we travel together. But although we're often shoulder-to-shoulder, the relatively large interiors, and larger number of people traveling together, make it easy for us to assume a certain degree of anonymity. It's easier for us to keep to ourselves in the midst of the crowd. But with autonomous vehicles, the interiors are much smaller and hold far fewer people. It's the closeness of the space—the intimacy— that will be a significant challenge for designers. These interior environments will need to address a number of competing needs. How will they accommodate groups of strangers, and also groups who know each other? How will they provide space for being social and for keeping to oneself? How will they create experiences that promote sharing while also safeguarding individual privacy? And all of these situations will undoubtedly be heightened with no human driver to help set context or mediate interactions.

So, the intimate nature of autonomous vehicles will most likely lead to a significant rethinking of vehicle interiors, prompting car companies to innovate in a variety of ways. But when it comes to designing how people will share these close spaces with each other, we've identified three general challenges that seem particularly important for designers to tackle first:

· Being together & being apart

From one ride to the next, we see an ever-shifting need to be social or private. Some people will want to sit side-by-side, others across from each other, still others will want to sit in a small circle to share or socialize—all while other passengers may want their own more private, personal spaces. All of this means that seating will have to become much more changeable, flexible, and adaptable. How might seats be combined or separated? Can they be brought out or stowed away, to create more or less space? In what ways could seats be reconfigured into individual or shared seating?

· New ways to create privacy

In such intimate spaces, the pressure to have some sort of social interaction with other passengers, even a brief hello, may be substantial. In some contexts, passengers will want to engage, but in others they may want to keep to themselves. Currently, people use headphones or stay heads-down in a book to signal that they are "unavailable" for conversation, but physical aspects of the interior might also be designed to help create discrete spaces. How might partitioning be incorporated into the environment? Could lighting be used to signal a need for privacy? What interior layouts will let passengers use their mobile devices without someone looking over their shoulder?

· The ebb and flow of our devices

If one of the main value propositions for autonomous vehicles is to free up driving time for other activities, then passengers will likely use their mobile devices for chatting, texting, watching content, or being productive. This means that vehicle interiors must account for the various needs we have with our mobile devices. What physical areas (device "cup holders"?) will enable us to charge, view, and use our devices hands-free? How will the space accommodate the bags, cases, power cords, stands, headphones, and other peripherals we bring with our devices? And how will the space make it easy for us to remember our devices, so we don't leave them behind at the end of a trip?

Again, these three challenges look at the interiors of autonomous vehicles as shared environments, much like taxis or ride-hailing vehicles, where passengers may or may not know each other. Many in the industry believe that autonomous vehicles will first hit the market as fleets of "robot-taxis". This is likely because the value propositions of autonomous vehicles seem familiar and well-aligned with the current "anytime, anywhere" promise of ride-hailing services. For personally-owned autonomous vehicles, other interior design needs will arise, and many aspects of the above challenges may not apply at all.

It will be interesting to see all of the ways these interiors will come to be, as the industry marches on and autonomous vehicles become a reality. In a few short years, we might take a ride, if we're confident they are safe and trustworthy. And we might continue riding in them, if the interiors are designed with our needs, comfort, and privacy in mind.

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Further Reading: IDEO's take on passenger experience and shared transportation environments. 

Rain's Weekly Design Minutiae: Always Look at the Undersides of Tables

2 hours 34 min ago

On a late-night dogwalk I passed these display tables in the window of a store on Crosby Street.

I was struck by the unusual design of the legs, which flare out in both the X- and Y-axes to meet the apron:

Surface B wraps around to blend into surface C, as shown in the crude sketch below, which was what I envisioned in my head as I was looking at the table.

There's two sketches because I wasn't sure what surface A would look like if the top were removed. To find out, I crouched down to get a look from underneath and found a couple of surprises:

Surprise #1. The plywood corner braces. No metal hardware here, just simple strips and triangles. You can see the dots where they've been attached with a pin nailer. I expected something more elegant, so here was a reminder that if the customer's never gonna see it, it doesn't matter what they look like.

Surprise #2. The center support appears to be solid wood. (You can see edge grain and I doubt they veneered it.) Given that this part will never be seen, I'm surprised they didn't use less expensive plywood. While a single piece of 3/4" plywood might sag over the span, I think if they doubled it up it would do fine. There must be some production reason why it was more economical to use solid wood.

Surprise #3: Now that I could see that the legs are actually shaped like sketch 2 above, it surprised me to see that they were actually one piece of solid wood, not some composite pieces that had been veneered. The telltale is the change in grain on sides of the legs perpendicular to each other. In the image below, you can see it's going from face grain on surface D to edge grain on surface E. (It was quite dark so I've lightened the photos artificially in an effort to reveal detail, sorry for the poor quality.)

By crouching down a bit more I found the true giveaway that these legs were solid wood: At the undercut, you can see endgrain.

Now I corrected myself: There's no way that these legs would be fabricated from a single piece of stock, as in sketch #2 above. To remove that much material, in that cleft on the inside of the legs, would be inefficient. So I looked for some proof that they were made in some other way, and I found it here:

Now you can see a very faint line bisecting the leg:

In other words each leg is made from two pieces of stock, an X-axis side and a Y-axis side, mitered lengthwise at a 45-degree angle and then joined at the miter (the dotted line in the sketch below).

That makes much more sense.

In any case, the store is the New York outpost for Mud, an Australian handmade ceramics brand started by designer Shelley Simpson. I did a little research on them and they have stores all around the world, and for their displays they all use the Vitsoe 606 Universal Shelving System designed by Dieter Rams. In other words Simpson or whoever designed the store has a taste for high design.

The tables in question, different sizes but all the same design, show up in photos of other Mud stores around the world...

...but I was unable to determine who the designer is. If anyone knows, please do comment. 

Update: Special thanks to Sarah, who has revealed that these are the Home Table by Barber & Ogersby.

If you live in New York and want to check the tables out, the store is on Crosby between Prince and Spring.


A Lumpy Yet Inviting Furniture Collection

2 hours 34 min ago

After being presented at this year's Maison d'Object in Paris, Riluc has rolled out their new collection of designs as odd as they are inviting. The series was designed by Toni Grilo, whose previously released Bibendum Chair has caught a lot of eyes with its chrome. This set of seating takes some small cues from earlier work, incorporating bold chromed structural bars, and not much else. 

The Anel seating collection simultaneously off-putting and inviting. Grilo is an enthusiastically materials-forward designer, and I enjoy his continued use of slightly jarring stainless steel elements posed against softer and more organic shapes. It's less bold, but also much easier to imagine sitting on an Anel Sofa than his edgier Line chairs. 

The majority of the visual weight could easily have been carried by the steel accent, but the lumpen forms do a smart job keeping the interest distributed. The mix of cushioning appears almost like casually assembled parts, like napkins rolled and futzed with over after dinner drinks, and more modular than they actually are. 

The combination of cozy and austere seems ideal for an executive office or design studio that trades in expensive discomfort. 

The high-low Anel chair feels like a plush update to the regularly rehashed modernist plank seats. And the small and tall stools drive home the updated-'80s bar stool feeling, with proportions and shapes just off enough from common to be perplexing. 

Pair any or all of these with the Grilo-designed Swing Sofa and a smokin' Patrick Nagel print and I'd be happy to come by your loft. 

Swingin' sofa is right

Design Job: Hello Kitty! Sanrio, Inc. is Seeking a Creative Director in El Segundo, CA

2 hours 34 min ago

Job Description/Duties: Define and drive Sanrio’s overall Creative vision while maximizing Brand integrity. Establish Company’s Creative philosophy, objectives and strategy and create cohesion and synergy for the Company. Provide strong Creative direction and leadership. • Must have multifaceted creative leadership experience with Brand image,

View the full design job here

"Let's Talk About Design:" Chris Salomone's Furniture Design Crits

2 hours 34 min ago

Design crits, at least the way they were delivered when I was in design school, were tricky things to execute. When looking at any project, the professor needed to evaluate whether the student had followed the assignment, deduce the student's intent, contextualize the design, identify strengths and weaknesses, and offer helpful advice or criticism on how to improve. There was also the minefield of what is and isn't subjective to navigate.

Chris Salomone is one of the designer/builders we feature in our Weekly Makers Roundup, and while he's not a professor of design, he's got both an innate sense of style and a good grasp of the art of the crit. He's started doing a new series called "Let's Talk About Design" whereby viewers send in their project plans for evaluation. I thought Salomone's advice, subjectivity aside, was both helpful and insightful:

While the video's only around four minutes, I actually appreciate the brevity; how grueling were some of those marathon grillings we received at school?


Hand Tool School #24: Where to Find Vintage Hand Tools

2 hours 34 min ago

I get a lot of questions about where to find old hand tools. I myself find a lot at flea markets, yard sales and old tool shows that come through my East Coast town, but I've learned from my Hand Tool School members who are spread all over the globe that this is a local perk.

Sure, there's eBay—but the current renaissance of hand tool woodworking means a lot of folks are trying to cash in on grandpa's basement-rusted tools. The prices have skyrocketed well above what I would pay for something that will take a lot of work to restore. And chances are you will have to restore: For every good tool you find on eBay, there will be 20 that are missing parts (or worse, so beat-up that restoring them to working order isn't worth it).

Let's be clear, there are some eBay sellers that have great stuff, but you have to dig. Once you find them, establish a relationship with them outside of eBay, and it will pay dividends when you are looking for a specific tool.

Some folks enjoy restoring old tools and have the resources and tools to do it. But when I buy a vintage tool, I expect to have to grind and hone the iron, but that's about it. I'm not a fan of flattening plane soles (unless it is a wooden plane) or really doing any metalwork. I want to get the tool to work quickly. So when the need arises, I turn to just a few tool dealers whom I trust for their encyclopedic knowledge of old tools and their knowledge of woodworking. These guys sell tools that can be put to work quickly and easily.

Image by Hyperkitten

Hyperkitten.com is run by Josh Clark. He publishes a list of old tools on his website at least once a week with pictures and reasonable prices. The good stuff doesn't last long, so subscribing to his RSS feed or his email list is a good idea. Josh will send the tool right out to you along with an invoice so you get a chance to see the tool and work with it before you pay. I have yet to send anything back to him, but I know it wouldn't be a problem if the tool wasn't what I was looking for. I have gotten nothing but tools in great condition and highly recommend Josh. Make sure to check out his site for a library of great old tool advertisements and some great research and sources for old tool information.

Image by The Superior Works

The Superior Works run by Patrick Leach is more like a cult classic than just a tool dealer. Patrick's now-famous site, Patrick's Blood and Gore, is the go to site for information about Stanley planes. Patrick sells some new tools as well, but the Holy Grail is his monthly email list of vintage tools for sale. Patrick has a knack for finding the oddballs in tool history as well as plenty of everyday users. Some of his tools will get very expensive due to rarity or a specific maker. These may fall under the guise of collectors, but you will also find just as many great quality users. Definitely subscribe to Patrick's email list right away or you are missing out on lots of beautiful tools.

Ed Lebetkin and "The Tool Store Upstairs". I'd heard a lot of things about Ed's store located above The Woodwright's School in Pittsboro, NC. Friends of mine have been there and have sung the praises. You cannot totally grasp the enormity of Ed's stock of tools until you go there personally. Ed doesn't have a web site, though he is mentioned on the Woodwright School page, and you can contact him via email to inquire about something you are looking for and to order from him.

When I finally visited the store, I was struck by how clean every tool is. Just about everything in the store is ready to go to work with some honing. Moreover, Ed has a staggering knowledge of old tools and can tell you just about anything you want to know. I think his biggest issue is not having enough space, as when I was down there he told me he had a room at his house stuffed full of boxes of tools that he couldn't even get to inventory. As of this writing, he took shipment of 26 more boxes of tools that he has yet to inventory and clean up.

So it's a fair bet that if you need something, Ed has it. Just drop him a line and he will be more than willing to help. Make sure he adds you to his email list too. Here's what his store looks like:

There are more out there, but these are the guys that I go to continuously, and with no doubt that what I get will be quality and ready to work. Where do you find good vintage hand tools?

Editor's note: I'll add to this list New-Jersey-based Bob Garay, a retired high school shop teacher who now collects, restores and resells old hand tools. Bob also sells on eBay.       —RN

Image by Bob Garay

_______________

This "Hand Tool School" series is provided courtesy of Shannon Rogers, a/k/a The Renaissance Woodworker. Rogers is founder of The Hand Tool School, which provides members with an online apprenticeship that teaches them how to use hand tools and to build furniture with traditional methods.

Answering the Question "Why is Mid Century Modern Furniture 'So Expensive?'"

2 hours 34 min ago

I'm Julian Goldklang, lover of 1950s and 1960s design. I'm also the owner of Mid Century Møbler. We're one of the largest collections of original mid century furniture in the country. I started the business in 2010, selling ten pieces out of a one-car garage. Now we're housed in a 7,500 square foot showroom in Berkeley, California and have a couple thousand pieces in our inventory at the moment.

Over the last seven years in business, we've probably sold at least 8,000 to 10,000 pieces of furniture. And the one line we hear over and over again from people walking into our shop is: 

"Why is everything so expensive?!?" 

So, I'd like to explain.

A lot of folks coming in off of the street may not have a good grasp of what makes a piece of vintage mid century furniture valuable. When they're looking to buy, most people will consider price over everything else. And for two good reasons: There are current manufacturers offering that "mid century look" for a bargain basement price, and those manufacturers have set the quality and price bar for furniture extremely low, creating an unrealistic standard for what people believe should be the average price for a "good" piece of mid century furniture.

So, why is vintage mid century furniture expensive, and why is it worth spending more on a vintage piece over a cheap reproduction?

Quality of Materials and Ergonomics

Scandinavian pieces produced in the 1950s and 1960s were made in factories like Carl Hansen & Son, Slagelse Mobelfabrik, CFC Silkeborge Mobelfabrik, etc. out of the best quality rosewood and old growth teak hardwoods. These pieces were handcrafted by artisans who had 20 to 30 years of cabinet making experience under their belts, and their customers paid good money for heirloom pieces that they would own for the rest of their lives.

As proof of the quality, look at the condition these pieces are still in after nearly half a century of everyday use. Look at a piece made in the 1950s or 1960s and you'll see that structurally and cosmetically, they're almost always in excellent shape. Well cared for, they will last you another 40 - 75 years.

Compare that to a floor model in a shop by one of the modern-day "mid century look" manufacturers, and you can instantly see how four months on a showroom floor have weathered a piece of new production furniture to the point that it is nearly unsellable. 

Additionally, most new production knock offs are made in low-cost factories overseas using low-quality materials. These pieces are merely mirroring the look of good design, without having put in the work to understand ergonomics, craftsmanship, functionality and form. Sitting in an original Arne Jacobsen Egg chair versus a cheap new production "Egg" chair from China, you will instantly be able to tell the difference in comfort and quality.

Retained Value

Another important factor to consider when weighing good-quality vintage versus new production mid century pieces is that there is a high demand for the former. That drives up the prices internationally for these original items. Because of their limited availability, there will always be a collector's market for original pieces, and if you're willing to invest in a good piece of vintage mid century, you can always sell it to another collector down the line, usually for a profit.

A Word About New Production

New production pieces have their place in the home. They can bring levity to a space that can sometimes feel heavy with all-vintage. Also, affordable new production pieces allow you to balance out your budget.

However, when considering a new piece for your home, remember that quality is one of the most important attributes to any piece of furniture.

The old adage "You get what you pay for" is definitely true when it comes to buying furniture, and you might as well spend a little more for a piece that will last you 50 years then a little less for a piece that will last you five (if you're lucky) and end up in another landfill.

How to Make Mid Century Modern Less Expensive

We have two pieces of good news. The first is that after the strong interest in an entry Core77 ran on us last month, they've asked us if we would contribute regularly. So readers, thanks for that. We're shortly going to be launching "Mid Century Modern Find of the Week," where we'll show you a rotating selection of finds, including some rare gems you've probably not seen.

The second thing is that—since we're talking about expensive—a good-quality vintage piece of mid century modern furniture won't be as expensive for Core77 readers. That's because if you order a piece from us and enter the discount code MCMCORE77 at checkout, you'll get 15% off. That's our way of saying thank you!

Stay tuned for our finds!

5 Reasons the Core77 Design Awards is the Best Design Awards Program Out There

Fri, 2017-03-24 20:50
Next Wednesday, March 29, at 9PM EST, the entry period for the 2017 Core77 Design Awards officially closes.

If you're on the fence about submitting or are considering entering another competition, the 5 pillars of the Core77 Design Awards prove why we're a cut above the rest.

We don't care where you are or what you're doing, here's why you should ignore everything around you and submit your work—before it's too late:

Inclusion

Design is a broad field, to say the least. In an effort to maintain inclusivity, the Core77 Design Awards offers 14 distinct categories of entry to try and encompass as much of the field as possible. From the more mainstream Consumer Product and Packaging, to the often overlooked Strategy & Research and Design Education Initiative, there's a category for designers from all across the spectrum to showcase their work, and receive the recognition they deserve.

Both professionals and students are welcome to submit their work, and are judged separately to ensure parity and fairness.

See all 14 categoriesTransparency

Unlike most Awards programs, we offer a glimpse behind the curtain of the judging process to allow our audience and entrants an opportunity to see the way the work is critiqued. Rather than simply list the winners online, each jury team creates a short video that highlights each honored project, and details what made each entry stand out from the competition.

This level of openness serves to remove some of the mystery around jurying sessions and, we hope, establish trust.

More info here.No Additional Fees

We firmly believe that your wallet shouldn't be punished because you entered a great design. This is why once your initial entry fee is processed, you will never be asked for any additional payment.

Should your work win a category, you will be sent a customized Core77 Trophy to an address of your choosing free of charge. Additionally, all entrants will be eligible for a free pass to the Core77 Design Awards Celebration this June.

Read more about the Core77 TrophyDiversity

In order to achieve balanced and informed decisions regarding which projects to honor, every year we assemble an international jury panel of design leaders. We believe the key to meaningful and thoughtful discourse is a diversity of perspective, which is why this year's judges hail from across the globe—from China, to Turkey, to Scotland, to here in the United States.

Take a look at 2017's full jury teamDemocracy

Our judges may be the experts, but that doesn't mean they're the only ones who deserve a say. Implemented in 2015, the Core77 Community Choice Prize gives our audience the opportunity to nominate their favorite projects for an additional honor. The project that receives the most total votes is declared the Community Choice Grand Prize Winner, and that entry's designer is awarded a special prize from Core77.

See last year's Community Choice Prize winners2016 Community Choice Grand Prize Winner, miku.Be a part of the best design awards competition out there by submitting your work before next Wednesday, March 29, 9PM EST.Enter Now

Reader Submitted: SHIFT's U34 Lighting Draws Inspiration from Industrial Metallic Structures

Thu, 2017-03-23 20:41

The U34 lamp is our third design developed under our modern lighting concept, this time exploring the spherical volume of an icosahedral structure.

View the full project here

Shockingly Sleek Indoor Garden... Furniture?

Thu, 2017-03-23 20:41

Despite grumpily noting the few options for nice indoor plant lighting the other day, and the few safe plant-incorporating lights before that, I'm grateful that Goula / Figura escaped my attention until now because no one else would have stood a chance. The Barcelona-based duo recently unveiled their Viride series of plant… things, and they're in a category by themselves. The planters aim to address several common issues with indoor greenery: insufficient light, inconsistent humidity, and tragically embarrassing un-chic form factor. 

These experimental pieces highlight the plants themselves, while making the different needs of the plants attractive as well. 

The tall and slender Viride Uno features a large single LED panel mounted above a plant rest or holder. This setup would be nice for cacti or statement airplants with sun hunger and low moisture needs. 

The Viride Dos is a more traditional planter with elegantly added features. It has a spacious base with room for several plants, along with two lighting disks and a mister to manage humidity. The whole planting even rotates to ensure even access to moisture and light. As a green thumb whose fluctuating house humidity has killed several innocent ferns, this speaks to me on a spiritual level.

The Viride Tres surrounds a hanging planter with a chorus of lighting at different heights, rotating slowly to simulate the range and exposure of daylight. Your orchids, epiphytes, and trailing exotics would feel like the Grande Dames they are. 

All the lamps are adjustable for the light and moisture needs of the plants, and households, they serve, and the LEDs can be programmed for on/off cycles that best fit the climate and lighting. 

Álvaro Goula and Pablo Figuera have tapped into a common experience in urban life, and leveraged it into something really striking. It's lighting, it's art, it's indoor greenery made doubly lovely. Now please send me one of each before I fly to BCN and beg to work as the Goula / Figura greenhouse intern. 

Check out more of their furniture and design work at Goula / Figuera. (If you haven't seen their Loop sideboard or Orwell day bed, I'd recommend taking a gander.)

American-Made Aprons for the Workshop and Kitchen

Thu, 2017-03-23 20:41
This is the classic: our Denim Work Apron

At Hand-Eye Supply we offer a standing discount of 40% off our aprons to all service industry people (proof in the form of ID required, just FYI) – but for one week only we are offering this discount to everyone. So if there ever was a time for you to stock up on High-Quality American-Made Aprons, it is now! Use the code: "Make40" to get these prices!...

Check it out: Denim Waist ApronSolid: Black Canvas Work ApronAlways Popular: Denim Work Apron

And it isn't only in the Workshop that you will save, it is the Kitchen too.  Made to spec for working chefs!

High-end, low-price: Midnight Twill Kitchen ApronComfortable Vibe: Navy Ticking Kitchen ApronAll Pro: Denim Double Stripe Kitchen Apron

Remember to share! Friends that Save Together, Stay Together... Use the code "Make40" for the industry discount on Hand-Eye Supply American-Made Aprons.

Where Eagles Dare... to Save!


A Traffic-Straddling Jeep Cherokee

Thu, 2017-03-23 20:41

Mecha-based anime can be fun to watch for the mechanical designs. While giant bi-pedal robots don't make much practical sense, every once in a while the designers will stick something in there, like a funky car, that combines the fantastical with the pragmatic.

A good case in point was 1993's Pat Labor 2, set in a near-future Tokyo. Because car traffic in the future is depicted to be as bad as it is today, mechanical designers Shoji Kawamori and Yutaka Izubuchi created four-wheeled emergency services vehicles that drive on the ground like regular cars, but can elevate on stilt-like legs, enabling them to whiz over lanes of standstill traffic in order to reach calls.

from Pat Labor 2

I always remembered those vehicles, and was stunned to see this video yesterday:

While the car is real, it isn't going into mass production; it's a promotional one-off created to flog Verizon's new line of telematics products.