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"Stackabl" System Lets You Design Furniture Made from Locally-Sourced Factory Off-Cuts

Core 77 - 16 hours 37 min ago

These chairs are made with felted wool, aluminum and wood. Eye-catching as they are, at first blush this seems incredibly wasteful:

However, the kicker is that the materials used were all cut-offs, i.e. waste to begin with. A Toronto-based design firm called Stacklab "identified surplus off-cuts and end-of-bolt felted wool that, when stored, occupy significant factory space for these manufacturers," they write. "[We] designed a computer aided system that makes productive (re)use of the off-cuts and end-of-bolt felt in the form of household furnishings."

Stacklab then worked with New York gallery space and furniture retailer Maison Gerard, who connected six of their designers with Stacklab's system, which they call Stackabl [sic]. "Stackabl is an innovative system for designing custom furniture without the waste. Developed closely with regional manufacturers, aided by algorithms and robotics, the system identifies their remnant inventory, puts it back through their own machines, and into the hands of their own experts. By leveraging existing regional resources, it empowers local economies while curbing the carbon footprint."

"[The collection below was] created in Stackabl, a new, innovative system that turns waste into wonders. Each of the pieces is constructed by regional specialists according to available resources. In response to the colors, dimensions, and finishes selected, layers of high quality felt offcuts are identified by algorithms and cut with the aid of robotics. With no brief to draw from, other than to work within the parameters set by the configurator, the designers were free to realize their own visions, resulting in a striking array of characterful works that belong to both past and future."
Raki

Corner Chair

By Alexandra Champalimaud | Champalimaud Design

"With a big character and a huge heart, this joyful corner chair is inspired by a dear family pet who brings an abundance of fun and whimsy wherever he goes. Raki is a humorous play on perspectives, offering new forms and conveying movement from every angle; the result of the designer's fondness for 'twirling it around' as a 3D render within the configurator. Embodying the spirit of the process is the contrasting back leg, whose curvy and sturdy form peeks out from underneath layers of graphite and rust, while the seat itself welcomes you with open arms. The resulting design is an intuitive, happy experiment in color, form, and materiality, effortlessly filling a generous interior with life and soul."


Textile: Remnant Felt
Metal: Post Consumer Scrap Alum., Black anodizedWood: Maple, MahoganyDulces

Dining Chair

By Laura Kirar | Laura Kirar Design

"Since moving to Mexico four years ago, Laura Kirar has radically changed her perspective on color. Her new appreciation for brighter shades comes through in Dulces, which means 'candies'. Her chosen color configuration is a little something sweet to bring joy and flavor to the dining table. Embracing the geometric forms generated by the configurator, she layered in the material and color according to her typical process. Through ochre finishes and a hot pink accent, she evokes the colors of the local climate and culture, such as the work of the influential architect Luis Barragán, to arrive at a piece that is at once simple and striking enough to sweeten a variety of interiors, and bring its sunny disposition to any dinner party."

Textile: Remnant FeltMetal: Post Consumer Scrap Alum., Champagne AnodizedWood: MapleMadame

Chaise Lounge

By Jamie Drake and Caleb Anderson | Drake/Anderson


"Named after Madame Récamier, the 19th-century French socialite noted for her extreme beauty and intellectual prowess as well as her salon, which drew literary and political luminaries of the time, this Modernist take on the chaise lounge invites conversation and stimulates thought. Its crimson hue and sloping shoulders recall the sensuality of neoclassical portraiture, while the slice of shocking pink lending a piquant contrast at the base is an ode to another famous Madame, Elsa Schiaparelli, the provocative fashion designer who popularized the bright shade in her 1940s couture creations. This bold, beautiful homage to two of history's most alluring women would sit comfortably in any bedroom, or as a pair either side of a fireplace in opposing directions, to spark a tantalizing tête-à-tête."

Textile: Remnant Felt
Metal: Post Consumer Scrap Alum., Champagne AnodizedWood: MapleFast Lane

Lounge Chair

By Elena Frampton | Frampton Co

"Inspired by racing stripes and informed by a childhood immersed in L.A.'s car culture, Fast Lane expertly combines elegance and energy in equal measure. Designed in response to seasonal shifts, this sophisticated reimagining of the classic lounge chair showcases the celebrated designer's eye for the unexpected. While its blue stripes and generous proportions recall beach house glamour, it's the hot pink streak running through the middle of the seat that reveals its fun side. There's more, too: look closer and you'll notice one of the legs curves differently to the others. Consider pairing this captivating chair with Matthew Porter's flying muscle car photography series for a true celebration of the nostalgia and romance of the car in American culture."

Textile: Remnant FeltMetal: Post Consumer Scrap Alum., Black AnodizedWood: MapleQuerelle

Club Chair | Tons of Fun

By William Georgis and Ilya Mirgorodsky | Georgis & Mirgorodsky


"After an initial attempt to defy the configurator and get around its set limitations, Georgis allowed himself to completely submit to its demands and play along. He discovered that embracing its constraints sparked his imagination in new and unexpected ways, allowing him to overlay unintended meaning onto the object and imbue it with a piece of himself. The nautical stripe effect immediately led his mind to Querelle, the handsome Belgian sailor and queer cinema icon at the center of Rainer Werner Fassbinder's 1982 arthouse film. Based on the book by Jean Genet, the story is set in a French port town where sex, drugs and violence collide with our unlikely hero's quest for identity. This commanding club chair brings undeniable sex appeal and presence to its environment."


Textile: Remnant FeltMetal: Post Consumer Scrap Alum., Black AnodizedWood: MapleMaxine

Bench

By Benoist F. Drut | Maison Gerard


"Drut's eye for eclecticism and exuberance is palpable in his design for the Maxine bench. The artistry and symmetry of eighteenth-century French royal furnishings, the energy and expertise of Parisian gallerist/decorator Madeleine Castaing, the Orientalist architecture of Frederic Church's historical Hudson Valley home, and the impeccable style of 1950s English model, actress and designer Maxime de la Falaise (née Maxine Bailly) combine to provide the historical references that make this bench the perfect conversation piece. Effortlessly blending neoclassical lines with whimsical flourishes, Maxine sees Drut bringing his own, distinct flair to a beloved heritage."


Textile: Remnant FeltMetal: Post Consumer Scrap Alum., Black AnodizedWood: Maple

Want to try building your own? You can. Their online configurator is here.


Wearables for Cows That Negate the Need for Fencing

Core 77 - 16 hours 37 min ago


My wife and I are getting cows on the property. We have an unused 8-acre pasture on the farm where the fence has fallen into disrepair. A local farmer is going to use that pasture to house one of his herds, and in exchange for using the land, he's been fixing the fence. (It also helps us because we'll no longer have to pay someone to bush-hog the fields.)

That pasture has about 2,500 feet of fence—nearly a half-mile. While not all of it is shot, it's a helluva lot of work and materials, and some of the farmer's repair work was damaged in a storm earlier this month. In addition to replacing damaged boards, every foot of the fence needs to be wired with barbed or electrical; if the herd escapes, the results can be disastrous.

Australian design consultancy Cobalt (we looked at their adjustable backpack frame here) has designed a wearable, no-fencing solution for cows, and it's more humane than using barbed wire or electrical fencing. Cobalt's ingenious eSheperd system, designed for agricultural technology company Agersens, is a wearable collar for cows:

It's got a solar charger up top, offset by a counterweight on the bottom. "The device emits a non-aversive audio cue (beep sound) when the cow approaches a virtual fence defined by the farmer. If the animal continues forward into the virtual fence the device follow up with an aversive electrical pulse (less than an electric fence but sufficiently uncomfortable). Cows quickly learn to stop or turn back on hearing the audio cue and avoid the electrical pulse." Additionally, the devices allow you to track the position of each cow via GPS.

There's no word on how much the units weigh, but assuming the cows can wear them comfortably and that they're affordable, the benefits could be enormous. Not having to maintain a fence—which carries ongoing costs of time, labor and materials—and being able to change grazing area at will, to compensate for under- or over-grazing, would be something every cattle farmer would be thrilled with.

The design team's description of the process highlights one of those strange things industrial designers find themselves doing in the course of business. "One of our quirkiest tasks was creating 'Angus,' our very own anatomically-correct bovine mannequin," they write. "Unlike human anthropometrics, there is next to no existing biometrics on bovine necks/heads, so we made our own full-size cow mannequin to test early concepts."

"Improving animal health and wellbeing is one of Agersens core criteria, so ensuring the fit and positioning of the eShepherd collar was always front of mind to ensure the collar could be worn safely and avoid injury."

Here's how it works:

Here are the experiences of the eShepherd system from a cattle farming couple that has been trialing it for two years:

There's no word on cost, as eShepherd isn't yet available for sale. I added my name to the waiting list for more information, for those of you who are dying to know.

What are the Colored Bars Worn on the Chests of Military Uniforms?

Core 77 - 16 hours 37 min ago

Even if you don't have family members in the military, you've surely seen these in a movie or TV show:

Image: Catherine Lowrey

Sometimes jokingly referred to as "chest candy" by soldiers, those are service ribbons, also called ribbon bars, and they're essentially a UX concession to troops. To explain, a soldier may be awarded a medal such as the Purple Heart, which looks like this:

Image: Jonathunder, CC0

During ceremonies where medals are awarded, soldiers may be wearing battle dress uniform…

In 2009, Staff Sgt. Beau M. Martindale is awarded the Purple Heart by Maj. Gen. Yves J. Fontaine during a ceremony on Coleman Barracks. Image: U.S. Army. Spc. Adrienne Killingsworth, 18th MP Bde. PAO

…or civilian clothes, if the medal is awarded after their service has been concluded:

In 2010, Congressman Christopher Smith presented the Purple Heart Medal to Tuskegee Airman Tech. Sgt. (Ret.) George Watson Sr. with then Col. Gina M. Grosso, Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst commander. The medal was awarded 66 years after he sustained the injury warranting the medal. Image: Wayne Russell

In those ceremonies, it's not difficult for the soldier to have a single medal pinned to their clothes. However, soldiers can receive medals for personal achievements, unit achievements and for serving in particular regions. For instance, soldiers who served in Afghanistan for 30 consecutive days (or 60 non-consecutive) are awarded the Afghanistan Campaign Medal, which looks like this:

Image: Defense Logistics Agency

Because soldiers can rack up a lot of medals, wearing all of them at once would be unwieldy (and noisy). Imagine you've got all of these:

Image: USA Military Medals Rack Builder

Thus when soldiers are wearing service dress uniforms—essentially their office clothes—the medals are represented by the more compact service ribbons.

The design of the service ribbons is simple. Medals technically consist of two parts: The suspension ribbon, and the planchet (the metal part).

For visual clarity, the suspension ribbon is the easier one to scale down. Thus the service ribbons are simply reductions of the suspension ribbons:

Afghanistan Campaign Medal service ribbon. Image: Ipankonin

Afghanistan Campaign Medal, suspension ribbon left, service ribbon right. Image: Staff Sgt. Alexx Pons

Purple Heart Medal. Image: USAF

Purple Heart service ribbon. Image: United States Army Institute of Heraldry

These service ribbons—whose size is regulated at 1 3/8" by 3/8"--are much more practical to wear on a service dress uniform.


Image: Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Chad J. McNeeley (United States Navy)

It should be noted that while service ribbons started out as practical reductions of suspension ribbons, these days there are some service ribbons that do not have corresponding medals and suspension ribbons; those service ribbons are the entirety of the award themselves.

Here are some examples of service ribbons from the various U.S. Armed Forces:

You can see a complete list of them here.

Useful School is a Pay-What-You-Wish Online Design Program for People of Color

Core 77 - 16 hours 37 min ago

A new online product design program called Useful School launches next week, and is focused on providing programs that champion students of color. At the time of the 2017 AIGA Design Census release, 73% of the design industry was reported to be white, and has only moved into a slightly more diverse direction since. Founder of Useful School and Senior Director of New Product Ventures at Gannett, Ritesh Gupta, has not only witnessed firsthand this inequity over the years working within design agencies but also in the curriculum provided at design institutions. "We as people of color deserve an inclusive approach that's radically different from the close-minded, repressed educational institutions that aren't built to teach or celebrate the success of people of color," Gupta says.

Useful School Founder, Ritesh Gupta

The resulting program begins early February with two tracks—beginner and advanced—and will include a curriculum that veers from traditional design programs while prioritizing highlighting work specifically by people of color. Topics of these classes focus on catering to people of color's needs and desires for the evolution of the industry, including decolonizing and divesting from traditional design practices, getting pay raises and challenging feelings of imposter syndrome.

Useful School is also pay-what-you-wish, which was an important principle for Gupta when organizing the school. He says, "I've been really inspired by what Bandcamp and Twitch have been doing in terms of payment models. I read a statistic from Bandcamp saying if you have a pay what you want to model, oftentimes, users will actually pay more than the minimum price because they feel so passionate about it." This has proven not just to be an equitable solution for Useful School, but also a good business solution. "We already have people who aren't able to take the class for whatever reason, and are still contributing to help provide capital for me to continue making this program, which is really exciting," Gupta reports.

Useful School was founded on a consensus by many people of color that design education institutions have in many ways failed them, so it begs the question: for Gupta, what are the tenets of equitable design education? "I would say the most important ones, not necessarily in this priority order, are first, equitable payment models with no strings attached. Second, a curriculum that is very transparent on what they're going to learn—so before they even sign up for the program, they know exactly what they're going to get. And a lot of users appreciated how I'm continuously making tweaks based on applicant feedback, and what else they'd like to learn," Gupta tells us.

Another crucial factor is accessibility, as Gupta says, "the curriculum has to be as accessible as possible, not just from a monetary perspective, but from a 'place' perspective." As such, Useful School will be held on Zoom and made available to anyone across the United States.

One last interesting addendum to the Useful School curriculum that feels quite fresh is the desire to reclaim parts of design history largely ignored over time. Gupta says, "I'm going to mention in our first classes together that the goal should be if we ever reference another project or have inspiration from another project, that project should be a person of color, the reference should be a person of color. Students should be able to see other people that have similar lived experiences as inspiration rather than the traditional kind of Swiss-type designer."

This reclaiming of history is an often overlooked, but important edit to typical design educations. It illuminates that while more diversity in design is still a hill to climb, this does not negate the fact that creatives and innovators of color have always been here and will continue to be, especially with the implementation of programs like Useful School.

While Useful School's first session is already full, Gupta is already working on the curriculum for the next edition (and says there is a high chance of an industrial design course coming soon). For those interested in getting in on the second round, applications are now open for any person of color hoping to apply, and those who want to support the program through contributions or partnerships can learn more here.



The Model-M, Portl's Desktop Holographic Monitor

Core 77 - 16 hours 37 min ago

This month Portl, a startup that has raised millions in funding to commercialize hologram technology, released this 90-second spot for their desktop Model-M. Take a look at their proposed use cases:

Did you see a single application that made a strong case for why this couldn't just be a 2D screen? Perhaps the demos are more compelling in person; indeed it must be challenging to present the "wow" factor of 3D through a 2D video. But I think as long as the image is confined within a rectangular border, it doesn't provide much improvement over 2D beyond the same gimmicky "wow" factor of seeing a 3D movie.

Admittedly, I might change my tune if I used one in person and found that rotating a holographic CAD model actually did provide some insights that couldn't be appreciated in 2D. I also may be personally biased; when I started out in ID nearly 30 years ago, we were doing orthographic views on a drafting board, and if you wanted to spin something around in 3D, that happened in your head. It was part of your training and a required ability. Today, being able to do that with CAD on a 2D screen is still mind-blowing to me, and is such an improvement that I can't imagine holograms being any better. So that may be a limitation of my own imagination.

I also think the concept of having full-body videoconferences is a terrible one. Zoom already has its drawbacks, but one benefit is that you only have to be presentable from the chest up, and you can conduct conferences while all parties are sitting. In Portl's vision, we're meant to be fully dressed head to toe, and stand to face the camera. Is this what consumers want? (I'd also be curious to read surveys by gender to see what the preferences are. By last year, Forbes and other media outlets reported that Zoom fatigue is worse for women, given societal expectations of self-presentation.)

Lastly, the shot of two dudes holding beers while one shows off his NFTs to the other left me grimacing.

I'm either just not the target market, or I'm being unfair to the device given the limitations of demonstrating one on YouTube. What are your thoughts on this thing? Do you want one, and would you find it useful?


Great Industrial Design Student Work: Project Timo Urban Scooter

Core 77 - 16 hours 37 min ago

Here's an impressively thorough project by Industrial Design students Sandy Zhang, Jodie Xie, Alaa Alshareef and Megan Wiles, who last year were seniors at the Wentworth Institute of Technology. Called Project Timo, the assignment was "to examine and re-think the notion of city based transportation in terms of clean technologies, specific and variable demographics, lack of choices, user/rider safety, available personal time and escalating costs," the team writes.

In addition to the polish of the finished product, what really struck me was the depth of the students' undertaking. The quartet did "research, mockups that help inform ergonomic considerations, iterative physical models, detailed specifications for each model, accessories, and ultimately sales website design."

"The study resulted in the design of a range of three TIMO electric scooter presets - Jarretto, Veloce and Cavallo. Built on a modular system the stakeholder can configure a final product to perfectly accommodate their specific individual needs."

They even worked out accessories for the scooter:

For their efforts, they were rewarded with an exhibition of the project held in WIT's CEIS Building:

"The exhibit describes the development of an extremely well executed project by students (seniors) of the Industrial Design Department. The fundamental aim is to demonstrate the level of contemplative depth and detail necessary to create and describe a dynamic new product concept."

Well done!

A Look Inside China's Olympic Village Robot Restaurant

Core 77 - 16 hours 37 min ago

Beijing is observing incredibly strict measures to contain COVID in their Olympic Village. Journalists who arrived in advance of the athletes got the first look at the Village's cafeteria, which features robot chefs and servers, plastic partitions at each table, and a rather odd-looking ceiling:

Motorized trays descend from the ceiling holding bowls of noodles.

There's a robotic hamburger-making assembly line behind glass.

You hold your receipt to a scanner to receive your food.

Have a look at it on video:


Designey Dremel Knock-Off Killing It on Kickstarter

Core 77 - 16 hours 37 min ago

First we saw the rise of designey drawing tools on Kickstarter, then designey arts-n-crafts tools like that AtuMan hot glue gun. Now that second category has a newcomer: The $90 Arrowmax SGS Pro, a "smart mini electric engraving & polishing pen."

Aside from its size, to me it seems vastly inferior to a Dremel, particularly the bit about having to use a freaking smartphone to set the bit speed. But I guess people these days really like over-tech, magnetic charging cables and sleek form factors. At press time the SGS Pro had landed nearly $250,000 in funding on a $10,274 goal, with over a month left to pledge. I won't be surprised if it hits the half-mil mark.

I think products in the above categories are pretty dumb, but I can't deny the developers have a knack for correctly guessing what people will pay for, then producing it. The way they seem to tap into consumer desire reminds me of Jobs-era Apple. And while I don't know how long-lived these tools will be—they all seem to be from companies you've never heard of--I don't think the trend of people buying designey desk tools is going away anytime soon.


Vinyl LPs Now Outselling CDs

Core 77 - 16 hours 37 min ago

I grew up with 12" vinyl records, but for many of you, a 4.7" polycarbonate disc was your main source of purchased music. Philips and Sony invented the CD in 1982, and the following year the Sony DADC (Digital Audio Disc Corporation) factory opened in Indiana. It was the first CD factory in the U.S., and a year later Bruce Springsteen's Born in the U.S.A. was its first product.

The factory went on to produce LaserDiscs, PlayStation discs and Blu-Ray DVDs in addition to CDs. Up until recently, they were producing 2.7 million discs a day. But this month Sony announced they're finally shutting it down. (Dwindling disc production will be shifted to Sony DADC's extant facility in Austria.)

DADC factory, R.I.P.

I'm not surprised the plant shut down; if anything I'm amazed it lasted nearly 40 years. What really puzzles me is the rise of the CD's predecessor, vinyl. My wife and I live in the middle of nowhere, but our local Walmart has an aisle dedicated to selling vinyl records.

Chart: Statista

Vinyl has been making a comeback since around 2007. It was modest; by 2011 vinyl made up just 1.7% of physical music sales. But in 2021 it went absolutely bonkers. MRC Data, the data analysis firm that provides the sales figures used to construct the Billboard music charts, reports that in 2021, vinyl rose to a whopping 50.4% of music sales, surpassing CDs. The last time that happened was in 1991.

Also according to MRC Data:

2021 U.S. Music Sales Figures- Vinyl LP sales: 41.7 million- CD sales: 40.6 million- Digital album sales: 26.2 million

Whoa, so does that mean LPs are outselling digital? Not exactly; all of the above figures are dwarfed by the sale of digital singles.

- Digital track sales: 202.9 million

I do find it interesting, though, that vinyl is now outselling CDs. It reminds me a bit of the rise in popularity of manual pour-over coffee makers. I guess the lesson for designers is that in this digital age, people crave the ritual of manipulating physical objects, particularly where some dexterity is required. Unsleeving an LP, dropping it on the platter, gingerly placing the stylus into the groove—things that seemed like a pain in the ass in 1992—now trumps sticking a disc into a slot.

Photo by Victrola Record Players on Unsplash


Great Industrial Design Student Work: Shay Nifusi's Monobloc Brushes

Core 77 - 16 hours 37 min ago

Shay Nifusi's Monobloc Brushes "are a result of material and cultural study made as my graduation project at the Industrial Design Department in Shenkar," he writes. "Focusing on such an arbitrary object for a graduation project came from realizing that there is a lot to learn from this small product. Simply put— every brush in the world has a handle and bristles. It's the combination between them that tell us how, when and by whom it was made."

"The process kicked off with reading subject related books, meeting a local brush maker and making brushes the traditional way (folding groups of bristles into pre-cut holes in a piece of wood)."


"I then looked for more efficient ways of making a brush and somewhere in the process I felt that using industrially made plastic hair (Polypropylene) for traditional brush making techniques is odd."

"Looking for a way to fully industrialize the process, I started forming groups of PP bristles by pressing them in a toaster which led to develope a new way of making the product. By using molds compounded by both heat conducting and insulating parts, I could thermoform plastic hairs and create integral handles."

"I designed the shapes in a back and forth experimentation between studying natural flow of the PP hair groups and sculpting similar archetypes in Polyurethane foam. The process resulted in a new way of making brushes in CNC milled aluminium & SikaBlock molds."

The assignment wasn't recent—Nifusi gained his degree in 2013, and after years of working in ID, has since switched over to ME—but I think the project is a great example of manufacturing experimentation by a student, and I found the resultant objects beautiful.

Design Firm Develops High-Load, Adjustable Backpack Frame for Australian Defence Force

Core 77 - 16 hours 37 min ago

Australian design consultancy Cobalt had a tough assignment from the Australian Defence Force: To design "a high-load backpack frame that is adjustable to correctly fit the back of 1-percentile to 99-percentile female and male users." In addition to fitting people of all sizes, the frame needed to be tough enough to suit the military's needs, and it had to be backwards-compatible with older pack and harness systems.

After conducting heavy anthropometric analysis, Cobalt's design and engineering teams came up with ONE299, a two-part polymer frame with overlapping "ladders" to solve for the required height adjustments:

"Cobalt was able to meet and exceed military expectations and outperform existing fixed-size frames," the company writes. "In addition to size adjustability, a key element of ONE299 is the patented lumbar area which conforms to the contour of the wearer's back. This allows for superior ergonomic fit as well as increased load."

"The use of a correctly fitting frame reduces the potential for back injury, and the One299 frame offers this to all wearers regardless of size. Its high strength and adjustable nature also opens up new opportunities for load carriage configuration, allowing both frame and the backpack to be adjusted and configured to suit alternate load carriage scenarios."

Here's a closer look at their design/testing process and the system:

"In excess of 27,000 frames have been deployed in the Australian Defence Force," the company says, "with additional interest from international military groups and adventure sectors proving a great commercial outcome."


Nuro Upgrades Their Autonomous Delivery Vehicle with External Airbags for Pedestrians

Core 77 - 16 hours 37 min ago

When we last looked at Nuro, the developers of an autonomous electric delivery vehicle, they were on their second-generation R2. To refresh your memory, it was essentially a diminutive car designed to carry goods, not people, and Dominos successfully used them to deliver pizzas in a pilot program in Texas. The hope is that fleets of these zero-emission* Nuros will reduce car trips to supermarkets and eateries.

Now Nuro's developed their third generation vehicle with improved safety measures, including self-cleaning sensors and external airbags for pedestrians, "optimized to reduce the force of impact and number of injuries in the event of collision."

The idea of external airbags is a good one that has been around for a while; in 2017's "Inside Auto Design: How People Getting Hit By Cars Has Changed the Shape of Cars," we explained the dynamics of car-into-human crashes and showed you an external airbag concept by Volvo.

And in 2019, we looked at German auto supplier ZF Friedrichshafen AG's external airbags, though those were designed to limit damage in car-to-car crashes.

For the record, Nuro doesn't anticipate their vehicles ever crashing into people, noting that their small, lightweight 'bots can slam on their brakes in a way that no people-carrying vehicle could. The airbags are a just-in-case kind of thing, and jives with the company's mission to create a friendly vehicle that they hope will "become a beloved member of the community."

The photos don't do a good job of providing scale; the video below gives you a better sense of how tiny (and yes, friendly-looking) the third-gen Nuro is.

*Regarding the zero-emission claim: Nuro says that "in this new vehicle, we're using 100% renewable electricity from wind farms in Texas to power our fleet and to reduce our overall carbon footprint."


Skybeam: A Handheld Anti-Drone Jammer

Core 77 - 16 hours 37 min ago

We've grown accustomed to seeing police or soldiers armed with assault rifles at transportation hubs and public events. In the near future, we may see additional security members carrying these:


That's the Skybeam, a handheld anti-drone jammer that targets remote-piloted drones. The attached radio modules can jam "the most popular Remote Piloted Aircraft Systems control, video and GPS frequencies," has a one-hour battery life and is operated via a single on/off button. The range is up to 3km, and the entire rig weighs 6kg (13.2 lbs).

It's manufactured by Mistral Group subsidiary Skylock, an Israeli developer of counter-drone technologies. "As technologies advance, drones are becoming faster, smaller and deadlier," the company writes. "The need for anti-drone counter-measures to mitigate threats is imperative. With the ability to easily add a payload, the use of drones and UAV's operated by malicious or criminal organisations poses a wide array of threats to public safety and national security."

With the ubiquity of drones, and with U.S. and global unrest at an all-time high, I'm kind of surprised that drone attacks on civilians hasn't become a thing. It doesn't take an overt pessimist to assume we're just a few events away from objects like the Skybeam becoming a common sight in public venues.

Police Snipers' Nests at the Super Bowl

Core 77 - 16 hours 37 min ago

In the dark 1976 movie Two-Minute Warning, an evil sniper sets up a nest in the L.A. Coliseum, during a Super-Bowl-like event. He fires randomly into the crowd, and people are killed both by his bullets and in the panicked stampede he causes.

I don't know how long after the movie it was until police developed pre-emptive measures—the year after the movie came out? After 9/11?—but today, rest assured there are real sniper's nests at the Super Bowl, manned by police snipers. It became public knowledge at least as far back as 2012, following Super Bowl XLVI, when these photos of sniper's nests both inside and outside Indianapolis' Lucas Oil Stadium made the rounds on social media:

"Without any fanfare and generally unseen, a lot of venues have law enforcement over-watch already set up to ensure that [a terrorist event] does not occur," writes Military.com. "Precision law enforcement special operation shooters are deployed with the ability to observe and, if necessary, intervene to stop the threat from their final firing positions (FFP)."

There are tactical training companies that offer courses for police snipers operating in public venues, and they even have videos of these posted on YouTube for promotional purposes. I almost embedded one here, but then thought: Isn't that the kind of thing you don't want just anyone to see, as they're kind of revealing?

If any of you are attending Super Bowl LVI in L.A., stay safe, have a good time, and for heaven's sake don't watch the movie I mentioned up top. (And I bet you won't be able to not look for the nests from your seat.)


I'm a Student. Should I Submit My Work to Design Awards?

Core 77 - 16 hours 37 min ago

As a student, it can be difficult to convince yourself to invest money in something related to your professional career such as an awards program, let alone investing in that side of guac at Chipotle. Though it may seem difficult to envision what applying to something like an awards program gets you, winning one offers several hidden benefits that could help your design career in the long run.

For any students wavering in whether or not they should apply to awards programs this year, our Core77 Design Awards team put together a list of some honest points to consider before you submit to any awards program:

You can get international attention before you even graduate

And that's great for your future job hunt. With an award, not only have you proven that your ideas have merit in the real world, but it also gives you an opportunity to seek press, which helps refine your image as an expert in your field.

2021 Core77 Design Awards Furniture & Lighting Student Winner "Grow N Glow," by ArtCenter College of Design student Jez Sun

Winning an award can help with Artist's Visas

An O1 Artists Visa is for individuals who display excellence in the fields of science, athletics and art, and an application for getting one is reliant on official documents such as awards certificates to prove your work is, well, award-worthy!

It's a great thing to mention in grad school applications

A project in a portfolio is one thing, but one from your undergrad that was recognized and honored by well-respected designers in your field? That take things up a serious notch.

2018 Core77 Design Awards Consumer Product Student Winner Abidur Chowdhury's inhaler prototypes and sketches.Winning an award can be a great motivator

While winning an award isn't the sole way of validating an idea, it can help boost your confidence. Even just the act of creating a submission works as a real-life exercise in learning how to convey your design ideas in a clear and compelling manner. 

It can help start a conversation about your work with professors 

Having healthy dialogue and discourse with faculty outside of the classroom is super important to professional development, as these people are often some of your first connections in your desired work field. Applying for an awards program is a great jump-off point for establishing a working relationship with faculty you admire; you can get an honest opinion from someone you trust about your most impressive projects, and crits can help you write out a well-balanced application.

Students always get the best discount pricing

Once you're out of school, prices go up for awards applications, so it's great to take advantage of these spoils while you can!

Tips for applying to design awardsAsk your school for financial help

If you feel you can't afford to pay to submit, ask your school if they'd be willing to sponsor your submission—winning awards looks just as good for your school's design program as it does for you! :)

Buy your English major friend dinner in exchange for editing your application

If you can avoid it, never send an awards submission in without having someone else read over what you wrote. Awards programs commonly receive write-ups with incorrect spelling and less-than-desirable sentence structure.

2018 C77DA Student Packaging Winner Lovisa Boucher did a great job of identifying a mood for her product photography that supported her project. Don't forget about images (including process!) and being selective with what you include

This is where those annoying process photos that are oh-so-easy to forget to take come in handy. Awards programs want to learn a little bit about how you got to the final form of your project, so getting documentation amidst the design process helps further illustrate this journey. And of course, your final images make a big difference on the impact they'll have with the judges, so make sure they're as pro as possible.  Think about lighting; what kind of lighting will contribute to the mood of your project? Does it call for something straightforward (like for a tech product) or something more creative and subdued? 

Lastly, don't bog judges down with a million photos! Only pick your best and most helpful images to include. 

"No Fixed Address System" by Chih Chiu of Royal College of Art took away several awards in 2018—we can't help but think their super original video had something to do with that. Make a compelling video

Come up with an original idea for a video that gets the message of your project across within a matter of a couple of minutes; if done correctly, it can make a huge impact. 

Seize the moment

If you have a project that's super topical to big real-world issues from the past year, this can help up your chances of getting attention from the judges. Seize your moment by applying. Finally, pick a category that's spot-on in relation to your project, and you'll be set for success!

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The 2022 Core77 Design Awards are open for entry now! Get yourself prepared so you can save during the Early Bird entry period (lasting now through January 31).

Mazda Teaches Old Hardware New Tricks

Design News - Tue, 2022-01-25 04:54
Mazda engineers figured out how to use the MX-5 Miata’s suspension geometry to control body roll in corners.

2022 Ford Bronco Raptor

Design News - Tue, 2022-01-25 04:11
Ford’s rock-busting Bronco adds high-speed desert attack to its portfolio.

Synthetic Biofilms Act Like the Real Thing

Design News - Tue, 2022-01-25 04:07
A 3D-printing platform develops bacteria-based materials to develop medicines to fight infections they can cause.

Early 20th-Century Safety-Ignorant Ways to Transport a Dog by Car

Core 77 - Mon, 2022-01-24 21:44

Back when cars were newfangled, we were completely ignorant of their hazards. We drove around with freaking plate-glass windows until safety glass was invented around 1937. Seat belts weren't even offered as an option until 1949, and no one wanted them. They weren't even required in U.S. cars until 1966.

It's unsurprising, then, that this was advertised as a good way to transport dogs by car in the 1920s:

In the 1930s, as cars became more properly enclosed and there actually was room to put a dog in the back, you still had this option:

It wasn't until the 2000s that we had the ultimate dog-friendly car, the Honda Element, which even had a special Dog Friendly package premiered in 2009. More recently, Nissan rolled out a dog-friendly vehicle (concept only, boo) in 2017.


Joseph Joseph's Compact Folding Ironing Board with Onboard Storage

Core 77 - Mon, 2022-01-24 21:44

For those of you that still need to iron stuff: Do you do a bunch of ironing at once, or one or two pieces as needed?

"We researched the ironing category," writes Youmeus, a UK-based consultancy founded by industrial designer Chris Christou, "and discovered several key insights that informed the design architecture of this product. How we iron today has shifted from a task of batch ironing to a 'little-and-often' routine."

Youmeus then designed the Pocket Plus Folding Ironing Board, which is produced by Joseph Joseph.

"One key observation that informed this concept was that people often stored their irons and ironing boards in different areas of the home, and therefore time to setup was one of the key barriers that prevented people from ironing. [We created] a more compact ironing board with integrated storage for the iron, and accessories helped to broaden the storage opportunities, allowing the user to store their ironing board alongside their iron for a quick and speedy setup."


This appears to be sold in Europe, the U.K and Australia, but not the 'States. #supplychain