// Blog Archive
Think about how many cumulative hours you’ve wasted with pens in your lifetime. You’ve spun them; you’ve drummed them; you’ve unscrewed them and launched their tops off like little rockets. And when it comes to fiddling, this magnetic pen is a quantum leap beyond your standard plastic Bic.
Polar, as the wonder pen is called, is a writing implement made of 12 neodymium magnets. But according to Andrew Gardner, the man behind the design, distraction was never the goal. “It wasn’t intended to be something to fiddle with,” he says. “I don’t like calling it a toy.” Indeed, the unique design does offer some functional benefits. It allows for a stylus tip to be hidden in the body itself, for one thing. It also lets the owner customize the implement to his or her desired size. The pen, which can be preordered for about $40, was intended to be a “modular platform where you can add new tips and new cartridges,” Gardner explains. It’s “a really organic platform for creativity.”
Gardner, who works as Indiedesign in Waterloo, Ontario, has been fascinated with magnets since a young age. He’s been an avid disassembler of pens for just as long. When those two passions converged earlier this year, he knew he was onto something right away. “You’d think it was more of a progression, but it wasn’t actually,” he says. He found it to be an elegant solution even before he figured out all of its, erm, extracurricular potential; the magnets hold everything together, so it requires no screws and no glue. “When I first came up with the design,” Gardner explains, “I actually did a lot of looking around, like, ‘how has nobody ever done something like this. This has to be done by somebody, so I better go do it.’”
Sound1 is a minimalist speaker designed by cloudandco, and produced by South Korean-based company 11+. The 11+ Sound1 Speaker pairs with Bluetooth-enabled portable devices and computers to provide beautifully clear and crisp stereo sound. After listening to the Sound1s, I can attest to the fact that the sound quality is this speaker’s best characteristic.
When not in use, the cables are stored inconspicuously within the empty space at the bottom of the speakers. There is a slight angle at the bottom edge of the speaker, which allows you to tilt the Sound1 towards you. With its minimalist design and ambient LED lighting, the Sound1 Speaker delivers both a visually pleasing and enjoyable auditory experience. The Sound1 Speaker can be played continuously for 20 hours on mid-level volume.
Two students with a passion for jewelry and hacking did the impossible: They built a ring that doubles as a subway farecard and got legal clearance to use it on the Boston T.
Edward Tiong and Olivia Seow’s 3-D printed Sesame Ring features an embedded RFID chip compatible with the Boston MBTA’s CharlieCard (a rechargeable farecard similar to existing ones on the Washington D.C. Metro, the New York/New Jersey PATH, and the San Francisco/Oakland BART). Instead of fishing a farecard out of a wallet, pocket, or bag, a user simply swipes their ring at a turnstile and refills it either online or at a vending machine. The pair are students at the Singapore University of Technology and Design who developed the MBTA ring as exchange students at MIT.
Tiong and Seow’s company, The Ring Theory, recently raised $19,000 (well over the designers’ initial $5,000 goal) on Kickstarter, offering customizable rings for $17 each. Ring Theory’s initial design, shown above, is likened by the creators to a “wearable CharlieCard.”
In order to add money to their transit ring, users simply press their accessory to an MBTA vending machine, which adds rides as if it were a normal farecard. Tiong says in promotional materials: “We are not inventing anything new or cutting edge. We are looking at the most common technology that has been around for a long time, and saying, hey maybe we can do something different with this.”
Gallery libby sellers presents ‘sinkhole vessels’ by liliana ovalle and colectivo 1050º a series of black containers that stand as a a portrayal of those voids that emerge abruptly from the ground, dissolving their surroundings into an irretrievable space. Each piece is suspended within a wooden frame, alluding to a cross section of the ground that reveals the hidden topographies. The clay shapes (a limited edition of ten) are based in local archetypes for utilitarian pottery, were crafted by local ceramists from tlapazola, oaxaca using ancestral techniques and skills that are struggling to find a place in the contemporary global landscape. By making reference to different process of extinction, the sinkhole project aims to reflect and extend the permanence of what seems to be inevitably falling into a void. Part of the program of the london design festival 2013, the works will be on show until october 5th, 2013.
How could you not be happy when writing with these Rainbow Pencils created by designer Duncan Shotton? I dare you not to smile as you sharpen these and create your very own rainbows. These are not only super fun, they’re practical (hello, we all write stuff down, don’t we?) and they’re made from layers of recycled paper so no new trees are cut down. Win-win!
Each pencil has a six-layer core made up of rainbow colors and finished in either black or white. Each set comes with five pencils and you can get your very own by jumping in on his Kickstarter campaign right now. They don’t write in rainbow colors and instead your standard pencil color making them usable for all occasions.
Tailoring environments to our desires is reliant on devices knowing and understanding the people who use them. But short of manually programming your preferences, there’s no easy way for our gadgets and apps to know who we are or what we like. “We see ourselves as sort of the central point in enabling that in a really simple way,” says Karl Martin, CEO of Bionym, a biometrics company based in Toronto.
Martin and his team have created the Nymi, a plastic wristband that is aiming to be the common thread that connects your identity to the smart devices of the future. Born out of research done at the University of Toronto, the device uses a biometric sensor to authenticate identity through a person’s unique electrocardiogram. Which is a fancy way of saying, the pattern of your heartbeat could be your new set of keys.
The Bionym team found a way to extract features of your heartbeat that allows them to create a robust biometric template. So if you get nervous and your heart speeds up or you just ran a few miles, the waveform of your heartbeat might appear more condensed, but it’s still essentially the same pattern. The idea is that users will strap on the Nymi each morning, touch the topside sensor to read their ECG and will be constantly authenticated until they decide to take it off.
The Nymi’s biggest advantage (and biggest risk) is that it uses biometrics to validate a user’s identity. This puts the Nymi in a position to make personalization and identity more easily accessible than ever before, but it also carries a massive responsibility for protecting privacy. The band won’t work unless it detects your specific ECG, so depending on how you intend to use it, it needs to be around your wrist all day long. This allows for persistent authentication, meaning you don’t have to continually touch a pad to register your fingerprint or swipe a ring to open your front door. Depending on the proximity determined by developers, you simply have to walk into a room to engage with devices or apps.
The wristband uses a cryptographic chip, which means all data is encrypted at the hardware level. And Martin says it’s impossible for anyone to trace the signal emitting from the wrist band back to the user unless people opt-in to allow that access
It’s about time. The past fifty years have been dominated by large clunky headphones that don’t cater to female form. Somebody needed to solve this acoustical travesty, and that somebody is Sweden-based industrial designer Maria von Euler, founder of the female-friendly headphone company Molami. Von Euler combined quality audio with avant-garde design, incorporating a function meets fashion ideal with their latest Twine Headpiece – headphones truly designed with the contemporary individual in mind.
Twine is a soft headpiece made of silk-satin and chiffon blends that comfortably wraps around your head with 18K gold accent pieces – giving you a unique listening experience. The headphones are designed from a fashion standpoint, worn as a selected accessory and tailored for the style savvy individual. Von Euler has meticulous attention to detail that can be seen in each pair of Molami headphones – from the tailored silhouette of each model down to the braided textile-wrapped cords and discreet accents plated in gold and silver.
Designworks have partnered with British Airways and Densitron to develop a highly innovative electronic Bag Tag. Next month British Airways is to trial the state of the art electronic bag tag that could do away with the need to have a new paper tag every time you fly.
Once checked in, customers just need to hold their smartphone over the electronic tag, which automatically updates with a unique barcode containing their flight details and an easy-to-see view of their bag’s destination. Not requiring a traditional paper tag to be printed and attached, customers can then save precious time by having their electronic tag quickly scanned at the bag drop, going straight through security to relax before catching their flight. It is intended that the patent-pending hi-tech tag can be used time and time again.
Frank van der Post, British Airways’ managing director, brands and customer experience, said: “This is a fantastically simple, yet smart device that gives each customer the choice to have their own personalised electronic baggage tag that changes with the swipe of a smartphone – every time they fly. “As the saying goes, ‘good things come in small packages’, and this innovative device is no exception.
- Graphic Design
- Industrial Design