The Design blog

The Design blog


SRT concept would revolutionize snow rescue transportation

Posted: 27 Jan 2012 05:06 AM PST

Asmita Prasad:

Having the proper rescue transportation for snow sports is an absolute priority for ski resorts and winter sports destinations. However, most exiting snow sport rescue transportation solutions offer only basic services and do not accommodate rescue personnel of various heights and weights and also do not offer the injured sportsmen adequate protection from bumps on the terrain. These rescue vehicles do not allow rescuers to carry the injured sportsperson's gear which has to be picked up later by other ski patrollers. To make snow sports rescue services more efficient, designer Polapat Bhiromkaew has created this all new Snow Rescue Transportation concept that could prove to be invaluable in critical situations.

Snow Rescue Transportation (SRT)
Snow Rescue Transportation (SRT)

Suitable for use in all snow sports terrain and weather conditions, the SRT helps ski patrollers in rescuing and transferring injured sportspersons faster and more comfortably than current models do. The device is made to be easy-to-use for ski patrollers and also to protect and ensure the safety and comfort of the injured. The SRT comes with a special ergonomic handle that is comfortable for ski patroller while a splash guard prevents snow from splattering over injured when the vehicle approaches and brakes near them.

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Snow Rescue Transportation (SRT)
Snow Rescue Transportation(SRT) by Polapat Bhiromkaew

A specially designed back-support helps ski patrollers in operating the device even in the harshest weather conditions, which can be absolutely critical in extreme weather conditions or when the rescue team attending to a resort or sports event has to respond to a lot of incidents over a short period of time. The vehicle also features an innovative brake system that creates traction on the surface of the snow or ice to make braking easier. The SRT also comes with a blanket holder and a fabric handle that can seal the blanket inside securing it over the injured to prevent further expose to cold air or snow.

The sportsperson's snowboard or skis can easily be accommodated into the rack to ensure that other ski patrollers do not need to be sent out for them. One of the main attractions of the SRT is its effective suspension that prevents the injured from any sustaining secondary injuries while being transported over bumpy snow or ice. The SRT is also fitted with an emergency light to allow rescuers to locate the injured and travel back and forth safely even in the dark, while a rope holder helps keep the tail rope of the rescue vehicle in place.

Via: Carbon Made


RThropod concept links people to the vehicles at a genetic level

Posted: 27 Jan 2012 03:39 AM PST

Asmita Prasad:

In the developed world, automobile design is more focused on performance and luxury. But in developing nations, theft, traffic and less-than-optimal driving conditions are the main concerns of a car owner. Responding to these problems, Argentinean designer Lucas Lopez has created the RThropod concept that would offer drivers living in crowded Third World cities some real peace of mind.

RThropod by Lucas Lopez
RThropod by Lucas Lopez

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RThropod by Lucas Lopez
RThropod by Lucas Lopez designed for uncontrolled traffic and irresponsibility.

To make the vehicle impossible to steal, the RThropod would be linked genetically with its owner. Using stem cells preserved at birth, the vehicle will be conditioned to suit the temperament and personality of its owner at the point of purchase. When a person is old enough to drive and purchase a car, the vehicle would be customized for them using the stem cells. Since the vehicle will be genetically linked to its owner, it will have a better understanding of their moods and would thus be able to offer real-time advice on how to navigate through difficult traffic just like a co-pilot.

The bio-mechanical vehicle would anticipate the driver's intentions and moods and prevent them from getting into accidents or driving irresponsibly. The car will also be able to change its color according to the driver's mood to warn others on the road (as well as traffic cops) about a potential road rage incident.

Another innovation that the RThropod concept uses, is its ability to work in tandem with automated transportation solutions that can very well be a realistic possibility in future cities. The vehicle would be able to align itself to a magnetic highway and run on autopilot mode in parts of the city that are more prone to traffic congestion. The vehicle will run in manual mode where such automation is not provided.

Via: Michelin Challenge Design


How about a cellphone that never needs to be plugged in?

Posted: 27 Jan 2012 03:26 AM PST

Asmita Prasad:

The Concept

Cellphones with solar charging capabilities are fast becoming a hot seller in the market though a vast majority of mobile phones in the market still come with the old plug-and-charge mechanism since they are loaded with features that consume a lot of energy. However, developers are hard at work trying to come up with phones that don't need to be charged via a plug and don't even need constant sunlight to keep their batteries juiced up. Using this thought as a starting point, a team of developers from the University of Cambridge has created a prototype cellphone that can charge itself via ambient light. Led by IEEE fellow Arokia Nathan, the team used thin-film hydrogenated amorphous silicon in an array of solar cells that were embedded within the phone’s OLED display. Since the front of the screen projects around 36 percent of the light generated by the phone, a vast majority of it is leaked out through the edges. IGNIS Innovation, a Canadian firm, proposed that this wasted light could be harnessed to re-power the phone and they achieved this by setting up the display's edges with thin-film PV cells to capture this light.

Solar Cells in Smartphone Screens
Solar Cells in Smartphone Screens

The Inspiration

Use of sustainable energy resources is a trend that major electronics brands are investing into more seriously and solar cell technology is being investigated and optimized for usage in household electronics on a vast scale now. One obstacle that has prevented PV cells from being used in home electronics so far is the fact that the current state of technology prevents them from generating sufficient charge to power most gizmos found in our homes. This has led manufacturers into exploring ways to make their gadgets efficient enough to be run on solar power alone.

In past 5 years, a number of solar powered gadgets have been introduced that can function solely on solar energy/ambient light. Since cellphones and laptops have become an essential part of our lives, having devices that need charging less often could prove to be monumental in the global struggle to save the environment. Of course, having such devices would also offer users the freedom to use their gizmos even in places where a charging point is not available such as aboard subways, metros, other modes of public transportation and even while hanging outdoors.

Where are we now?

At the moment, the electronics industry is essentially split down the middle with one half focusing on developing devices that charge themselves on solar/ambient light via in-built PV panels and the other half working hard to come up with more powerful solar/ambient light chargers for the line of products that don't have solar cells embedded into them.

However, a vast majority of existing electronic devices still need charging via traditional outlets since they are loaded with features that consume a lot of electricity and would need bigger PV panel chargers to run. The ideal solution for this particular dilemma, of course would be to not only develop more powerful solar chargers but also the devices that are efficient enough to run on minimal electricity like this prototype cellphone created by researchers at the IGNIS Innovation and University of Cambridge.

What makes it stand out?

This prototype phone seeks to make optimal use of the light created by the cellphone's display and use 64 percent of OLED light that is spilled from the edges. In the phone, the edge of the screen features an array of cells. The team, based at University College London until recently, discovered that though solar panels were a great way to charge cellphones sustainably, they exposed the phone's battery to voltage fluctuations that could damage it irreversibly.

To counter this problem and extract electricity more efficiently via solar panels, the team developed a thin-film transistor circuit that could negate the effects of voltage spikes. This ensures that a complex circuitry charges the battery, which under the right lighting conditions can generate as much as 165 microwatts per square centimeter. This energy harvesting system converts five percent of ambient light to electricity, provides a peak efficiency of 18 percent PV array and gives an average efficiency of 11 percent. In layman's terms, this means that the battery gets a maximum power output of five milliwatts generated by a 3.7-inch smartphone screen.

Where do we go from here?

The small scale wireless energy harvesting as demonstrated by this cellular handset prototype are beneficial in many ways. However, an alternate source of plug-free charging could be provided by using an induction coil in a magnetic resonance coupling. To generate an oscillating magnetic field, a coil of conductive material is used and alternating current is run through it. A phone or an MP3 player, with a current in a coil embedded in it could use this magnetic field to generate its own power via flat thin-film coil. Though the coil cannot be made powerful enough to run a PC but mobile devices with scaled-down magnetic coupling could be a real possibility in the future. Further improvements in developing sustainable resources like MEMS-based kinetic energy harvesting can also prove useful in energy scavenging schemes and provide a huge boost to the process of preservation of earth's resources and environment.

Related Trends

1. Aeolus phone

Aeolus Phone
Aeolus Phone

Built from renewable materials, the Aeolus mobile phone was designed to harvest renewable energy sources like solar energy and wind power. The concept was created by industrial designer Cyrene Quiamco and features a simple, energy-efficient single color LCD screen. Onboard solar panels recharges the phone's battery when the wind isn't blowing and on more windy days a power generating fan can be used to charge the device.

2. Nokia Eco Sensor

Nokia Eco Sensor
Nokia Eco Sensor

While most cellphone manufacturers are hard at work trying to come up with the next big efficient-energy solar powered handset, Finnish multinational mobile phone maker Nokia has come up with a "green" mobile phone that not only monitors the environment but also the weather and the user's health. Powered by alternative energy sources, the phone comes with a wearable sensor unit that enhances our awareness both, about the environment and about us. To make it the ideal "green" mobile phone, the Nokia Eco Sensor Concept is designed for optimal energy consumption and manufactured with bio-materials and reclaimed materials in keeping with the company's waste reduction principles. The display of this phone uses electro-wetting technology i.e. expanding oil droplets that make the pixels on the screen light up ensuring that the screen consumes less energy than OLED or LED display units.

3. Samsung Blue Earth

Samsung Blue Earth
Samsung Blue Earth

Small enough to fit in your pocket yet sleek enough to be shown off to friends, the Samsung Blue Earth comes with full solar panel on its back. The gorgeous green touch phone can generate enough power to charge itself and marks the first legitimate attempt by an internationally sold cellphone brand to launch a genuine solar powered phone.

4. ZTE Coral-200

ZTE Coral-200
ZTE Coral-200

The Coral-200 by Chinese mobile manufacturer ZTE is a relatively basic solar phone that offers around 15 minutes of talk time for every hour of sunlight it is exposed to. Priced at just 40 dollars, the solar powered handset is based on Dutch-based innovation and is aimed at people who do not have regular access to the grid. Since there are over two billion of such people around the world, this phone could be a real hit if it is marketed the right way.


GM’s car windows give opportunity to interact with the world

Posted: 27 Jan 2012 02:24 AM PST

Rajeev Kumar:

The Concept:

Windows of Opportunity (WOO) is set to change the way people, especially children, react when asked to sit on the back seat. Developed by the researchers of Future Lab at Bezalel Academy of Art and Design in Israel for the General Motors (GM), it is a new rear seat entertainment technology which aims to convert the rear car windows into interactive interfaces for entertainment and education. According to GM, the new technology would allow the production of advanced car windows that can respond to vehicle speed, location and augment real world views with the help of multiple interactive enhancements in real time. There are various similarities of this concept with Toyota’s Window to the World concept and Autoglass’ Vision 2020. Both of these concepts are applying augmented reality technology for converting car windows into interactive interfaces to provide vital road information to the drivers. However, there is a difference as well. The WOO concept specifically aims to transform the traveling experience of rear seat passengers. As such, it would actually open up a window for entertainment and engagement through various applications discussed below.

GM's Windows of Opportunity
GM’s Windows of Opportunity

The inspiration:

GM’s WOO project is inspired by several psychological studies conducted over the years. These studies have repeatedly shown that people in the backseat often feel disconnected from their environment. It has been acknowledged that devices like DVD players and many hand-held consoles are slowly becoming outdated. It is time for new mobility solutions that would change the human-car relationship forever by providing ample opportunities for entertainment, learning and engagement while traveling.

The Design:

WOO is still under production. During a demonstration, the researchers applied motion and optical sensor technology developed by the EyeClick for converting window glass into a multi-touch and gesture sensitive surface. They displayed a complete set of applications on a functional prototype of rear passenger seat and side window. However, according to GM, electronically charged smart glass technology would be used for making the windows for commercial production. Such windows would have variable translucence and transparency. Also, they would be able to reflect the projected images. At present, the "smart glass" technology is mostly used in architectural and display applications in movies. The most recent example of its use was in the movie Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol.

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GM's Windows of Opportunity
GM’s WOO concept by researchers at Future Lab at Bezalel Academy of Art and Design

The fabulous:

The use of interactive displays in cars is not an entirely new phenomenon. However, it is mostly restricted for drivers and front seat passengers. There is not much scope of entertainment for back-seat passengers, other than DVD players, handheld video games etc. WOO concept would change all of these practices.

At present, developers at the Bezalel Academy have produced four different applications for the WOO project. The first, Otto is an animated character projected over the passing scenery. It responds to the real-time car movement, performance and landscape. The researchers say it would help rear seat passengers learn about their environment in the most playful way. The second, Foofu is a drawing application that allows rear seat passengers to draw on the windows with their fingers. The third, Spindow allows rear seat passengers to have a glimpse of the car windows of other people around the world in real time. The last, Pond is a music streaming and sharing application. It allows the passengers to share music with other cars on the road, download favorite music and also share messages.

The Target:

GM has announced no plans for starting the commercial production of this technology. One may expect it to start anytime soon in future. Some apprehensions about its possible drawbacks have been raised by many commentators. They say it might divert the attention of drivers and cause accidents. However, it might be appealing to many businessmen and professionals who spend a lot of time in traveling. Families may also opt for this technology to provide an enjoyable ride for their children.

Related Trends:

1. Toyota's Window to the world

Window to the world
Window to the world

Toyota’s Window to the World vehicle concept is also aimed at transforming car windows into interactive interfaces. It is based on the augmented reality technology which will allow window glasses to provide information about landmarks and other objects that come on the way. Toyota Motor Europe (TME) and the Copenhagen Institute of Interaction Design (CIID) have collaborated for developing this concept. At present, the designers have developed five applications for the Window to the World project. These include drawing in motion, zooming into captured moments in time, translating the world in a local language, augmented distances and virtual constellations. The augmented distances application allows pointing a landmark in the distance and then augmenting the relative distance to the car on the window surface. The Virtual Constellations concept displays virtual constellations on the car’s panoramic roof while using the actual sky as a background.

2. Autoglass vision 2020

Autoglass Vision 2020
Autoglass Vision 2020

As a part of its vision 2020, Autoglass is developing intelligent car windscreens that can interact with the driver. In other words, the new technology would make the windscreens a forum for information sharing. This technology is also based on the augmented reality technology which allows adding virtual elements to a real life image or situation with the help of electronic devices. The augmented reality concept has already been successfully used in smartphones and now the car makers are using it to develop different drive assistance technologies like collision avoidance, lane departure and sign recognition systems. According to Autoglass, the new technology would make it possible to display key information about speed, fuel and other equipments on the windscreen. Also, it will provide real-time visual information about the places and hazards by combining augmented reality with visual sensors, online maps and GPS systems.


Portable RAINywhere shower system is perfect for holidays

Posted: 27 Jan 2012 02:19 AM PST

Asmita Prasad:

Created by designer Sergi Ruiz, RAINywhere is a ready to use shower system that can literally be installed and used anywhere. The shower system allows travelers to take a shower anywhere, even at places that do not offer a proper shower system and hot water. The shower comes in an easy to assemble kit that can be set up in minutes and only requires a supply of water to function. The shower system uses integrated solar panels that heat the closed circuit and allow the water running through the pipes to be heated up instantly for use. An intuitive set of controls allow users to select the desired temperature.

Rainywhere
Rainywhere

The RAINywhere Portable Shower System is crafted from sturdy and lightweight titanium that allows it to be both thin as well as resistant to breakage and corrosion. A machined aluminum case allows it to withstand higher temperatures as well. All parts of the shower are coupled together via pressure and magnet anchors and the overall of the shower can also be changed by adding or subtracting the number of parts on the shower.

Rainywhere
Rainywhere

Designed for sanitary ware brand Roca, the portable shower is aimed at holiday and outdoor use as well as for use by the military and emergency workers in places where proper means of maintaining hygiene cannot be provided.


Nest Thermostat programs itself around your needs, conserves energy too

Posted: 27 Jan 2012 12:55 AM PST

Asmita Prasad:

Designed by the person who worked with the team that designed iPod, the Nest has been dubbed as the "thermostat for the 21st century." The Nest Learning Thermostat was created with an innovative design that lets the device program itself over the course of first week of installation to optimize itself to your lifestyle and schedule.

Nest thermostat
Nest thermostat

To keep you comfortable and to help you save energy, Nest comes with an array of features like Energy History and Auto-Away that turn the heating and cooling off when no one is home and even keep track of your energy usage to help you conserve energy.

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Nest thermostat from a galaxy far away
Nest thermostat from a galaxy far away

The best feature of the device is that it not only manages your home's cooling and heating needs, it also manages half your home's energy which means that you don't have to constantly keep changing the temperature manually and you don't have to fuss with programming your thermostat either. Once you set the temperature for a certain time of the day, the Nest will remember it and ensure that the home is automatically heated or cooled to that temperature, unless you change it a few days in a row.

What's even better is that multiple thermostats can be controlled via Wi-Fi or even over the internet via an iPhone/iPad/smartphone app, so you can even instruct the Nest to turn on the heating from your workplace if the day is unusually cold. At $249 a pop, the Nest Thermostat is fairly reasonably priced and is truly the ultimate home temperature maintenance solution for the modern home.

Via: Dvice


HP Envy Eyes Video Projector to revolutionize salespersons’ lives

Posted: 26 Jan 2012 09:33 PM PST

Asmita Prasad:

Created by designer Elie Ahovi in collaboration with Francois Rybarczyk and Jeremie Levain, the HP Envy Eyes Video Projector Concept is a device aimed specifically at salespersons. The device was created to incorporate the classic and timeless silhouette of HP's Envy lineup and features the same ease of use for the salesperson looking to provide an instant and impressive presentation of data to clients and bosses.

Envy Eyes
Envy Eyes

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Envy Eyes
Envy Eyes a Video projector by HP

The projector comes with an integrated wireless touchscreen tablet which eliminates the need for salespersons to travel with a heavy laptop when they need to make presentations on the go. The intuitive tablet allows professionals to keep their business documents handy and interact with the documents they are presenting more seamlessly. The HP Envy Eyes Video Projector Concept allows users to crop, draw and zoom images and notes and add notes instantly on the projected document. What's even better is that users can simply save their presentations on an SDcard or a USB drive and use the tablet to project them on demand.

To ensure that the HP Envy Eyes Video Projector stay secure during trips and commute, the device is crafted with an in-built handle on the aluminum unibody frame while a ventilation system located high under the frame allows the device to remain cool even during prolonged usage. Since the touchscreen tablet is integrated to the top of the projector, an induction system is used to charge which helps users keep messy wires at bay.

Via: Elieahov


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