The Design blog

The Design blog


Let your thoughts ride with Chaotic Moon Labs' Board of Imagination

Posted: 25 Feb 2012 03:41 AM PST

Rohit Ram Singh:

Several ground breaking ideas were brought forward in CES 2012. The craziest of all ideas was Chaotic Moon Labs’ Board of Imagination. You might be thinking what makes it so awesome. Well, the board can be controlled through your thoughts only. There is a headset that reads the brainwaves and transfers signals to an 800 watt motor. So if you need to hurry and reach somewhere in time just think of the destination, the speed by which you want to travel and you are good to go. If again you think that you are not supposed to travel this fast, the board will decrease the speed accordingly.

Board of Imagination
Board of Imagination

The setup consists of a board with a mounted Samsung tablet with windows 8 special software. Apart from this, a headset is worn by the rider that reads the brain signals. The headset is called Emotiv EPOC and it reads and processes brain signals. The signals are sent to the tablet wirelessly, which then drives the motor accordingly.

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Board of Imagination
Mind controlled motorized skateboard from Chaotic Moon Lab

To ride the board you just have to stand on it, think of your destination, think how fast you want to go on the board and the gadget fixed in it takes care of the rest. The board has a special xbox kinect, which reads riders hand movements to convert them into commands that are decoded by the software in the Samsung Tablet.

The software adapts to the rider and you have to practice a bit using a computer profile. Then that profile acts as the template, which is used in the tablet software. This profile tells the software about the person's command related thought patterns. However there's still one problem left which is related to brain. The rider has to keep in mind that his focus should be on hands giving directions instead of other countless thoughts. The inventors have to take care of this issue since this is going to be a problem with most of the riders.

Via: The Verge


Japanese construction firm set to launch a space elevator by 2050

Posted: 25 Feb 2012 03:39 AM PST

Asmita Prasad:

While the rest of the world is busy coming up with ways to make space travel a reality for the common man, a Tokyo-based construction company is already hard at work trying to make space travel as easy as riding an elevator. The Japanese firm named Obayashi Corp. has unveiled its plans to hare its space elevator ready for operations as soon as 2050. Extending almost a quarter of the distance from the surface of the earth to the moon, the elevator would be able to carry both passengers as well as cargo right up to outer space using a carbon nanotubes ribbon to ferry a space vehicle.

Space Elevator
Space Elevator

The base of the space elevator would be connected to a station on the ground with the entire assembly anchored to the ground via a 59,652 miles long cable that in turn would be balanced via a counterweight. The outer end of the space elevator would feature a residential facility and a research center located about 36,000 kilometers above the base. A car traveling at 124 mph (200 km/h) that would travel from the surface of the Earth up the ribbon and would take about a week to reach the terminal station. PV panels located at the same level as the stations located at the outer end of the elevator would provide clean power to the facilities as well as also send some of the power back to the base.

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Space Elevator
Space Elevator by Japanese Company

The base station would need to be located along the equator to keep the ribbon taut as it relies on centrifugal forces though a location for the space elevator hasn’t been revealed by the company just yet. Using magnetic linear motors, the cable car running along the space cable will be able to transport 30 passengers at a time.

The idea to have to use an elevator-like structure to reach into outer space was first propagated by Konstantin Tsiolkovsky, a Russian scientist, in 1895 who was inspired by the structure of the then newly erected Eiffel Tower to put forward the notion that the geostationary orbit of the earth cab be reached via a free-standing tower. Though the concept remained a popular theory among science fiction writers, the idea is now being seriously explored by world space agencies and NASA.

A significant obstacle in turning the notion into reality has been finding a strong and lightweight material to create the ling cable. However, scientists at Obayashi Corp believe that carbon nanotubes can be effectively used to fashion this cable and make the dream a reality. The company hasn't revealed the estimated cost of the project though they intend to have it ready and fully functional by 2050.

Via: Gizmag


Zetra Vehicle to move you safely in extreme weather conditions

Posted: 25 Feb 2012 01:37 AM PST

Rohit Ram Singh:

The Problem

Climate change has been a concern for environmentalists over the last decade. Several theories have been provided to mend what we broke. Nothing has been concluded yet about what exactly needs to be done. Storms hit countless times, more than ever before in the history of mankind. Floods loom and claim massive loss of life and money. Since there is no breakthrough in the topic it is expected that the ecological balance will get worse in the upcoming years. The imbalance will result in massive natural disasters like we've never seen before. Something needs to be done to avoid the catastrophe.

Zetra Extreme Weather Vehicle
Zetra Extreme Weather Vehicle

How serious it is?

Last year an earthquake of magnitude 8.9 shook Japan on March 11, 2011. This earthquake lasted for five minutes and the aftermath caused tsunami, which claimed 15,000 lives. One can easily hear about disasters everyday over television. Similar incidents have been washing out a lot of resources. Saving one's life become the highest priority in accidents like these. Wouldn't it be great if we had something that could help us escape to some safe place during the disaster? We really need to get used to it with measures to avoid them effectively.

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Zetra Extreme Weather Vehicle
Zetra is an escape mechanism in case of a natural disaster and extreme weather

The Panacea

Zetra Extreme Weather Vehicle E.W.V is a concept vehicle designed by Adis Sabic. The vehicle would help people escape from the potential dangerous areas to safer land. The vehicle has the potential to commute on all type of extreme weather conditions. Extra care has been taken for user safety. This vehicle can withstand heavy impacts like stones and flying signboards. The passengers are seated in the inner capsule that protects them. The capsule is inside a gel layer that absorbs shock. The gel damping system works as suspension for the capsule and hence the passengers stay safe. Glasshouse and side door peaks through the gel layer. The design might be in the market by 2030.

The Inspiration

Several types of tough vehicles are made for special uses especially in military. These vehicles push boundaries and can travel in tough terrain and weather. We can use this existing technology to develop a vehicle that could actually help people get out of danger prone areas. This inspired designers to sketch out some vehicles which could withstand tough conditions. With the nature going more cruel and frequent with its disastrous acts the need of such vehicles would be at threshold.

Difficulties

Potential difficulties include the case of flood. What if the vehicle is drowned? The vehicle could be made air tight so that water cannot enter the vehicle. Then a mechanism would be needed to provide oxygen to the commuters. Also there are big chances that the vehicle gets swept away by the impact of water. But these are just special cases. In general this vehicle would be effective in case of a catastrophe.

Alternatives:

1. Futuristic Landstorm Concept Vehicle

It is an all terrain vehicle designed for the future. This vehicle has interchangeable pods so that it can also be sent in rescue missions. These vehicles can tread in impossible terrains to supply food, water and transportation in case of a disaster. It also has medical pod that has the ability to treat two patients simultaneously. Four independent wheels working on hydraulics provide massive power to climb any hurdles. The hydraulics is connected to motors powered by hydrogen fuel cells. The wheels have small pods too to provide better grip. Wheels have hooks that can be used to remove debris. It has a multisight camera for easy and safe drive.

Futuristic landstorm concept vehicle
Futuristic landstorm concept vehicle

2. Ford Rescue X

Rescue X is a tough terrain vehicle designed by Robert Engelmann. The vehicle has been designed for medical emergencies. It has a medical module and surgery equipment controlled through computers. It has two seats in the front for the driver and other operator and a closed medical pod. The surgical equipment can also be operated by a remote person for an emergency surgery.

Ford Rescue x
Ford Rescue x

3. Compact Alpine Rescue Vehicle

Mountaineering is one of the most popular adventure sports but it can sometimes get very serious and dangerous. This vehicle works on a diesel engine and it runs on a rubber track system with steel bands. The vehicle has air suspension to avoid jerks on tough terrain. It also has a pod that can accommodate a stretcher. This vehicle can run in tough conditions be it any weather.

Compact Alpine Rescue Vehicle
Compact Alpine Rescue Vehicle


Alternative input technologies to sweep modern gadgetry

Posted: 25 Feb 2012 01:03 AM PST

Rohit Ram Singh:

The trend:

Speech recognition has come a long way since its creation. You get to see a voice enabled system every now and then however the technology has also received a lot of criticism. We can't really decide yet if the technology is good enough or not as there is a lot more to see. The idea of talking to the machine while others watch and giggle is going to be past since more and more devices are incorporating this technology. Along with speech recognition other alternative input technologies like gesture recognition and RFID have also been successfully used in some gadgets. People find touching the screen easier than any of these.

Alternative input devices
Alternative input devices

The inspiration:

Some of these technologies have been used in smartphones and GPS systems successfully. Siri would shortly be coming into the market as a new voice controlled OS for iPhone. A working Siri has also received a lot of appreciation. People have always used voice commands on automated customer service systems, games and GPS etc. Soon it will no longer be bizarre to scream at your phone. The technology used at home is getting complicated every day hence alternative methods have to be developed to overcome this complexity. A voice command is as effective as pressing a few buttons or navigating into menu via touchscreen. It is effortless and fast which is the need of today's fast paced world. All these factors are going to support sales of products with alternative input technology.

What makes them so special?

Voice recognition:

A lot of apps have been made for iPhone and android that could be operated with voice commands. Apart from this, designers have tried to come up with a lot of similar gadgets with dependent hardware. This technology can be used in HDTV's to control programs since it has become very messy with lot of channels. This technology would very soon be appearing in gadgets widely. Voice recognition could also be used for security check systems.

Gesture Control:

Kinect was a huge success for Microsoft last year. It became the most popular gesture controlled device previous year. Gesture recognition can be used in several ways. They can be used to navigate interfaces with pointing fingers and hence could be used as virtual controllers. It is a great technology for remote control. It has already appeared in gaming industry in form of Kinect. Gestures can be recognized by using wired gloves, depth aware cameras and Stereo cameras.

Near Field Communication:

NFC enables two similar devices to interact when bought in contact or small distance of a few centimeters. This technology can be applied in several ways for example contactless transactions and data exchange. The protocol used in such communication is very similar to what RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) uses. This technology can also be applied in security check and access points. Demonstrative prototypes have been presented by a lot of innovators and designers.

Related Trends:

1. Siri

Siri is a smart app for iPhone that can act as a virtual assistant. The app can answer simple questions and make suggestions. The app first appeared in 2010 and the company has announced that they will be making the same app for blackberry and android phones too. Siri is now integrated with IOS 5.

Siri
Siri

2. Microsoft Kinect

Microsoft's camera based gesture recognition made a great impact last year and continues to grow. It is a webcam like attachment that lets the user interact with the gaming console using gestures. The idea behind this device was to get a wider audience. Also the device holds a Guinness record for fastest selling consumer electronic with 8 million units sold in just 60 days after the release.

Kinect
Kinect

3. Yale Door Locks

Yale is the most popular lock manufacturer in the world. Recently they came up with a door lock system that uses NFC technology in the smartphones. To open the door you just have to bring your smartphone is close proximity of the lock. The lock technology is also compatible with zigbee home automation system. This would help you import all the digital keys right into your smartphone. The product is expected to appear in the market very soon.

Yale door locks
Yale door locks

What's next?

1. Brainwave Technology

Brainwave technology is based on detecting waves generated in the brain according to the thought patterns. This technology could be developed as intuitive control. This means you could perform the function just by thinking of it. You might think this concept to be hypothetical right now, but research on brainwaves has already got an early breakthrough. Scientists have demonstrated a basic model which proves the central functionality of capturing brainwaves and decoding them. This technology would also be useful for patients suffering from paralysis.

Brainwave technology
Brainwave technology

2. Biometrics

Biometrics is a technology that enables an automated system to recognize a person based on physical traits or behavioral trait. Biometrics has the main application in access management and authentication. The technology is used in Walt Disney World to ensure that the person who bought the ticket is the same person using it. The physical traits include things like hand prints, hand geometry, iris and face. Behavioral traits are related to basic characteristics of men like voice, typing rhythm and way of walking.

Biometrics
Biometrics


Bus Shelter System and City Furniture promotes art at bus stops

Posted: 25 Feb 2012 12:59 AM PST

Asmita Prasad:

Specially created for the city of Lexington, Kentucky, the Bus Shelter System and City Furniture Concept by designer Mike McKay is a new modular design that makes waiting for buses more pleasurable for passengers. The futuristic design is composed of modular components which can be assembled on or off site. The design is comprised mainly of digitally cut sheet steel and glass panels that give the design a distinct futuristic look without appearing too farfetched in its form.

Bus Shelter System and City Furniture
Bus Shelter System and City Furniture

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Bus Shelter System and City Furniture
Bus Shelter System and City Furniture by Mike Mckay

Under the media tower and the main media/art cabinet, stands the foundation footer that is situated along two points in the design and the structure is bolted to the pre-laid foundation to make it more secure and stable. The Bus Shelter System and City Furniture Concept are also intended as a space for promoting and highlighting work of art by local/international artists and add to the culture of the city.

The design is primarily at providing the passengers with an entertaining yet secure shelter that can feature a number of media/entertainment options without incurring a huge carbon footprint. The sustainable design is intended to last for decades without requiring any hardcore maintenance or overhaul and used transparent solar panels laid along the roof of the structure to help provide green power to the media units of the shelter.

Source: Mike McKay


Flexible Muse Touchscreen Headphones redefine wireless headsets

Posted: 25 Feb 2012 12:24 AM PST

Asmita Prasad:

The Muse Touchscreen Headphones Concept by designer Chris Tan came into existence as a response for the need to have an easy to use pair of headphones that is suited to the active lifestyle of the urban sportsman. For the parkour professional, the skateboarder or even the professional with a hectic commute, the Muse Touchscreen Headphones Concept provides a wireless, button-free intuitive music playing experience that makes music playing a hassle free experience.

Muse Touchscreen Headphones Concept
Muse Touchscreen Headphones Concept

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Muse Touchscreen Headphones Concept
Muse Touchscreen Headphones Concept by Chris Tan

The touch friendly interface of the design allows users to simply tap on the sides of the headphone to play or pause the music with a double tap stopping the player altogether. To scroll, users can slide their fingers along the player sideways, which also fast forwards through the current track when a song is being played and scrolls through the playlists through the same action.

The fully personalizable interface of the Muse Touchscreen Headphones Concept allows users to put up custom selected wallpapers on the digital display of the device. The full color e-ink screen allows users to put up digital wallpapers as well as pictures and other images on the band. The muse’s hidden microphones also let you pick up calls when you sync the phone with a smartphone via a Wi-Fi or Bluetooth. The unique flexible headband of the Muse Touchscreen Headphones Concept also allows users to bend it into a desired shape so they can wear it as a fashion accessory as well.

[Cheers Chris]


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