The Design blog

The Design blog


Move over ding dong bell, the Swann MP3 DJ Doorbell makes answering the door fun

Posted: 14 Mar 2012 06:52 AM PDT

Asmita Prasad:

Just like the "ring ring" call of the old telephone has been replaced by mp3 ringtones, the old "ding dong" of the doorbell too should be replaced by a custom mp3 audio file or a polyphonic tone. The MP3 DJ Doorbell lets users customize the boring old doorbell with funky new sounds as well as beloved songs in mp3 format. Super easy to install, the wireless music doorbell is completely customizable with a speaker unit that can be mounted anywhere in the home and a doorbell unit that can be attached to the main door with double sided tape.

MP3 DJ Doorbell
MP3 DJ Doorbell

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Wireless Music Doorbell
MP3 DJ Doorbell - Customizable Wireless Music Doorbell

As the two units operate completely wirelessly, they can be positioned as far as 100 meters away from each other. Both the units are battery powered and can be operated on reachable batteries to make them more eco-friendly. Depending on the frequency of visitors you get your door, you can fill a 2GB SD card with 600 of your favorite songs and if you like more variety, you can even store up to 10,00 songs on a 32GB card for use with the doorbell.

Since the speaker unit can be easily connected to the computer via a USB cable, you don't need to find an additional SD card reader to transfer files to and from the unit. The software bundled with the product allows you to customize the mp3 files to be played at a certain point when the doorbell is pressed so you don't have to edit the songs before storing them in the card. The mp3 player like controls of the speaker unit allows the unit to be used as a portable mp3 player as well.

Wireless Music DoorbellMP3 DJ Doorbell - Customizable Wireless Music Doorbell

Source: Swann


Levitating homes rise to the occasion during natural disasters

Posted: 14 Mar 2012 06:50 AM PDT

Asmita Prasad:

The problem

It's been just over a year since a devastating 9.0 magnitude earthquake hit the eastern part of Japan followed by a massive tsunami that wiped out entire cities, towns and communities. The shock and horror of the disaster lives on in public memory but there is still are many great lessons to be learnt from the catastrophe in terms of what architects and town planners can do to save as many homes and as many homeowners as they can in the event of a seismological disturbance.

Airlift system
Airlift system

How serious it is?

Japan is one of the most earthquake prone nations in the world and stands at the forefront of the world in terms of designing buildings that can withstand earthquakes. However, the Great East Japan Earthquake of 2011 showed that the technology is far from perfect and much work still remains in ensuring that buildings and structures can survive earthquakes without much damage in the future.

Even with the most up-to-date building codes and architectural innovations, the 2011 earthquake and tsunami in Japan resulted in economic losses costing around $210 billion with more than 15,000 recorded deaths and left thousands of people missing. From the 1980s onwards, over 75-78,000 people have died annually as a result of natural disasters. Even though unpredictable phenomenon like an earthquake cannot be predicted, having earthquake-, tsunami- and hurricane-resistant buildings can help save thousand of people every year.

The panacea

Air Danshin System Inc., a Japanese company has come up with an airbag-fitted levitation system that can raise a house above the level of the ground to protect it from the effect of seismological disturbance. The system is automatically activated by seismic activity via a sensor. When the system senses that the ground has become unstable, it activates the compressors of the system in a mere 0.5 to 1 second which instantly fills up the airbags and the home is lifted off the ground level and the effects of an earthquake are dampened to an extent. Over 88 homes across the country have been fitted with this system and many more are in the process of getting the system installed.

The inspiration

Constructing buildings slightly higher than ground level has been a widely applied technique in earthquake resistant building design though one of the major inspirations behind the creation of the Airlift is the Maglev magnetic levitation system that is used in monorails and bullet trains. Since magnetic levitation doesn't require contact between the structure of the train and the rails, it negates friction as a result of which the train essentially "flies" above the rails. During an earthquake, any structure or object rooted to the ground is affected and thus, the further away from the surface of the earth a building is, the lesser it would be affected by seismic activity.

How it works

When seismic activity is detected, a detector in the system is automatically triggered. This causes the tank of air to inflate the airbags which raises the artificial foundation of the house by 3 cm off the ground. This allows the home to hover over the ground and is thus protected from the damage-causing shaking of the ground. The airbags automatically deflate once the seismic activity ceases. This ensures that the structure of the building remains safe from violent shaking of the ground and the damage is minimized.

What makes it so special?

Compared to other systems, the Airlift system is relatively low in cost and requires little maintenance. The earthquake-proofing system is based on an artificial foundation which allows the house to be lifted as high as 3cm off the ground within 0.5 to 1 second as the air is pushed into its air tank. Since seismic activity is detected through the system's sensor, the first signs of rumblings of earthquakes are responded to which means that right from the time the very first vibrations are recorded, homes are lifted off the ground. This allows structures to escape being hit by more intense waves and thus damage can be contained.

Airlift systemLevitating homes rise to the occasion during natural disasters

The alternatives:

1. Bamboo homes for quake-prone Haiti

Bamboo homes for quake-prone Haiti
Bamboo homes for quake-prone Haiti

These vertical bamboo homes are a refreshingly new concept by design studio St Val Architect and respond to the need for quake-proof housing in seismically sensitive areas like Haiti. Molded it into a cocoon shape, the homes use locally available natural fibers that are interwoven using traditional basket weaving techniques and is based on space segmentation architecture. Resistant to high winds and floods, the homes are also earthquake-safe since bamboo is both flexible and strong.

2. Haiti Mountain House

Haiti Mountain House
Haiti Mountain House

Following the devastation of the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, architects and designers around the world started looking for affordable and quake-proof housing solution to ensure that populations in the less privileged parts of the world are protected from such disasters. This specially designed disaster relief house for Haiti is created by NC-office, a Miami firm. Four rooms built inside 8' x 8' modules allow each house to use minimum available space. Kitchen and bathroom are allocated separate spaces and the sleeping quarters are separated from living and dining area. A porch upfront provides residents with a private front yard. The required electricity for the residents is generated by a single 1 KW solar panel and rainwater is harvested for use in the house. To take care of the sewage, self composting units are installed for each house. Solid sliding panels, mosquito nets and decorative metal grills provide cross ventilation and are placed on the top of the walls.

3. Core house

Core house
Core house

Renowned Miami architect and planner Andrés Duany is the brains behind this mold-proof, waterproof, fireproof, hurricane- and earthquake-resistant house concept called the Core House. The prefabricated house accommodates eight people and in intended as an expandable temporary dwelling to be used as a solution for post-quake housing crisis. Created using space-age materials that are near indestructible, the bunkhouse-like structure features stripped-down exteriors to counter extreme weather. To ensure that the house design does not compromise with strength and durability, it is made from very thin composite material that make packaging and shipping to affected areas a less messy affair. With a floor about eight by 20 feet, the house stands at over eight feet in height and is rectangular in shape. With provisions for sanitation and sewage systems, the Core House is covered with waterproof fabric panels that offer protection from showers. The house comes with space for outdoor cooking and shade and shelter can also be provided to this area with a canopy. To permit air circulation, the structure will be covered with screens along sides of the prefab house.


Le Caisson floating platform minimizes damage to river beds during soil decontamination

Posted: 14 Mar 2012 06:48 AM PDT

Asmita Prasad:

Developed for aquatic environment-based soil decontamination operations, this motorized floating platform called Le Caisson is created by designer Pascal Godin. The main function of the platform is to support an industrial container extracting soil from river bed and bringing the same back to the shore where it would be sent to a decontamination treatment center by a trailer truck. Normrock Industries' amphibious excavator would serve as the primary extraction machine. Traditional excavating heavy machinery usually destroys the river shores during decontamination practices and the Le Caisson is proposed as an environment friendly alternative to the problem.

Le Caisson
Le Caisson

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Le Caisson
Le Caisson by Pascal Godin

Remote and hard to reach places would be easily accessible with the floating machinery and damage to the aquatic environment would be minimized. Four hydraulic pillars situated at corners of Le Caisson are used during static operations to stabilize the boat and to anchor the platform to the bottom of the lake or river. The pillars can be plunged underwater and can be oriented vertically. In a crawling maneuver through swamps and shallow waters, these pillars can also help the ship to navigate easily.

When the soil decontamination container is filled with a mix of mud and water, the platform's roll stability is increased via its multi-hull geometry. In order to give a better visibility to the ship's crew over and around the container situated on the bridge, the cockpit is shifted to the side and elevated. To meet the maximum height required on U.S. roads during the ship's transport on a trailer truck, the roof can be lowered due to flexible cabin architecture. For maintenance or installation purposes, a pipeline can be run through the whole ship thanks to the flexible ship layout.


Hybrid carriage seating makes journey easy for elderly and disabled

Posted: 14 Mar 2012 06:44 AM PDT

Shallu Sharma:

The importance of two things possibly grows with age and becomes more vital than any other: health and money. A survey illustrates that around 52 percent of people using public transportation is elderly people and despite of the fact elderly and disabled people are at the biggest inconvenience when it comes to communal transportation. Public transportation provides no room to fit wheelchair and is very noisy. Congested and cramped transport discourages people from using it. What we need is a seating that allows impaired people to access and move about in public transportation without any restraint. Marc Holliday, an industrial designer has come up with the Hybrid Train seating to allow old and disabled people to move around freely with family and friends in a hassle free manner.

Motion
Motion

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Motion
Motion, hybrid train seating by Marc Holliday

As suggested by its name the seat can be transformed from standard seat to a perched seat through built in motor. This inner motor not only changes the position of the seat but also act as a weight to move seat toward the back and front. This seating plan becomes useful especially for rush hours as with more floor space more and more people could be accommodated in the carriage, saving everyone's journey time. The hybrid seat takes three positions namely, seated, mid-fold and perched.

The basic idea behind this seating plan was to make public transportation more likable and effective for the wider range of people, especially physically challenged and elderly people so that they are not forced to sit by the doors of the carriage for getting down without difficulty.

Source: Marcholliday


ICT Experience Center, a storehouse of playful learning for tech freaks

Posted: 14 Mar 2012 06:41 AM PDT

Jaspreet Kaur Walia:

Not every day does someone come across a design as brilliant as the ICT Experience Center! A brainchild of Studio 1:1, a design firm based in Netherlands, the place will act as a perfect host and act as a meeting point for educators, managers, reactors. These people from the education sector can come together where they will fetch the much required inspiration and learn about the latest developments in the Information and Communications or ICT sector.

ICT Center
ICT Center

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ICT Center
Learning Center For Tech Geeks Inspired By A Computer's Guts

Studio 1:1 joined hands with Stichting Kennisnet and the result was the ICT Experience Center, which comprises of office space spread on various floors. This available space can be rented and will attract ambassadors from various parts of the world. The uber cool design has a semi closed seating area that looks like an outdated computer port and will further speed up the thinking process once someone is in there. All the workstations will comprise of data and power plugs, while there are other spots where one will be triggered to stand and strike a conversation with others.

The walls have been ornamented in a unique way and the site of old keyboard keys will wow onlookers. One will be able to savor computer hardware art as well, which is definitely interesting, which is of course functional and adds an additive charm to the surreal place. There is technology everywhere and even the floors have been given a taste of it. Made to look like circuit boards, are the lines on the floor, which do everything to fetch unending attention. Giving a tasteful appeal are the LED strips wedged in the ceiling, which gracefully mirror the stripes present on the floor.

ICT Experience Center is a fun and playful space, which will calm educators as they feel the rush to move ahead with ever changing technology.

Via: Fastcodesign


Halo Pod mobile food cooker can help you stick to diet resolutions

Posted: 14 Mar 2012 06:33 AM PDT

Asmita Prasad:

Created by designer Kristina Vuletic for the Electrolux Design Lab 2011, the Halo Pod is a modular cooking system for the diet conscious consumer on the go. The pod is fitted with individually controlled units that cook food on the go so that whenever the user needs to have lunch or dinner, they get a freshly cooked meal everytime. The three essential components of a well balanced meal, namely vegetable, carbohydrate and protein, are cooked in different parts of the pod that feature settings customized to the cook times of different foods.

Halo Pod Mobile Cooking System
Halo Pod Mobile Cooking System

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Halo Pod Mobile Cooking System
Halo Pod Mobile Cooking System by Kristina Vuletic

For a person of a medium fitness level and a medium build, the Halo Pod prepares a sufficient amount of food. Wireless induction technology fitted within the handle of the pod transmits power to individual pods to cook the food stored in different modules. Each pod comes fitted with a magnetic lock at its back which makes transport of the entire unit easier.

Pod one is designed for high heat cooking and frying of proteins and vegetables and accommodates 250 milliliters in volume. Pod two is designed to cook vegetables, grains or sauces and accommodates 500 milliliters in volume. Pod three accommodates is sufficient for cooking a portion of grains, vegetables or soup a can hold 750 milliliters in volume. An induction coil in the base of each pod individually heats each pod. As neither pod is reliant on one another, multiple pod use combinations can be configured according to the needs of the user. A colander lid allows for easy draining of excess liquid and while the unit is being transported, a sealed lid prevents spills.

Heat resistant Polyeretherethreketone (PEEK) plastic is used to fashion the Finger Safe grips on the cooking bowl and the bowl base for easy handling and transport. Each pod can be independently operated by touch controls and the cooking bowls constructed of porcelain can be used as crockery. The recipe book application, connectivity status between the pods and the on/off status of the pods is indicated by lights that help users conserve power.

[Cheers Kristina]


Tag Heuer joins the smartphone bandwagon with luxury Racer

Posted: 14 Mar 2012 06:30 AM PDT

Jaspreet Kaur Walia:

Joining the smart phone race in style is Tag Heuer known for offering finely crafted luxury watches. Christened the Racer Smartphone, it is bound to create ripples in the world of luxury gadgets with its flamboyance. The ostentatious creation is light in weight and comes tagged with the much required strength, despite its delicate looks.

Tag Heuer Racer smartphone
Tag Heuer Racer smartphone

The avant-garde innovation by the luxury watchmaker has fetched quite some inspiration from GT and Formula 1 racing cars that leave people wheezing. It been fashioned out of high-tech materials that is clubbed with engineering like never before. The ultra hi-end phone is android based, which has a carbon fiber and titanium outer skin. The rubber chassis is capable of absorbing all shocks, while giving it the much needed support and strength are the carbon fiber bridges and screwed in titanium.

Tag Heuer unveils Racer smartphone
Tag Heuer unveils Racer smartphone

The great fusion of opulence and performance gives the Racer Smart phone supreme torsion as well as strength to weight ratio. The thirst for being the best is evident from the presence of a high speed processor and most modern Android software under its aesthetically pleasing skin. The phone will feature a customizable 3D user interface, which will give buyers a flexibility to tweak it as per their individual needs. Tag Heuer Racer Smart phone is expected to come stashed with a starting price of 2800 Euros and will go on sale at Tag Heuer boutiques as well as luxury watch and jewelry retailers in July this year.

Tag Heuer unveils Racer smartphoneRacer is an Android-based smartphone inspired by GT and Formula 1 racing cars

Via: Asia.cnet


SunBloc by HelioMet has an eco conscious design that runs on solar energy

Posted: 14 Mar 2012 06:25 AM PDT

Radhicka S Saxena:

This design, by a team at London Metropolitan University, is quite remarkable. The team known as HelioMet comprises students from the Department of Architecture and Spatial Design at the university. The masterpiece crafted by them is designated SunBloc. What commemorates the design is the fact that it is the only UK entry at the global US competition organized by the Department of Energy, namely; Solar Decathlon Europe 2012. The competition encourages universities to build sustainable designs that function on solar energy. The designers can also apply a few other energy efficient technologies to build their design.

HelioMet's SunBloc
HelioMet's SunBloc

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HelioMet's SunBloc
HelioMet's SunBloc answer to sustainable urban development

The modeling of SunBloc is quite outstanding. The structure is made from lightweight and affordable materials. The pioneering approach applies the PassivHaus strategy. The abode can survive in different environment settings. Also, the market prospects of this structure are promising. The design of the building can be customized according to the buyers liking. The interiors and furnishing are slotted in the house beforehand. Thus, the layout looks downright impeccable and planned to the notch.

The structure is also energy efficient. Latest breakthroughs from the field of solar photovoltaic and solar thermal technology have been used to construct the house. Not only does the structure use clean and green energy, the amount of power generated is also plentiful. The energy produced can juice up the building and also a few other edifices surrounding it. In fact, solar power can also be supplied to the building on which SunBloc is stationed.

Via: HelioMet


Lumi Us night lamp helps parents connect with kids just like in fairy tales

Posted: 14 Mar 2012 06:21 AM PDT

Radhicka S Saxena:

Guess what, the design of this lamp is designed to strengthen the bond between children and parents, especially the ones who go out of town on business trips often. Kids miss you when you are away. If outings are a regular feature, then the child could begin to hold grudges against you. Every concerned parent tries to avoid this scenario by keeping in touch often and this lamp will help immensely to bridge the gap.

Lumi-Us night lamp
Lumi-Us night lamp

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Lumi-Us night lamp
Lumi-Us night lamp by sebastiaan

Firstly, the bulb has an engaging design that kids will love. It has a coiled outline, like objects you see in magical movies, and it emits a subtle luminescence. Audio recordings can be dispatched to the lamp. Two symbols can also be sent along with the message. Meant to be a night lamp, it is a good idea to place this light near the bed. Thus, the messages can be heard out conveniently at the end of the day. The child has to pick the bulb to access messages. Viewing messages will feel like an imaginary conversation between the parent and child. After the listening to the message, the light can be easily blown out, which adds tremendously to the experience.

Your child can listen to messages leisurely when they go to bed each day. Surely, this will make your kid feel a lot more secure. Additionally, it imparts a feeling that you are still around when you are actually away on a trip. The piece brings predictability into your child's life. By listening to your message the same time every day, they feel that you care enough and will always be around for them. It will definitely give children assurance that you lookout for their safety and well being.

Lumi-Us night lampLumi-Us night lamp by sebastiaan

Via: Sebastiaanpijnappel


DLR Driving Simulator to help drivers avoid congestion on city roads

Posted: 14 Mar 2012 06:17 AM PDT

Aman Lamba:

The German Aerospace Center’s Institute of Transport Systems is committed to prevent road and rail accidents by efficiently managing the traffic through their cutting-edge technology, risk analysis, and transportation assistance systems. The recent outcome of their research is a driving simulator which is based on the concept of car2infrastructure communication. The concept centers on providing external assistance to the drivers via driving assistance systems which will communicate with the traffic signals to give speed recommendations to the driver.

DLR Driving Simulator
DLR Driving Simulator

The simulator is a glimpse of the institute’s research on automation and assistance and was recently put to show at the CeBIT 2012, the world’s largest trade fare show featuring Digital IT and Telecommunications solutions, which took place from 6th to 10th March in Hanover, Germany. The visitors were welcomed to step in the simulator and have a hands-on experience of the state-of-art technology. This technology will help the urban drivers to avoid congestion on the road through intelligent mobility communications. The traffic lights will communicate with the car to help the vehicle pass as many traffic signals as possible towards its destination by following the speed suggestions.

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DLR Driving Simulator
Driving Simulator from German Aerospace Center (DLR)

This technology can be soon witnessed operating live on the roads of central Germany. Application Platform for Intelligent Mobility (AIM), a research platform for transport related applications, along with German Aerospace Center is currently working to transform their research into intelligent transportation applications in the state of Lower Saxony, Germany. According to the project requirements, the city of Braunschweig, with a population of under one million, provides ideal conditions for the research. AIM will be monitoring the whole area and its transportation infrastructure to carry out the research.

A navigation system is quickly becoming a part of every car’s interior mechanics. By incorporating an intelligent driving assistance system along, it can help the driver to smartly deal with the traffic congestion.

Via: Akihabaranews


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