The Design blog

The Design blog


Draco electric monster to outburst your fire for music

Posted: 04 Apr 2012 07:00 AM PDT

Asmita Prasad:

Created by the master craftsman from Emerald Guitars for a Thai customer Ekkasit, this bass guitar is fashioned after the dragon guitar the artist created for Wang Leehom. The form of this freaky guitar named "Draco" is made to resemble an outstretched dragon in flight with most of the details being focused at the back of the sculpture. The design was born with a dragon that sat on the headstock looking down at its older sibling and the build was finished with tuning buttons in the shape of miniature dragons that commissioned from a local jeweler. The chrome-finished dragon was then fitted with blue LED eyes and fitted with all the necessary guitar fittings. Even though the guitar is more of an art sculpture that you'd love to hang on your wall, it is still fully functional and we're sure its owner would attract a lot of attention holding this up on a stage in front of a crowd full of girls!

Draco electric guitar
Draco electric guitar

Draco electric guitar
Draco electric guitar

Draco electric guitar
Draco electric guitar

Draco electric guitar
Draco electric guitar

Draco electric guitar
Draco electric guitar

Draco electric guitar
Draco electric guitar

Draco electric guitar
Draco electric guitar

Draco electric guitar
Draco electric guitar

Draco electric guitar
Draco electric guitar

Draco electric guitar
Draco electric guitar

Draco electric guitar
Draco electric guitar


Retrofittable plug in cooktop helps prevent cooking fire

Posted: 04 Apr 2012 06:59 AM PDT

Asmita Prasad:

Senior citizens living alone are always at risk of kitchen accidents and a cooking fire is the scariest one. A few repeated instances of the same are often sufficient to scare family and friends enough to suggest that the elderly opt for moving into residential care units or retirement homes if hiring a caretaker isn't a viable option. Cooking fires are also an ever present danger in household where a stay at home parent has to take care of a few young children which can be very distracting and can cause them to leave a pot or pan on a flame unattended which can cause a fire. Though smart induction cooking ranges are seen as a great alternative to the problem, they may not fit every budget which is why the Cookaware retrofittable plug-in cooktop by designer Daniel To can be a real life saver.

Cookaware
Cookaware

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Cookaware
Cookaware Retrofittable plug-in cooktop by Daniel To

The ceramic electric cooktop can be easily retrofitted on top of an existing cooking range to help users create a more secure cooking environment in their kitchens without blowing the bank. Once the electric and gas supply to the existing cooktop has been disconnected by a professional, the base of the Cookaware cooktop can be placed on top of it. The wonderful aspect of the plug in device is that users still have the option of using their regular cooking ranges when they need it and can used the Cookaware for more day to day cooking.

The cooktop itself comes with an intuitive interface with an easy to understand layout, buttons and icons that allows the users to learn to use it almost instantly. To ensure that pots and pans never get hot enough to catch fire but still get enough heat to fry and boil contents, additional heat sensors are used in the unit.

The unit also comes with a handful of preset functions like "boil" and "fry" and when the "boil" function is selected, the cooktop automatically regulates temperatures to ensure that the contents of a pan simmer at a lower heat for a selected time once the pot has come to a boil. Similarly, in the "fry" function, a constant level of heat is maintained to ensure optimal frying and the temperature is regulated to prevent burning.

A system of colored light strips inform the user of different cooking modes while proximity sensors are set to detect when a pot has been left unattended and a red light is flashed. If the user responds to this as an intentional incident, the warning subsides otherwise the red light continues to flash with an audio prompt every 15 seconds warning the user about an unattended pot. After the warning has been flashing for more than 2 minutes, the element automatically switches off to prevent accidental fires.


IBM’s supercomputer to crack the big bang

Posted: 04 Apr 2012 06:47 AM PDT

Radhicka S Saxena:

The big bang theory has intrigued so many people and the fascination to find out the mysteries of the universe has set off umpteen experiments. It's no wonder therefore that the efforts to unravel the obscure have always been in operation. A pioneering project in this line is from IBM. The company is going to build a supercomputer capable to looking millions of years into the past to exhume the secrets of the cosmos. Read on to find out more about this ambitious venture taken up by IBM.

IBM computer machine
IBM computer machine

The biggest computer anyone has ever seen, this one will cover an expanse of 1900 square miles. The collection area will extend to an expanse of one square kilometer and its width will be really humongous, almost equivalent to the breadth of continental United States, and it will be known as the Square Kilometer Array (SKA). SKA will scan the space to absorb electromagnetic radiation. It will be able to spot an airport radar located even 50 light years away. The SKA will have several really sensitive 15 m dishes and low as well as medium frequency aperture arrays. The medium frequency aperture arrays will be able to scan more than one part of the sky in a single go. Of course, a whopping magnitude of brawn will be required to run such a computer. Hence, 3D “stacks” of computer chips will be used to generate it.

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IBM computer machine
IBM building most powerful computer in history to unravel origin of the universe

This setup will consist of a powerful survey telescope with millions of antennas to sop up radio telescope data. The computer will be able to see 13 billion years into the past. Furthermore, it will be able to check the origin of the universe as well. Its abilities are absolutely extraordinary. It will be able to investigate dark matter, evolving galaxies and will also be able to look into the fine details of galaxies. It can even dig up more information about black holes so it can also find out if life exists beyond the solar system. Moreover, it even allows the theory of relativity to be tested. The amount of data unearthed will be so colossal that it will completely change our perception of the universe.

If you still find the concept hard to fathom, then take a look at a few interesting facts complied below. The amount of information this computer can process is astounding. It will sift through twice the amount of information gushing through the internet and will also run through more than 100 times the information produced by the Large Hadron Collider. It will make the fastest PC's present today seem a million times slower and will also work 10000 times faster than most instruments of today. Also, it will be 50 times more sensitive than former radio devices. For a single beam per square kilometer, at least a few exabytes of data will be produced. Throughout the year, anywhere between 300 to 1500 Petabytes of data will be stored in the machine.

This is truly a revolutionary discovery and the facts it will bring to light will leave the whole world flabbergasted. Its construction will commence from 2016 and will be completed by 2024. Don't think that this prospect is too far fetched as a prototype of SKA known as KAT-7 is currently being tested in South Africa’s Karoo Desert.

Via: Dailymail


Veliac Three electric tricycle for a safe and sustainable ride

Posted: 04 Apr 2012 06:46 AM PDT

Jaspreet Kaur Walia:

Tricycles are any day more stable and comfortable to ride than a bicycle. Options like transport and electric tricycles exist, but are often not opted because of the forced handling that comes tagged with such designs. The turning radius is wide, which can be a trouble when it comes to maneuvering it through traffic chocked areas. The Veliac Three electric bike has been designed by 50cycles keeping all these things in mind.

Veliac Three
Veliac Three

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Veliac Three
‘Veliac Three’ electric bike by 50cycles

The tricycle weighs 29 kg or 64 lbs and has a steel frame, which gives it sturdy traits. The design will overcome the wide turning radius drawback as it will be given a tilting axis balancing system. This system will make sure that the bike leans into the corners from the front half, without disturbing the level or balance of the back cargo. Controlling the tricycle is quite easy and can be done by throttle controls on the handlebar or by pedaling.

Veliac Three can touch a speed of 25 km/h or 15.5 mph with the presence of 8 FUN brushless motors or a three speed pedaling system that is power assisted. The design comes fitted with a 36 volt lithium ion battery, which can cover a distance of 35 kilometers on a single charge. The user friendly tricycle comprises of a light, turning indicators, dual brakes and horn that will make sure the ride is safe. The stable electric design with a short turning radius comes stashed with a price tag of $2,390.

Via: Designboom


Rowing a boat in the dark feels less creepy when you have 'RO Light' with you

Posted: 04 Apr 2012 06:33 AM PDT

Asmita Prasad:

Rowing a boat in the dark can be one of the most eerie experiences in the world and trying to navigate a row boat at night using a flashlight or a lantern on board can be equally as taxing. However, for people who just can't seem to help going out in the water in less than optimal conditions, the RO Lighting set can be a really handy tool. The two-part light fixture can be easily screwed together around either side of an oar to help illuminate the area along the sides of the boats to help rowers navigate better at night.

RO lighting
RO lighting

To fit oars of differing sizes, the RO light comes with a rubber part that can be used to secure the light snugly to the oar and prevent slippage. The light fixture itself comes with a water proof cover made in crystal that enhances the intensity of the light being produced by the six LED bulbs used in the light.

These lights are can be powered by both solar power as well as the kinetic energy that is generated during the rowing process though the designer has not yet specified what kind of a battery pack would be used to store the energy that would power the LED lamps on the light.

RO lighting
RO lighting

To ensure that the oar don't float away from the boat along with the lights, a lock component is provided with the RO light that allows users to illuminate a 360 degree area around the oar when the component is locked on each side of the boat.

Via: Cargo Collective


Designing, printing and programming a robot would just take a few hours in the future

Posted: 04 Apr 2012 06:22 AM PDT

Jaspreet Kaur Walia:

Keeping in mind the steps and formalities involved, building your own robot can be quite a cumbersome job. Moreover, time and money involved directly depends on the sophistication of the robot. But, how about fabricating a robot at the push of a button by making use of a device that looks like a printer?

Printable robots
Printable robots

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Printable robots
Custom-designed printable robots could be on the way

A project at MIT vows to turn this futuristic scenario into reality whereby a computer program will be used to specify the appearance and other capabilities of a robot. The designers are working towards design interface as well as other specifications at present, like algorithms that will control the printer, programmable materials to construct the robot and an easy to use programming language. Two prototype machines have been made that are capable enough to design, print as well as program a small insect shaped robot along with a gripping tool, which will prove to be useful for the disabled.

The project is being funded by the National Science Foundation and has been given a grant of $10 million. This will let a normal human being create a functional and programmable robot, according to his/her requirements, in just a few hours. Once the purpose to use the robot is decides, a person will select a robot design at a local printing store. The design will then be tweaked as per a user's preferences with the help of an interface. After this, the robot will be printed and programmed in just a matter of hours or a day. Making a robot using this method sounds origami art and can very much be the future of robotics.

Via: Gizmag


Hirmi translates sound to vision, making the deaf feel their surroundings

Posted: 04 Apr 2012 06:13 AM PDT

Shallu Sharma:

By deafness an individual gains in one respect more than he loses i.e. one misses more nonsense than sense. Well, that was just to make you feel light but talking about the subject seriously, it has been proved that retinal neurons in deaf people are distributed in a way that their retina can capture more peripheral visual information than others. Taking inspiration from the fact, the designers got motivated to craft Hirmi, the spectacle to assist deaf people. The main aim was to make deaf people feel secure in their environment by giving them an opportunity to recognize moments of distractions.

Hirmi
Hirmi

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Hirmi
Hirmi spectacle

As mentioned earlier, these spectacles use the acute peripheral vision that deaf people build. There are microphones on both the sides of the spectacle to capture sound that deaf people cannot. The captured sound is then brought to the processing board where it gets converted to wavy lines and projected onto the LCD monochromatic screens. User can see the intensity and the source of the sound surrounding or approaching him. To make the reading convenient at such small distance from eyes, it comes with equalizer style graphics. The glasses are framed in a manner that they envelop the face and do not reduce vision of the user.

But designing these spectacles was not a cake walk. Many things were taken into consideration like keeping the image simple on lens as it was too close to the eye, projected image in black color so that even if the user cannot focus on it the main purpose is fulfilled and so many likewise things. The project was undertaken using a simple Arduino Nano board, a battery, two monochromatic LCD screens and two microphones. The aim was not only to create an assisting object for deaf but to create a conventional looking object that fulfills the purpose in the best possible way.

Via: James Dyson Award


Icelett composting toilet will free smell and bacteria out of your poop

Posted: 04 Apr 2012 06:10 AM PDT

Asmita Prasad:

For some odd reason, toilet manufacturers around the world have become near obsessed with creating toilets that forgo the flushing mechanism for seemingly more nature friendly composting variants that can incinerate your poop and pee to ensure that you don't have to waste time and resources on getting your plumbing attached to the municipality's sewerage lines. The Icelett composting toilet from Biolan, the Finnish composting toilet manufacturer that specializes in the field, proposes that instead of trying to seal, bury or burn the poop and pee, it might be a whole lot more sanitary to freeze it!

Biolan Icelett
Biolan Icelett

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Biolan Icelett
Biolan Icelett Freezes Your Poop For Composting Later

The manufacturer claims that chilling the poop down to 5 degrees Fahrenheit or 15 degrees Celsius would kill most of the organic substances in it and thus eliminate odor. To use, one simply has to plug it into an electric outlet and go without worrying about plumbing and pipes. The manufacturer claims that the unit only uses 1.44 kWh per day which is still very energy efficient in comparison to other composting toilets.

However, the makers of the poop freezer also warn that the device is best for ambient temperatures of 77F or 25 °C and the unit would not be as efficient in hotter climates. One wonders whether it wouldn't be more eco friendly to simply dig a hole in your backyard, poop in it, cover it with mud and let nature take care of the composting instead.

Via: Tree Hugger


E textile uniforms to energize UK soldiers

Posted: 04 Apr 2012 06:09 AM PDT

Radhicka S Saxena:

When you are fighting with the enemy in a battlefield, you need a power source to juice up your gear. The machines used today do have some drawbacks and are not a good choice for military operations. So a pioneering firm called Intelligent Textiles has come out with a nifty solution. They have found a way to incorporate a central power source in the uniforms of military personnel. Read on to find out what this discovery is capable of doing.

e-textile uniforms
e-textile uniforms

There are two basic problems with the current power setup used at military bases. Soldiers have to carry around too much equipment while they are in the combat zone. This can get cumbersome or even thwart one's abilities on the ground. Also, cables used in supplies can get damaged easily. Hence, the Center for Defense Enterprise (CDE) has come up with an innovative solution. The breakthrough is called "e-textile", essentially a conductive yarn, and uniforms made from this fabric will be able to supply power to soldiers.

Another benefit with this system is that it can be used to supply data. In fact, a wearable computer with a fabric keyboard integrated into the uniform could also be rolled out soon. The biggest advantage with this fabric is that it can stand against all the turmoil soldiers face during a war or battle. Also, one can find a way to direct data even if the uniform gets torn, cut or impaired during combat.

This fabric will be incorporated into the shirt, vest, helmet, gloves and backpack of the uniform. Additionally, it will not harm or hurt the wearer in any way. The techniques applied in the weaving process have been patented by the company. Field trials will be carried out in May but the uniforms will be used on a wider scale only by 2014. The ingenious design was displayed at an event organized by the Center for Defense Enterprise (CDE).

Via: BBC/ The Verge


Now even plants can communicate and convey emotions

Posted: 04 Apr 2012 05:47 AM PDT

Radhicka S Saxena:

Everyone has heard about the lifelike and therapeutic qualities of plants but this venture underway at the Keio University gives this quality a new dimension. A research group at the university is creating plants that can communicate with people and also display emotions. The vision behind this project was to allow plants to move about freely in households thus increasing their presence. Take a look below to understand how exactly this feat will be accomplished.

Intrective plant
Intrective plant

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Interactive plant
Interactive plants react and convey emotions

Actuators will be attached to plants that enhance their physical aspect and also make them appear more alive. These actuators will be able to regulate plants of different sizes easily. Two sensors will also be attached to these plants, namely; the microphone and motion sensor. The movements of the plants will be based on a sensor detect system. So, you will have to pull at the cords from the two motors to move the plants around. In fact, these sensors will also time the movements of the plants. Many movements will be used by plants to convey emotions.

These plants will be able to portray emotions like anger and mirth. The emotions are however artificial. If you are worried that this system will make plants wither, then just set aside all your misgivings. The plants in this system were tested for a year and they did not go droopy. The different movements depicting various types of emotions are drawn from patterns unearthed when the actuators are handled by people. If the walking trees from Lord of the Rings or the howling mandrakes from the Harry Potter series fascinated you, then this is one add-on you would love to have in your abode.

Intrective plantInteractive plants react and convey emotions

Via: Diginfo


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