The Design blog

The Design blog


UK BandB asks guests to pedal a bicycle if they wanna watch television

Posted: 12 May 2012 01:21 AM PDT

Asmita Prasad:

The Cottage Lodge is the many quaint B&Bs located in and around Brockenhurst village in New Forest, UK and doesn't differ from any other lodging in the area except for the fact that it is one of the most eco minded establishments in the world. Apart from a low-flow shower and toilet, producing hot water through a wood-burning stove, solar panels and low-energy lighting, the hotel also allows guests to power televisions themselves using good old leg power.

bicycle-powered television
bicycle-powered television

The bicycle-powered television sits in the Standing Hat room in the Cottage Lodge which is situated in a building dating back to 1650 and the 360-year-old property was turned into a green retreat over the span of eight years by its owner Christina Simons. Originally constructed from a reclaimed ship, the historic building was restored using eco friendly methods, low-impact building materials, environmentally-friends paints and features mirrors, wardrobes, dressing tables, bedside tables and beds created out of a single beech tree that fell in Brockenhurst by a local tree surgeon.

Not only does the bike-powered TV helps the hotel stay as green as possible, it also doubles up as a gym for guests staying at the lodge without wasting a single watt of additional power that regular TV or gym equipment require. The 15-bedroom B&B has received a 5 star rating from AA as well as many other awards for its eco friendly initiatives. A stay at the Standing Hat Room costs £129.

Via: The Telegraph


LEGO Batjet X-Wing Fighter takes Batman to a galaxy far, far away

Posted: 12 May 2012 01:04 AM PDT

Asmita Prasad:

Gotham city, as depicted in the fictional world that Batman resides in, is pretty kickass on its own. But won't it just be ever so fun if batman actually could use his genius in the intergalactic realm of Star Wars? Lego artists and Batman/Star Wars fan Kevin Ryhal decided to explore the possibility by creating a Batjet X-Wing Fighter that would help a character that possesses the qualities of both Batman and Luke Skywalker destroy the Death Star.

LEGO Batman X-Wing Fighter
LEGO Batman X-Wing Fighter

Taking fan fiction to a whole new level of imagination, Ryhal not only created an awesome Bat-X-Wing fighter jet out of Lego pieces but also created a brief but thought provoking back-story for the creation where the evil Darth Joker kills Bruce Skywalker's uncle and aunt and the protagonist is prompted to learn the ways of the Force which help him to subsequently become the Bat Knight and he decided to become a vigilante to defeat the evil Empire and do some freelance crime fighting across the galaxy.

The creator did not say whether the said galaxy was the Milky Way or another one far, far away which is a bit disconcerting. Though the back-story is just phenomenal if you want to develop a completely new kind of superhero, we're wondering whether the character of Robin would be developed as Mara Jade or Princess Leia.

Via: Technabob


Smartphone projector that uses the mechanism of insects’ eyes

Posted: 12 May 2012 01:01 AM PDT

Asmita Prasad:

Projecting images at a diagonal angle on a flat or an uneven surface using a smartphone projector tends to produce out of focus projections. To combat the problem, researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Optics and Precision Engineering in Germany have developed a new prototype LED projector for smartphones that can produce distortion-free, bright and crisp display at non-perpendicular angles and on onto irregular surfaces. Using the bio-mechanism that compound eyes of insects possess, an array of 200 micro projectors are used in the system that output the identical complete images and superimpose them on the wall or any other surface on top of one another which allows the system to adjust the focus of its image independently via each micro projector.

smartphone projector
smartphone projector

To provide the necessary data, a camera and the position sensor of the smartphone can be integrated into the system depending on the distance of the projector from the surface. This would allow the array to gauge its own unique distance and custom focus micro projectors to reflect an image perfectly even it is projected on a curved surface.

smartphone projector
smartphone projector

A grid of infrared lines also overlays the image that allows users to interact with the projected image as well. According to researchers, the system is well-suited to mass-projector since the whole LED projector system measures just 0.79 x 0.79 inches or 2 x 2 centimeters though it could only be available in regular smartphones only a few years from now.

Via: Gizmag


Nixie tube clocks bring back the technology that went kaput long ago

Posted: 12 May 2012 12:57 AM PDT

Radhicka S Saxena:

Kids will love it, dads will be raving about it and all the grandpas out there will get nostalgic. This desk clock will dazzle and stupefy onlookers. The dynamic and powerful piece will bring a gust of energy and verve into your room. It brings back to the present days, all the buzz around science and technology, prevailing during the time of the industrial revolution. Basically composed of metal and glass, this one will gel with rusticated interiors or rooms done in a steampunk style.

Tube Desk Clock
Tube Desk Clock

The design with bare machinery parts is really showy. The layout that bravely flaunts circuit boards proves there's nothing unappealing about them. But the high point of the design, are indisputably, the Nixie tubes. Before the advent of LCD and LED displays, nixie tubes were used as readouts on electronic gadgets. They were used in watches, calculators, control panels, voltmeters, lab equipment and many other gizmos.

Think engineering fanatics and people who are mad about gadgets will love the piece. You can also buy it for anyone who likes to try their hand at building things. Only they would know how amazing it feels to display a piece that one has labored to put together. However, there are only a limited number of DIY kits available right now. So, if you're dying to test out your soldering skills, you might want to hurry up.

Steampunk fanatics should know that the high quality nixie tubes used in the clock weren't easy to source as they are not manufactured nowadays. The microprocessor controlled piece that shows time to the notch will cost you about $150. Moreover, there is a whole lineup of Nixie tube clock designs that you can choose from. People who are fond of old-world gadgetry will surely like the piece.

Via: Gizmodo/ Thinkgeek


Thermotech G17 Heated Ski Boot to keep your feet warm on freezing ski slopes

Posted: 12 May 2012 12:16 AM PDT

Asmita Prasad:

If you're not the kind of person that would invest in high quality thermal inner wear, really warm socks and quality, chill-repelling skiing boots, then you'd be more than familiar with the problem of getting severely chilled feet on the ski slopes. Being in the snow on a mountain, avoiding the cold isn't really an option and since jumping up and down wearing skies to get the blood flowing into your feet to warm them up is not a possible feat, which means that specialized snow footwear like the Thermotech G17 Heated Ski Boot could be your best friend on your skiing trip.

Heated Ski Boot
Heated Ski Boot

Created by designer Rajinder Sidhu, the Thermotech G17 Heated Ski Boot is designed to only start heating up once its sensors detect a drop in the temperature of the wearer's foot, which prevents the shoe from getting too warm at any given moment.

Heated Ski Boot
Heated Ski Boot

Housed within the sole bed and the sole of the ski boot, the heating system runs on batteries and combines with a thermistor sensor system that senses when the skin temperature of a user's foot has dropped below a certain point and initiates a gradual heating process to bring it up to the desired level. Once the user's feet have reached the desired temperature, the system turns the heating off automatically.

Heated Ski Boot
Heated Ski Boot

Source: Rajinder Sidhu


Wheatgrass growing computer case might make you feel better about being a polluter

Posted: 12 May 2012 12:05 AM PDT

Asmita Prasad:

Even the dumbest of all computer users knows that using one, even for an hour or so a day, is not really good for the environment. Not just because it's made from plastic parts, runs on coal-fueled grid power and requires a hell lot of power to keep the servers working, but also because a running computer emits heat and CO2 which contributes to global warming and is slowly killing our planet. However, Total Geekdom's Mike Schropp has come up with a way to use the amounts of life cycle carbon your computer contributes to the environment to grow a patch of wheatgrass.

Computer case
Computer case

Using a donated, old Pentium 4 CPU-fitted computer, the designer created a mini kitchen garden atop the computer case using Plexiglas components worth around $20. When you run the inefficient unit, the soil filled heat pipes absorb the heat and provide enough heat to germinate and grow the wheatgrass. The effect is similar to what happens in a greenhouse and you can use the wheatgrass in your meals as well.

Computer case
Computer case

As novel as the idea is, however, it really isn't the kind of thing that will help you solve the global warming problem and it certainly won't help you cut down your grocery bills either. But having patch of actual green sitting atop your polluting CPU might be a much more refreshing sight than having a screensaver depicting the same.

Computer case
Computer case

Via: Dvice


Conduct communication system gives voice to the hearing impaired

Posted: 11 May 2012 11:40 PM PDT

Radhicka S Saxena:

Deaf people usually communicate via gestures as they are not able to talk. But, not everyone is familiar with the sign language they use. Thus, they can communicate only with a selected group of people. A Detroit based product designer, Sarah Saville, came out with an ingenious solution for this predicament. She invented Conduct communication system, a nifty gadget that converts sign language used by the deaf in audio messages that anyone can hear.

Conduct Communication System
Conduct Communication System

Now, communicating with deaf people will become really easy and you won't have to bother about learning the sign language either. The communication system comprises a camera resting on a pyramidal base. The camera system is made up of IR projector, IR camera and also the CMOS color camera. This is the cornerstone piece of the gadget and the camera actually observes the sign language demonstrated by the deaf user and then relays it to the iPad.

The pyramidal base is actually the Conduct iPad Speaker stand. It is a docking station for your iPad and also charges it while the portable computer is being used. The ON button is activated automatically after you slip the iPad on the docking station. The iPad will lean easily here and the inclination facilitates easy reading. The video communication recorded is converted into a voice message and then played via the hidden speakers.

The hidden speakers slotted in the base are a full range system consisting of midrange/bass, subwoofer and tweeter. The menu allows handicapped people to navigate easily and personalize the settings they desire. Another great thing about the piece is that it is portable. So, it can be carried around wherever the user goes. The dependent won't be left in a lurch if they leave their home station. The cord can be coiled and stowed inside the cable storage compartment located at the backside of the gadget.

[Cheers Sarah]


Ultra thin battery provides a whopping charge on the go

Posted: 11 May 2012 11:30 PM PDT

Sahil Khurana:

As Samsung enjoys unmatched market coverage with its new Galaxy Nexus I9250, the phone continues to rule the roost with its extra modern design and undaunted utility. However, what comes as a setback is the battery power which often becomes a hindrance, putting the user in a bit of fix at times.

Ultra-Thin Battery Power Pack Case
Ultra-Thin Battery Power Pack Case

The simple answer to this ubiquitous problem is the Ultra-thin Backup Battery Power Pack Case, which has a track record of never letting you down. The utility of the whole concept comes to the fore, when the user actually goes ahead and plugs in this miniature yet powerful tool into his/her phone. Capable of providing a battery backup of 1700 mAh, the battery is just like an extra layering on the phone's back. In other words, you can be ensured of getting not only an extra protective covering for your phone, but also a portable battery charge.

This is not all, for the best features of the battery pack are not yet over. The whole concept has been devised with a lot of precision and brings with it a fresh concept in tow. There are appropriate cutouts for the USB slots, the headset slot as well as the camera, After all, one should be able to fully take advantage of the phone's miraculous features. Definitely worth its asking price of $18.76.

Via: ChinaVasion


Open source PlaySurface makes multi touch computing tables affordable

Posted: 11 May 2012 11:25 PM PDT

Asmita Prasad:

Products like the Microsoft Surface have opened up a world of possibilities for both professional and home users. However, obtaining one of these for the living room still remains a dream for many computing enthusiasts, given the steep prices that these multitouch computing tables come with. However, Somerville, Massachusetts-based designer Len White has created a brilliant open-source optical touch table plan that will allow casual users to simply order a touch table surface, assemble it at home and customize it to your own entertainment needs at very affordable prices. Dubbed the PlaySurface, the touch computing platform supports many applications, device control, browsing, music, gaming and other entertainment needs at blazingly fast speeds.

Playsurface multitouch computing table
Playsurface multitouch computing table

The multi-use, hackable large-format touch computing interface features a gaming/application computer function as well as tracking and touch detection functions via a closed-loop, application-specific digital image processing module. The PlaySurface is offered in two sizes, one that's the size of a regular coffee table and a bigger one that allows for stand up gaming and operation. The open-hardware surface and cabinet design comes with demo programs and open-source drivers that can be customized by individual users as per their requirements.

Playsurface multitouch computing table
Playsurface multitouch computing table

The PlaySurface kit comes with a transparent touch surface, a 1280 x 800 mp DLP projector and offers touch detection via dedicated hardware processor and input recognition via infrared LED strip, all of which fit inside a flat-packed assembling wood enclosure. The Kickstarter project allows pledgers to make contributions towards the development of the kit with the Blob Board being offered with a $350 pledge, a $650 pledge being offered with the Blob Board and the table, and a $1,250 pledge offering both the table and the Blob Board along with a computer and projector. A $1,750 pledge gets you the entire ready-to-assemble PlaySurface kit.

Via: Engadget


1 comment:

  1. Hey, I have never seen gadgets like these before! Thank you for the wonderful post :)

    Greets,
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    ReplyDelete

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