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The Design blog

Dinoflagellates-infused necklace may get you in trouble with PETA

Posted: 20 Dec 2011 05:25 AM PST

Asmita Prasad:

Dinoflagellates are an important part of the aquatic food chain. Most people don't even know what they are, though a common manifestation of their presence is colloquially known as "red tide" which is seen when a visible coloration of the water occurs as a result of algal bloom of these marine plankton. These delicate creatures have never been of much use to the non-scientific community until now. We're not sure it's entirely legal to use them as jewelry but designer Sophia Sobers has come up with an interesting new concept for a necklace that uses these dinoflagellates in a way that has never been imagined before.

Heartbeats & Dinoflagellates
Heartbeats & Dinoflagellates

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Heartbeats & Dinoflagellates by Sophia Sobers
The main concept behind this project is to create a connection between us and bioluminescent dinoflagellates.

These creatures are bioluminescent, i.e. they emit light in the process of respiration which is intensified when they are presented with a stimulus. The dinoflagellates necklace comes fitted with an infrared emitter, a heartbeat detector, a vibration motor and of course, a handful of these magical creatures. Everytime the wearer's heart beat elevates, the detector prompts the vibrating motor to stimulate the dinoflagellates that possibly start quaking with fear and begin to give off light which makes the necklace glow.

The designer has intended for this necklace to serve as something of a conversation starter for those awkward blind dates when two people have nothing interesting to talk about and need a glowing necklace to save the night. We personally feel that the necklace is exploitative and the designer should seek help for thinking dinoflagellates are playthings.

P.S. the designer also hasn't specified where PETA stands on the ornamental use of ecologically crucial marine species. So if you think it's cool, wear one at your own peril!

Via: Sophia Sobers

Verso: Coffee tumbler brews, keeps coffee warm sans bitter taste

Posted: 20 Dec 2011 05:07 AM PST

Asmita Prasad:

The Verso French Press Coffee Tumbler is a refreshing new take on the traditional coffee tumbler. The travel mug is specially designed for people on the go and folks who don't have regular access to a coffee machine but need to stay energized through the day. Most coffee travel mugs require the consumer to prepare their coffee in advance which leaves the beverage tasting bitter and flat when it's consumed after a few hours. The Verso French Press Coffee Tumbler allows the consumer to brew a fresh cup of coffee anywhere anytime with an innovative new design that keeps the coffee warm without leaving a bitter taste behind.

Verso travel coffee tumbler
Verso travel coffee tumbler

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Verso travel coffee tumbler
verso travel coffee tumbler

The travel mug is intended for use by busy people who drink coffee often through the course of their day and distinct preferences when it comes to the taste of their daily cuppa. Most coffee chains and retail outlets that serve coffee to go and customize each order to the buyers' tastes often charge a bundle for the service which may not be the best idea for people, like students, who are trying to economize. The Verso French Press Coffee Tumbler was developed after keeping the economic and gastronomic concerns of such people into account.

The tumbler was developed after a competitive product analysis of travel mugs which revealed that most of them did not allow the consumer to brew a fresh cup of coffee while on the move. Other that did provide such functionality only used ground coffee powder, while others needed constant filter change to ensure coffee powder residue doesn't end up in the beverage. The Verso French Press Coffee Tumbler responds to all these problems and presents users with a simple, one-stop solution for all their coffee needs.

The tumbler comes with a special ergonomic design that only needs a user to load it up with hot water and a choice of coffee beans in separate compartments. When the user needs to drink coffee, they simply need to rotate the handle of the tumbler to instantly grind the coffee bean and rotate the tumbler 360-degrees to infuse the coffee in the hot water. The coffee is then ready to be consumed. Since the coffee beans do not come in contact with water once the tumbler is held right side up, the taste of the coffee does not alter. The users can then refill the tumbler with hot water as many times as they need and the tumbler will provide a fresh cuppa everytime!

Source: Wooyong Lee

Best of 2011: Green cellphone designs

Posted: 20 Dec 2011 02:59 AM PST

Shahnawaz Naaz:

The advancement in science and technology has allowed the cellphone making companies and designers to come up with stylish phones loaded with all modern features. These companies are also integrating the concept of eco-friendliness in cellphones in order to make people aware about the need to adopt eco friendly methods in their daily lives. Here is a list of best green cellphone designs unveiled in 2011:

Alcohol test gadget: An apt tool for generating awareness about drinking and driving

Posted: 20 Dec 2011 02:03 AM PST

Sahil Khurana:

The alcohol test gadget is bound to make life much easier for all the cops around, especially the traffic police. As the name pretty much spells out its use, the alcohol test gadget tests the amount of alcohol content in one's body.

Alcohol test gadget by Sanne-Marye Huijing
Alcohol test gadget by Sanne-Marye Huijing

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Alcohol test gadget
The target group are young people aged between 18 and 24 years old

Designed by designer Sanne-Marye Huijing as a part of her Bachelorthesis, she designed the device to bring about a sense of awareness amongst the youth. Targeting the age group of 18-24 years, she has tried to create a realization in the youth when it comes to mixing drinking with driving.

Her logic behind the making of this gadget was pretty simple and straightforward. People learn to drive at the age of 18-24 and it's imperative to expose them to the hazards of driving after drinking. By doing so, they end up risking their lives as well as the lives of people traveling with them.

The device has been designed in a way so as to make it look interesting too. Like a wheel of fortune, there is an attractive display of LED lights on the screen of the alcohol test gadget. The person being tested is required to blow in from one end. The breath is conveniently analyzed and all the LEDs start glowing one after another.

The various LEDs on the face of the device show different levels of the alcohol possible in the body. Once the person blows, the gadget measures the exact percentage of the spirit presence and the corresponding LED glows accordingly. Quick, convenient and an easy way to calculate the spirit content in the blood.

If used properly and efficiently, the contraption can be used to benefit a lot of people. Not only shall it create a lot of awareness around, it would be a good way to discourage people from drinking and driving.

Via: Portfolio

Watertube fetches pure drinking water floating over water streams

Posted: 20 Dec 2011 01:38 AM PST

Abdul Vahid V:

Watertube is a tool to distill and store drinking water. The doughnut-shaped Watertube can be floated on water to grab pure drinking water. The tool deploys the technique of distillation to create hygienic water even from polluted streams and rivers. The Watertube idea comes from a team of designers Lee HyunJin, Choi Hyuncheol and Kwon YunJeong. They have designed the tool with an aim to help people in drinking water stressed countries and areas.


Watertube has received large appreciation as a tool to solve looming drinking water sacristy. In a time, more and more people are affected with drinking water shortage. It is great to have a tool like this. It can collect, distill and store water using its two champers and a gap in the middle. Water gets distilled in the top chamber and it moves down to the lower chamber, where it is stored as pure drinking water. People can collect the water from the lower chamber of Watertube.

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Watertube is a tool for the creation and storage of drinking water

Watertube is a small and lightweight tool, however. You can carry it around to produce pure drinking water from anywhere you wish. A rubber top of the tool makes you carry it with less effort. The top can also be used to hang Watertube on a tree branch or anywhere else. It can be widely used as a method to harvest drinking water for a family or a person. Even if you live near to a polluted stream, you won't feel drinking water crisis with a tool like Watertube. However, for the production of drinking water in large amount, Watertube is not sufficient, indeed.


Out of Order watch: A tricky one

Posted: 19 Dec 2011 11:21 PM PST

Radhicka S Saxena:

The first look at this gizmo will leave you baffled, there will be a fuzzy expression on your face! The numbers on the dial are jumbled up and the hands that tell time are moving just about anywhere. This madcap timepiece has been fabricated by the pair Sam and Heather, and their invention will be loved by teens and anyone who has a zany sense of humor. Wondering how this timepiece actually works? It is not all the difficult to crack the riddle.

Out of Order watch
Out of Order watch

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Out of Order watch
Out of Order watch will trick your friends

What is it?

Looking like an out of order watch, the second hand moves clockwise and the hour hand stays still in its place, never budging. While, the minute hand moves ten times faster than usual and that too in the reverse direction. All numbers on the dial are out of their customary places and appear jumbled. It lets users choose between a background of black or white. Additionally, you can take a pick from array of font styles and background patterns. To add to the muddle, only three numbers on the dial stay in their place, the rest of the nine numbers shift places arbitrarily every minute! But despite all the chaos, checking time on this watch is a lot simpler than any other analog display! Do not stay bamboozled any further; it is very easy to demystify this enigma.

How it works?

Spilling the beans now; the repositioning of numbers every minute is not just an animated addition to amuse you, it does have a function. The numbers actually swap places every minute to reveal the present time to you. At any point of time the three numbers displayed at the bottom will tell you the time in hours and minutes! The number in the seventh position on the dial is the hour, while the pair of numbers following it are the minutes in the hour that have passed by. This is certainly an amazing and ingenious display.

A brilliant gag

People who like to pose conundrums to their mates and tech-savvy geeks will definitely make it a part of their treasure trove. The comical contraption is a great conversation starter and comes handy if you want to break the ice with some new. Sure to tickle your funny bone, this quirky and witty watch will easily become the hub of attention wherever you go.

Via: tokyoflash

Talkbox to create evolving visual language for autistic children

Posted: 19 Dec 2011 09:58 PM PST

Rajni Mehta:

The concept

Talkbox is a conceptual tool that would help to build and improve the communication ability of autistic children who have severe speech impairment. Talkbox is different from other communication systems that have been developed and introduced to autistic patients so far. The other available communication tools are mostly text or voice based whereas Talkbox intends to deliver personalized visual language to autistic kids with speech difficulties. Basically, this communication system facilitates an autistic child to communicate or interact with people, he is close to, in a language that the child knows, understands and lives in. Talkbox makes the most of the repetitive behavior that autistic patients display and, utilizing this habit or tendency, creates an organized connection list, along with a time or/and place based dictionary or vocabulary.


The Target

The concept, Talkbox, has been solely created looking at the difficulties faced by autistic children with major speech impairment and, hence, the target audience or consumers of this communication tool are autistic children and their families.

The need

Autism may not be a very common disease and you won’t find an autistic patient in every other home. But, at the same time, the fact that the number of autistic patients has been increasing lately and it is no more that rare a disease can not be ignored. Though the numbers of autistic patients has been increasing lately, yet the tools to make the lives of autistic children easier have not evolved much. Therefore, the introduction of an evolving communication tool has become the need of the hour. To meet this need, the concept of Talkbox has been developed. With personalized visual language, this communication system would help autistic children with speech impairment, express themselves better and that too in their own language.

Key features

Talkbox flaunts various features that are interesting as well as truly helpful for autistic children in communicating with others. The communication system features a speech processing engine that works in tandem with a system that detects and recognizes objects. There’s a storage compartment in the unit for keeping image printouts or storymakers, a multitouch screen for animation playback, a single Arcade like button that helps to take pictures of things and people that surround the child. There is a panel in the system that displays the pictures of people that the child may need to send a message to. People, who receive messages from the child through Talkbox, can respond to the message using their smartphones. Talkbox utilizes the visual vocabulary of the child to connect to people, who are in his quick connect list, through Internet. Parents of autistic children using talkbox can connect with each other and help each other by posting or uploading videos and images from the child’s vocabulary on the talkbox website.

The solution

Talkbox works in a simple and organized fashion. The images taken by the children or their parents by tapping the arcade like button are printed in paper that is specially formatted by talkbox. These image printouts (of people, things and the child’s surroundings) serve as the story makers for the autistic kids and can be segregated by parents as per the time and place. The child has to put images or characters in the creation zone after releasing the lid by tapping the button. The camera starts recording the message immediately after the child places the characters on the surface. The child then has to choose the person he wants to send the message to by selecting the photo of the particular person from a separate panel displaying the photos of all people whom the child may need to communicate with. To do so, the child only has to tap the photo from the panel and then tap the button once again to send the message. The person receiving the message can reply back to the message in the same language that the child understands through touch based smartphones by accessing the visual vocabulary online. The communication system allows a child to interact directly and on a one-to-one basis with others by using the same storymakers or image printouts to build up a story physically.

The facility of connecting parents of autistic children through the closed online community is also helpful and appreciable. Parents of autistic children can post, upload and download images, messages or videos of a child’s visual vocabulary which helps them to create better, richer and improved vocabulary. Also, parents can share and access tips on ways for better communication with their autistic kids.

Related trends:

1. iPad


Apple has introduced certain apps which serve as therapeutic tool for autistic patients with speech impairment. The main areas of development that iPads are aiming at are communication, behavior modelling and activity planning. Some special applications launched by iPad are very helpful for autistic children with speech difficulties.

2. Repeat tool for autistic children by Jesse Resnick

Repeat Tool
Repeat Tool

Repeat Tool is a concept tool for regulating and replacing the harmful repetitive behavior of autistic children by substitutes that are less damaging or harmful by nature. This tool is to be attached to the wrists of autistic kids. There’s a timer in the tool that helps to change the repetitive behavior of the kids. The kids can tug, rub, chew, bite and squeeze the stretchable material of the tool which would finally help to replace the harmful behavior of the child like head banging, arm flapping, etc. The conceptual tool has a range of other helpful features.

How to make a robotic suit out of K'NEX

Posted: 19 Dec 2011 09:04 PM PST

Sanat Mohanty:

Robotics has always amazed people. People keep coming up with new innovative projects everyday. Some of them work, while some need improvisation and some create history. The robotic suit is just another addition to feather. It is an external framework to the body; in scientific terms, it's an exoskeleton. It gives strength to the body and keeps them active. It's useful when people are recovering from injuries or ailments. It even acts as a prosthetic limb, i.e., when people have lost their arm or leg, it acts as a substitute. It is mostly recommended for old aged people as well as for especially able people of the society. It increases the strength and resistance of the body. They are mobile. They are actually split parts and can be worn separately. It is very easy to wear. It is used in nuclear works. It also used in astronomical works. Scientists are finding ways of implementing such a creation in daily lives. Any type of construction or design, i.e., especially made for children are called as K`NEX.

Robotic suit out of K'NEX
Robotic suit out of K’NEX

Difficulty level: Easy (For first timers. Anyone can do it)

Time required

It takes almost a year or more for completion of the project. It takes quite a lot time, since even after completion; it needs to be tested as well as needs to overcome any technical errors that may have cropped in while making it.

Resources required

  1. Miscellaneous K’Nex parts
  2. PVC pipes
  3. Elastic cords

Estimated cost

It is estimated that the cost of a robotic suit is about the cost of a small car. The cost is too high for personal use. Scientists are trying hard to get the prices down but technology is a barrier. The cost even depends on the quality and number of sensors that are used in the suit


1. Taking all the measurements for the suit

Measurements are very important for making the suit. Any mistake in measurement can make your suit completely valueless for you. To make correct measurements, you can use cardboard boxes. So before making the head of the robot first of all you take a cardboard box that fits to your brain. Use the dimensions of that cardboard box for making the head of the robot. Similarly, you select cardboard box for your shoulders and legs and your arms. Making the eye of the robot suit need very accurate measurements, so do that carefully. Any mistake in eye portion can make you feel uncomfortable in wearing the suit. Similarly using the cardboard measurement technique you can also take right measurement of your arm holes, leg holes and right measurement of your chest portion, too. All these measurements can also be done by tape or any other measuring instrument too but the use of this technique will save your time and make your work easier.

2. Head of the suit

This robotic suit is made out of K'NEX. When anyone first looks at it, it seems to be a bundle of tangled colorful wires. Well it's been designed out of 7000 pieces. It's been redesigned except for the helmet. Now, this is even stronger and rigid. It took almost a year in designing this suit. Interestingly, its helmet has eye flaps that can even open and close. The head also has an opening so that it can be worn easily.

3. The torso of the suit

The part that covered chest up to stomach, i.e., torso, was considered the most difficult part to design. This suit looks just like a life jacket. It is quite flexible and can be worn easily. One can lean and bend to their side wearing this without any difficulty. It comes with an opening in its center on the front side.

4. The arms of the suit

The arms were considered the easiest part to be designed. It has flexibility; one can easily twist their elbows and move hands. Even the wrist could be rotated and bent. The fingers were able to move properly and could even hold things without any difficulty. The shoulders were redesigned. Earlier there was restriction on 360 degree rotation of arms. After it was redesigned, that difficulty was overcome.

5. Legs of the suit

There was a bit improvisation done with legs. It was done so that one could move and run properly. One could bend their knee by 90 degrees. One could pivot on their ankle. Same like the torso, even the legs opened from the center to down with foot folded out so that one could wear them properly by stepping in it.

6. Final display of suit

Finally when all the pieces were fully designed and created it was attached together. A frame was made with PVC (Polyvinyl chloride) pipes. Many elastic cords were used to hang from their shoulders on the frame made. Wearing them was very easy. It just took 10 minutes to wear them.

Frequently asked questions

Q. How to fix the various parts together?

A. The head, torso, legs and arms have the opening from the center on front side. Just by slipping in them, one can wear them easily.

Q. Can the suit be worn on bare body?

A. No. It should be worn only after body is well covered with a good and strong fabric.

Quick tips

1. The robotic suit must not be lifted and placed continuously. This will cause damage otherwise.

2. The suit has sensors attached to it. So it must be carefully worn or taken off. If any failures of sensors occur then whole system fails to work.

Things to watch out for1. People need to be extra careful while wearing each of its part. Its parts must be checked regularly to ensure that no part is defected or damaged. Any little damage may take the life of a human being.

2. When the use of it is over, it should be immediately taken off. The suits are heavy in weight.

3. Unwanted movement should be strictly avoided. This results in loss of power, which is a major issue.

4. There are certain restrictions on the movements of the suit. It should not exceed those motions.

Advanced Tactical Energy Network is a clean and free wireless power solution

Posted: 19 Dec 2011 03:26 PM PST

Asmita Prasad:

With the growing hoard of electronics, the world faces a real need for mass integration of wireless power solutions. The Advanced Tactical Energy Network (ATEN) by Ordo Ab Chao was designed as a sustainable solution to this very problem and looks to power various devices across a wide range of brands with different power needs. Current wireless power transfer systems include technologies like conductive coupling, power-beaming, inductive coupling and radio frequency (RF) coupling. However, the major limitation of most of these existing wireless power sources is that they still need to be hooked onto a conventional power outlet to function. The ATEN wireless power system looks to bypass the trappings of these traditional technologies and provide users with a cleaner and much more renewable option. The ATEN utilizes the power of the sun which makes it completely portable and truly sustainable as well.

Tactical Energy Network
Tactical Energy Network

The ATEN is based around an omni-directional antenna that sits on the horizontal plane and generates a 360-degree magnetic array. With the addition of a rotating magnetic field, the antenna uses magnetic resonant coupling to achieve more efficiency at greater distances. Since only a fraction of the magnetic flux generated by the transmitter is able to reach the receiver if the receiver is at a certain distance from the transmitter, the ATEN is fitted with an innovative omni-directional magnetic field that allows it to contribute to wireless power transfer more optimally. Because it transmits a signal uniformly in all directions, the omni-directional antenna is more efficient and ensures that more power is induced via the flux that reaches the receiver. Currently, the ATEN is configures to transfer up to 200 watts of energy to multiple small receivers positioned up to six meters away.

Advanced Tactical Energy Network
Advanced Tactical Energy Network

The portable device harnesses the power of the sun via the most efficient third-generation solar technology utilized by custom-made high efficiency DSCs (Dye-sensitized solar cells). Since dye-sensitized solar cells overcome the limitations posed by current photovoltaic devices, they are an ideal match for the ATEN and provide a technically and economically credible alternative to other existing PVs that assume the task of light absorption as well as charge distribution and thus, are less efficient.

The ATEN is also configured to harvest a large fraction of sunlight that falls on its surface which allows it to maximize energy production even in latitudes that receive a lower amount of light in the winters. For now, the designer has not specified what kind of devices would be compatible with the ATEN, but if the device can be paired with even half of the current lot of household electronics, it could revolutionize the sustainable energy sector and allow more people to go off the grid.

Via: Behance

The Jelly Swarm bathes the Pacific Canada Pavilion in an array of beautiful colors

Posted: 19 Dec 2011 01:37 PM PST

Sahil Khurana:

Decorating the ceiling of the Pacific Canada Pavilion gallery at the Vancouver Aquarium, Vancouver, is a beautiful piece of splendid art. In order to explore the mysteries of the underwater, the jelly swarm has been created.

Jelly Swarm
Jelly Swarm

Adding a glamorous touch to the overhead ceiling, a combination of 94 lights have been put together to create the stupendous effect in the pavilion. Made by designers Alex Beim and Joseph Wu as a part of the project by Vancouver based designer company, Tangible Interaction, the miniature lights exude a magnetism which would draw you in the moment you set eyes on them.

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Jelly Swarm
The piece is comprised of ninety-four ‘jellies’.

Each of the individual lighting has been laser cut, fixed with Tyvek and hand folded further to provide the immaculate cuts and designs. The hand made origami is what makes the light stand out even more. These origami lights enclose within them colorful LED's adding a sparkle to the extensive design. Further, the LED modules have been suspended from reflective aluminum structures, making the effect of the lighting all the more colorful, vibrant and joyful.

Imitating the concept of underwater jellyfishes, the project broadly wanted to explore the mysteries of the deep seas. Celebrating the idea of 'luminescence', the whole display proudly depicts the bold use of colors and how the jellyfish emit a deep glow when disturbed. Based on the same lines, the jelly swarm also has been programmed in a similar manner. When disturbed by any of the touring guests, the jellies tend to respond in generative luminescent gestures. The display would take your breath away and leave you stunned for days altogether, making you wonder how such a brilliant creation ever took place.

Dotting the ceiling of the Pavilion, the 94 units of the Jelly swarm bathe the whole place in beautiful subtle colors and lend a beaming concept to the surroundings. Beauty at its best, I must say.

Via: DesignBoom

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