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- 03/14/18--19:08: _Never Mind Charging...
- 03/14/18--19:08: _World's Fair Nano C...
- 03/14/18--19:08: _World's Fair Nano C...
- 03/14/18--19:08: _Steven M. Johnson's...
- 03/14/18--19:08: _Reader Submitted: S...
- 03/14/18--19:08: _Tools & Craft #...
- 03/14/18--19:08: _Design Job: Nerf Do...
- 03/14/18--19:08: _Few's Arlton Lowry ...
- 03/15/18--15:19: _Starchitect Richard...
- 03/15/18--15:19: _Video of the 2018 D...
- 03/15/18--15:19: _Design Job: Autonom...
- 03/15/18--15:19: _Crave's Build-Your-...
- 03/15/18--15:19: _La Shirl Turner Say...
- 03/16/18--10:49: _Design Job: Bundle ...
- 03/16/18--10:49: _World's Fair Nano C...
- 03/16/18--10:49: _World's Fair Nano C...
- 03/16/18--10:49: _World's Fair Nano C...
- 03/17/18--11:02: _Clever Reference Gu...
- 03/17/18--11:02: _Reader Submitted: E...
- 03/19/18--07:14: _Design Job: STEL is...
- 03/14/18--19:08: Steven M. Johnson's Bizarre Invention #91: Fear Furniture
- 03/14/18--19:08: Reader Submitted: Squeezable Metal Bottles Hit Kickstarter
- 03/15/18--15:19: Video of the 2018 Detroit Autorama Hot Rod Show
- 03/17/18--11:02: Clever Reference Guides that Double as Packaging Tape
- 03/17/18--11:02: Reader Submitted: Earplugs that Resemble Fine Jewelry
At SXSW Angel Giuffria, one of America's better-known cyborgs, encountered a lot of people that wanted her to demo her robotic arm. As a de facto spokeswoman for the prosthetic community, she gamely agreed, with the result being that her batteries wore down faster than normal. She then Tweeted this:
In the ensuing Twitter thread, she answered a bunch of questions from commenters, providing details about her arm. Here are some of the more fascinating responses:
She also responded to commenters who were angry that people wouldn't give up a socket for her to charge up at. She wrote the following response:
My favorite part is the emoji she ended with!
Design requires, by necessity, a lot of iterations of an object before you get it "right." What do you do with the eleven 3D-printed models you cranked out before settling on design #12?
A company called ReDeTec (which stands for Renewable Design Technology), was in attendance at the World's Fair Nano in San Francisco showing off their machine, the ProtoCycler. This lets you grind up your unwanted plastic parts, and the machine then turns the shredded plastic into freshly-spooled filaments, ready to serve again.
The company decided to make the grinder hand-cranked rather than powered for safety reasons; the idea is that there's little chance you'll accidentally grind one of your hands up when you're the one doing the cranking. As far as plastics, it will recycle both ABS and PLA right out of the box; the company notes that "while water bottles (PET), coffee cup lids (PS), etc aren't currently supported, they should be possible" if you're willing to mess around with the machine's settings manually.
While other DIY plastic recycling machines exist on the market, the goal of the ProtoCycler is ease-of-use. "In automatic mode," the company writes, "all you have to do is select your plastic, and hit 'go' – ProtoCycler takes care of the rest. Startup, shutdown, extrusion, and spooling are all automatically controlled, so you get fantastic filament, every time."
You can learn more about the machine here.
Previous recycled-material-for-prototyping coverage: Open-source platform empowers people around the world to "recycle like rockstars"
Personal mobility was a big category at the World's Fair Nano, with both attendees and demonstrators zipping around Pier 48 on a variety of powered, belt-driven skateboards. Here are the five exhibitors we saw, and the design/performance/price differences between each:
Price Range: $599 to $729
This is the entry-level brand out of all of the companies at the Fair. Sizewise, Riptide's offerings most resemble unpowered skateboards, opting for a more compact form. Their base model, the R1, tops out at 18 m.p.h. and offers 7 miles of range; the R1 Elite, 20 m.p.h. with 8 miles of range. The boards feature handhold cutouts on either side, making them easy to carry.
Price range: $1,039 - $1,199
Boosted's offerings top out at 22 miles per hour, can tackle San Francisco's hellish 25% grade hills, and offer two battery options: The Standard will carry you 6-7 miles, while the Extended Range is good for 12 miles. The hand control can be set in four different modes, from Beginner (capping the speed at 11 m.p.h.) up to Pro (22 m.p.h.). The decks are bamboo, made by Loaded.
Inboard's M1 tops out at 22 m.p.h., features a 7-mile range and can handle 18% of hill grade. The deck is a composite made from a wood (poplar) core, ABS sidewalls and a fiberglass top sheet. You can opt to control the board through the included handheld remote or via your smartphone, with an app that also enables you to monkey with the settings and check battery levels.
Price range: $1,449.99 - $2,159.99
Evolve offers several models, with the extremes being a base Bamboo One at the low end and their Carbon GT on the high end. The latter is made from carbon fiber to offset the weight of that model's larger battery. Top speeds vary depending on your wheel and gear configuration; 18 m.p.h. on the low end and 26 m.p.h. at the high end. Ranges vary from 20 miles on the Bamboo One to 30 miles on the Carbon GT. Evolve's products will tackle 20% to 25% grades depending on the model, and they even offer off-road versions.
Leiftech's unique six-wheeled product features footholds and is billed as an "eSnowboard," allowing you to "Shred your city just like a snowboard - slide, spin and even jump with comfort and confidence" (check out the video below, it certainly appears to ride differently that the other boards). It tops out at 23 m.p.h. and offers batteries with a 10- or 15-mile range. Because your feet are in a fixed position, the battery is mounted atop the board, which allows you to see the LED battery life indicators. The footrests can be adjusted to your stance width.
In sports most athletes need a squeezable bottle that allows for one-handed, fast and precise drinking. But currently all squeezable bottles are made out of plastic. That means: Bad taste, potential health risk and throw away mentality.
Nowadays, all your equipment is high-tech. You have the best shoes, the best shirt - so why not having the best bottle?
Driven by that problem we set out two years ago to develop a better sports bottle. Many attempts later we found a suitable material (elastic titanium). Even more attempts later we found a suitable producer. A manufacturer specialized in producing kicker chamber for CERN and other particle accelerators around the world.
Last fall we produced the first bottle as proof-of-concept. Currently, a dedicated production system is being built in Denmark. We've been granted 4 public funding here in Vienna/Austria, but since development of hardware involves heavy investment we're still struggling. That's why we are looking for backers on Kickstarter starting this week (March 14th).
About 15 years ago I walked into Coach to buy a wallet. It was expensive, $70.00, but it was well made, and, an important selling point, it was made in New York. When the wallet finally wore out this year, I went back to Coach and a salesman showed me a $149.00 wallet that I didn't buy. It wasn't that I think I don't deserve a $149.00 wallet, it's just that it was made in China and nothing special. The reason for the change is that Coach, along with hundreds of other boutique manufacturers, was bought by investors who put a Coach store in as many higher end malls as they could find. Nothing wrong with that except in the process Coach went from being a boutique, high end manufacturer, with a exclusive brand, to an essentially mass market distributor that is only differentiated by the label. Their wallets might be much more expensive than a low end brandless wallet but they aren't substantially different. In the US over the past 20 years many exclusive brands names are no longer exclusive and are just trading on their old reputation.
What does this have to do with woodworking?
In the old days (25 years ago) if you wanted boutique, expensive, high end merchandise you had to go to a big city like New York or London, or Paris. Then exclusive brands became available everywhere, and they were no longer so exclusive. Now thanks to the Internet if you want something exclusive you can buy it direct from the maker, who can live anywhere. This is the premise of websites such as etsy.com. Lots of other small makers sell direct from their own personal websites. The mass marketing of formally exclusive brands has created a vacuum for new exclusive brands.
On the furniture side of things where thirty years ago there was a thriving industry of US made furniture that was sold as a once-in-a-lifetime purchase today mass market furniture is marketed by IKEA and it's competitors to be disposable.
The issue in fine furniture making on the professional level has never been about making the furniture. It's been about finding customers. There is opportunity here. I'm just not sure what it is. I do know that in my industry - woodworking tools, there are dozens of new, small hand tool companies earning a living and making a profit because the Internet is making it possible for the toolmaker to sell worldwide. For the high end seller marketing via Google adwords is usually a waste but with the Internet relentless self-promotion has never been easier. For the first time the thousands of rich people who CAN afford bespoke furniture can find you on the web, if not directly then through their decorators who are always looking for the NBT (Next Big Thing). All of these people are looking for interesting, well made furniture, that has a compelling story of craft behind it, and isn't something you can buy at the nearby luxury mall.
The trick is figuring out how to reach these potential customers them and that takes some imaginative thinking. Any thoughts?
P.S. My wife bought me a perfectly good wallet on sale for about 20 bucks. Case closed!
This "Tools & Craft" section is provided courtesy of Joel Moskowitz, founder of Tools for Working Wood, the Brooklyn-based catalog retailer of everything from hand tools to Festool; check out their online shop here. Joel also founded Gramercy Tools, the award-winning boutique manufacturer of hand tools made the old-fashioned way: Built to work and built to last.
Fast-paced, entrepreneurial Pet Products Company located in Secaucus, New Jersey is looking for a bright, self-motivated individual for a Junior Industrial Designer position to assist in our Creative Department. The successful candidate will work closely with lead designers, providing support in various graphic and design projects and day-to-day productView the full design job here
#IMakeaLiving is a series of free, traveling events powered by FreshBooks that focuses on bringing together an eclectic group of small business owners for a lively, candid, and often hilarious, conversation. In light of the series' second year, we're interviewing business-owning designers on how they brought their companies to the next level.
Some businesses start on a whim after days spent dreading a desk job, while others grow organically based on a successful side project. The latter is the case with Few, a design agency co-founded by Arlton Lowry and David Hudson. The pair met in Little Rock, Arkansas during Made by Few, a design conference run by Lowry at the time. After deciding to work on multiple projects together, turning their efforts into a company a couple years later was only natural. Today, Few's client list includes everything from Ritz Crackers to Wells Fargo, and the 11 team members are spread across almost five different time zones.
Traveling and adjusting to new environments is nothing new to Lowry, so we sat down with him and discussed the realities of managing employees while working remotely and how he's able to minimize distraction while abroad:
Core77: Can you tell us a little about Few and how you guys came to be?
AL: Few is a design development agency. We mainly focus on building products and on large-scale enterprise websites. We've worked with a number of startups but also with large organizations, including Budweiser, Ritz Crackers, 7-Eleven, Nebraska Furniture Mart and Wells Fargo. It kind of runs the gamut. We also build out internal products that we're really interested in and we really enjoy using. We are heavily focused on community engagement and being active in our own community. Clients come to us looking for solutions around problems or ideas that they want to explore, and we build those out for them.
We started Few in 2014, and this month is actually our four year mark. I started with organizing a conference called Made by Few in 2012. The intention of the conference was encapsulating entrepreneurship, development and inspiration with a heavy focus on design. The conference quickly expanded and gained more attendance, and during one of the events I ended up meeting my co-founder, David Hudson. We hit if off very well and started working on projects together. He helped me out with some of the developments on the Made by Few website, and we really enjoyed working together.
At the time, we were both working for companies outside of the state remotely. I was working for a company out of Denver, and my client that I was focused on was in Vancouver. I was organizing a conference, working full time and teaching web design at University of Arkansas, Little Rock. The company David was working for was out of Dallas, and I think the company that he focused on was in Philadelphia or something.
The right opportunity to quit our day jobs and start this company eventually presented itself. We took a big leap doing so because, honestly, our jobs were pretty comfortable. There's so much you can learn by starting a company, but even through all the ups and downs, here we are, four years in.
What are some examples of more interactive projects you've worked on?
We've done kiosks for Nebraska Furniture Mart where users can choose the different things they want to fill their living room, kitchen, etc with to see what their space could look like. We also worked with Wells Fargo on an interactive kiosk on the streets of Philadelphia called Smiles Program. If you smiled at the kiosk, it donated a dollar to a local library. It recognized your whole face, and you were able to interact with it—it was like you were floating through a virtual world. I was actually just in Singapore, and while I was there I saw two kiosks of a similar nature. In the future, there's only going to be more and more of those kinds of interactions when it comes to advertising.
What would you say is the main difference between working with large enterprises versus startups?
There's definitely a different dynamic at play when you're working with large organizations versus a startups. There's a different mindset and different objectives. Sometimes when you're dealing with startups, there's a lot more fluidity and flexibility with projects. Typically, with more corporate projects, it's very rigid—there's already a process in place and you follow that process. Not to say that there isn't some kind of flexibility or creativity and decision-making, but it's more challenging.
With startups, you're able to mold it a little bit more and really build up the idea, occasionally even from scratch. Sometimes clients come to us not necessarily knowing what they need or what they're wanting, and we're able to take those ideas and help them figure out exactly what they want to do. It's definitely a different process, but no matter who the client is, there's obviously going to be a strong rapport back and forth.
Since you met your co-founder at your own conference, do you have any advice for interacting and meeting people at large events?
I think the after parties can actually be the most helpful parts of these events. At the parties, you're able to engage with these entrepreneur and startup individuals face-to-face versus hearing them talk from a distance. Those kind of interactions are pretty important, and you don't necessarily get them during the day at the actual event.
From what I've read, your team is based in different locations all around the world. Can you tell us a little about why travel is so important to you?
Within a month or two, our company will be spread over five different time zones, all over the world. We use contractors and we use other individuals, depending on the project. I've been quite a bit of places, but this year, traveling is a passion of mine. I love new cultures, being in new environments and meeting new people. I know this sounds very lovey-dovey, but there's something beautiful about having all those different backgrounds, all those people from different cultures and ideologies in one place and being able to share ideas and feel like there's a common thread between us all. Having a connection with people that may not happen otherwise is something I really enjoy about traveling.
How do you manage to run a business where everyone's working remotely and on their own? Isn't that overwhelming?
There's no way you can run a business like this with people in multiple time zones with just a phone call or an email. If it wasn't for software solutions, we wouldn't be able to do what we do. We use different software for everything. Let's see, we use FreshBooks, Quickbooks, Slack, Gusto and Zoom. These softwares are what allow our company to actually be remote.
Maintaining a connection with your team is important, and you don't want to lose it. It's very important for company culture and morale to know the people you work with and have a good understanding of what their interests are, what they're into and if they are having a bad day. If it wasn't for the ease and use of this software, we wouldn't be able to do that.
"We really put emphasis on trying to attract the most talented people possible, no matter where they're located."
I was just at this co-working space in Bali, Indonesia called Dojo Bali. It was 24 hours, and there's no door—it's completely open, you just walk in. During the day, it's packed, and there are people there from all over the world. If this software wasn't available, if people hadn't created it, then there's no way this type of work environment would be possible. I think that's an interesting dynamic for any type of startup or company that does what we do.
It's also about self-management. I always use the phrase, "I am my own worst boss". Nobody is going to be harder on me than myself. That goes for being on time for meetings, making sure that the work I produce is in a timely manner and of the highest quality possible and making sure that communication is clear and concise. If you're unable to manage yourself very well, then you probably shouldn't do the type of work we do.
What's your best self-management advice?
Well, I'm in Melbourne, and I've never been here before. It's a cool place, and there are a lot of really cool things I could do for fun. The area I'm staying in has tons of music venues—you wouldn't believe how many bands are playing here. There are a whole plethora of options. So I have that... and then I have work. Just like anywhere else, if I'm working from home, there has to be a strong balance. I can't just say, "I'm excited about this show, so I can leave early from work and push off that meeting."
You need to set boundaries and give yourself a strong understanding of a schedule to stay on. For instance, I'm going to get up and I'm going to start working at 5 am every morning, and I'm going to work at least 8 hours a day until around 2 pm. After 2 pm, I'm free to do whatever I want. That way you have time to be productive. Some people think the work we do can be done any time, anywhere. That's fine, but if you open the Pandora's Box of "any time," then there's no structure or consistency—it's just chaos.
It's interesting to imagine the future of all workplaces being completely remote and the possibilities that could create.
Yeah, and we're actually trying to push it even more for our employees. We're a small company, so we really put emphasis on trying to attract the most talented people possible, no matter where they're located. Designers and developers have a plethora of options—they can go to San Francisco or New York or basically anywhere they want to. They can work at a cool place and have a cool job working for a large company or organization.
So, how do we compete with that as a small company working out of Little Rock, Arkansas? We do so through culture, through our community engagement, and through the ability to work where we want and be very self-managed while doing so. We try to trust people and hire people that can manage themselves really well. That's how we're able to achieve this ability to work so remotely. Think about it. You're talking to somebody from Little Rock, Arkansas that's in Melbourne, Australia, who's been around the world and has a company of eleven people all over the place. Isn't that great?
Interested in listening to more start-up stories? #IMakeaLiving Powered by FreshBooks will be hosting their next event on March 28th in Toronto. Learn more and register here, and in the meantime you can listen to the #IMakeaLiving podcast here.
Richard Meier is one of the world's most celebrated architects, a member of the original New York Five whose works include the Getty Center, the Barcelona Museum of Contemporary Art and the Paley Center, among countless others. The Pritzker Prize winner, now 83, has been so prolific that he built a 15,000-square-foot museum in New Jersey housing models of projects he created during his five-decade career.
Now, disturbingly, it appears he'll be remembered for doing something other than minimalist architecture over a long period of time. Five women have come forward with accounts of Meier exposing himself to them, groping them, asking them to undress so that he could photograph them naked and, in one woman's account, forcefully pulling her onto a bed.
The earliest allegation dates back to the '80s, while the most recent date from 2009, when Meier was 75 and his accusers were 22 and 24. The former spoke up and received a $150,000 settlement, while the latter told the Times that "The incident felt shameful and embarrassing, even though I knew I hadn't done anything wrong…. I was worried about my co-workers and what would happen to their reputations if Mr. Meier's behavior was exposed. Speaking up didn't feel like an option."
The latter woman did, however, tell management.
She was subsequently laid off.
The full list of allegations is here.
Following their publicity, Meier has said he will take a six-month leave of absence from his firm.
The 2018 Autorama is a car show held in Detroit and dedicated to hot rods. The next best thing to attending wouldn't be to see a video of it; it would be to see a video of it shot by an industrial designer, because they're going to focus on and geek out about the same things we'd look at. Here Eric Strebel takes a look at the paint finishes, the material one clever displayer used as underlayment, the vehicles' colors/stances/gestures, explains how a turbocharged + supercharged engine works, et cetera.
Strebel urges you to watch until the end to see his favorite picks, and while I didn't see everything at the show, based on what I saw in the vid I have to agree with his #1 (though that absolutely evil-looking Charger at the end gives it a good run for its money):
We are looking for an ambitiously driven Industrial Designer to join our dynamic founding team working to solve city transportation challenges by way of creating and delivering Britain’s first eVTOL (Electric Vertical Takeoff and Landing) aircraft. Founded by leading serial entrepreneur who has set the task of building a world-classView the full design job here
As we mentioned earlier, Crave's Pleasure Tour is a traveling build-a-vibrator workshop housed out of a restored Airstream trailer. Here industrial designer Ti Chang, Crave co-founder and VP of Design, walks you through the build process for their Duet Pro vibrator.
While the split-tip design may remind males of the Millennium Falcon, here Chang explains why it's designed that way:
Want to bring the workshop to a town near you? You can support the crowdfunding campaign for Crave's Pleasure Tour here .
For this year's Core77 Design Awards, we're conducting in-depth interviews with each of our jury captains to get in a glimpse into their creative minds and hear more about what they'll be looking for in this year's awards submissions.
La Shirl Turner's work revolves around the details of automobiles that don't always receive as much glory but are arguably some of the most important facets of them. As the Head of the Exterior and Interior Color and Materials at Fiat Chrysler, or FCA for short, Turner's design work incorporates not only color and personality into a vehicle, but also a sense of comfortability through careful material selection. In our recent interview with Turner, who will serve as this year's Core77 Design Awards Transportation Jury Captain, we discussed her favorite parts about the job and why she wants to help inspire young girls to pursue careers in automotive design.
How did you find yourself going into the profession of automobile design?
Wow. How do I make this story short? I am from Detroit, so basically I grew up around cars and this whole automotive industry world. So actually, growing up I was all about looking at cars in magazines, I was attracted to the colors of the cars on the covers. You know, where a lot of my female friends were all ripping pages from fashion magazines, and I was the total opposite.
I was always into textiles and weaving, so going to college for creative studies I actually focused on textile design. At one time I thought I was going to be a fashion designer—I was making dresses out of garbage bags for my sister for her birthday. So, I was in that design world until I landed where I really wanted to be. I later had the opportunity to go into the automotive world, learning about how to draw those interiors and exteriors of cars. So it was kind of like I got to merge two worlds together.
Can you tell me a little bit more about what you do on a daily basis?
Sure. My design team is called Advanced Color Materials for FCA. We're responsible for all the vehicles for color and materials, so everything from exterior paint to wheels and finishes, to the bright work on the exterior. Then when you get to the interior, we're responsible for everything from headliner down to carpet, leather, fabric. Anything you can see or touch in a vehicle, we've had our hands on it.
"We're more influenced by what's going on in the environment; the turnover for "what's happening now" is quick. If there's a new red color that's popular, that could change by the time we produce a vehicle."
We initially found you because of your designs for the Jeep Renegade, and thought that the color combinations were really interesting. I had never seen anything quite like that before, so I was curious where you find your inspiration for colors and materials.
First, I'm really excited that the Renegade caught your attention. I can actually say that was one of the vehicles and products that we had a lot of fun working on. That was a palette where we actually got to be really expressive, and try different things as far as color and materials. Especially the finishes, as well as the exterior color combination.
My team and I, depending on the brand and the product, we try to draw our inspiration now from different cultures, different environments. We always do the traditional designer inspiration route where we're looking at fashion, architecture, apparel, sneakers, lots of products. So, we try and mix a lot of that, but we're more influenced by what's going on in the world and in the environment. Because as you know, products and apparel are so trendy, and the turnover for "what's happening now" is quick. If there's a new red color that's popular, that could change by the time we produce a vehicle.
In what part of the production process do Colors and Materials come in?
We start our work when the project is kicked off, when the design and engineering teams start. We begin our homework as far as what kind of story are we going to tell, because we always say that we tell a story through our color and materials. We set the mood and the environment. So, we do a lot of homework. We research competitors. We are in it from the start to the finish.
Because in our world, we make the color and material proposals. We also work with a lot of suppliers to develop the leathers and fabrics. We have our hands in working with the engineering teams to make sure that the materials that we select are feasible. So there's a lot of behind the scenes work that goes on, before materials are even selected to put in a vehicle.
What's your favorite part of the entire process?
I like all of it. I like the research, the challenges that come with maybe selecting a material that may not have testing. You know, how can we get this to work? How can we work through the challenges or the struggles? I like that part of it, because then let's say something makes it into the vehicle, and you look at it. It's at the auto show and you know what it took to get that there.
And I also like the final part of the process. I guess we never really stop, but just even sometimes hearing the feedback. You know, anything we do in the design world, there's going to be that group who really love what you're doing, and there's always that group who has that, "Oh, why did they select that kind of …?"—you know, that sort of moment. And I actually enjoy both of those, because when you hear some of the feedback, people saying, "Why did they choose that paint color?" or, "Why is that leather material there?" It kind of makes you want to work even harder on the next project.
Absolutely! So I'm curious since you've been working in the automotive world, what part of your work has seen the biggest shifts?
As far as the color and material world ... For me, I can say that I've been a part of the whole growth and change. I see a lot of different materials come and go. A lot of enhancements to the basic materials like leathers and vinyl and things like that. I think for us, we try and evolve through our color and materials selections as the suppliers are changing and technologies are so enhanced. [Colors and materials] are part of that wave also. As new technologies come aboard we ask, how do we incorporate that into materials that do pass automotive testing? I think that's the biggest part of this whole evolution for us.
What do you mean by automotive testing for materials?
We go through a process. Let's say if there was a new material type or technology that we've never used in a vehicle, we work through it with our Materials and Engineering team to do automotive testing, to make sure that the material is feasible. It'll trim on a seat, it won't shred, it's sewable. It'll live in that environment.
There are different testing processes for all the materials we select. We have different groups within the corporation in Materials and Engineering that work on seating. You know, different IP, flooring. So, we work with a large variety of teams.
Based on the work that you do, in what ways do you think our concept of transportation is going to change in the future?
Of course, I'm going to answer this from a color and materials perspective, right? I think even with the autonomous world going on, the materials are always going to remain important. Whether they're simple, clean, I think they will always still have to have durability. They will have to last within that environment.
I think materials might become even more important due to the fact that autonomous cars will be even more about comfort. The vehicles won't be as much about driving as it will be a living space, or a space to get from one place to another.
Yeah. I think it kind of goes back to what I said about keeping things a little bit more simple. I think within the autonomous world, the customer is still going to want a simple, clean environment. Something that meets their needs, for whatever vehicle type that is going to be within an autonomous world. I think for us, the color and materials will always still be predominantly the same. I mean the same with regards to how we make our materials selections, but we're just changing what we're selecting for that vehicle.
You found yourself in one of these occupations that's not just slightly, but overwhelmingly seen as dominated by men. I'm curious about your experience in the automotive industry as a woman, and also the kind of advice you would give to female designers or students who are aspiring to enter the transportation field.
Well, it's funny because we are a team of 21 right now, and I can actually tell you that I feel that I have the most diverse team within the design office—we have female employees, people from around the world. You know, when I first got into this, it was predominantly a male environment, but I can also say that I've been a witness to how it's changed. There are more females within automotive, not just in Color and Materials, but also designers. So, I think there's a great opportunity for females in automotive.
Our studio does a lot of visits to high schools and middle schools teaching other kids about the automotive world. Because for me, I notice that a lot of girls don't even know that there is a career in Color and Materials. Or they don't even know that, hey, I can be a car designer. So, I think it's about getting that message out to females or young women, that there is a career path in automotive that's just not engineering, you know?
Right. Yeah. It's not profiled as much, all of these women designers who are behind the scenes, so it's good to get more faces out there.
Yes. That's why I really like reaching out to the high school students, and even the lower grade levels, to let them know that there is a career path out there. A lot of them don't know. Even when I was in college, I didn't know. I was in textiles. I didn't know that I could merge drawing interiors or exteriors into a career. I thought, okay, if I'm not going into fashion or something else, what am I going to do? Am I going be a starving artist? I don't know. But it's all about the message. Getting that message out there that there is a career opportunity. Especially for women.
Final question: you're judging the transportation category, so I'm curious what you're hoping to see in terms of the submissions. What will you be looking for
I think what my team and I will be looking for is someone who is presenting a project or portfolio that has personality. Something that's not traditional and has a real wow factor. I mean, I know a lot of the categories, or a lot of the things that may be presented may be things that have been seen before. But what did they do with that? If there's a new bicycle design, what did they do with the materials on the bicycle design? Is it just a traditional bicycle design? So, just looking for things that are outside the norm.
And then also, of course we will be a little color and materials biased, but how are they using those materials? Are they using new and unique materials in a different way? The materials, are they placed on a form, or whatever project that they're presenting? I'm kind of excited. I think it's going to be really cool.
I also think the most attention-getting products will be the ones that clearly tell a story—ones where you can get an understanding of what they're trying to tell on the first glance. It's all about the story for me.
The Core77 Design Awards Transportation Jury
2018 Transportation Jury Captain La Shirl Turner will be joined by these designers for the awards selection process:
Thinking of submitting to the Transportation category in the 2018 Core77 Design Awards? Submit today—Regular Deadline ends March 8th!
The primary responsibilities of the Designer are to provide design work of innovative and technologically advanced products that meet the needs of the company’s end users and which in turn drives company image, sales and profits. Accountable for the creative production of designs that drive the product category.View the full design job here
At the World's Fair Nano in San Francisco, multiple companies were hawking their wearable wares. The diversity in the category indicates that wearables are still unsolidified as a product category: Each company seems to be wondering "Should the design be led by technology/function, the user experience, or aesthetics?"
In the next few entries we'll cover some of what we saw on display. Let us know your thoughts on the practicality, desirability and/or usefulness, if any, of these items. First up:
Ashley Chloe's Helix Wearable Cuffs
These are a pair of stereo earbuds connected to each other by a cable. At the midpoint of the cable hangs the controller. The earbuds do not physically connect to your phone/device, using Bluetooth instead.
The earbuds are designed, when not in use, to be stored within a compartment in the attendant bracelet.
The bracelets come in a variety of colors.
So the key distinction of this product appears to be that the earbuds are always conveniently (if you like bracelets) on hand--assuming you don't find the process of inserting or removing the buds into the bracelet a hassle:
What consumers have to decide:
An obvious competitor to the Helix is Apple's AirPods ($159 vs. Helix's $149), which have no cables and are stowed in a little pillbox when not in use. The different approaches taken by each product necessitate some decisions on what type of user experience the wearer wants to have:
- Do I prefer the physicality of the button control on the Helix, or the tap interface on the AirPods?
- Do I want a cable connecting the earbuds or not? Do I want the weight of a separate controller, however light, attached to a cable?
- Do I prefer to store the earbuds in a bracelet around my wrist, or in a pillbox which must then be stored in a pocket or bag?
- When I need to hit "pause," do I want to physically remove an earbud from my ear, as I must do with the AirPods, or tap a button on the Helix controller, allowing the earbuds to remain in place (and both hands to remain free)?
- The bracelets are visible on the body. Do I want to make a fashion statement?
Assuming the sound quality and noise-canceling technology between both platforms are equal, which product do you find superior? I suspect it all comes down to personal preference, with there being no one "right" answer. Which is what makes wearables such a tricky category to tackle.
In the previous post on wearables seen at the World's Fair Nano, we looked at Ashley Chloe's Helix Cuffs vs. Apple's AirPods. This time we'll look at Rowkin's offerings, which are much more similar to Apple's product than the Cuffs, but have some minor differences in UX.
Rowkin displayed their three versions of wireless Bluetooth headphones: The Bit Stereo, Bit Charge Stereo and Micro products. Each consist of wireless earbuds that "live" in a little charging case, just as the AirPods do, with some minor differences.
The diminutive $130 Micro's case holds enough juice for four charge cycles providing three hours of battery life each, meaning the user is carrying around 12 hours' worth.
The Bit Stereo's chief physical distinction is that the designers have opted for a cylindrical case resembling a lipstick tube:
These are more casual-use earbuds, as the battery life contained within the charger only provides two charging cycles that each provide "up to 3 hours of talk time and up to 2 hours of music playback." The key benefit seems to be that the cylindrical form factor takes up a minimum of space.
Although priced the same as the Micro, the larger Bit Charge Stereo provides a whopping 15 charging cycles or can completely charge an iPhone 7, the company claims. Clearly designed for the power user, the battery case comes in at just over 3.5 inches tall.
In short, the Micro is similar to Apple's AirPods in form factor, minus the aesthetic differences. (I'll let the technophiles argue over which sound better, as we're only concerned with the role of the industrial designer here.) But Rowkin offers the customer more choices with their light-duty Bit Stereo and power-user Bit Charge Stereo.
Time will tell whether Apple's one-size-fits-all approach, which undoubtedly streamlines their manufacturing process versus Rowkin's requisite multiple factory lines, proves to be the winning one. With wearables, it's still not clear whether one type of design will "win" and dominate the category, or whether these will continue to be, like eyeglasses, wristwatches and other on-body devices, ruled by fashion rather than function.
Most of you own one or more devices that go into or over your ears, and some of you own smartwatches. The ears and wrist are two prime locations for wearables. The fingers, however, have yet to have a winning product take advantage of that on-body real estate.
At the World's Fair Nano in San Francisco, we saw two "smart" rings, one whose chances we feel are pretty good, and another that we're iffy on due to poor execution--not necessarily on the design side, but on the design presentation side. Discussing this misstep might prove helpful to you entrepreneurs hoping to launch your own project, and we're going to write the iffy one up first.
The object in question is the Talon smart ring, designed by a company called Titanium Falcon.
To understand what it does, take a look at this video:
So that's actually their crowdfunding video--from two years ago. The campaign flopped, and badly, garnering just $2,591 towards a $300,000 goal, meaning it came in at sub-1%.
Let's look at why. First off, the opening of the video actually did grab me, because there are countless times when my hands are wet/dirty (cooking, cleaning, repairing one of my many sewing machines) and I'd love to be able to answer a phone call or advance a podcast without having to stop and wash or dry my hands first.
But rather than provide details on how the operation they illustrated actually works, they skip ahead to a guy shutting off a light, a guy controlling a drone, someone playing videogames, all things that don't interest me. And presumably others are interested in those things but not the wet application. So when you have an object that can do a lot of different things and you're trying to cast a broad net, the presentation challenge is to spend enough time focused on any particular area in order to convince folks interested in that area that those details have been worked out, and the product will deliver.
I also think the stilted delivery by the engineering team didn't help. There are times when you want to hear a word of two from the behind-the-scenes people, and times to get someone with on-camera presence reading a good script.
In short, very little useful, concrete or convincing information is presented in the video, so it's not a surprise to me that the campaign flopped.
Good on the developers for sticking with it, though. In the two years since the campaign they've continued developing the product.
Sadly, however, I don't see them having a good chance at success, again for the same communication problem. Take a look at these more recent videos they posted showing the Talon's usage:
"Mobile VR Experiences:"
Are you kidding me? A bunch of people moving their hands around in the air? These videos provide absolutely zero useful or convincing information. It is as if someone on the team said "Hey, we need to post videos" so they purchased a couple of colored backdrops, messed around for 30 minutes and came up with what you see above.
They did post one potentially compelling video that shows how the Talon might be practically used:
That appears to be the only video done in that style. If they had a dozen more videos like that, that also described how the user sets the device up for each application, I'd give the product a better chance of generating consumer interest.
The company seems to me to be completely engineering-driven. With tech products like this, you need to hire at least one industrial designer. You need someone who "gets it," the person who is going to say "Hey, design isn't just about designing the product, it's about telling the story," communicating to end-users how this object would fit into and improve their lives.
Absent that, you've got a bunch of engineers in a room busting their butts for a product that might never make it, for lack of communication.
Please, folks, hire a designer.
Next we'll look at a smart ring that we think has got a better shot.
Kickstarter is often used with the intention of launching products that will eventually lead to full brands, but what if the crowdfunding platform were to be used for quick, one-off experiments? Product designer and Kickstarter expertOscar Lhermitte is toying with the latter concept through a series of projects appropriately dubbed "Quickstarter." According to Lhermitte, each project in this series needs to meet the following requirements:
1. The whole process of designing, prototyping and manufacturing should not take longer than 3-4 months
2. The product has to be launched on Kickstarter
3. The campaign has to be under 30 days
4. The funding goal has to be under £1,000
5. The rewards have to be under £20
6. The video has to be shot in just one day with a smartphone
The first object in Lhermitte's Quickstarter series to release is Tape Stickers—rolls of packaging tape with various types of reference guides printed on them. Two different varieties are available, one with rulers and protractors and the other with formats and sizing guides. The campaign's video explains how each roll is actually able to take on several different uses based on context:
Here's a closer look at the different sections in each roll:
You can reserve one of each Tape Stickers rolls for a collective £10 on Kickstarter here. And if the other projects in the Quickstarter series are going to be anything like Tape Stickers, we're excited to see what's next.
By combining an acoustic channel and filter for natural sound in eight hot colors, Loop earplugs let wearers avoid hearing loss without looking like a dork.
STEL is seeking top talent to create amazing product visuals. You are an independently-minded, creative person with a passion for design. You have an Industrial Design experience or relevant profession with work examples in the consumer electronics space, sports design, and outdoor category. You're self-motivated and aspireView the full design job here