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    Here's a fascinating tidbit you can share with your ID buddies at the bar.

    In 1871 a fellow named James Ritty opened a saloon in Dayton, Ohio. On offer were "Pure Whiskies, Fine Wines, and Cigars." Business was good, but Ritty discovered that his employees had a tendency to steal. The money customers used to pay for their drinks often wound up being pocketed. And it was impossible to watch all of the employees all of the time, so Ritty lived with it.

    Seven years later, in 1878, Ritty took a trip to Europe. On the steamship ride across the Atlantic, he observed that the ship was outfitted with a mechanism that counted each rotation of the propeller. Light bulbs hadn't been invented yet, but if they had, one would have popped up over Ritty's head.

    When Ritty returned to the 'States he asked his brother, a mechanic, to help him invent a counting machine like he'd seen on the ship. This would be used to track transactions at his bar, so that he'd know when the employees were stealing. After two failed prototypes, they succeeded with the third, which they named "Ritty's Incorruptible Cashier." This machine logged transactions with button presses, and while there was no drawer, at the end of the day Ritty could reconcile what the machine had counted with what his employees forked over. It was patented in 1879.

    Ritty set up a factory to produce the machines for sale, but soon found that running two businesses was a pain in the ass. His passion was running bars, not manufacturing. So he sold the business to a group of investors. They formed the National Manufacturing Company, which was rebranded the National Cash Register Company (later NCR) in 1884.

    These new owners added both a cash drawer, and an auditory design feature to the machine: Each time the drawer was opened, a bell rang. This was to alert business owners to each sale, so that employees could not surreptitiously steal--if a customer was purchasing something and you didn't hear the bell, that meant the employee was putting the money in his pocket.

    According to historian and author Bill Bryson, this design feature had a very interesting side effect:

    "…Every dip into the till was announced with a noisy bell, thus making it harder for cashiers to engage in illicit delvings among the takings. [And] early owners discovered that if they charged odd amounts like 49 cents or 99 cents the cashier would very probably have to open the drawer to extract a penny change, obviating the possibility of the dreaded unrecorded transaction.
    "Only later did it dawn on merchants that $1.99 had the odd subliminaml quality of seeming markedly cheaper than $2."
    --from "Made in America: An Informal History of the English Language in the United States"


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    It's hard to believe that police chases are still a thing, but YouTube is awash in footage of people trying to outrun the cops. More than a few of these chases end in fiery crashes and, in some unfortunate instances, innocent bystanders being injured.

    An Arizona-based inventor named Leonard Stock witnessed one such incident: "The conclusion of one of the chases [I saw on TV] was an innocent motorist getting t-boned and I went to sleep that night just so aggravated that this was happening," he told a local news organization. "And I woke up at 3:00 in the morning just suddenly and this was the first thought I had."

    That first thought was the Grappler Police Bumper, which Stock both invented and is now selling:

    It does look a darn sight safer than trying to perform that "pit" maneuver.



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    This 6-piece furniture collection can be mixed and matched to create over 25 uses for your home. Perfect for small-space dwellers, those who move frequently, or design enthusiasts at large, VARIA was created to help you do more, with less.

    Frame + 2 Tops
    Frame + 2 Tops = Coffee Table
    2 Frames + Headboard
    2 Frames + Headboard = Desk
    View the full project here

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    The Designer will be a member of the Specialty Play Group Design team and will be creating product concepts and taking these concepts to a production ready design. These designs will consist of many different materials from steel, rotomolded plastic and HDPE. This position works in the Fort Payne, AL,

    View the full design job here

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    Design is intended to solve problems. And the original hope of industrial design, as promulgated by ID granddaddy Raymond Loewy, was that it would make mass-produced items beautiful, useful, and more economical to produce.

    But too often modern-day design goes astray, pursuing just one of the aforementioned qualities at the expense of the other two. In pursuit of beauty in particular, designers are at risk of drinking their own Kool-Aid, imposing their completely subjective notions of beauty onto a public that may not share their sense of aesthetics.

    I believe that is exactly what has happened with Quebec City's recent bicycle rack design competition. The city's mission was noble enough: Promote bicycle commuting by populating the place with bike racks. But the two designs selected as finalists are not exactly a hit with the very cyclists that would be using them. Here's one of the designs, Québec à vélo by architecture firm Para-Sol:

    "The project proposes a bike rack concept that differs from more standard models in its materiality of wood, both identity for the City of Quebec and evoking an ecological will. The sober design of the object and its modular qualities make it a furniture that integrates well with the urban context and more specifically with a parking space. The new furniture stands out in the environment where it is established thanks to its strong volumetric presence.
    "The geometry of the support, composed of a series of oblique pieces of wood, naturally communicates to cyclists the places where to park their bicycles. Visible from the sidewalk, a long beam incorporating a customizable signage helps to spread a message promoting the bike. On it is engraved numerically the name of the district followed by the means of transport which one wishes to promote; BIKE QUEBEC. As a whole, the support incorporates a series of thoughtful practical details to make the cyclists happy."

    This is your typical architecture-speak BS. The sentence "The new furniture stands out in the environment where it is established thanks to its strong volumetric presence" doesn't actually mean anything. Also, no cyclist is clamoring for a rack design with a "strong volumetric presence." They want a secure way to lock their bike up. Sure, this rack might do that, but before I get to why this design is a problem, let me show you the second one:

    That's the ABCyclette by Hatem+D Architecture.

    "The idea for Abcyclette is that the shape of the bicycle parking rack becomes the name of the 'station,' much like other transit systems. For example, users leave the bicycle at the ST-ROCH station. From another viewpoint, people can see an array of colourful tubes that are both pleasing to the eye and very intriguing. The words can nevertheless be seen from the sidewalk on the other side of the street and, thanks to anamorphosis, from other vantage points as well. While this may seem complex, the end result is simple and the impact, immediate.
    "Abcyclette bicycle parking racks not only beautifully mark the streets, but they also serve as functional urban art. The racks can be adapted to all sorts of uses, including for citizens and tourist routes. Abcyclette inspires curiosity and discover—and incites people to interact with it to uncover its true meaning."

    More architecture-speak. "…Incites people to interact with it to uncover its true meaning"? Give me a break. How exactly would this play out? I'd argue that no cyclist cares that a bike rack spells out the name of the station. Cyclists want a place to lock their bikes up.

    Whether or not you find either of these designs attractive, here's the real problem, as reported by CBC News: Once you add up the prize money, and the prototyping, copyright and jury fees, then the actual production costs, Quebec City is getting "seven racks, at a cost of $23,600* each."

    "CBC News called several bike rack retailers and found several designs for the same number of bicycles in the range of $600 to $1,000."

    In other words, the city could have made at least 23 times as many bicycle parking spaces available by simply buying off-the-shelf. "It's kind of a shame, because it's a lot of money that could have been used to just add more ordinary bike racks," Caroline Sigouin told CBC News. "We'd have been so happy with that."

    I think any cyclist would rather have a good chance of finding rack space on an ugly rack, than struggle to find a free slot on a designey rack.

    *About $18,000 USD.


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    By definition, most bottles have a bottleneck, making it difficult to clean the insides. But this JuNiki bottle from Germany has a wide, can-like lip, making it easy to get in there with a sponge. Furthermore, the dual-neck cap that screws on top of it makes the bottle both easy to fill and easy to drink from:

    The bottle has already been successfully Kickstarted, with just €10 (about $12 USD) getting you your choice of a borosilicate glass version or a vacuum-insulated stainless steel version. If you want one, you'd better hurry--there's just five days left to pledge.



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    In an effort to combat wrist strain and carpal tunnel syndrome, the designers at Logitech have created a radical-looking mouse, the MX Vertical, whose main axis is tilted upwards at 57 degrees. This places your wrist in a more natural "handshake" position, which looks weird, but seems to make good sense:

    The company claims the design change "[reduces] muscular activity by up to 10 percent compared to a standard mouse without any loss in overall performance. The comfort form is designed to fit a variety of hand shapes and sizes, while the textured rubber surface and thumb rest ensure a solid and natural grip." Furthermore, they state that the product "provides a best-in-class 4,000 DPI high-precision sensor, resulting in up to 4x less hand movement."

    Ergonomic comfort doesn't come cheap, of course: The MX Vertical will retail for $100 when it comes out next month.


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    This interview is part of a series featuring the presenters participating in this year's Core77 Conference, "Now What? Launching & Growing Your Creative Business" , a one-day event aimed to equip attendees with tangible skills and toolkits to help produce and promote their products or services.

    Detroit-based furniture company Floyd gained momentum almost instantly through their initial Kickstarter campaign, but what they were pitching to the world wasn't a full piece of furniture. Instead, founders Kyle Hoff and Alex O'Dell focused on developing legs that could be fixed to any flat surface. After raising a quarter of a million dollars for the Floyd Legs, Kyle and Alex understood they were onto something. The furniture industry has been around for centuries but hasn't quite adapted to our fast-paced lives where we tend to rent instead of own and change living situations frequently. Following their Kickstarter success, Floyd has launched a bed frame, a table, a desk, a side table and most recently a sofa—all making use of an easily understandable modular system that allows each piece to be taken apart and brought along as their owners move through life.

    What steps did Floyd take to innovate within the tough-to-crack furniture industry? What sets Floyd's business model apart from other furniture companies? Following the launch of the Floyd Sofa and in anticipation for their presentation at the 2018 Core77 Conference, we sat down with Kyle and Alex to learn just that (and then some).

    Core77: How did the idea behind Floyd start?

    Kyle: Alex and I started the company about 5 years ago now. I think the big emphasis for launching Floyd was this common frustration we had for moving furniture and throwing furniture away during the move-in process. I think it's a pretty common feeling. I've lived in a number cities, and Alex had moved quite a bit. We both had our fair share of IKEA LACK tables that hit the dumpster. We really wanted to investigate how we could change how people are consuming furniture, how they buy it, and how they experience it. The first product we launched was a product that had an early prototype that I brought with me to Detroit. We started to concept this idea of launching it on Kickstarter—the goal was to really see if there was a market out there and if these pain points existed for other people. Could we create something that's adaptable and lasting and find a market opportunity there?

    Floyd Leg

    Alex: It was about getting a product out there that we were super excited about. It was a little bit of a different way of looking at your furniture where you would just get four table legs that you would clamp to any surface. Furniture can often be taken seriously, but that this was a fun, creative product that we wanted people to have fun with. When we launched the campaign, our goal was $18,000, 100 sets of legs, and we ended up hitting that goal in the first few days and raised a quarter of million dollars. That was the initial capital to help us get started, and we re-invested that back into the business and began to grow from there.

    Kyle: What we're after with Floyd today is really nailing one of each product in the home, and doing each very well. You come to Floyd for the bed frame, the table, the sofa, and you're confident that we're making a great product, a great experience, and something you can take apart and keep for a really long time versus eight months until your next move.

    When designing furniture that's made to last longer than, say, IKEA, how do you get people interested and willing to pay the price?

    Alex: I think we're not the only people that had that frustration and know that's not how you should consume furniture. We want to make really great pieces that are well designed and that are quality for a mass market. Some people get it, but with some people it takes a little bit of time to understand the value proposition of assembling, disassembling it and keeping it. IKEA sees almost a billion people in their stores each year, and a lot of that furniture ends up in a landfill. I think people are starting to realize that more. We hear from our customers all the time, and they really do care about the products they own, the clothing they buy etc. They want to appreciate it. I think that is a transition happening in furniture as well. People in New York pay $3,000, $4,000 per month for an apartment—why are you putting in $20 LACK table in your living room?

    Floyd Bed

    Kyle: We're also really transparent as to where our materials come from. I think that kind of transparency really resonates with people. I think that is something that has also struck a chord.

    Along those same lines as transparency, you are very open and honest with the research you put into your products. Why have you chosen to illuminate this process, and what has the overall response been?

    Alex: We're making products for how people live today, and to really believe that, it's important to ask people how they're living today by putting out surveys and really engaging our audience by asking, "What do you like about your couch today? What don't you like about it?" or "How do you sit on your sofa?" That gives us use cases and gives us a better sense of what we need to be designing for. Just an example of something that came up was, we really felt like people would care a lot about how their sofa looked, like the aesthetics. But as we surveyed people, we learned they cared equally about comfort as well as aesthetic, so that meant that we needed to double down not only on making this a great looking product but also a super cozy one. We're constantly adjusting based on what kind of feedback we're getting from people as we're designing the product.

    New Floyd Sofa

    Kyle: In a way, we're our own customer. We feel the pain points, and then I think it's really having our customers who are involved in our community, really understand what's there, their needs are and feeling about products. That allows the product to really resonate. Kickstarter is a very open forum where you get feedback from customers whether you want it or not. Starting out that way taught us to really appreciate our customers' insights, which have led us to launch different and new products and continue to evaluate how we can improve products.

    Alex: One of the first images we showed of the sofa on our Instagram was actually the first prototype we ever built of it. It was made out of an old ping pong table surface that we had and our side table legs. It was a very rough image, and I think lot of furniture companies would probably be pretty terrified to put out an image just like that. We feel like it's honest to show how you can hack together that early vision as you begin to develop it. People get excited to be able to see where those ideas really start and then be able to see it fully formed—to see how far of a journey that product design has gone.

    Since the furniture industry is used to a certain manufacturing process that's been done for hundreds of years now, what kinds of challenges have you faced while explaining your vision to manufacturers?

    Kyle: When we were starting it was a lot harder. It took a lot of cold calling, a lot of denial to get our first products filled. I think when we were seeking manufacturers early on, we really wanted to learn from them. You have to go into their space and you have to speak their language and respect what they're working on and what they've built. The best way to learn about producing products are those conversations, and I think that still holds true today. I was at a steel manufacturer in Pennsylvania recently, and we spent the day there working through some design updates and some tweaks based on their production methods. For us, that helps us get to a more efficient, cost effective product, and for them, it helps them really learn what we're looking for. It benefits both parties if the product is easy to produce, and I think that's something they really value too. Going through the process of developing a sofa, we were working with a couple manufacturers we already built relationships with through the bed frames and table, so that really helped quite a bit.

    We also added on some new types of manufacturers like textiles and cushions. It's still the same practice of learning from them about how they do things and understanding their path of knowledge because they've been building things for 9 years where you know, we're four, five years old.

    Speaking of your new sofa, how does it differ from the other products you've designed, and what was the idea behind bringing a sofa into the mix?

    Alex: I think what's important is what's not different about the sofa because we really think about how we can take the initial DNA of our other products and evolve it. So that means real products and material, and that means being really intuitive. Also, people are buying our products online, so they need to be able to shift easily though a door. There are a lot of other considerations for the sofa that are completely different from the bed frame.

    Kyle: When we started to approach the sofa, we wanted to solve some similar problems, and I think that's kind of how we see ourselves as a company—a problem solving furniture company. We were having the same kind of frustrations we had with bed frames where you couldn't easily move them, if you took them apart they didn't come back together well, and the joints would break down over time. With sofa's there are plenty of ongoing Reddit threads about the coils breaking down, the connections not lasting. What we wanted to build was something that really created a solid, intuitive connection between the legs, surface, and all these other parts, like we did with the bed frame.

    We're also entering the world of comfort here where the bed frame was that hard product, so we had a lot to learn about materials that make for great comfort. That's why it was really important for us to work with a manufacturer who's been building cushions for a really long time. Design wise, as a core of Floyd's DNA, the idea is solving problems, simple materials, very honest and you can look at it and understand that you can disassemble it all then assemble again. We don't want it to be a question when you go to move whether or not you should leave our products behind, but in a way, we're encouraging the moving of the product. It goes to your next apartment with far more ease than the traditional sofa.

    The furniture industry has been around for a very long time, so for many people it proves to be a difficult world to innovate and be successful in. Do you have any words of advice for people looking to start their own successful furniture company?

    Kyle: The big thing that helped us early on was really building partnerships with manufacturers and thinking about the product at scale. So rather than building one-offs or five to ten of something that are really expensive, we wanted to make sure that we were building and designing products that could be attainable for a large number of people, then we could really think about furniture differently. One of our big advantages was thinking about those partnerships and those relationships. Listening to our customer hasn't always been our forte, but I think it's something we've really refined over the last couple years. We make sure that we're creating a great feedback loop and continuing to build better products. Also, don't try to be everything to all people—really be disciplined with what your materials are or what your design language is. Not everyone will resonate with your vision, and that's fine. If you focus in and really dial things in you can develop a passionate audience.

    ___________________________________________________________________________________

    You want to start a creative business. Now What? Come to our 2018 Core77 Conference to learn more about launching & growing a product line or design studio of your own, October 25th, in Brooklyn!

    Buy "Now What? Launching & Growing Your Creative Business" Tickets here.

    Learn more about the new Floyd Sofa here!


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    When it comes to chairs—let's face it—few do things better than the Danes. As a visitor to Copenhagen, you could be forgiven for developing a nagging resentment as you inevitably begin to compare the aesthetics of your homeland to the unassumingly stylish public spaces—tripping over the many furniture design classics littering the capital's airport lounges and hotel lobbies, as well as, of course, the many cool-but-comfortable bars and cafés.

    Having spent a lot of time on trains in and around Copenhagen on a recent trip, I can report that the local public transportation interior is clean and comfortable, whilst perhaps lacking some of the charming retro stylings we might associate with the country's furniture design icons.

    I have no idea how old the interiors of the DSB trains I travelled on were, but the seating was showing the wear and tear of several years of heavy service—the moquette carpet seats faded and leather headrest shiny from touch.

    The seats that were most used were clear to see (generally seats in a four, either in the center or near the doors) with blue backrest textile having been worn through. On sitting opposite one of said veteran seats, it struck me that the heavily worn backrest was revealing a new, not totally unattractive multicolor plaid-like pattern as it shed its threads.

    What lurks beneath...

    Not only did this distressed patch give a quite interesting insight into the multi-layered weaving that has gone into achieving those tiny coloured circles on the seats' original facade, it also got me wondering—what if heavily used public seating could age gracefully by revealing new layers of colour and/or patternation as it ages? (I'm thinking something like an upholstered chair-shaped gobstopper candy…)

    The before (right) and after (left)

    Whilst the pattern being revealed on the Danish train seating was almost certainly an unintended design feature (and also, not particularly harmonious aesthetically with its blue predecessor), this wear induced evolution might point towards an interesting opportunity for the public space or public transport interior designer.

    One for the Core77 hive mind – Are there any examples out there of textiles that change with age or contemporary public space or mass transportation interior designs that get better with usage wear?

    Of course, the bigger question might be—is soft upholstery (as favoured by many European train/subway systems, as opposed to the hard plastic and metal favoured by the likes of NYC) still a sensible design choice in the age of mass transit in burgeoning urban centres? Some of the viral videos that Londoners have been sharing in recent years—comparing the relative filthiness of seating on various Underground lines—might well suggest otherwise...



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    Designer Xiang Guan's "FOLD" project received a Student Runner Up Packaging Award in this year's Core77 Design Awards.

    FOLD is a compact packaging designed for IKEA's "HILVER" table. It uses double corrugated cardboard as its primary material, which allows the packaging to be easily folded into a stool.

    Around 30.5 million tonnes of household waste is generated in the United Kingdom every year. With this in mind, FOLD is a packaging designed for IKEA's "HILVER" table that encourages up-cycling. Upcycling is the process of converting "waste" materials into new products of higher value. As a result, it can provide positive effects on natural resources and the environment.

    The primary material, a double corrugated cardboard, allows the packaging to be easily folded into a stool. The packaging itself is bound together with a rubber band instead of glue. This is not only convenient to assemble but also upcycles the packaging, which would otherwise be thrown out.

    Visit the Core77 Design Awards website to view the 2018 Packaging Honorees



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    When Trek released the 2016 Madonethey dubbed it "the ultimate race bike".  Yet as soon as that bike hit the streets, the design and engineering teams got to work on topping their efforts in the development of its successor. The 2019 Madone is available in both disc-brake and rim-brake variants, is more aerodynamic and includes a number of updated and refined design features.

    At the start of the 2019 Trek Madone SLR development journey, the Trek R&D team collectively agreed that the key goal for their next generation road was to offer a more refined experience for the rider. One of the first meetings involved placing sticky notes on all the areas of the 2016 bike that could be improved and refined.

    "Whether that's a more refined function, ride quality, or aesthetic, we knew that we should build on the already successful 2016 Madone by improving the details. I believe we've set the benchmark for high-end road bike integration and design." says Jon Russell, Trek's industrial designer.


    From that initial design meeting, the team then spent almost a year in the theoretical world; researching, brainstorming, conceptualizing, prototyping, modeling, analyzing…

    "We had hundreds of individual ideas which were each explored conceptually, then ranked on a variety of metrics. Coming up with an interesting idea is the easy part. Exploring it further, massaging out the kinks, selling it to management, and ultimately testing the ideas, was the hard part," says Russell.

    As the Madone represents the cutting edge in performance, technology and design, inspiration was drawn from other industries like automotive, aerospace, furniture and architecture. Following research and brainstorming, Russell started to sketch ideas. "Ideas like utilizing part-lines as graphic breakups, letting wind drive the form, expressing gesture through proportion, and pushing our brand language to the next level while still maintaining familiarity.

    "I also sketched hundreds of different ideas for features like integrated electronics, adjustable bar widths, or top tube IsoSpeed, to name a few. Although most of these ideas didn't make it to production, they are still potential opportunities for Trek in the future." adds Russell.

    Polygonal modeling was used for fast iteration as engineering and design changes can be made almost immediately. "The fluidity of modeling gives me the flexibility to make 100+ small tweaks a day, refining the design until I'm happy with the shape. It's very similar to the benefits of clay modeling, just digital." says Russell.

    As a race bike, aerodynamics are paramount and presented a sculptural challenge for the team. The highlight lines in the above images show what Trek refer to as 'kammtail virtual foil' (KVF), which is a unique truncated aerodynamic profile. This provides most of the benefits of a full airfoil but in a more structurally efficient shape.

    "One of the key attributes of this KVF shape are the two corners on the trailing edge. I took advantage of these corners to move the eye through the form and to aerodynamically improve certain tube intersections. Bringing the outside corner of the fork leg into the down-tube not only improves the airflow as it transitions off the fork into the frame, but it offers a nice parallel to our brand's signature 'brow' feature, which carries the eye from the head-tube all the way back to the dropout," explains Russell.

    As Russell explains, because aerodynamic bikes have broader surfaces, controlling how light and reflections behave on a surface is extremely important especially in how it relates to color and finish. "Matte paint shows how sculptural the form is whereas, due to the broader surfaces, gloss strongly reflects the environment. I worked closely with the graphic designer on the project, Micah Moran, to ensure that regardless which color or finish a customer was chosen, the paint and graphics remain flawless."

    To finish the R&D process, Trek's engineers made full carbon fiber prototypes for analysis and testing. "These prototypes are a testament to our dedication to R&D - we took the time and effort to make custom tooling for all the components, even before we settled onto a final design," admits Russell.

    The final design features several small improvements from the 2016 model, which culminate in a significant overall improvement.

    The first is the integrated cockpit, which Russell describes as a completely different animal from the 2016 bike. "Ergonomically improved in both the flats and accessing the drops. The back-sweep on the flats puts your hands at a more natural and comfortable position, simultaneously pulling your elbows inward for a more aerodynamic stance. The transition from the flat to the hoods has also been reshaped to increase wrist clearance in the drops."

    The adjustable top tube IsoSpeed allows riders to adjust compliance, and it's damped with an elastomer so even when it's in the most compliant setting, it won't bounce on the road.

    "The all new damper technology uses an elastomer to control the flexing tube's rebound. If you imagine a pogo stick, when the spring is compressed, it releases that energy back, shooting you up. The elastomer slows the rebound energy in a controlled motion, making for a really smooth ride," describes Russell.

    "The new Madone seat post design integrates the clamp inside the frame. This helps streamline the design and also allows us to paint match the seat post to the frame, giving it a modern, custom look most bikes don't have.

    "The new Bontrager Flare R has a dedicated mount for the new Madone. It attaches in seconds via a tool-free clip onto the seat-post hardware for an integrated look. Riding with a taillight is probably the best preventative safety measure and it shouldn't detract from the bike's sleek aesthetic," explains Russell.

    Although Trek admits to preferring disc brakes there are riders who still prefer rim brakes, so it decided to offer both choices in the design. "It was very challenging to design such an integrated, highly optimized bike around two completely different braking systems. The result in either case is what we call the ultimate race bike," says Russell.

    The 2019 Madone SLR 9 is ready for purchase and customers can choose from a variety of paint options as part of the new Trek Project One Icon.

    Meanwhile the R&D team are hard at work on future bicycle designs. That's the funny thing about designing in this field, you live and breathe a design for several years, but then before it even launches you're already working on future models. It will be interesting to see where Trek goes next!



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    Planet Propaganda is looking for a boundary-pushing visual designer with fierce digital chops to join our jolly team in Madison, WI. Let's see, does this describe you well? You have strong design sensibilities across a variety of disciplines including web, mobile, digital advertising, identity, and print.

    View the full design job here

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    A lot of people prefer the French press to brew the perfect cup of coffee, but everybody can agree the cleaning is difficult and cumbersome. It's messy, takes time, a lot of tap water and will in time automatically clog your drain. Instead of turning to make a new costly French press with an integrated grounds collector, we wanted to make something more simple and universal for the millions or rather billions of beakers already in the market from Ikea, Bodum, Stelton, Cafetiere etc.

    This was the basis for Grums (Danish for grounds) , which is basically also just a small "cup". The small grounds container might look simple at a first glance, but there is a good deal of engineering involved to avoid vacuum build up, unwanted deformation during use and the perfect balance of friction and slide. It took us about two years and dozens of prototypes to get it right. The positive side effects of reducing water usage and saving CO2 are crazy big when we started adding it up. Coffee grounds are not good for your drain and not good for the sewer system in general, but turns out that there are many ways to utilize coffee grounds, for example to fertilize your plants or make exfoliating soap.

    View the full project here

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    Design entrepreneurs, take note: Here's an example of a guy who has a certain set of skills and tooling, and combines them with his imagination, over and over again, to create things that people will want to use. Minneapolis-based Bobby Davis is a machinist with a knack for invention, and through hard work and persistence--he's started some 21 Kickstarter campaigns--has been able to generate enough product successes to continue doing what he loves.

    Davis' Key-Bit is a tiny metal capsule that pops in half to reveal the 1/4" bit of your choice. He sought $3,000 on Kickstarter and wound up with $15,429.

    His Spike + Bar is a small, lightweight prying tool designed to be an everyday carry item. He sought $3,000 on Kickstarter and wound up with $36,896.

    His Tactical Marker combined the previous tool with a Sharpie refill on the other end. He sought $5,000 in pledges, but won $33,256.

    Davis' latest Kickstarter hit is the Tactical Sharpie, which is simply a sturdy metal sleeve for a standard Sharpie. There are still 22 days left to pledge, and Davis has already garnered $17,106 on a $3,000 goal.

    Any one of these items might sound silly to you, or like something that would be fun to make for yourself, but which you might not guess other people would want. But by sticking with his vision and continually cranking out new ideas, Davis has spun his products into his own company, Vital Carry. Check out his product line-up, and ask yourself if you, too, could come up with that many different ideas that could be made with limited tooling.


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    Ohio-based industrial designer Michael David Young had a crazy idea: What if a framing hammer could actually dispense nails, teeing them up for you to hammer them in? 

    Driven by the concept, Young spent six long years seeing if he could get it to work. And guess what? He did!

    Writes Young:

    Thanks all for checking out my video! Didn't actually intend for this to be viewed by more than a few people, I sent it as an unlisted link to a potential buyer. (So basically, excuse how long and boring it is) -- I spent 6 years trying to get this to work!

    Young came very close to selling his idea:

    When I finally got it to what I felt was a manufacturable and durable form, I got a provisional patent (paid a lawyer $1200 to walk me through writing it myself) and then I sent it to all the major tool companies in the US. There was major interest from two of the big ones, I got a big offer to purchase the IP from one, but then the person I was working with left the company right before signing, their department was purchased and downsized, and after a year of slow discussion they retracted their offer. A provisional patent gives you 1 year to show an idea essentially before you need to pay for a whole patent, around 13k (not including international). At the end of the year I decided I didn't want to invest the 13k or 6k (estimate) to make a metal prototype and really try for it all over again.
    I'm a race car and product designer by trade, so I am in the practice of creating new things and letting many of them go : ) Maybe this will come back given its recent popularity, but the video has only existed in my portfolio up until now. Here's to more ideas and future inventions for us all!



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    When buying most tools, whether power tools or hand tools, it's generally one-size-fits-all. If you have smaller or larger mitts, you simply have to make do with whatever handle size the manufacturer came up with.

    But there are certain items where you do have some choice, and where your height is a factor. One example of that is how to calculate the proper height for your workbench, which we covered here. Another category that I'm learning about now that I live on a farm, is land-working tools like spades.

    You'll find that spades come in different lengths. And because you use a spade to interact with the ground and are bending over to lever it out, it is important to choose a spade of the correct length relative to your body height. So how do you determine that? Here's the simple trick:



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    Stool Nº1 is a modern bar stool by Manual—made in Chicago with a combination of computer-controlled-machines and hand-craft. A descendant of the iconic "hairpin" design, the gracefully contoured steel frame plays with lines and curves to imply corners and edges. Stool Nº1 offers uncluttered aesthetics and a visual lightness to your home, while its strength and quality USA-made construction will ensure years of everyday use. Stool Nº1 is funding on Kickstarter until August 31st!

    View the full project here

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    What superpower would you like to have? The stock answers are flight or invisibility, but I'd have to go with X-ray vision. When fixing a machine or implement, having the ability to see what's going on inside would be priceless.

    This here is the next best thing to having X-ray vision: The fellow behind Project Farm, a YouTube channel that tests shop tools and fixes, wanted to see which penetrating oil works the best. To do it, he rusted up a bunch of bolts, tapped pieces of acrylic to insert them into, then purchased six products-- Brake Fluid, Seafoam Deep Creep, Fluid Film, BG In-Force, WD-40 Rust Specialist, CRC Knock'er Loose--and applied them such that we can see the oil penetration in action:



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    Now that I live out in the country and own a car again, I've remembered something: Driving is fun. But there are practical considerations that prevent us from getting close to what we might think of as a pure driving experience. We need to carry passengers; we need to haul groceries; we need vehicles large enough to protect our families from other vehicles in the event of a crash.

    But what if we could do away with all of those things, and have a machine for the sole, selfish purpose of driving off into the distance, alone? What would it look like?

    I think it would look like Vanderhall's Venice Speedster.

    A variant of Vanderhall's two-seater Venice with the passenger seat "deleted," the Speedster is about as minimal a car as you can get. While it's only got a 1.4-liter four-cylinder turbo under the hood, it's good for 180 horsepower, which in a vehicle this small should provide all the power you'd want. Imagine being this low to the ground and with so little "car" between you and the road:

    The Speedster will debut later this year, and should retail for around 27 grand.


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