Articles on this Page
- 09/05/18--13:31: _The Future of Trans...
- 09/05/18--13:31: _Italdesign's Reimag...
- 09/05/18--13:31: _Tools & Craft #...
- 09/05/18--13:31: _Steven M. Johnson's...
- 09/05/18--13:31: _Electronics, 5G Off...
- 09/05/18--13:31: _Design Job: Bould D...
- 09/06/18--11:39: _Design Job: Parisle...
- 09/06/18--11:39: _Fritz Hansen Will P...
- 09/06/18--11:39: _Bang & Olufsen'...
- 09/06/18--11:39: _Reader Submitted: T...
- 09/06/18--11:39: _Backpack Hanger Des...
- 09/06/18--11:39: _Alex Daly on How to...
- 09/07/18--07:05: _Reader Submitted: A...
- 09/07/18--07:05: _Design Job: Bose Is...
- 09/07/18--16:13: _The SureKey: For Th...
- 09/07/18--16:13: _Floorplans, Video W...
- 09/07/18--16:13: _Nomatic's Versatile...
- 09/10/18--11:02: _A Sliding, Spinning...
- 09/10/18--11:02: _Can Volvo's 360c El...
- 09/10/18--11:02: _Reader Submitted: A...
- 09/05/18--13:31: The Future of Transportation: Get Up and Go
- 09/05/18--13:31: Italdesign's Reimagined Nissan GT-R May See Limited Production
- 09/05/18--13:31: Tools & Craft #105: The Proper Grip for Hand Tools
- 09/05/18--13:31: Steven M. Johnson's Bizarre Invention #275: The Rotating Room Group
- 09/06/18--11:39: Bang & Olufsen's Perfectly Round Speaker, Yea or Nay?
- 09/06/18--11:39: Reader Submitted: TEA PARTY
- 09/06/18--11:39: Backpack Hanger Design/Build
- 09/07/18--07:05: Reader Submitted: Atlanta's BeltLine Benches
- 09/07/18--16:13: The SureKey: For Those Who Often Forget If They Locked the Door
- 09/07/18--16:13: Floorplans, Video Walkthrough of Luxury Underground Bomb Shelters
- 09/07/18--16:13: Nomatic's Versatile, Cleanly-Designed 30-Liter Travel Bag
- 09/10/18--11:02: A Sliding, Spinning Refrigerator Tray for Easy Access
Ever so slowly, but surely, the tides are changing around the future of transportation. Automated Vehicles (AVs) are now so commonly considered the inevitable future, it really isn't if: it's when and how. But with a growing urbanization of the world and the needs of short to medium-distance transportation, cars shouldn't really be the mainstay of the conversation. Uber seems to think that the shift from cars to dockless bikes and scooters for short distances is the way to go with their recent investments in Lime and purchase of Jump. CEO Dara Khosrowshahi told the Financial Times that, "during rush hour, it is very inefficient for a one-ton hulk of metal to take one person 10 blocks. We're able to shape behavior in a way that's a win for the user. It's a win for the city." And that is echoed in the future plans of multiple municipalities banning cars altogether in urban centers or at least making it very difficult to drive there. So let's ideate on this future non-car-centric world and see what else may be possible beyond electric bikes and scooters.
When I questioned Senior Design Manager of the Toyota Innovation Hub in Oakland, Satoshi Okamoto about the future of transport, ironically he pounded his legs and said, "these are the most basic mobility tools we have." And it's so true. The most basic transportation building blocks are not wheels, they are legs. Then why haven't companies, either big Automotive giants or disruptive startups, considered augmenting our limbs as the next wave of transport future?
Certainly the likes of Toyota, Honda, Hyundai have all explored assistive robotics for decades, but never as a general consumer mobility service. Most of the development in bionics has been either medical, industrial or military-related. Richmond, CA based Ekso Bionics purports to be the leading developer of exoskeleton solutions that "amplify human potential by supporting or enhancing strength, endurance and mobility." Both Ekso and its rival SuitX have done amazing work to help people who can't walk do so or to support soldiers lighten their load when walking long distances or workers to lift heavy loads more safely in warehouses. The next step may very well be making these leaps and bounds the norm even for an everyday commuter. Economics would be the first challenge that comes to mind with wearable robotics. A lower body suit runs $6000+ a pop. That price needs to come down a wee bit to compete with scooter rentals.
San Francisco-based Roam, founded by ex-Ekso Bionics Tim Swift is making minimalist robotic solutions for everyday use. The company is dedicated to making more affordable and lightweight solutions. I spoke with Tim about the company's vision, "We are about moving boundaries for people. My barrier and my grandmother's barrier are very different, but they still exist. We can make a device that moves those boundaries," he responded. What is exciting about Roam's take is not only that they are focusing on general consumers needs, but also how to design robotics differently to address them. Swift feels that the key to advancing the industry for consumer use is acting more like the consumer electronics industry than like the medical or industrial fields. That means lighter, cheaper and with more power. Designing with lightweight plastics and high-strength fabric, Roam's solution, not surprising as an Otherlab spin off, includes pneumatics. The company has focused on supports for skiers and snowboarders as a first effort. The product, which has a waitlist, should cost $2,000-2,500 and is meant for release in January 2019. Seismic, another direct-to-consumer startup is taking a little different twist with what they are calling "powered clothing." Regardless of the angle, both companies require efficiently producing inexpensive products, but also ones that are easy to adopt. These products break the stereotype that these kinds of devices are only for injured people. When top athletes are able to extend their workout longer or the "boost" is hidden in fashionable clothing people start to rethink the stigma of getting more support.
Offering hope for discreet exo suits, Danish researchers in the Biomechanics group at AAU, recently developed a new type of mechanical joint called the CXD (Compact X-scissors Device) that can move freely in all directions around a sphere, perfect for addressing hip and shoulder issues. Whereas, in the past, wearable robotics have used bulkier mechanics, this compact retractable joint advances the possibilities of more streamlined exoskeletons. This may help offset the reality that current exoskeleton systems are by no means small needing to include some form of belt-mounted battery pack.
It's interesting to think about a modular system that would stem from a universal pack. Perhaps the pack (either backpack or fannypack-form) could be the central mounting system for shareable parts. Instead of a bus stop, you may stop to grab a pair of snap-on robotic lower body supports so you could easily run to work. While at the CostCo, along with your gigantic shopping cart, you may want to also grab a pair of snap-on robotic arm supports for when you want help grabbing the fifty pound bag of dog food (or the pallet of LaCroix). Granted, there may need to be a robotic jogger cart that you can push home to hold all those goodies.
So if we were all to don these new awesome bionics, would you want them to be noticeable or blend in seamlessly to your humanoid figure? There are certainly popular cultural signals that point to augmentation -- like tattoos and piercings as mainstreamed. And perhaps it is heartening to think about pop-culture celebrating augmented limbs (have you seen the trailers for Alita: Battle Angel?) for those currently with prosthetics. But augmented seems to be one of these buzzwords (like bionics and robotics) that is a bit confusing. What is augmentation really? If you think about it, everything could be considered augmented. Glasses augment your vision. Clothing augments your skin. Pushing the technical boundaries a bit, Tellart experimented with the idea in the Museum of the Future with an Augmentation Spa. This speculative design concept imagined services offering everything from new knees to new eyes with the ability to look through someone else's (EyeShare).
So really even a bike, scooter, uni-wheel, skateboard or those kids' shoes with pop-out wheels could be considered an augmentation, albeit a rolling one. Which brings us to the point, are wheels better? If we have toyed with alternative transport for decades, but have not actually followed through to a general adoption model, then what are the barriers people still have? You still need to feel confident on wheels. It's not like using your own two feet. Perhaps nature didn't make wheels because feet are usually better on uneven terrain and in nasty weather. This means if you are running along with your augmented legs, you could actually navigate the sidewalk, the street and the hillside if you needed to. Navigating the side of buildings parkour- or Spiderman-style could be possible too, why not?
What about augmented feet? The wearable bionic product, the Bionic Boot, based on the biomechanics of an Ostrich, tried to run with this idea. But it didn't quite take off as a superhero supplement despite promise of 25 mph speed, instead it settled itself in the extreme fitness market. What if this new bionic transport, not only helped you get there super fast, but could also be reversed to train your muscles to work harder? The emphasis on improving energy economy allows you to use your limbs over a longer period of time. You could use bionic transport to help you get there faster or train your body to do the work next time. Some workers who are actually using exoskeletons today don't even use chairs any more when they want to take a break. It's possible to just squat in a sitting position like you are resting in an invisible chair. Similar to using a yoga ball as a chair, your core muscles could stay engaged helping you strengthen as you go about your business. Frankly the thought of a little extra support for my back, knees and hips sounds like quite a relief.
So how does your body interface with a bionic exoskeleton? According to research from Drs. Young and Ferris in State of the Art and Future Directions for Lower Limb Robotic Exoskeletons, one of the largest hurdles to be overcome in exoskeleton research is user interface and control. Current prototypes have adjustable mechanical settings for personal customization and smartphone interfaces for the rest. But just how you mimic or replace the complex neuromuscular system of humans is the ultimate challenge.
Potentially the ultimate challenge doesn't lie in the technology, it lies in legislation. More than likely, in augmented limb scenarios, regulators will get involved which may mean relegating these systems to follow the same protocols as the bike lane, as we have seen throughout the history of powered mobility devices. Companies may want to just go rogue like Bird and others to drop ship robotics on the corners of major cities to see what happens with this new social bionics experiment. Isn't it interesting how venture capitalists are helping the world get a little more anarchist about product regulations by championing companies that just get after it and answer questions after-the-fact?
I've definitely simplified things here, but there are significant advances and investment that have been making this idea closer to a reality than ever before. Researchers at robotics departments around the world are working on mobility solutions to understand issues of torque, control parameters and optimization as well as customization versus universal systems. Startups and disruptors are pushing different angles including the soon-to-be-updated Robot Operating System 2.0 (ROS) from Open Robotics to let developers build technology into hardware. Wearable robotics have been around since the 1960s, but as the next generation transport system, it's an open playing field. It's so important that we not get stuck building off the same basic scenarios. By examining real-life context, environment and cultural mores, more speculative futures should abound. Let's invoke our collective imagination to radically rethink the way we approach transportation and urban development. It may just mean taking AVs out of the conversation in places we would rather [speed] walk.
Italdesign's goal was to "[re-interpret] it with a European-style sensibility combining Japanese performance and Italian craftsmanship," and what they've come up is pretty out of this world:
This styling exercise was actually manufactured, and appeared at this year's Goodwood Festival of Speed in the UK…
…and apparently there was enough rich-people-interest that the car may see limited production. "Pending the GT-R50 by Italdesign's reception at Goodwood and other global appearances in the coming months," the company writes, "a customer version inspired by the prototype with an estimated starting price of €900,000 may be created.
"No more than 50 units would be produced by Italdesign with each car tailored for each customer."
What kind of tailoring does USD $1,045,897 get you? This thing better come with a falconry kit.
Sometimes at tool shows, people pick up one or more of our Gramercy saws and suggest that the handles were too small. While I am sure there are people for which our handles are too small, a lot of times the problem is the grip the person was using on the tool.
The correct grip for handsaws, planes, and most tools is a three fingered grip with the index finger pointing straight out in the direction of the cut.
There are two reasons for this: If you use a tool like a saw or a plane with all four fingers wrapped around the handle, the tendency will be to grip tighter and tighter. Tools don't need to be held so tight and the stronger the grip the less control you will have, and more importantly, your hand will tire faster and possibly cramp up. With the index finger extended you can't grip anything in a death grip, so it becomes a much more comfortable grip which is less tiring with greater control. In addition by pointing your index finger you get a certain consistency in the direction you are working - which makes it easier to cut accurately, and the tool can't rotate in your hand (which it can do with a four fingered grip - which makes you want to hold it even tighter).
Consequently handles are traditionally sized so that a three fingered grip feels comfortable and a four fingered grip feels crowded.
When you extend your index finger on metal bevel-down planes, rest your finger along the side of the frog, this allows you to relax. One of my biggest complaints about bevel-up planes is they have no frog, so there is no comfortable place to rest your index finger, and consequently all four fingers hold the handle in a tiring death grip.
Try it, you will like it.
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.
The following is a sponsored post, courtesy of Covestro.
The "connected universe" is reshaping how we all live, and offers both new challenges and enticing market opportunities to designers and to suppliers of certain types of advanced materials.
The coming adoption of fifth-generation (5G) wireless systems will be a key driver in this shift. 5G will offer lightning-fast data transfer speeds and help to connect the billions of "smart" devices—from cell phones and appliances to factory floors and smart cities.
A January 2017 research report from BI Intelligence, Business Insider's research service, projects there will be more than 55 billion connected Internet of Things (IoT) devices by 2025, up from about 9 billion in 2017. Projections vary widely but, regardless, there clearly will be a need for much more bandwidth to transmit all this additional data.
With speeds of up to 100 gigabits per second, 5G will be as much as 10 times faster than 4G, the latest iteration of mobile data technology. That would enable a user to download an entire high-definition movie in less than a matter of minutes.
Joel Matsco, Market Segment Manager—Electronics & Appliances for materials supplier Covestro, explains that the repackaging of the digital signal occurring in the 5G network will be similar to more densely packing contents on a bigger, faster truck.
While the preferred means for implementing 5G protocols are still under discussion, real-world tests are taking place already in limited locations. Full-scale adoption is expected to begin by 2020 and continue for four or five years, according to the Pittsburgh, Pa.-based Matsco.
5G commanded a bright spotlight at January's huge CES 2018 consumer electronics and technology trade fair in Las Vegas, with a number of major telecom, mobile-network and hardware brands devoting significant space to the topic on their stands.
One key factor with the new gigahertz frequencies that will be used in 5G networks is that the resulting signals will require a directional line of sight, from point to point. "Because of material absorption at microwave frequencies," Matsco said, "weakened signals will not pass through walls or travel around corners."
Creating new demand
That means there will be a need for a massive number of new microcell towers, routers, and flat-panel arrays with antennas. Each such device will require an antenna, a chip, a chip board and a housing. Matsco estimates the need will be for anywhere from 10 to 100 times the current number of such stations.
These smaller "micro base stations" will be needed in everything from homes and offices to airports, stores and stadiums. This proliferation of network nodes will translate into a need for a corresponding number of network device housings, which has grabbed the attention of firms such as Covestro, the world's biggest supplier of polycarbonate (PC) resins and blends, and of other materials such as polyurethanes, adhesives and coatings.
"These housings are going to need to be either aesthetically pleasing or blend into the environment," says Matsco, noting that they will need to be optimized for signal transmission by being thinner but without sacrificing durability. "They are going to need to last for years."
Just as with the voice-activated smart speakers—such as Amazon Echo or Google Home – some will be used indoors and demand excellent V-0-rated flame retardancy, low smoke density, alluring finishes, and sleek, compact, thin-wall design. Many others will be installed outdoors, requiring toughness and impact resistance, including at low temperatures, and superb resistance to chemicals, weather and ultraviolet light. There are efforts now, for example, to figure out how to seamlessly integrate such antennas into street lights.
Given the volumes required, they will need to be molded, as opposed to machined or fabricated, which tips the scales firmly in favor of plastics over metal, Matsco said. These 5G signals won't be able to communicate through metal, and the electronics inherent in such devices also are likely to need the passive heat management capabilities of advanced plastics such as thermally conductive polycarbonates.
Connected devices offer promise
5G may be hogging the spotlight, but there are numerous connected electrical and electronic applications that also benefit from the properties of materials such as Covestro's Makrolon® PC, Apec® high-heat-resistant PC, and Bayblend® PC/ABS blends.
Drones, for example, need to be durable, lightweight and impact resistant, while also housing electronics that must dissipate heat while compressed in a small form factor. Total drone sales are expected to rise 20 percent in 2018 to reach record highs of 3.7 million units, driving a 17 percent increase in revenue to $1.2 billion, according to the Consumer Technology Association's latest market data.
Virtual reality, augmented reality and mixed reality technologies are also riding a wave of popularity and are now extending beyond entertainment uses to become vital tools in such disciplines as product design and development. They currently require headsets with thin, tough, lightweight lenses as well as built-in sensors for connectivity. Unit shipments for such products are projected to grow by 25 percent this year, to 4.9 million units, totaling $1.2 billion in revenues (up 18 percent), according to the CTA's January 2018 study, "U.S. Consumer Technology Sales and Forecasts."
Although well-established, the market for wearable technology continues to grow, with CTA projecting the total health, fitness and sports tech market for such devices to rise by 4 percent in 2018, to 49.3 million units, with a slight, 1 percent rise in sales value, to $6.4 billion. Wearables not only need to tick all the performance boxes of lightweight, compact, durable, water- and impact-resistant, and aesthetically pleasing, but they also need to be biocompatible, and be safe when in long-term contact with the skin. This, says Matsco, is another area in which Covestro is a market leader.
As data proliferates, notes London-based designer, author and materials expert Chris Lefteri, it will need to be integrated more seamlessly with hardware. Materials also will need to facilitate products that are small, light and durable if technology is going to operate effectively in all the different environments (such as in water, air, etc.) that we are going to take phones, tablets and gear.
"This is not necessarily going to mean that products will look vastly different to how they are now," Lefteri said, "but we might 'feel' that they are different—smaller, lighter in the hand and more like our own bodies. They may be softer and warmer, perhaps in the way clothes are or, in some cases, they may end up being integrated into the clothes themselves."
Meantime, the continued, relentless surge of IoT connectivity will help to drive U.S. consumer technology retail revenues up by 3.9 percent this year, to a record $351 billion—and with it demand for creative product design and innovative use of advanced materials to fulfill those designs.
Joel Matsco can't wait.
Makrolon®, Apec® and Bayblend® are registered trademarks of the Covestro group.
Bould Design is growing and we are looking for an exceptional designer to join our award winning San Mateo studio on a full-time basis. As a part of our team, you will collaborate on all phases of the design process from conceptualization to production. We offerView the full design job here
Our studio has evolved and shifted focus over the past year, and we are redesigning our standards of excellence. We believe it’s within Parisleaf’s reach to become one of the best creative firms in the Southeast. Alongside our new creative director, the next senior designer at Parisleaf will play a key role in helping us get there.View the full design job here
Arne Jacobsen is perhaps best known for his Egg or Swan chairs:
Another of his chair designs, the Giraffe, is perhaps well-known only among design geeks. The Giraffe was designed in 1959 specifically for the SAS Royal Hotel's restaurant and had, as the name suggests, a rather high back.
As it turns out, Jacobsen also designed a less back-centric version of this chair, the Little Giraffe. For reasons unknown, it never went into production. But now rights holder Fritz Hansen has inserted the blueprints into the slot of their furniture factory and will be turning the production line on.
They'll be releasing two versions: An adjustable-height version with your standard office-friendly star base on casters, and a fixed four-legged base for restaurants, cafes and the like.
Each will come in either leather or fabric; the latter comes as a removable cover (affixed by zippers and Velcro) that can be removed for easy cleaning.
The Little Giraffe will roll out in February of 2019.
Bang & Olufsen is has always been one of those companies that combines technology with bold, occasionally polarizing designs. I admire that the company is willing to take risks, even if I don't always care for their individual efforts.
I am very curious to hear what you think about their forthcoming speakers, the Beosound Edge:
Yes, they are visually beautiful. But like a lot of B&O designs they cannot blend in with your existing environment, but instead claim space as its own, announcing its presence and demanding attention.
I think the bit about rocking the entire speaker to adjust the volume is a bit absurd, and the wall mount in particular seems ill-conceived; why project sound parallel with the wall? Oughtn't it be fired into the room perpendicular to the wall?
Time to weigh in, design fans: Yea or nay?
an assembly of four mechanical objects, created for the sole purpose of making a cup of tea
What do you do with your backpack, once you've arrived at your destination? "For a long time I have just been dumping my backpack on the extra chair on my studio office, as many of us do," writes industrial designer Eric Strebel. "This is fine until someone needs the chair, then your backpack gets moved to the floor and your system for accessing your gear gets difficult.
"I decided that it was time to make a permanent fixture to hang my new backpack. The video follows the process from sketch through fabrication to mounting. And of course it features a way to hold, display and charge a mobile media device like a tablet or a cell phone:"
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.
What began as an opportunity to assist a colleague in launching their crowdfunding campaign not only ended up leading Alex Daly into a new career, but also helped her carve out a job title that was previously completely unheard of. As the founder of Vann Alexandra, a firm that helps people interested in running crowdfunding campaigns meet their financial goals and get noticed, Daly stands out as a vanguard in the crowdfunding space with a wealth of knowledge on not only how to get people's eyes on a product, but also have them enthusiastically open their wallets. After years of successful campaigns and over $20 million raised for clients on Kickstarter and Indiegogo, Daly decided to do something new once again by starting DalyPR, a firm that would help these companies get attention even past their crowdfunding launch.
In a recent chat with Daly, who will be leading a workshop titled "Life After Launch: How to Keep Your Audience Excited & Engaged" at the 2018 Core77 Conference, we talked about her qualms with the standard public relations model and tips for anyone interested in getting attention from audiences and journalists alike.
What was your initial drive for wanting to transition into not only running Vann Alexandra, but also DalyPR?
To start, DalyPR was born organically: after managing dozens of successful crowdfunding campaigns, clients soon began asking us to handle their publicity after their campaigns ended. At first I was averse to the idea—I was not a huge fan of PR agencies and didn't want to call ourselves one. We had worked with agencies for our campaigns with not a lot of success and had also heard horror stories from clients. I felt like PR firms were a smoke and mirrors industry with too big of a price tag.
On the other hand, at Vann Alexandra, we had to be results-driven. We needed to constantly hustle—we couldn't wait around for a "news cycle," we had to lock stories for our campaigns, otherwise how would people find them? That said, I was advised to always say yes to new business, so I thought, "What if we did PR differently?"
So, we decided to apply our crowdfunding services on a longer-term basis. Just like crowdfunding campaigns, which are essentially launching a brand into the world, we don't think PR is just getting an article mention—it's branding, strategy, copywriting, events, and most importantly, connecting with your community.
And can you talk to me a little bit more about what that learning curve was like in terms of how these two industries between crowdfunding promotion and general PR differ?
I think that the big difference is this idea of the news cycle. We try to position a lot of our crowdfunding campaigns around an important moment that connects to that campaign. But [in a typical PR situation] a lot of the time brands are looking for awareness immediately. We can't leverage the immediacy of a launch the same way we do with crowdfunding campaigns, so we have to sort of create that urgency, even if a news cycle doesn't exist. We're always trying to create a sort of relevance to what we're launching, no matter when we're launching it.
Another big differentiator with our firm is we only believe in online press. Because that's where everybody is reading these days. So we barely ever go out for print media, because we think that all the conversations are happening online.
I think another differentiator is, we are good at finding other communities as well. What we learned from crowdfunding was that there are always so many crowds out there who will probably be interested in what you're doing, right? There are the obvious ones— if we're doing a design project, we look for design crowds. But then there's also, branching out and finding the business stories, an art story, a lifestyle story, a leadership story. And so it's also going out there and finding other communities, outside of your existing one.
You were talking earlier about the qualms you have with the old structure of PR. Can you talk about what the typical cycle of PR used to be, and maybe how that's changing now based on the internet and other technological innovations?
The old PR model is building relationships and going out and trying to find the right story that fits in the right news cycle, and all you are trying to do is get that piece of press in the newspaper, or in a magazine. Once you did that, then everybody would read it and would be talking about it.
So it started with just this one piece of press that would trickle down to many different people finding out about this story. But I think that sort of PR model flipped. Now it's about getting it in front of the online community, getting it in front of bloggers, influencers, social media, having tons of people talking about it. Then it sort of trickles up to that big explosive one big piece maybe, in print media, or a big profile or something like that.
Now it's about targeting the individuals, the bloggers— the 'micro-influencers' if you will— to tell stories so that there's a lot of chatter and conversation about it online. And then it can kind of explode into this big thing.
I do feel like the PR world is a very obscure industry. Like, "oh, our work is about going and having a drink with a journalist, and we're talking to the journalist, and we'll see when they can write a story about it'. We never had that luxury from crowdfunding, we always had to create a story even if it wasn't there, but we've had to find a way to make it fit.
We are much more data-driven. Because if we got press that didn't convert into funding or money, we had failed. We have to find another way to get those conversions. So I think that's just the way that our brains are wired when it comes to PR. That we can't wait for a news cycle, when we're always under pressure on a daily basis, we've had to hit these numbers. We're always asking, how are we going to get awareness that converts into something tangible?
Do you feel like you had a leg up on PR because of your experience with Kickstarter?
Definitely. There's a lot more that goes into PR these days, it's not just publicity and getting stories. I think it's also branding, it's copywriting, it's the messages on your website, I think it's having a great website. All those things create a really strong awareness of the company. Those are things that we also learned from Kickstarter. We had to have a strong video, we had to tell a really strong story, we had to get people on social media, tweeting about this, posting about it on Instagram. And we learned that PR is not just publicity, it's so much more now. You have to have all these pieces in place, to tell your story in the best way possible. And we definitely learned that from crowdfunding.
Your firm seems to focus a lot on developing personal relationships with everyone that you work with. And I was hoping you could talk about how that's helped you, in terms of getting stories, finding clients, all that. What's the importance of connecting with communities?
Oh yeah, totally. In general, we believe that community is power—now especially, because of the Internet. So community could be described as how you talk to people on social media about what you're doing, that can be the relationship you're building with journalists. We try to make sure that community is at the center of what all of our clients are doing because that's so important nowadays.
"Funding is important, but that crowd that will show up when the product is done, that has a longer-term value. That's what creates longevity."
What I learned from crowdfunding was that the funding was important, obviously, but the crowd was even more important in the long-term. So a simple example of this is: say you want to raise money for a movie. One option is, you can go and do that and get three people to write a check for you. Or you can get a thousand people to put in a smaller amount of money. And then you can expect that when that film comes out, a good percentage of those thousand people will go to the movie theaters to go see the film. So the funding is important, but that crowd that will show up when the product is done, that has a longer-term value. That's what creates longevity, that's how you get repeat sales, that's how you get people coming back, and championing for you as well; it's having that community. And that's how you create a sustainable company.
And so how have you personally gone about making your connections with media?
I've learned it's definitely a longer-term gain. There needs to be a level of trust. You know, when we started with our Kickstarter campaigns, we had no experience in PR, none of us had traditional experience, so we all sort of had to learn from scratch how to do that. On my first campaign, I had to google how to write a press release! I didn't learn that in school. What I did know is that people like great stories, and so we really tried to pick the best products with really strong stories. And over time, the more pitches that we do that are interesting, the more journalists are going to open the emails and read them.
So the connections that we made didn't really start with taking journalists out to drinks. All of ours started online, by just pitching all the time, products that were interesting. But also products that were successful in the long-term; that when they were made, they were great products, that people actually wanted to have in their homes.
We've honed relationships by pitching products in a really exciting way. And sort of making sure that these products have a follow-through. I mean, you can never predict if a product or company is going to fail, but I think that we always do our due diligence, making sure that these products we work with are not throwaway products, ones that will have a long life and actually do something good for the world in whatever way. And I think that is beneficial for the writer too because they end up writing stories about companies, and businesses, and products that end up having a long life.
Then at one point, after we started pitching the same people, and getting these stories out, I was like, "Oh, I have to meet this person, they've written some great stuff about our clients, and I like how they write, I like their work, so I'll just ask them out for a drink or something". It was very organic, and I think that is clear on the other side too.
"When I'm pitching [a product] I always try to ask myself, 'Would I want to read this whole email?'"
So basically what you're saying is, if you're someone who actually has a company that you're trying to get money or press for, it's imperative when you're creating a product that you're thinking about that story and who it's marketed to, right?
Yeah. Exactly. Making it super targeted for sure, and making sure that the story is told in the most accessible, clear way. When I'm pitching I always try to ask myself, "Would I want to read this whole email? No? Then I need to cut this in half." It's always good to think about what somebody on the other side would be interested in.
You have experience in journalism too right?
Yes, and I think that that helps. I did some writing, but I also was a fact checker, so attention to detail, that was really important to me.
Okay, last question: if you're talking to someone who wants to do their own press, their own Kickstarter launch, what are your biggest pieces of advice for trying to do it on your own? Is it reaching out to other people to help? Is it honing in on your own skills?
I think it's both of those things. It's really, knowing what your strengths are, and if you are really good with design and you're not a good writer, find someone to help you with that who is. Collaborate together and use all of your individual strengths to make the best possible pitch.
I also think that targeted promotion is the way to go. it's much better to pitch 20 really targeted super strong journalists who you've done a ton of research on and know they're the right people for the story versus pitching like a thousand on a mass mailer, that's not going to convert at all. You'll find so much more success with a targeted approach.
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!
Finalist prototype for all benches to be dispersed along Atlanta's BeltLine. This is a working prototype which was installed and funded by the Atlanta BeltLine Partnership.
Job Description We’re looking for a passionate Creative Lead to join our User Experience team and focus on defining compelling hardware product experiences in our Consumer Electronics Division. Someone who’s excited to Focus on product hardware control and feedback consistency and has a desire to drive the development ofView the full design job here
This might sound like a silly product, but if you've ever left your house, then had to double back thirty minutes later because you were certain you'd left the door unlocked, you'll see the value.
The SureKey is a little cover that slides over your existing key. Inside are an accelerometer and a gyroscope that can detect the motion of a key rotating within a fixed point in space (i.e., a lock). Because this is a very precise motion that is impossible to accidentally duplicate, the SureKey knows for certain if it was last used to lock or unlock the door. A little indicator confirms it.
For the super-forgetful, the SureKey can also detect if it's been left inside the lock, and will emit a sound to let you know. (The developers do not specify what the sound is, but I'd like to hear a guy in a Brooklyn accent yelling "Take your keys, dumbass!")
It of course requires a battery to operate, but the one it comes with reportedly lasts for five years.
The SureKey has already been successfully Kickstarted. If you want to get in on it, they're going for $19 and there's 19 days left to pledge.
The last time we looked at luxury end-of-the-world shelters was with Vivos Group's communal model. That was where you pony up 35 grand and basically share an underground five-star hotel with 79 other people. But the well-heeled among you may prefer your own digs, and for that you'd turn to Texas-based Rising S Bunkers.
"Rising S Bunkers is America's biggest manufacturer of ALL steel underground bunkers, storm shelters, safe rooms, blast doors, and bomb shelters," the company states. "We lead the industry in innovation and engineering underground shelters."
Their top-of-the-line offering is the Luxury Series, where buyers can choose from the following models:
* Enough beds for 22 people
* 3 Individual Master Bedrooms with Queen Beds
* 7 NBC Air Filtration Systems complete with Blast Valves and Over Pressure Valves
* 3 Personal Bathrooms with showers
* 1 Full Custom Kitchen, complete with stoves, double sinks, custom cabinets
* Gym/Health & Fitness Center
* Large Family Room
* 7 Futon Couches
* Dining Hall
* Garage/Tool Room/Workshop
* Green House w/ LED Grow Lights and Automated Irrigation
* Enough beds for 38 people
* Individual Master Bedrooms with Queen Beds
* 10 NBC Air Filtration Systems complete with Blast Valves and Over Pressure Valves
* Personal Bathrooms with showers
* Full Custom Kitchen, complete with stoves, double sinks, custom cabinets
* Gym/Health & Fitness Center
* Large Family Room
* 7 Futon Couches (adds additional sleeping)
* 1 Large Dining Table
* Dining Hall
* Garage/Tool Room/Workshop
* Green House w/ LED Grow Lights and Automated Irrigation
* Enough beds and futon couches for 50+ people to sleep comfortably
* Individual Master Bedrooms with Queen Beds in addition to the shared rooms with bunks
* NBC Air Filtration Systems complete with Blast Valves and Over Pressure Valves
* Personal Bathrooms with showers
* Full Custom Kitchen, complete with stoves, double sinks and custom cabinets
* Refrigerator & Freezer
* Gym/Health & Fitness Center
* Hot Sauna
* Swimming Pool and Hot Tub
* Game Room with Billiard Tables and other games
* Bowling Alley
* Media Room with Theater Seats
* Gun Range
* Large Family Room
* Large Dining Table
* Dining Hall
* Green House w/ LED Grow Lights and Automated Irrigation
* Motor Cave Exit
* Garage/Tool Room/Workshop
(At press time the video walkthrough for the Aristocrat was down, and none seems to exist for the Venetian.)
I've always wanted a clean-looking bag with 90-degree sides, but no one seemed interested in making them. Then I stumbled across Nomatic's killer 30-Liter Travel Bag. It looks unobtrusive, can be carried as a duffel or a backpack, and offers a shit-ton (or Metric ton, if you're in Europe) of storage and features:
Check out the video to see all of the features in action:
I'm digging how each side of the roughly cuboid shape has a storage compartment, and little touches like the RFID passport pocket and waterproof compartment for drinking bottles.
The 30-Liter Travel Bag has already been successfully Kickstarted, with $575,816 in pledges on a $100,000 goal. If you want one of these, you'd better hurry--at press time there were mere hours left in the campaign.
It was once common for the fronts of refrigerators to end level with the fronts of the countertops in the kitchen, but lately the trend is to make refrigerators ever deeper. This added storage space makes it difficult to access things towards the rear. The designers of German appliance maker AEG have addressed this with their nifty 360° Swivel Tray:
It's available in their MultiSpace model, which is currently European-market only. We Americans will have to continue rooting around to find those leftovers before they expire.
Most electric concept cars address environmental and sustainability issues. Autonomous concept cars speak of a future where transportation is a service. And with their new 360c electric, autonomous concept car, Volvo goes a bit further to ask: What impact will such cars have on us as individuals? Might they influence our choices in terms of what jobs to take or where to live?
Where would you live if you could commute each workday in an autonomous driving, fully-functional, connected, comfortable, mobile office space? What if the service was provided via an on demand subscription basis? Or what if it was provided by one employer yet not another – which company would you work for?
The concept environments reflect the potential for change in the fundamental structure of how people live, by transforming unproductive or boring travel time into useful and enjoyable minutes or hours on the road.
…Fully autonomous and electric travel…opens up possibilities for more residential freedom, reduced pressure on real estate pricing and more affordable home ownership.
"People becoming less reliant on proximity to cities is just one example of the impact of removing the burden of unproductive travel time," said Mårten Levenstam, senior vice president of corporate strategy at Volvo Cars. "The 360c driving office makes it viable for people to live at greater distances from crowded cities and use their time both in a more pleasant and more effective way."
The concept presents four potential uses of autonomous driving vehicles – a sleeping environment, mobile office, living room and entertainment space - representing an attractive travel option that could rival air, bus and train providers, but with competitive advantages in comfort, convenience and privacy.
[The 360c has] potential as a lucrative competitor to short-haul air travel, a multi-billion dollar industry comprising airlines, aircraft makers and other service providers. The 360c sleeping environment enables first-class private cabin travel from door to door, without the inconvenience of airport security, queuing, noisy and cramped airliners.
I've done a fair amount of surface travel in my time, and I will say two of the best overland journeys I've ever taken were an overnight bus from Tokyo to Kyoto, and a sleeper car in a cross-country Amtrak. To fall asleep in one city or state and wake up refreshed in another, without you having had to drink coffee and drive all night, or deal with the hell of air travel, is a pretty magical sensation. If Volvo's vision of the autonomous-car future is the one we're going to wind up with, I look forward to it.
Power-packed with a three stage air purifier, an evaporative cooler, plus a humidifier for extra comfort, the Quilo 2.0 traps 99.97% of airborne allergens, adds moisture to irritating dryness and pumps out fresh coolness on those hotter days. Smartly-controlled through a push of a button or a voice command to Alexa, the Quilo 2.0 is an adaptable, air perfection system for your home.