Each year Electrolux does an international design competition for design students that is aimed at finding futuristic/cutting edge concepts for improving homes. This year’s theme was focused around spaces that are ‘greener’ and ‘healthier.’ Contestants could submit concepts that ranged across three different categories: Culinary Enjoyment, Fabric Care and Air Purification and had to create concepts for a product, accessory, consumable or service. After submission, contestants had to share their work via social media and write a development blog. They then received feedback from professionals and had the opportunity to win. The few that did win received a cash prize, and the grand prize winner got not only a cash prize but a 6 month paid internship with the company.
This years winning submission was developed by a man named Adrian Perez Zapata from Columbia—with a cleaning system that uses tiny flying robots to clean surfaces by removing dust with a drop of water. (See the winning submissions here)
Why I am Curious:
I’m always curious about design concepts that push the limits for what is currently in the mass consumer markets. I love seeing the designs that come out of this each year because they are always inventive and are on the cusp of technology.
Why head to Nordstrom for heels when a 3D printer can pump out shoe after shoe from home? That’s the idea behind Finnish designer Janne Kyttanen’s new (and semi-free) collection of footwear that’s brought to life through 3D printing.
Kyttanen has created four styles of wedges—namely the “Leaf”, “Macedonia”, “Facet” and “Classic”—of which, their design files can be downloaded for free by anyone, who can then produce it with a 3D-printer.
Made for Cubify, an online platform that turns your 3D-printing ideas into reality, users will ideally be able to 3D-print this line of wedges in their homes when these high-tech machines become common household appliances.
For now, even if you do not own a personal 3D-printing machine, you can still have your pair of wedges printed by Cubify—download the free design files here.
Why I’m Curious
As brands look to produce more innovative forms of content with the goal of remaining more present in the lives of consumers, the expansion of 3D printing could create a new and welcome opportunity to surprise and delight customers. Imagine Procter & Gamble letting customers print plastic bins that are custom-tailored to house their cleaning products. Or Kraft issuing a series of attractive printable dishware to accompany their foods. The branded possibilities could be endless – but the key to it all? Will 3D printing really catch on with a mass audience? Only time will tell.
This short film “The Mine Kafon” showcases one man’s solution to a complex, expensive, and dangerous problem – clearing explosives from current and former battlefields. This is an elegant and beautiful idea born of adversity and limited resources. The tools are perfect for the task at hand – inexpensive, readily available, reusable.
Why I’m Curious
Every stick I picked up as a child was a lightsaber. Maybe you were the same. Or you created forts out of sofa cushions, disassembled appliances to see what made them work – or not work. Created alien worlds out of gravel pits and old tires. We were children and imagination didn’t need filters.
Innovation isn’t creating something new from thin air – it’s dredging up things we once knew and understood and figuring out what to do with those things now.
I want to see this project funded – even to help assure it’s funded – and then to see these works of art rolling across deserts, helping once dangerous landscapes return to life.
There has been so much talk about the convergence of the “physical” and “virtual” world through digital experiences…a recent example of that is the Burberry example a few weeks ago that brought in similar experiences in to the physical environment of one of their London stores.
However, I thought this sample of convergence was interesting, and almost pleasant to look at, but it comes at it from the opposite direction. It’s a proposed concept for a new AA.com that takes it’s design and experience cues from the “real” world. When it comes to travel, everything you see on here is what you would see when you’re on your journey. Your glasses, luggage tags, your smartphone, and etc…Also, it overall focuses on the concept of a destination, not a emotionless “clean” experience. Continue reading
RED advertising company tapped into a particular use of Goodwill stores as a destination for Halloween costumes on the cheap. They promoted the stores during this busy season with a clever Gorilla marketing campaign encouraging people to be anything this Halloween.
“To promote Goodwill as a destination for Halloween costumes, stickers of eyes and hands were placed on various objects to create unique costume ideas. On everything from dumpsters to statues, the “Street Masks” showed that Goodwill is the place to “Be anything this Halloween” or “Go undercover this Halloween”.”
Why I’m curious:
I am particularly taken by the effectiveness,creativity, and simplicity of this campaign. Too often I feel like we brainstorm big ideas with big budgets when we can easily tap into a more simplistic approach that could be more effective. Here is another great example for a simple laundry detergent ad that teeters on the line of art and advertising.
Pintrests you can purchase? -Tulani
“A familiar-looking site called Fancy has beaten Pinterest to the punch — by monetizing its user-curated collection of images.
Fancy, which lets users organize images from around the web into “lists,” announced Thursday that it would begin conducting transactions directly on its site. Previously, users could click on a link listed with an item to buy it on a third-party site. Now they can shop directly on Fancy — and the site will take a cut of every purchase.”
Read the full article here.
Why I’m Curious
Apparently Fancy is not exactly like Pintrest, but has the same post/share aesthetically pleasing items theme. With this option to purchase the beautiful things that you see find on other’s boards or on the site the potential for brands to post their merchandise and curate their products on pages in an eye catching way will definitely grow. It takes posting about things you are interested in away from just being about how it looks and brings it to is this attainable? Can I own this?
I am interested to see if/how this will take off and in what way brands or companies will look to market/advertise on a site such as this.
In Finland, a design studio decided to build Kauko, a cafe filled with horrible design and an additional twist – elements of the cafe would be controlled remotely by people on their phones and computers. Lights, chairs, tables could all be altered by users watching from elsewhere. The purpose of the experiment? To demonstrate the importance of good design, or how a table at the right height is much better than one that goes between the two people sitting at it. (more at PSFK)
Why I’m Curious
The Internet has turned us all into voyeurs in a sense – we ‘stalk’ people on Facebook (in fact, this study says Facebook makes your brain think stalking is important), we watch live events and feeds, and more. This experiment puts an interesting twist on the relationship between the screen viewers and what they’re watching – by providing the opportunity to be involved in a new way. Sure, this type of cafe isn’t going to global chain anytime soon, but connecting the online and real world provides an opportunity for a new type of engagement, that’s pretty entertaining.
The Italian designer tech company i’m has recently debuted its i’m Watch, currently marketed as “the first real smart watch.” The i’m Watch can run nearly anything on its customized Android interface and tethers to your current smartphone (including BlackBerry and iPhone) to handle phone calls, SMS, music and a host of apps. The i’m is just as focused on beauty as technological practicality — and certainly seems to be marketed to design focused women, just as much as your early adopter. tech-focused men.
Now on the market in Europe — but with a burgeoning office in Silicon Valley and a vendor slot at CES 2012— an aluminum-bodied i’m Watch will run a minimum of $322. For those who are looking for a fancier model, the i’m Watch also has a titanium-encased version at a steeper $644, a carbonium-made product at $1291 and an ultra-luxurious gold watch with optional diamonds at nearly $13,000.
Why I’m Curious
It will be interesting to see if this catches on to successfully carve out a niche consumer following in the smartphone market. Since it currently only works by tethering with your existing device, it’s still really an add on at this stage. But if the user experience stands up to what it promises, it might one day serve as a viable alternative to the current smartphone build, broadening into other forms of wearable smartphone designs. Either way, from the POV of a rather unabashed consumer, it looks like something I’ll be adding to my wish list. Tempted?
It’s quite dismal out in Chicago today, so I pulled together two things in case of the normal one.
First up, AT&T announced Toggle this week. Toggle is a new app for Android that does exactly what it says: allows users to toggle between their work and personal accounts on one device.
Next is a long-form video.
Take some time out of your day to watch Adam Lisagor (some of you may know him as @lonelysandwich on Twitter) bridge the gap between what he does as a videomaker and the user design experience profession. You might be surprised to learn that the relationship between the two is not too far apart at all. This talk was part of UX Week.
Why I’m Curious
Toggle: so convenient and necessary that it’s hard to imagine it took so long to be invented, no?
Video as User Experience: we’re all in the media and content business, and I appreciate parallels being discovered in the ways our respective disciplines within media not only intersect, but have the opportunity to influence as well.
ANZ has rethought how users interact with their money through the design of their mobile application in an effort to make managing money on the phone less mundane. Visit ANZ’s site here.
Why I’m Curious
As mobile phones take the place of people’s wallets, people will become more in tune with the money they are spending every day. Now, bank accounts won’t be something that users interact with occasionally when they need to make major financial decisions, but rather an everyday tool to help them stay on top of their expenses.
Up until now, mobile banking apps have been unexciting and utilitarian, just maintaining a list of deposits and withdrawals, and allowing for simple transactions. For an app to really become a tool that people use they must have an emotional connection with it and really take joy in using it. The design of the ANZ goMoney application moves a step in this direction by re-imagining the the interaction and design of a banking app to make it more pleasurable experience.
This same transition was seen when Mint was first released on the desktop. There was no new technology involved, just a simple resin to make money and budgeting more approachable for users. As mobile design becomes more an more prevalent, this “human” test of visual design is becoming more of a factor in the success of applications. No longer is it acceptable to just function, but it must be beautiful and simple for users to give it a spot on their mobile phones.
+Pool, a proposal to build a floating pool in the hudson river, is the latest genius, “why didn’t I think of that,” idea to find support through Kickstarter.
Check out the video to learn all about it.
The plan for the pool, which is designed in the shape of a cross and connected to the mainland via a walkway, is that it will filter water directly from the river in order to make it safe for swimming. As per the website, “the project was launched with the ambition to improve the use of the city’s natural resources by providing a clean and safe way for the public to swim in New York’s water.”
In just 6 days, they went beyond their goal of $25,000 to fund the initial testing stage of the primary filtration layer, the most crucial layer of the filtration assembly. If they can reach their eventual goal of $100,000, the creators, a group of NY-based designers/architects, will be able to complete all stages of testing to ensure the project’s viability.
Why I’m Curious
Despite (or perhaps inspite of) the relentlessness of digital innovation, this idea is particularly inspiring since it reminds me that opportunities for innovation can be found anywhere and everywhere. By seeing the potential in a dirty river that not even your dog should swim in, these guys may turn unused “white space” into a highly functional and lifestyle-enhancing experience. Fingers crossed! More about it at their website: http://pluspool.org/