If you have a cat, you know they can’t resist exploring a passageway. In the past, many of these opportunities involved the cat getting into places that not only were not designed for them, but also places you didn’t want the cat to be- a hole in the wall, a cardboard box, or even your bureau drawer. Increasingly, cats are becoming significant members of the family, so much so that one designer is designing furniture with cats specifically in mind.
Designed by Hong Kong based architecture company Lycs, comes the CATable, which creator Ruan Hao calls, ‘a table for us, and a paradise for cats’. The CATable is a work table with tunnels, crannies, holes, and passageways built for your cat to explore and sleep in. It will keep your cat busy while remaining functional and stylish for you.
The CATable is part of the world-wide trend of people sharing their homes with their pets, and it doesn’t seem to be slowing down anytime soon. While It was first shown at the Salone Internazionale del Mobile, or Milan furniture fair, earlier this month- no release date has been set.
One thing that people all around the world desire is convenience. We want everything faster and easier than it has been done in the past, and we don’t want to waste time or energy doing anything redundant. This includes fetching mail which can often be a rewardless task, as there are plenty of days we trek out to the mailbox only to discover it’s empty. There has been little done in the way of making receiving mail more convenient, until now.
Inventor Oren Lasman and programmer Noga Lasman were familiar with sensors placed in mailboxes that use WiFi or Bluetooth technology to let you know when you have mail. Though they admired these creations, they were aware that for many people, themselves included, mailboxes are not at the end of the driveway. Together they invented the Postybell, a mailbox sensor that uses GSM technology to alert you when you have letters or package – even if your mailbox is in another country.
Unlike other sensors, the Postybell also offers a downloadable Android app where users can manage their device, as well as log activity. It uses a rechargeable battery with alerts to let you know when the power is low, and you can also buy the optional solar powered charger that will connect right to your mailbox. In time, they plan to make an iOS compatible version, and also hope to add upgrades like a camera that would send pictures of new mail, and heat, humidity and gas sensors. Check out the video below to see this helpful gadget in action.
D&AD has been awarding creative excellence in design and advertising since 1962, and any recipient or nominee understands that this type of recognition means serious business. The D&AD Awards judges categories ranging from Mobile Marketing to Product Design, with 200 of the world’s top creatives serving as jurors each year.
While any art director or copywriter hopes to please their client, receiving global recognition for an idea is the cherry on top of a well-thought-out campaign. A Yellow, White or Black pencil could mark the pinnacle of a person’s career, and bring about new opportunities in the near future. D&AD Award Judging 2014 took place in London at the end of March, and we were lucky enough to chat with two jurors and get a behind-the-scenes look at how the final decisions are made in each category.
George Prest is the VP and Executive Creative Director at R/GA London, and was chosen to select the best Digital Marketing campaign. Stressing that digital work needs to be grounded in strategy and insights, Prest discusses the importance of creating ideas that can live on their own, the difficulty of creating branded apps and some of his favorite work from the past year.
Judging the Integrated and Earned Media category, Rob Reilly is the Global Creative Chairman at McCann Worldgroup and has seen his fair share of creative executions. Reilly expands upon his belief in the scrappiness of earned media, doing your best work for your biggest brands, and the work he wished he had done in the past year.
The D&AD Awards Ceremony will be held on May 22, so stay tuned to find out the winners or purchase a ticket to experience the action up close.
Has digital technology really made us better off? While there are lots of impressive gadgets, the impact on our actual well-being has been surprisingly mild. In fact, by many measures, we’ve become worse off since personal computing took hold.Tags: technologydigital livingGreg Satellfutureevolutionchange
Is the default condition of showing-up and operating in the business world that of experience blindness? Is the reason that so little progress has been made by so many on customer experience due to this experience blindness? Is experience blindness the cause behind so many workplaces having the same feel as hospitals?Tags: customer experiencesMaz Iqbalorganisational behaviourcustomer needs
It’s happened to all of us. You cruised the block reading parking signs, and finally scoped out a parking space you were allowed to park in. A few hours later, when you return, you find a ticket, revealing that you misinterpreted the sign, and was not in fact allowed to park there. Annoyed, you wonder why parking signs are not more clear. This happened to freelance designer Nikki Sylianteng on more than several occasions. Wanting to save herself some misery, she decided to redesign New York City’s confusing street parking signs.
New York City’s street signs are text based. They try to cram as many words onto the signs as possible, making them completely incomprehensible, but so far they’ve failed. Last year, when the city commissioned a redesign, Sylianteng worked out what she believes is a more successful graphics-based sign. Her signs quickly answer the questions ‘Can I park here?’ and ‘For how long,’ using blocks to conveniently visualize the information.
Similar to a Google calendar, Sylianteng’s design has the time on the y-axis and the date on the x-axis. It uses green bars for times you can park and red bars for times you cannot. Drivers need only match the current date and time to the ones posted on the sign to find out if they are allowed to park or not.
Sylianteng’s signs leave out some information, like rules for commercial drivers and the segment of curb on either side of the sign. While those are things she intends to fix, she has also been incorporating elements and symbols for color-blind drivers, hosting a survey on her website, To Park Or Not To Park, to collect some data. In the mean time, she has been busy posting these redesigned signs near existing street signs all around the city. Sylianteng hopies to stir up some interest, and help people avoid accumulating any additional tickets.
Move over, vanilla. Japanese children will soon be reaching for new ice cream flavors in their freezer – Carrot Orange and Tomato Cherry. Sounding more like a juice than a desert, these offerings are the new flavors from Haagen-Dazs Japan as part of their “Spoon Vege” line.
While a vegetable-flavored ice cream sounds less than appetizing, they are healthier options with half the fat of traditional Haagen-Dazs products, according to a Japanese press release translated on RocketNews24.com. Tomato Cherry will combine the acidity of tomato with the sweetness of cherry, while the citrus taste of orange will “give the carrot a sophisticated and refreshing twist.”
While there is no word whether the flavors will launch state-side, they will be arriving in Japanese stores in May. With the rise of juice diets and the push to make vegetables the centerpiece of every meal, it would most likely be welcome by many health-conscious ice cream lovers.
Very aware of the tension between left- and right-brained people, branding agency We Are Goat recently put together a new e-book to help clients learn how to work efficiently and productively with designers. Titled “Please, Don’t Be a Dick,” the handbook offers detailed advice and guidelines for potential clients, as well as general information on graphic design, choosing the right designer, and how the holistic design process works.
The catalyst of the title and brainchild of the book sprouted during a meeting with a client, who boldly asked, “if I were to hire you, how would you want me to act as a client to be the perfect client?” We Are Goat responded that “there is no such thing as a perfect client, just please, don’t be a dick.” Fairly simple advice to start.
The manual outlines everything a client should expect in working with a designer – from how to better comprehend the design world and process, including myths, realities, research, development and evolution of ideas, to how to choose a designer based on objectives, pricing, attitudes and goals. For example, “Before contacting a designer to get a logo created or redesigned for you, it is best to understand why you need a logo designed or redesigned for you.”
While reading the guide won’t ensure that projects will come out flawless, it should make the process a bit smoother, and you’ll at least end up a bit less likely to unknowingly appear on sites like Clients From Hell.
Many of our best investments came to us over time. We did not invest the first time we met them, or the second, or the third. CloudFlare was like that, SoundCloud was like that, Behance was like that. Zynga was like that. FeedBurner was like that. And CrowdRise was like that. I told the story of how I met them in 2010 and we did not invest until 2014 in the usv.com post yesterday. Many things, like wine, get better over time. And when you wait on them, these companies often turn out to be great investments.
Another thing about this investment that feels right is the domain. We have been early and consistent investors in crowdfunding at USV. We like everything about this category of company. We like the democratizing aspects of a true marketplace model. We like that it supports discovery, curation, and personal connections between funders and fundees. We like that we have become recognized domain experts and have been able to invest in some of the very best companies in this sector. It was our early expertise in this sector that led to our first meeting with CrowdRise back in 2010. If you go deep on a sector that you really like, it pays dividends, again and again.
But the thing that feels most right about CrowdRise is the impact that this company and their service has on the world. Yesterday, runners in the Boston Marathon raised over $25mm on CrowdRise. If you click on that link you can see the runners, the charities, and the teams that collectively made up that massive expression of generosity. These are not fatcats donating millions to their favorite cause (which is totally fine by me!). This is everybody giving 10s and 20s in a scale that adds up to $25mm+. This will happen again at the NYC Marathon, The Ironman Triathalon, and a many other events that will take place this year.
While events drive a lot of giving, they are not everything that happens on CrowdRise. As regular readers of AVC know, we have been raising money for CSNYC on CrowdRise. If you feel generous today and want to support expanding CS education in the NYC public schools, please head over to CrowdRise and support our cause.
Everyone on CrowdRise has a profile. Here is mine. It does not show individual gifts, but it does show the fundraisers I have run on CrowdRise. Over time, I hope and expect that these profiles will live up to Edward Norton’s vision that he shared with TechCrunch yesterday:
“‘Facebook’ is who I am as defined by my social life; ‘Linkedin,’ is who I am as defined by my [business] life; and ‘CrowdRise’ is who I am as defined by my activist life,”
If you are active on CrowdRise, I would encourage you to fill out a profile for yourself and start doing online fundraisers for your favorite causes. It’s both efficient and fun. And that’s a powerful combination.
The Vatican to digitize millions of library-archived documents. Mashable
Nike to stop making wearable hardware. CNET
Square, Inc. considers sale to Google. The Wall Street Journal
Facebook to launch mobile ad network. VentureBeat
Swiss airlines to launch allergy-friendly cabins. Luxuo
Samsung opens innovation museum. Engadget
L’Oreal exec Danielle Macaluso’s personal battle with Melanoma leads to increased sunscreen ads. Ad Age
Kraft recruits Ditto Labs to increase social media presence. The New York Times
Magazine uses e-commerce to launch fashion line. Fashionista
As much as local authorities try to, they aren’t able to stop every single civic infraction because they only have a limited number of eyes on the street. However, smartphones have already enabled councils to crowdsource details of law breaches, through apps such as Parking Mobility that let users log when a driver is using a disabled parking bay without a licence. Now the ikflitsmee campaign in Belgium has encouraged citizens to send in locations where they believe speeding is a problem in order for the police to invest in safety measures.
Open until April 10, anyone could log onto the ikflitsmee website to nominate locations such as schools, playgrounds or sharp turns in the road where speeding is a particular problem. The initiative spanned the whole country, involving both local and Federal police forces. After receiving more than 50,000 suggestions, those forces were then invited to check the pinned locations near to them to see if a speed camera would be a feasible solution. The website gets residents to flag up the areas they know to be dangerous and helps authorities by creating an instant data resource to plan future audits.
By asking residents to show them where potential speeders are, local authorities can curb accidents and deliver more fines to culprits, boosting their revenue. At the same time, citizens feel empowered and involved in the improvement of road safety in the country. Are there other ways to tap citizens’ smartphones for more rapid gathering of data that can help councils improve their service to the community?
A new report out from JWT’s Brand Intelligence MENA spotlights the growing cultural phenomenon of “Mipsterz”: young, hip and edgy Muslims who are paving the way for a new era of Muslim integration rather than imposing their values onto the world. Through their non-partisan swagger and ability to merge faith and fun (see, for instance, a British Muslim version of Pharrell’s “Happy” video), they’re breaking the monolithic stereotype of Islam as a symbol of archaism and oppression. While the Mipster subculture has just come to light in the West, according to the report, a New Age Muslim has been growing steadily in the Middle East and North Africa (and in Egypt particularly), fueled by a young, progressive and tech savvy Millennial Arab—a minority soon to become a mainstream cultural phenomenon.
This phenomenon is also a manifestation of one of our 10 Trends for 2014, Remixing Tradition: the idea that traditions around the world are rapidly being remixed, updated and re-examined. As the report notes, Mipsterz are highly in-vogue and appearance-conscious, integrating traditional dress codes through stylish hijabs and gutsy attire to conjure up striking looks. (We posted about modern style among young Muslims back in February.)
Browse “In the Name of Faith and Fun,” which explores this hipster subculture and what it means for brands, on Slideshare.
It may still be the Milan Furniture Fair (Salone del Mobile) to design scene veterans, but the annual trade fair with vast satellite shows is continuing to evolve beyond showcasing home furnishings. In recent years we’ve seen car companies take an increasing interest in participating in the event. An obvious case for it is the amount of media at the event and press generated. But those who have participated have so far been pretty smart about how they use the platform. Here’s three projects from the 2014 edition which show the sort of creative potential automakers chose to showcase.
Casa Vignale by Ford
Ford was officially the first automaker to participate at Salone del Mobile last year, although other marques have over the past several years through collaborations. Ford launched the Vignale brand this year, the premium level designation of Ford vehicles. The launch was marked with the unveiling of the S-Max Vignale as well as a bag collection inspired by the car. The Vignale Weekender, a luxury overnight bag won a iF Design award and will go into production. The video below gives an overview of the event, additionally there is a channel with a behind the scenes look at Ford design from inspiration and strategy through clay modeling a full size prototype car.
‘Amazing in Motion’ was an exhibition including the work of three world-renowned designers. Italian designer Fabio Novembre, Brooklyn-based designer Nao Tamura, and Tangible Media Group from MIT Media Lab each debuted installation created specifically for the show that involved new ways of thinking about motion and design. Also part of the exhibition were the winners of the 2014 Lexus Design Award.
We Dance by Fabio Novembre
Any motion can be amazing; it depends on the memories it evokes. Any action can be a dance; it depends on the harmony you put into it. Life itself is a dance. Everything from infinitesimally small atomic structures to the cosmic motion of planets and galaxies seem to constitute a harmonic dance. You add light and sound and here it is, a small representation of the whole: ‘We Dance’.
Individual elements orbit around the mirrored sphere in the centre, directing beams of light toward the centre. The overall effect gives birth to a harmony and unity between the orbiting elements, the illumination, and the music. Viewers also become an integral part of this harmony as the light reflected from the sphere and sound reach out to them, and as they view their own reflection in the face of the mirrored sphere.
Interconnection by Nao Tamura
There are forces in nature that are beyond the control of mankind. We have learned how fragile we are in the face of such forces. However, we have also learned the importance of accepting nature and learning to live in harmony with it.
Interconnected and interdependent, there is a constant give-and-take in nature. Life does not rest. Our collective motion, nature’s response to our movements is essential to our planet’s delicate balance. When we are one with nature, we are at our most powerful. Our movement together gives us life. Our movement forward creates the next generation of ideas. Life is always more amazing in motion.
The piece hangs from the ceiling on threads, with individual elements creating three-dimensional depth. The individual elements move in response to the natural flow of air as visitors move through the space. Light and shadow shift constantly as the elements move.
Transform by Tangible Media Group Led By Prof. Hiroshi Ishii
“TRANSFORM” echoes the theme of “Amazing in Motion” by fusing technology and design to celebrate its transformation from a piece of still furniture to a dynamic machine driven by the stream of data and energy. Created by Professor Hiroshi Ishii and the Tangible Media Group from the MIT Media Lab, TRANSFORM aims to inspire viewers with unexpected transformations, as well as the aesthetics of the complex machine in motion.
The work is comprised of three dynamic shape displays that move more than one thousand pins up and down in real time to transform the tabletop into a dynamic tangible display. The kinetic energy of the viewers, captured by a sensor, drives the wave motion represented by the dynamic pins.
The motion design is inspired by the dynamic interactions among wind, water and sand in nature, Escher’s representations of perpetual motion, and the attributes of sand castles built at the seashore. TRANSFORM tells the story of the conflict between nature and machine, and its reconciliation, through the ever-changing tabletop landscape.
MINI partnered with London-based art and design collective UVA (United Visual Artists) on an installation which represented the MINI Connected dash interface within an entire room. The team created a series of light tubes from precision made metal frames and lasers. The installation was meant to give visitors a unique experience of interacting with light and technology that relates to the interior environment of the new Mini.
If you’ve ever left the house without your phone, you have an idea of how dependent we have become on these devices. What you may not know is that the screen, circuitry, and speakers of your phone are made out of Yttrium, Praseodymium, and Dysprosium– rare earth metals that are becoming scarce, while mobile phones and tablets becomes more in-demand. Fortunately, geochemists in Germany may have discovered an alternative- deep sea rocks.
Lumps of iron and magnesium, called ferromanganese nodules, are all over the ocean floor. They build up slowly over time as iron and magnesium becomes dissolved in sea water debris. Other metals, including earth metals, then become attached to the nodules. German geochemists discovered that if they applied the solvent Desferal to the lumps of ferromanganese, they are able to extract up to 80 percent of the earth metals, allowing them to be stored and repurposed. In addition to mobile devices, earth metals can be used for solar panels and wind turbines.
130,000 metric tons of earth metals are mined each year, and 95 percent of it is mined in China. In two years, we will need at least 185,000 metric tons, and demand is only increasing. Extracting earth metals from ferromanganese lumps would not only preserve China’s dwindling supply, but also level the playing field so more countries become able to harness their own stockpiles. This untapped natural resource could ensure enough earth metals to cover usage for the next 200 years.
Nottinghack, a group of creative and crafty hackers in the UK, has modified a vending machine to enable it to tweet their members’ purchases.
Nottinghack bought a second-hand machine off eBay and fitted it with Arduino. They changed the payment system into a reader where members can tap their cards every time they buy something from the machine. Each card has an RFID chip that transmits the card holder’s identity and the user’s cash balance on the card.
The vending machine also communicates with Nottinghack’s server, Holly, who tweets the card holder’s candy purchases, keeping the members aware of what they buy and snack on.
This tweeting vending machine is oddly similar to Safeguard’s Germ Alarm soap dispenser, which has sensors that can detect when a person s about to leave the bathroom without cleaning their hands, and emits a loud beep that can only be deactivated when the soap dispenser is pressed. The Germ Alarm was designed to encourage people to wash their hands properly.
See how the machine works in the video by Computerphile below.