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Tag Archives: Concepts

Students Working On Futuristic Looking Bike With Spherical Wheels

Wheels, it turns out, are very passé. Balls is where it’s at. At least that’s what a student team from the Charles W. Davidson College of Engineering at San Jose State University is out to prove with the above early prototype of the Spherical Drive System, a self-balancing electric bike that rolls on spheres friction-driven by three off-center rotors. This setup should technically give the vehicle omni-directional manoeuvrability. Why? Because the future, that’s why. And also because the students believe it to be safer than conventional bikes, and that it would provide the rider with more driving freedom. We… buy the freedom thing, but we’re not sold on the safety part.

Still, the balls themselves are solid, made from carbon fiber and fiberglass with an industrial rubber coating, and the team has already taken delivery of them along with other essential parts. They’re still assembling the prototype as well as working on the software and they hope to have it ready to test by the end of 2012. Obviously since this is a student project, it’d be really optimistic to expect fast development and commercial availability any time soon, although they are looking for sponsor. Consider this project a proof of concept for now, a concept for which there may not even be a demand. But hey: the future!

Hit the jump for pics and links.

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Hole Measuring Tape Is Just A Concept, Should Be A Real Product

We like it when an already useful design becomes even more so with just a few simple changes. Measuring tapes, for instance, have been around in their current form for quite some time. The above concept by Sunghoon Jung adds a couple of really useful tweaks to it and suddenly a simple measuring tool becomes both a line tracer and a compass. It’s called the Hole Measuring Tape and is a 2012 iF Design Talents Award entry. We really wish it was something we could buy.

VIA [ Yankodesign ]

Flying Down A Hill On A Bicycle With No Saddle, No Pedals

Locomoting about on wheels isn’t always about finding the most efficient method to do so. There’s nothing wrong with having a bit of fun in the process, and the Fliz contraption you see above seems to fit the bill. In one way it’s like a bicycle, only there’s no pedals and no saddle, only a harness and a large u-shape frame from which you suspend. You propel yourself forward by running, and then tuck your feet in for a few seconds, giving the rider a sort of floating, flying sensation. In that sense the Fliz is also like a skateboard. But there is a handlebar and brakes, so at least flying down a hill headfirst doesn’t have to result in immediate death.

It looks like fun, and we want one! But we don’t think there’s any way to buy it. There’s only a prototype, and it’s apparently been submitted as an entry in the James Dyson Award competition. Maybe if it wins and there’s enough interest, it could turn into a real product. In the meantime, you can hit the jump for a couple more pictures and a video of it in action.

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Pianobell Lets Guests Announce Their Arrival With a Touch of Class

Pianobell

By Hazel Chua

A couple of piano keys might look out of place when they’re tacked beside your door, where your regular old doorbell used to be. But I’m pretty sure your friends and neighbors will be able to figure out what to do with the Pianobell pretty quickly and maybe even have a little fun with it in the process–unfortunately at the expense of your peace and quiet.

If you need things spelled out for you, then here goes: the Pianobell is basically a doorbell that sounds off with soothing notes instead of boring ‘ding dongs’ or screechy rings to announce that you’ve got a guest at your door awaiting entry. No idea on what notes each key will play, but designer Li Jianye‘s idea is so creative and novel that I doubt this detail would matter.

Unfortunately, the Pianobell is still a concept design–for now. I wouldn’t be surprised if someone picks up on this idea and starts turning piano-playing doorbells into a reality.

[ Pianobell ] VIA [ Incredible Things ]

LEGO Land Rover Needs Your Support To Become Reality

By David Ponce

Some of you may know that LEGO has a website called Cuusoo where would-be customers are allowed to vote on reader-submitted concepts. If any particular submission gets at least 10,000 votes, the company will look at it and potentially make it a reality. The above is one such concept. It’s a Land Rover RC car with more figure than you can shake a remote control at.

It is a 1:8.5 scale recreation of Rover’s legendary truck, built from nearly 2,800 parts, including 7 motors and 3 IR receivers. Along with the intense AWD system and live axles in the front and rear, it also features a five-speed sequential gearbox with an automatic clutch, a two-speed transfer case, and a whole host of working parts like doors, hood, and tailgate.

Of course at this point it’s nothing but some guy’s rather badass prototype and it’s only garnered 1,634 votes from the required 10,000. But hey, voting is free so if this is you thing, you know what to do.

[ Product Page ] VIA [ Uncrate ]

Braille Mobile Phone Concept Should Become Reality

By David Ponce

Very few of you reading this website right now are blind. It’s hard to imagine how hard life can be for the visually impaired and as a tech writer, I can affirm that tech made specifically with them in mind is rather rare. Especially when it comes to smartphones, there really isn’t much. The DrawBraille Mobile Phone concept that Shikun Sun envisions can only be used by the blind, or anyone that would have taught themselves to read Braille. Almost any piece of computing tech requires inputs, which are then manipulated by the software and output in a manner that the user can interpret. In this case, the flatter section is the input area of the phone, where a braille user can form letters and digits. And the other half is obviously the output, where a matrix of six-dotted regions can physically change to produce words the user can touch and read.

But sadly, the above is nothing more than a concept. We hope that some manufacturer could one day make this, although we’re doubtful as making a cellphone is a costly enterprise and the visually impaired are a demographic unlikely to make a good ROI.

Still, hit the jump for a series of renderings and a video.

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The Bose IQ Dock Is Perfect For Parties

By David Ponce

A lot can happen at a party, and that’s kind of what makes them awesome. But aside from all the drunken tomfoolery, making everyone happy with the music is always a bit of a task. Either the host is ballsy enough to say “Y’all ain’t touchin the music; you either like it or it’s my boot on your behind.” Or people spend the night unplugging one iPod to connect another. That’s where this concept from Jason Farsai, called the Bose IQ, comes in. It features 5 docks and a touchscreen. People can queue up upcoming tracks and see what’s about to play, while a touchscreen remote lets you do it from afar. The Bose IQ would also presumably charge the devices, which would be cool for partygoers.

The problem with pure concepts, such as this one, is that there’s really no horizon on ever being able to purchase this. Here’s hoping that a manufacturer somewhere will see this and be inspired to bring it to market.

[ Jason's Page ] VIA [ Trend Hunter ]

QR Code Clock Will Make It Easier For Our Eventual Robotic Overlords To Tell Time

QR Code Clock (Image courtesy Berg London)
By Andrew Liszewski

Listen people! How often do I have to keep saying this? All of the research we’re putting into robotics and artificial intelligence is just bringing the inevitable robot apocalypse closer and closer. I mean I can understand the appeal of the robot butler, but it’s getting to the point where we’re just handing these mechanical men our world on a platter. So it’s with a raised and concerned eyebrow that I look at Berg London’s latest creation. It’s your standard digital clock, but underneath the numerical display there’s a QR code that’s constantly updated to reflect the current time and location.

The thought process behind its creation is to provide artificial eyes and vision systems, even including the camera in your smartphone, with an easier way to read the time. It might not be so useful to an always-connected device like a smartphone, which just gets the time from a cellular signal. But it makes more sense for something like digital cameras which aren’t as always-connected just yet. It unfortunately also makes it easier for robots to keep track of when their aforementioned rebellion is supposed to start. Which is why I think we’ll eventually regret such thought projects when the robots end up being remarkably on time for overthrowing humanity.

[ Berg London - Product sketch: Clocks for Robots ] VIA [ Wired - Beyond the Beyond ]

Rotor Digital Camera Concept Is All About The Dials

Rotor Digital Camera Concept (Image courtesy Charlie Nghiem)
By Andrew Liszewski

Part of the appeal of Fujifilm’s FinePix X100—for me at least— is that settings like shutter speed have been made accessible via a dedicated physical dial. And I like dials. Particularly compared to having to change a setting by navigating a convoluted menu system in a cluttered UI. And that’s why I really like Charlie Nghiem’s Rotor digital camera concept.

Instead of a collection of buttons seemingly randomly located all over the camera’s housing, the various functions are controlled using a stack of dials on the back of the camera. It’s certainly an ambitious design, but with a bit of practice and a dash of muscle memory, I can see myself being able to easily change the settings on the camera without ever having to look at the dials. The cylindrical stack also has the added bonus of providing a physical bulge on the side of the camera, making it easier to grip and hold with one hand.

[ designboom - charlie nghiem: rotor digital camera ]