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Tag Archives: Concepts

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 ]

TAG Heuer’s Mikrotimer Chronograph Concept Measures To 1/1000th Of A Second

TAG Heuer Mikrotimer Chronograph Concept (Image courtesy Hodinkee)
By Andrew Liszewski

As far as concept watches go, TAG Heuer’s new Mikrotimer doesn’t look like something from the distant future. Or even some crazy LED-enhanced lightstravaganza from the likes of TokyoFlash. It might even look a little boring to some of you, until you see it in action. The Mikrotimer is a chronograph designed to measure down to 1/1000th of a second. To do this, the watch’s caliber—or its internal movements—run at 500 rotations per second, or 500Hz. That equates to 3.6 million beats per hour, and as you can see in the video embedded below, when operating as a stopwatch the sweep hand is moving so fast you can barely see it in motion.

At this point the Mikrotimer isn’t quite ready to leave TAG’s R&D department just yet. But as Hodinkee points out, it’s important for any company to foster this kind of development and innovation in their field, to push their industry ahead. Also, for anyone who’s still a fan of analog watch technology, seeing it in action is pretty amazing.

[ Hodinkee – Exclusive Hands-On ] VIA [ TechCrunch ]

Stem Vac Touted As The World’s Most Eco-Friendly Vacuum Cleaner

Stem Eco-Vacuum Concept (Image courtesy Cambridge Consultants)
By Andrew Liszewski

Just when we thought Dyson had created the definitive vacuum cleaner, a design and development firm called Cambridge Consultants have conjured up a new concept that promises to be the world’s most eco-friendly. And how does it justify claiming that crown? Well most obvious is the fact that it would be made from sustainable components, like the wooden frame which holds all of the components together.

However, the real innovation is how the Stem regulates its power use. It’s able to detect whether it’s being used on carpet or hardwood floors, or with the hose attachment, and automatically regulates the suction power. Though at all times ensuring it never compromises on its cleaning capabilities. It will even drastically reduce its power usage when the person vacuuming pauses to move furniture without shutting the vacuum off. Overall they feel the Stem could use as much as 43% less energy than the average vac, but since they haven’t actually built a concept to test out this theory — nor do they have plans to get it in consumer’s hands — your best bet is to still probably stick with a Dyson.

[ Cambridge Consultants – The world’s most eco-friendly vacuum cleaner? ] VIA [ Fast Company ]

Levitatr Portable Bluetooth Keyboard With Retractable Keys

Levitatr Portable Bluetooth Keyboard (Images courtesy Levitatr)
By Andrew Liszewski

On-screen keyboards are fairly usable when it comes to compact devices like smartphones, but when you’ve decided to swap your laptop for a tablet and need to do some serious typing, a physical keyboard is still where it’s at. So it’s no surprise that with the iPad and plethora of other tablets to hit the market over the past few years, the selection of wireless portable keyboards has also increased. Apple still sells one of the best IMO, in terms of form factor, size and design. But James Stumpf hopes to give them a run for their money, at least in the design department, with his new Levitatr portable keyboard.

It’s wireless, relying on a Bluetooth connection to talk to your tablet or other portable device, and features a 12.5mm thick machined aluminum chassis so it’s rigid and sturdy. But its real claim-to-fame is that the entire keyboard retracts when not in use, sitting flush with the rest of the keyboard’s surface. The idea is to prevent accidental key presses while the Levitatr is being carried in your bag, but it also serves to keep dirt and crumbs out. The keys are backlit, which from what I can tell is the only way to discern what each one does, and the whole thing is powered by a set of 4xAA batteries. It even comes with a simple aluminum kickstand designed to prop up your tablet or smartphone.

You can’t go out and buy the Levitatr just yet, though. At the moment it’s just a Kickstarter project with quite a ways to go before it reaches its $60,000 funding goal. But since the keyboard seems to be popping up on blogs all over the interwebs today, I’m sure it will be getting a much needed boost. If you do think it’s an innovation you can’t live without, a pledge of $79 will effectively serve as a pre-order once they go into production.

[ Levitatr Portable Bluetooth Keyboard ] VIA [ Technabob ]

Elasty iPhone Case Is Brilliantly Simple, Infinitely Useful

Elasty iPhone Case (Image courtesy Yanko Design)
By Andrew Liszewski

Belkin isn’t a completely unknown electronics brand, I’m sure many of you have heard of them and may even own one of their products. But if they manage to follow through with this brilliantly simple concept for an iPhone case, I think they could easily have a best seller on their hands, and gain some valuable notoriety.

The Elasty, created by Yoori Koo, actually won the Korean Belkin Design Awards, and was inspired by wrapping elastics around your iPhone so you can use it to hold things on the back. The problem with elastics though is that they also block your display, so the Elasty case provides similar functionality in a more usable iPhone shell case. The product shot does a great job at showing how and why the case would be useful, but there are probably an infinitely number of other ways you could use it too.

[ Yanko Design – Simple Slits for Phones ] VIA [ Wired Gadget Lab ]