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Tag Archives: Concepts

Soundsitive Gesture-Controlled Speaker

Soundsitive Gesture-Controlled Speaker (Images courtesy designboom)
By Andrew Liszewski

At the moment the technology world is still all caught up in ‘touch’ functionality, but one day it could very well be replaced with even easier gestures, creating a planet inhabited by people constantly waving their arms and hands about in the air. And that would probably be ok with industrial designer J.C. Karich, who created this Soundsitive gesture-controlled speaker as part of the Designlab show in Paris last month.

As you move your hand closer or farther away from the top of the speaker, an outer wooden veneer sleeve raises and lowers, causing the volume to increase or decrease. Or more likely, just serves as a visual indicator that your gesture has been detected and adjustments are being made. And skipping tracks, forward or back, is controlled by simply swiping your hand over the top of the speaker in either direction, depending on whether you want the next or previous song. On one hand it’s nice not requiring a remote or buttons to control the speaker, but on the other hand, the invention of the remote control, and not having to get up to interact with something, is truly what separates us from other species.

[ Designlab - Soundsitive Gesture-Controlled Speaker ] VIA [ designboom ]

Orange’s Sound Charge Shirt Concept Uses Loud Music To Keep Your Mobile Phone Powered

Orange Sound Charge Shirt (Image courtesy Orange)
By Andrew Liszewski

When attending a massive music and arts festival, the last thing you want happening is your mobile phone dying so you miss out on distractions like email, Facebook and Twitter. So once again Orange has cooked up another concept device to be tested at this year’s Glastonbury festival of contemporary arts that lets you recharge your electronics without having access to an outlet. In the past they’ve created devices like the Power Pump and Power Wellies, but this year it’s a t-shirt that will theoretically be providing power to future concert goers.

To be specific, it’s actually a piezoelectric film panel on the front of the t-shirt that generates the power. About the size of a piece of A4 paper, it works like a large microphone, absorbing sound waves and converting them into an electrical charge via interlaced quartz crystals that is then stored in a separate battery. As long as sound levels stay around 80dB, the Sound Charge shirt should produce about 6 W/h of power over the weekend, which is roughly enough to recharge two old-school cellphones, or a single modern smartphone. Not exactly the most efficient solution out there, but it’s certainly eco-friendly.

[ PR - Orange - Turn it up to 11… Orange unveils the ‘Sound Charge’ 2011 ] VIA [ Electricpig ]

Through The Looking Glass Mirror Lets You Be A Part Of The Fairy Tale

Through The Looking Glass Mirror (Images courtesy Romy Design)
By Andrew Liszewski

Like a real life version of Harry Potter’s Mirror of Erised (Desire), Romy van den Broek’s Through The Looking Glass mirror does more than just show a person’s reflection. Admittedly it won’t reveal your heart’s desires, but it does let kids experience an interactive fairytale. For the prototype they went with the story of Hansel & Gretel, and through the use of a highly reflective LCD touchscreen display and motion capture software, young’ns are encouraged to participate as the story unfolds. For example, in this case they’re encouraged to gather stones for Hansel before the story continues. Two kids can even interact with it at the same time, although you’ll probably be spending twice as much time cleaning off pint-sized fingerprints.

[ Through The Looking Glass Mirror ] VIA [ MoCo Loco ]

Just-Eat’s Eatensil Is A Culinary Swiss Army Knife

Just-Eat Eatensil (Image courtesy Pocket-lint)
By Andrew Liszewski

Just-Eat, the website that makes it easy to order food online from local restaurants, apparently wants to take the whole takeout experience to the next level. Citing their own research which found that 74 percent of people in Britain preferred eating fish and chips with a wooden fork, and half felt that noodles from a carton should be consumed with chopsticks, they decided that their customers needed a way to properly enjoy their meals no matter what they ordered. So they created the Eatensil concept which is basically a Swiss Army knife with utensils.

Instead of nail files, screwdrivers and scissors, you’ll find a wooden ‘chip’ fork, a pizza cutter, a set of chopsticks, a bottle opener and of course a knife, fork and spoon. At the moment Just-Eat is testing the waters to see if customers would actually be interested in the monstrosity of a concept, which admittedly is a bit more environmentally friendly than plastic cutlery. But as far as I can see it’s missing one important tool that I often end up using when eating takeout: a Tide to Go stick

[ Pocket-lint - Eatensil becomes ultimate cutlery for take away fans ]

Red Pop iPhone Accessory Adds A Shutter Button

Red Pop iPhone Accessory (Image courtesy Kickstarter)
By Andrew Liszewski

We all know that Apple, or at least those at the reigns, like to keep things as minimal as possible when it comes to buttons. It makes for a lovely design aesthetic, but can also lead to inconveniences at times. Like with the iPhone’s built-in camera, which requires you to touch the screen to take a photo. Having a physical shutter button would be very useful at times (like when taking self-shots) so the people behind the MoviePeg accessory have now come up with the Red Pop.

In essence it’s a camera grip accessory that can be connected to the bottom of the iPhone making it easier to hold when taking photos, but more importantly, it also adds a physical shutter button. Given how the iPhone camera’s focusing works I unfortunately don’t think they could implement the half-press to focus functionality like with most dedicated cameras, but I can certainly see the advantages to having something like this. Particularly if you’re hooked on camera apps like Hipstamatic or Instagram. If and when it’s available, depending on whether they reach their Kickstarter funding goals, the Red Pop will work with a free accompanying camera app. But its creators hope to add compatibility with existing camera apps too allowing iPhone photography enthusiasts to use it with their app of choice.

[ Kickstarter - Red Pop ] VIA [ Wired Gadget Lab ]

Proteus Folding Motorcycle Helmet

Proteus Folding Motorcycle Helmet (Images courtesy James Dyson Award)
By Andrew Liszewski

The entries for the 2011 James Dyson Award are starting to appear on their website, and one of the more interesting and practical ideas is this folding motorcycle helmet. It was actually developed by an Australian student named Jessica Dunn who spent 5 months riding a motorcycle in Indonesia and decided there needed to be a better way to haul a helmet around when not riding. Of course the most important reason for using a helmet in the first place is to thoroughly protect your noggin in the event of a crash, so the design had to ensure it didn’t compromise safety for convenience.

The Proteus, as the helmet’s currently known, obviously doesn’t fold down to something you can slip in a shirt pocket. But its collapsing design does make it easier to stash inside a backpack, bag, or even locked away in a larger bike’s storage compartment. To keep riders safe the Proteus features an outer polycarbonate resin shell protecting against abrasion and punctures, while a second layer is made from impact-absorbing polystyrene foam. There’s also a third layer that uses another shock-absorbing material that remains pliable until impact when it hardens, providing extra protection. Even the visor sliding mechanism was redesigned to accomodate the folding nature of the Proteus, and if you’re wondering if it will actually pass crash tests, keep in mind the Australian safety standards for motorcycle helmets even helped inform their design and development decisions.

[ James Dyson Award - Proteus Folding Motorcycle Helmet ] VIA [ Autoblog ]

Plug And Player

Plug And Player (Images courtesy Giha Woo)
By Andrew Liszewski

This certainly isn’t the first time we’ve written about a concept product design from Giha Woo, and I’m sure it won’t be the last. A few years ago the original iPod Shuffle was a surprise hit for Apple. Besides the cheap pricepoint, I know I really liked the fact it had a built-in USB port meaning I could keep it charged wherever I could find a PC. But Giha’s Plug and Player takes things one step further, by building a simple MP3 player into an actual plug. So wherever you can find an outlet, which are arguably far more plentiful than PCs with free USB ports, you can keep it charged.

The wide stance of European-style power plugs seems ideal for the concept, but I suspect they could also be built into North American-style plugs with minimal compromise. But since it’s just a concept with seemingly no intentions of ever being produced, it’s kind of moot to even speculate international compatibilities.

[ Plug And Player ]

Bye-5 Switch Encourages You To Turn Off The Lights With A High Five

Bye-5 Switch (Images courtesy Da Deng)
By Andrew Liszewski

Just because you’re not paying the electric bill every month, doesn’t mean you should leave every light on at the office when you leave. So to encourage people to be more proactive about turning off the lights when they leave a room, designer Da Deng created this playful Bye-5 switch which can be operated with a simple high five, a skill most employable persons already have.

The switch is of course shaped like a 3D hand, complete with a skin-like texture which encourages people to give it a solid high five slap. And besides turning off the lights in the room, your positive reinforcement also activates a soft, glowing nightlight inside the hand so that people can still find their way around a now darkened room. It’s just a concept sadly, so the Clapper will continue to enjoy its monopoly in the ‘novel way to switch off the lights’ market.

[ Bye-5 Light Switch ] VIA [ Tuvie ]

Lightstarter Flashlight Will Test Your Fire Making Skills

Lightstarter Flashlight (Images courtesy Simple Artifact)
By Andrew Liszewski

Instead of turning a crank or awkwardly shaking it to squeeze a few minutes of illumination out of it, the Lightstarter flashlight takes the Survivorman approach by having you rub it between your hands as if you were starting a fire with a stick. Of course we all know that starting a fire in the wild isn’t quite that easy, but it’s a nice throwback to times when fire was really are our only artificial source of light. And like other dynamo powered flashlights the Lightstarter will run longer the more effort you put into it. Three seconds of rubbing gives you about thirty seconds of illumination, while a full minute rewards you with up to ten minutes of light.

Unfortunately at the moment the Lightstarter is just a concept waiting for partnership or purchase, so you’ll probably be better off actually finding a pair of sticks and starting a fire yourself than waiting for this to go into production.

[ Lightstarter Flashlight ] VIA [ Inhabitat ]