When you've achieved Taylor Swift levels of fame, stalkers are an unfortunate and inevitable reality. In order to keep the superstar safe at a recent California concert, Swift's team employed a sneaky facial recognition kiosk, disguised as videos of behind-the-scene rehearsals, to send scans back to a team in Nashville who would then compare them to a database of Swift's known pursuers. The take away? Future tech continues to be an ethical morass!
Potato Peels Find New Life as Alternative MDF Material
Medium-density fiberboard (MDF) and chipboard may soon find themselves replaced by a new, biodegradable product—and good riddance, too! These commonly used materials are not recyclable and are full of toxic chemicals like formaldehyde. Instead, London-based designer team Chip[s] Board proposes using waste potato peelings combined with fibers from bamboo, hops, wood or more potatoes for furniture construction. Not only will this remove MDF and chipboard from landfills, but it could also reduce food waste, another major environmental and social problem.
Bad Acoustics Are A Killer. Here's What Designers Can Do About It.
Noise is all around us, whether we like it or not. We're only now beginning to understand the detrimental effects loud sounds can have on our health. Luckily, we can mitigate those effects with design thinking.
No stranger to existential living, Rotterdam has emerged as a design hotbed for dealing with rising seas. The Dutch have famously existed as a waterlogged population for centuries. Now, the country has incorporated their new climate change-related aquatic peril into an economic and development opportunity, channeling funds into neighborhood and urban development that doubles as flood management. For the Dutch, surviving floods is a national identity—only time will tell if that eventually goes global.
Pants, Now Available In Indestructible
Sports gear company Vollebak recently unveiled the "100 year pant," a water-and-fireproof pair that promises to outlive you. Inspired by astronaut gear and military technology, the pants are much lighter and generally more comfortable than previous incarnations of armor-gear. Well suited for firefighters, stuntmen, and soldiers, most of their features are superfluous to most – but if you die testing their flame resistance, at least you'll go out with your pants on.
Moooi Smacks Down Counterfeiters With New App
Cheating sucks, in relationships, in school, and definitely in business. Everyone, from individual designers to giant design houses, goes to great lengths to make sure their intellectual property stays out of the hands of counterfeiters, but Moooi may have found a solution that is foolproof and looks cool, too. Going forward, all Moooi products will come with a small floral button that contains a identifying microchip. Shoppers with the brand's new authentication app can scan the button and confirm if what they're looking at is a real Moooi product.
Imagine being an 18 year old with a smartphone, a lot of free time after school and on weekends, and an almost $600 stipend from the federal government. About 10,000 French teenagers found themselves in just such a situation when the French government's Culture Pass app went live in September. Designed like a "Tinder for the arts", users can swipe left or right on cultural activities happening in their immediate surroundings, which the government hopes will result in more fluid and accepting definition of culture for the French. The Culture Pass project will cost France's government approximately $490 million a year and is heavily subsidized by contributions from Apple, Google, Facebook, and Amazon.
The Fuzz Takes Flight
First it was predictive crime artificial intelligence. Now, police are taking to the sky, at least in Dubai. A California-based hover vehicle company called Hoversurf has gifted the Middle Eastern city's police force one unit for the time being, but if the officers prove capable of flying it more could be on the way.
Space Artist Imagines Way Cooler Night Sky
For now, space artist Ron Miller is bound by gravity and expense to remain on planet Earth, but that doesn't mean he can't bring the heavens a little closer to home. Using a photo of the moon rising over Death Valley as reference, Miller inserted the other eight planets into the picture and the results are jaw dropping. "We would all feel a lot more humble with Jupiter's presence constantly looking over us," Miller .
Scientists at Northwestern University and San Diego State University may have unraveled the mysteries of the Black Widow's super-strong web. MRI and NMR imaging revealed the molecular structure of the glands that make the spider's silk, which could be extrapolated to synthetically reproduce this stronger-than-steel material at scale. Everything from bridges to bulletproof vests could one day be impervious thanks to one of the world's deadliest spiders.
Bjarke Ingels and Artemide Craft Lamp That Grows Plants Indoors
Bjarke Ingels Group and Italian lighting brand Artemide have teamed up to produce a lamp that can provide indoor plants with the kind of light they need to survive. The Gople lamps use Artemide's patented RWB lighting system to diffuse red, blue, or white light to encourage the plants to photosynthesize or bloom. The lamps come in a white crystal, transparent silver, and transparent bronze finish.
Blind Yourself to the Horrors of the Modern Open Office with Panasonic's WearSpace
To say that open offices may not have been the productivity godsend they were touted to be is a bit of an understatement. It seems everyone—from the common office worker to journalists to big-name designers—has conceded that these workplaces cater more to distraction than to productivity. Luckily, those challenges may soon be erased by Panasonic's WearSpace, a futuristic headgear that resembles horse blinders and promises a 60% reduction in the wearer's peripheral vision.
Innovation is the name of the game at SANDOW, as evidenced by the brand’s latest collaboration with Grammy Award–winning musician and New York Times bestselling author Questlove (not to mention Interior Design's Innovation channel, too). The venture, called CREATIVE HOUSE, aims to unite a diverse mix of artists, designers, inventors, and innovators to inspire, connect, and ideate all kinds of new brands and products. Further details will be announced in January 2019, but Questlove provided a snapshot of the project at this year’s Adobe MAX Creativity Conference.
IRL Glasses Deliver "They Live" Levels of Un-Reality
In John Carpenter's iconic film They Live, protagonist John Nada dons a pair of innocuous sunglasses and discovers a horrifying reality: the world has been taken over by aliens who keep their identities and intentions secret by subliminally controlling the human population through mass media. Now, that same idea has been taken to its opposite extreme by engineer Scott Blew and artist Ivan Cash in the form of . These seemingly ordinary sunglasses use Steelcase's Casper screen-blocking film to completely black out all screens. If the glasses from They Live revealed a nightmare to the wearer, IRL Glasses may deliver a dream.
At-Home HIV Testing Is Now a Reality
In 2017, HIV/AIDS claimed nearly one million lives, with an additional 36.9 million people living with the disease. HIV is a treatable illness if caught early, but once it becomes AIDS it is fatal. A new device developed by product designer Hans Ramzan gives people in the developing world, where the majority of new HIV/AIDs cases emerge, the power to test themselves at home for the virus, removing dependence on foreign aid.