Typographers have long been aware that the shapes their letterforms take have some influence on how people read and process text. On a most basic level, serifs are believed to aid in the reading of long texts as they guide the eye across a line of text, preventing the reader’s eye from jumping up and down the page. A more specific example would be the fonts designed to make it easier for people with dyslexia to consume texts. Now, a team out of Australia have come up with a new font called Sans Forgetica designed specifically to help people remember what they have read by drawing on “desirable difficulty” to aid in the learning process. The font is purposefully hard to decipher, and so requires more focus on the part of the reader. To learn more >>
Christie’s, one of the most famous auction houses in the world recently sold an AI generated painting for $432,500 – 45 times higher than its estimate. This event has lead to so many interesting questions about the meaning and economics of art, authorship and the relationship between technology and art. For one, the artist collective who sold the painting borrowed an open source algorithm and didn’t credit its original author – and he is not happy! Additionally, the algorithm creator also claims that the set of work the painting was based off of was actually a selection he curated for the system. In some ways this controversy is similar to that of Sherrie Levine’s After Walker Evans and really reminiscent of many of the conversations surrounding photography being accepted into the world of fine art. To read more >>
The new products just revealed by Apple at a special event in Brooklyn this week have several things in common. But most notable is the input of Apple’s Chief of Design, Sir Jonathan Ive, universally referred to as Jony.
He is involved in new products across Apple, including radical upgrades of favorites such as the MacBook Air and the iPad Pro.
Ive has been at Apple since 1992 and his keen eye has been part of the iMac, the iPhone, iPad and Apple Watch. He has just been awarded the 2018 Professor Hawking Fellowship because of what the committee felt included a “remarkable role in championing elegant and innovative design”. He’ll deliver the Professor Hawking Lecture in Cambridge later this month.
Design is at its very best when used for good. Lewis Hornby did just that when he created Jelly Drops. After noticing his dementia-afflicted grandmother was having trouble staying hydrated, a common problem amongst those with dementia, Hornby designed the bite-sized, edible pods of water that look like colorful candy. People with dementia often have trouble drinking, either because they don’t recognize they are thirsty or because they don’t have the dexterity to do it. By disguising water as a delicious snack, Jelly Drops encourage those with dementia to stay hydrated. In order to come up with his brilliant solution Hornby spent time “experiencing” what it was like to live with dementia through time spent in a care home and the use of VR tools. While this brilliant innovation was designed as a school project, Hornby has already received multiple awards and offers to run trials at old-age facilities. To read more>>
From cutting boards to clothing bamboo has been sprouting up all over the place. Bamboo is not only a sustainable material, but it is also cost effective, making it an excellent raw material for designers and architects. Visionary and entrepreneur, Bernice Dapaah, started the Ghana Bamboo Bikes Initiative with multiple goals in mind, in addition to creating sustainable and affordable transportation options for the people of Ghana, the bikes promote well being and local industry. Additionally, for every bamboo plant that is cut down, the initiative plants ten more! Making a bamboo bike that worked was a challenge, but after multiple prototypes the team finally found a winning design. Because the bikes are hand made they can be customized in an endless number of ways. The team is even working designing solar powered bamboo bikes! Read more >>
Move over spider silk, there is a new organic compound making waves in the building world. Prof. Mohamed Saafi of Lancaster University in the UK has collaborated with Scottish sustainable materials firm CelluComp to develop cellulose-based platelets from root vegetable waste, that when mixed with concrete make is significantly stronger and more resistant to corrosion. The composite material allows for 40kg less cement per cubic meter, which could significantly reduce energy consumption and CO2 emissions associated with cement manufacturing. In addition, the scientists are looking to create nano platelet-based sheets that can be used to reinforce structures made from traditional concrete, thus increasing their lifespan. To read more >>
A group of psychologists says kids are suffering from “hidden manipulation techniques” that companies like Facebook and Twitter use.
As much as adults are now constantly inundated with technology — those constant Facebook notifications and that next episode on Netflix already cued up — children today are even more primed to become hooked on their devices. Kids have 10 times the amount of screen time they did in 2011, and spend an average of six hours and 40 minutes using technology, according to Common Sense Media. Behind the screens of the games we play and digital communities we interact with are psychologists and other behavioral science experts, who are hired to create products that we want to use more and more. Big tech now employs mental health experts to use persuasive technology, a new field of research that looks at how computers can change the way humans think and act. This technique, also known as persuasive design, is built into thousands of games and apps, and companies like Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat, Amazon, Apple, and Microsoft rely on it to encourage specific human behavior starting from a very young age.
While defenders of persuasive tech will say it can have positive effects, like training people to take medicine on time or develop weight loss habits, some health professionals believe children’s behaviors are being exploited in the name of the tech world’s profit. On Wednesday, a letter signed by 50 psychologists was sent to the American Psychological Association accusing psychologists working at tech companies of using “hidden manipulation techniques” and asks the APA to take an ethical stand on behalf of kids. Richard Freed, a child and adolescent psychologist and the author of Wired Child: Reclaiming Childhood in a Digital Age, is one of the authors of the letter, which was sent on behalf of the nonprofit Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood. I spoke to Freed about how tech companies are able to manipulate human behavior and why he believes psychology is being used as “a weapon against children.” read more >>
When you write about augmented reality headsets, you’re supposed to start by describing something impossible — like a pastel dinosaur stomping its feet in a quiet office space in Florida. This dinosaur is made of fist-sized blocks that look like candy, and the office belongs to Magic Leap, a mysterious startup that’s been working in near-total secrecy for seven years. I should clarify that the dinosaur also isn’t real. It exists only in the lenses of the Magic Leap One, a pair of goggles that Magic Leap hopes will replace phones, computers, and every other high-tech screen in our lives. The whimsical anecdote setup is supposed to emphasize how well the Magic Leap One tricked my mind into believing this impossible thing existed, which is what I’d hoped would happen last month when Magic Leap invited me to its headquarters. But it just didn’t happen. read more on THE VERGE >>
Good design has the power to make even the most mundane product great. From shower caps to water bottles these companies have harnessed the power of design to transform every day objects into million dollar ideas:
S’well is the water bottle of the future. It keeps water cold for 24 hours and hot for 12, but what makes it such a success is the sleek bottle design that comes wrapped in incredible limited edition prints. Founder Sarah Kauss’ goal was to help rid the world of plastic water bottles. Her noble vision coupled with her incredible design sensibility helped her launch the fastest growing woman-owned company in the US. S’well is more than just a bottle, it is a “hydration accessory” and it is on a mission to save the planet!
Boie USA is another company that has successfully coupled cool design and an earth-saving ethos. Discarded toothbrushes increase waste by 50 million pounds each year. Additionally, buying new brushes gets expensive, but the alternative isn’t much better. Boie USA had the brilliant idea to create toothbrushes where one only has to dispose of the head. Not only that but they have subscription plans so remembering to change your toothbrush is as easy as forgetting!
SHHHOWERCAP reinvented the shower cap “because it needed reinventing!” In addition to transforming the dowdy shower cap into a fashion statement, Shhhowercap founder, Jacquelyn De Jesu took a human-centered approach to solving many of the items functionality issues as well. You know your design is successful when The MOMA Design Store starts to sell it!
After a decade of dreaming and developing, janne kjellman – founder of Q-yachts – has finally realized a silent propulsion system for boats. the Q30 is an 100% electric motor yacht which matches its forward-thinking engineering with a clean, minimal aesthetic. from the hull to the cabins below deck, the design is decked in white that highlights the exterior’s sharp style and the spaciousness of the interiors. if that was not advanced enough, then the touchscreen operations on board tops it off. >>Read More
There is a known correlation between sexual assault and heavy drinking. It is estimated that at least 50% of sexual assault and rape incidents involve alcohol consumption (by either the perpetrator or victim). This phenomenon is especially prevalent among college students. New Deal Design, the studio behind Fitbit has teamed up with gynaecologist Jennifer Lang in order to bring a design-driven solution to the problem. Buzz is a wearable product that monitors the wearer’s blood alcohol level and shares their capacity to consent with their date or friends. To attract users (especially male) and make Buzz into a positive tool, features for flirting and friend engagement were added. The wearable has a sleek, colourful, unisex design; constructed from a soft mesh, often used in medical devices. Read more>>