Although vinyl acolytes swear by the unmistakable warmth of analog media, there's no denying the advantages of the mp3 or its cousins: Between the ease of distribution, sheer convenience of having thousands of available at one's fingertips and availability of playback devices, the digital format is now the norm (resurgence in record sales—500% since 2007—duly noted). But the audio source is only half of the story: what good is a fancy turntable or lossless FLAC file if the audio equipment doesn't live up to the fidelity of the media?
Ever since custom equalizer and gain settings were introduced to consumer audio in the 70's, an array of knobs and faders has been the standard interface for audio equipment. Casey Lin's "Timbre Speaker" respresents a rather more interactive listening experience, allowing the user to manipulate the sound quality by moving physical objects on the surface of an unassuming transductive receiver.
Timbre Speaker trims the essence of a speaker down to the very bare minimum, allowing the inherent qualities of the materials to become the centerpiece of the design. All superfluous detail is stripped away, leaving only the necessary audio and power ports at the rear, and combined power and volume dial. Wood and glass were selected for their favourable acoustic qualities which enhances the audio experience of the user. The Black American Walnut wood adds a warmth to the tone, while the addition of the glass vessels bring a more reverberant characteristic to the music.(more...)
Image via DMI
Reporting by Deb Aldrich
Innovate or die. Collaborate or fail. But innovate collaboratively and succeed. That's the message shared by a variety of speakers and exhibitors at the current DMI Design Thinking Conference in Santa Monica, California. We know that designers and design thinking drive this process, but which best practices, emerging technologies and new ideas can inform our efforts?
Some highlights of Tuesday's mainstage included keynote, Larry Keeley, President & Co-Founder of Doblin Inc., who shared insights from his practice and his book, Ten Types of Innovation and the Discipline of Building Breakthroughs. By embracing and managing the complexity of the innovation process as well as the creativity behind new ideas, he pointed out how design leaders can guarantee success in the face of accelerating innovation. Although we've generally been taught to bring new ideas to the forefront through a more freeform brainstorming process, Keeley suggested that real innovation success requires high protocols, great teams of thinkers and a systematic way to measure and assess progress.
Batterii, an exhibitor and the technology that is supporting DMI's new Design Value Research project, demonstrated how their cloud-based platform can connect teams for knowledge creation, as well as innovative product development. And Sarah Brooks, founder of Networked Culture, explained how environmental and cultural systems models can help designers consider ways to move away from authorship toward co-creation for shared value and strength.
It's like the "Jenga Conundrum": Do you pull a peg to weaken the structure so yours is the last move, or do you work together to build the tower as high as possible? A collective orientation when combined with rigorous systems of analysis and evaluation are the keys that will not only help us communicate more effectively with clients and with each other, but also enable our businesses, economies and cultures to flourish in the future.(more...)
This is the third post of an ongoing series about wood. Understanding its nature, the way it moves and changes, and the implications for designers. Check back every Wednesday for the next installment.
The first two posts are here:
» How Logs Are Turned Into Boards, Part 1: Plainsawn
» How Logs Are Turned Into Boards, Part 2: Quartersawn
What is Riftsawn?
As we mentioned in the previous post, there is confusion about what constitutes riftsawn versus quartersawn, and this entry will help clear it up for you.
To recap, a board is referred to as quartersawn when it is cut radially from a log. As you get further away from a radial cut on a log, the angle of the grain/tree rings will start to get further away from 90 degrees. And as that angle starts to become less and less perpendicular to the face of the board, the classification of the board goes from "quartersawn" to "riftsawn." These diagrams should make it clear:
"True quartersawn" means 90-degree, radial grain, but these days the "quartersawn" term has been sliding--it won't be unusual for you to spot a board labeled "quartersawn" where the grain angle is all the way down to 60 degrees. These two boards, for example, were listed by a supplier as quartersawn, even though we can see the angle of the grain seems to wander past that 60-degree boundary:
Endgrain Photo 1
A sawing diagram illustrates this more graphically. The drawing below left allows you to see how they're letting the modern-day definition of quartersawn slide a bit, while the sketch below right shows the ideal:(more...)
As the calendar flips past Spring, we wanted to take a moment to share some stunning rainy shots. Trekking out into a downpour is not everyone’s idea of prime photography (although the aftermath is always a field day for macro shots). But some find a way to capture the moodiness of rain while it’s still falling, and often with a healthy side of bokeh. If you’re looking for even more atmospheric photos of inclement weather, check out the Rain in the city, Fog and Rain, and It’s Raining groups.
Once again, we'd like to congratulate the winners of the App to the Future Design Challenge, as well as the numerous honorable mentions and notables who were hand-picked by a highly selective jury team by designing a Windows Phone app to "create, connect or simply impress our future selves."
We're also pleased to announce that several of the apps are available now in the Windows Phone app store, including several of the honorable mentions! From a private microblogging app to a "scrapbook for designers" and a meta-level app prototyping tool to a "personal bookie," it's wonderful to see these concepts come to fruition, just over six months since the initial call for entries. Absolutely, positively amazing work, guys!
From L to R: Communication, Bonding, Air Quality
This past spring semester, Western Washington University's Industrial Design department teamed up with Anvil Studios, who were proud to sponsor a Senior I.D. studio, led by professor Dell King, focused on the intersection of health and mobile technology. We're pleased to present the results, courtesy of WWU ID and Anvil Studios.
Overview for Medical/Biometric Device and/or System:
Personal health monitoring and tracking with body worn sensors is becoming a big business. Several companies are addressing a variety of focused health monitoring systems from simple pedometers and calorie counters to fatigue sensors and full biometric activity tracking.
Nike fuel band, FitBit Flex Band, Adidas MiCoach, Metria, BodyBug, Basis, MioAlpha
Design Exploration Opportunities:
Wearable technology, Interface, User Experience, Docking or nesting, Modularity
Inspiration images from the original brief
Foster + Partners has released concept renderings for the proposed new Einstein Museum in Jerusalem on 5th june at the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition.
Read the rest of Foster + Partners Revealed Design for the New Einstein Museum
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Elemen'tary Screwdriver sets are made in a London workshop, based on the design of a cabinet maker who was dissatisfied with the grip of screwdrivers that he had purchased. As any maker worth his salt would do, he sat down and crafted grips that fit his hands comfortably. The handles are made from beech and are finished by dipping in linseed oil. Unlike rubber, the wood surface is kind to hands and won't encourage blisters. After prolonged use the handles will develop a natural patina. Available from Hand-Eye Supply as a set for $50 or individually for $24 and $35, respectively.(more...)