Thanks to advances in zoological sciences, we know that humans are not the only species that have the capacity for self-awareness, language, or even farming. But one cognitive ability we do have over other animals is thinking into the far future, which is a skill we've been under-employing as we face the looming threat of cataclysmic climate change and a swelling global population. But changes in the way we do agriculture, which currently produces 33% of green house gas emissions, could have long term positive effects on our planet. And a lot of these changes will be the result of robots taking on most of the tasks on large and small farms.
The Future of Coral Reefs May Depend on Robot Fertilizers
"Living Coral" may be Pantone's 2019 color of the year, but the situation of real coral is quite dire. Warming global ocean temperatures threaten to totally destroy coral reefs and destabilize the marine ecosystems that they support. It's a manmade problem, and one scientist is proposing a manmade solution: LarvalBot, an underwater robot equipped to dispense heat resistant coral larvae over failing reefs.
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.
Plants are great house decor, but ever want to kick it up a notch? Enter Studio REM’s “Nebl,” an Archiproducts Design Award winning terrarium-lite that looks like a cross between a snow globe and specimen jar. The Nebls keep your plants warm during cold months, while making them look much more expensive than they are.
Who needs velvet curtains when you can have algae?
Tired of solar glare? Sick of air pollution? London-based EcoLogicStudio is working on an algae-powered “living curtain” that’ll help with both issues. Housing colonies of micro algae, the curtain harnesses their photosynthetic processes, capturing carbon dioxide and releasing oxygen in the process. EcoLogicStudio hopes that their curtains can be integrated into new buildings, or simply draped over existing ones, helping make cities a little cleaner and futuristic looking.
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.
Artificial intelligence may be a nascent technology but its capabilities are already startlingly advanced. The next industry to be touched by AI's incredible potential may be gaming. A new software developed by chipmaker Nvidia could take a huge burden off developers with its ability to dream up incredibly detailed scenes in mere minutes.
Students Tackle Urban Loneliness Through Architecture
Architecture and urban planning have been proven to be incredibly useful tools in combatting the negative effects of climate change on the city level. Could design thinking be the answer to mitigating the epidemic of loneliness in our urban centers, as well? PhD researcher Tanzil Shafique set out to discover if it was possible with his M.Arch students at the Melbourne School of Design and the answer is a resounding yes (view student work ).
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.
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.
Dutch Government Embraces Flex Space in Trains
Flex space is a well-known component of the modern open office, but that concept has now transitioned over to the transportation sector. The Dutch National Railway Company's new series of flexible and modular trains, designed by Dutch firm Mecanoo and Gispen, offers passengers different seating configurations to use as an office, lounge, and socialization spaces. While still in conceptual stages, it's possible that this concept could change the face of transportation in the future.
Radical Seasonality, The New Grocery Store Paradigm
Natoora, a sustainable supplier of fruits and veggies to some of London's most prestigious chefs, recently opened a brick-and-mortar shop that feels very similar to another retailer of posh, eco-friendly goods. The fresh produce store was designed in collaboration by architect Noé Golomb and cabinet maker FincH, whose work includes five fit-outs for Aesop stores. All of the food items are locally sourced and are kept in their natural state with no plastic packaging.
Over 4,000 Swedes are one step closer to becoming true cyborgs. How? Microchips, as small as a grain of rice, inserted just above the thumb via syringe. The chips can be used to store emergency information, access homes and other familiar places, and even act as a digital wallet for train and event tickets.
Stop! You're Under Arrest for A Bad Choice of Font!
The holidays are almost upon us, so it's time to start thinking of passive-aggressive gag gifts for your favorite studio frenemy. Type designers Hoefler & Co. have the perfect present to gift pedantic colleagues and design snobs: the Typographic Ticket Book. Modeled after the much-maligned traffic cops' ticket book, everything from improper font choice, to egregious colors, to unironic use of novelty typeface is included on the surprisingly authentic-looking ticket.
Water Abundance XPrize Winner Announced
awarded two designers from California the $1.75 million prize purse for an invention that pulls drinkable water straight out of the air. Called WeDew, the winning project extracts moisture from its surroundings and transforms it into 2,000 liters of clean water per day, satisfying the daily needs of 100 people. It's composed of two devices, and a biomass gasifier, and housed inside a shipping container.