Category Archives: product design

Capacitors from the Congo

Bill Hammack makes instructional videos about engineering in everyday life. In this episode he explains why the conflict mineral Tantalum is used to make cell phone capacitors smaller. Even though only 2% of the raw ore Coltan originates in the Congo, it is impossible to trace in its refined form, which means that the 40mg […]

Also posted in materials, possessed products, supply chain, traceability | Comments closed

Radical Traceability

Small and independent producers can benefit from the Internet’s Long Tail and on-demand manufacturing to find supply and demand for their products. Now, they can also count on radical traceability in the form of, a website that combines user-contributed design with the ability to follow each step in the manufacturing process once a product […]

Also posted in customization, fabrication, furniture, futurecraft, open objects, retail, traceability | Comments closed

Pocket Wikipedia

UPDATE: This is the wiki reader, a device available for $99 and that runs for one year off a pair of AAA’s. Last night Wikimedia board member Mako Hill showed me his prototype of a new mobile device for searching Wikipedia, using a simple reflective display and touch screen and an SD card to contain […]

Also posted in conviviality, open objects | Comments closed

Bike Brights

Gus writes “Have you made or do you know of something that both of us could wear that would enhance our visibility as bicyclists?” There are a number of ways for us bicyclists to stand out day or night, ranging from the ultra-geeky to the super-fashionable. Here they are in that order: 1. Make your […]

Also posted in augmented reality, conviviality, fashion, lighting, materials, soft/glowing | Comments closed

Blinking Chairs

Ryota Kuwakubo’s Nicodama is a project that – to put it simply – puts blinky eyes on inanimate objects as a means of giving them personality. From the placard at the Ars Electronica Center: “Nicodama” combines findings from the field of behavioral biology (ethology) with technology and Japanese philosophy. The “Nicodamas” communicate with each other […]

Also posted in animation, furniture, interaction, surveillance | Comments closed

3D-Printed Clock

At the Ars Electronica / MIT Media Lab exhibit in Linz, Peter Schmitt presented his work on mechanical systems made by rapid prototyping machines – so-called 3-D printers. He makes the interesting argument that by producing these intricate mechanical devices using a single process, manufacturers could forgo the need for low-cost assembly and instead manufacture […]

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magnetic chips

Ayah Bdeir launched ‘Little Bits‘ last week at Eyebeam: a kit of magnet-studded circuit components that naturally snap together with the right polarity. The idea is to make prototyping of simple interaction possible for those outside the electrical engineering profession – such as this example of a product designer experimenting with lights on a mock-up […]

Also posted in customization, fabrication, lighting, materials, tangible | Comments closed

Machine Shoe

Ten Bhomer‘s ‘Rotational Moulded Shoe’ is an anti-craft exploration that seeks to replace the manual process of shoe-making with a machine. A plastic shank is placed inside a mold with rubber resin, and as the mold is continuously rotated the rubber hardens into a shell akin to the way rubber duckies are made. While seemingly […]

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