Archive for the ‘Cool Stuff!’ Category

Phonebloks is a really nice idea… but it won’t work :’-(

Phonebloks is a concept mobile phone that has taken social networks by storm in the past few days. Conceived by Dutch designer Dave Hakkens, it is meant as a solution to the e-waste problem generated by a smartphone industry which has shipped more than 225 million units in the last few months alone.

It sounds like an excellent, exciting new idea and it certainly has generated a lot of buzz on the interwebs (every single designer friend I have has posted something related on facebook), but unfortunately the bottom line is: it WOULDN’T WORK :’-(

360 UI & Interaction Trend Report… this baby is finally done!

Finally! After a good couple of months of research and analysis, our UI+Interaction Trend Report ’10-’11 is finally finished and ready for our clients to take advantage of it.

The borders between purely physical products and the digital world are becoming increasingly blurred. Over the last 40 years, with the price and size of components steadily dropping and microprocessor capabilities constantly increasing, products have the potential of becoming more and more intelligent. This translates into new, exciting features for the users, but it also poses challenges for designers on how to manage the added complexity through an easy to use and efficient interface that allows smart products to fulfill their promise of making life a little easier and more pleasurable.

We at VanBerlo, believe that a proper understanding of the present and  future of people’s interaction with products will create great new possibilities in the world of design and therefore, as part of my work at one of Europe’s leading design studios, I had the responsibility to develop our very first trend report focusing on the world of interaction and user interface design.

These award winning trend reports are part of VanBerlo’s  360 creative services offer and they focus on providing up to date, global and detailed insights into the relevant trends in product development.

As a special treat, here’s a sneak preview of some of the content you’ll find in our full, 160 pages long report (including high resolution photos and HD videos) .

Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic…

I’ve always been fascinated with magic, the making possible of that which our mind tells us that is “clearly” impossible; those things that we are too puzzled (or narrow minded) to understand. And as I think back to some of the tech I’ve seen so far in my lifetime and the way I perceived it the first time I came in contact with it, I can’t help but agree with Arthur C. Clarke when he said that “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic”.

When you think about it, it wasn’t that long ago that we were still baffled by the novelty of technologies like a GPS, a smoothly working multitouch surface or the controls of a Nintendo Wii, and how they had this almost magical quality to them the first time we experienced them, yet thanks to Moore’s law and the ever thriving minds of designers and engineers out there I think that things are about to get REALLY interesting and I can’t wait to see the true magic that is coming our way.

Here are just a couple of examples of things I’ve come across lately that I’m very much looking forward to, both as a designer and as a consumer.

New year, new decade, new job, new city… and I get to play with robots!

It’s being a pretty hectic end/start of the year. As of last Monday (11th of January) I started working as Interaction Designer at VanBerlo Studios, the biggest design studio in the Netherlands and an important player in the European scene of product development.

As a consequence and after 9 years of my life spent in the little and picturesque town of Delft I had to move to Eindhoven, a bigger city down to the south of the Netherlands, very well known for being the headquarters of technology giants Philips and home of former European champions PSV Eindhoven (I guess I can never wear my Ajax jersey in public around this town).

The city is not as charming, but the work and the company is absolutely fantastic so far… and I get to play with robots! One of the first projects I’ll be working on deals with robotics and therefore today I paid a visit to the mechanical engineering department of the Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e).

Sustainable packaging? Bring out the popcorn!

Another way of 'recycling' packing peanuts?

For my first post of the year I received the inspiration from a Christmas present my sister received while I was visiting her.

I’ve always had the habit of keeping the little styrofoam packing peanuts of any package I receive so that I can reuse them whenever I have to send something out myself. It saves me money and I ensure that the material is used at least once more. Sadly though, I’m sure that this is not something that everybody does and undoubtedly most of these peanuts end up in the trash after a single use, contributing to our waste problems.

But what’s the alternative? Well, as I mentioned, my sister received this gift during the holidays which I thought was brilliantly simple and a very nicely thought alternative. It was a little box with shower and bath soaps which used POPCORN (!!!) instead of styrofoam.

I’ve still got it a bit :-D

I recently discovered the newest version of Sketchbook Pro (2010) and I have to say “oh my freaking god! this is the coolest sketching program ever!”. I absolutely LOVE the simplicity and elegance of the software’s interface and I’m also very grateful that they follow the KISS principle very nicely (Keep It Simple, Stupid!) without cluttering the program with a whole bunch of tools and features that you seldom use.

Just for kicks I made a few sketches to add to my portfolio (pretty sketches sell VERY well on an industrial design portfolio, even if that’s not what you want to focus on) and I was very positively surprised that I still have it a little bit in me to come up with decent results. So here are a few underneath… What do you think? would you hire me??? 🙂

And just to get you a bit exciTED…

TEDx Amsterdam… in Delft!

TEDxAmsterdam in DelftNext Friday (20th of November) a conference called TEDxAmsterdam will take place in… well, in Amsterdam (duh!)

TED as some of you may know, is a very famous yearly conference held in California, which brings together top people from the worlds of Technology, Entertainment & Design. Their TEDtalks are AMAZING to say the least and I’ve featured a few here before (I promise a post in the not so far future with a collection of my very favourites). They are trully Ideas Worth Spreading as their motto goes.

So anyways… TEDx is an initiative of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience and of course, we couldn’t be left outside of the big party here in the Netherlands.

At the TEDxAmsterdam event, TEDtalks videos and live speakers will be combined to spark deep discussions and connections from the local and world communities.

Unfortunately enough, TEDxAmsterdam is an invitation only event so not everybody can attend (yours truly included), but in the true spirit of the original TED (Ideas worth spreading, right???) a live video stream will be sent to various cities in the Netherlands where people can gather to see them in high quality video (a so called simulcast)… and waddaya know??? I’ve taken it upon myself

Symposium Advanced Automotive Design at the TU Delft

Last Friday (Sept. 25th), I attended the Symposium Advanced Automotive Design organized at the TU Delft as part of the celebrations of the 40th anniversary of the Industrial Design Faculty. It was a very nice event in which top designers from the automotive industry (all of them TU Delft alumni) shared a bit of their work and experience as designers for these well known firms as well as giving us their view of the future of automotive design.

The keynote speakers were Fedde Talsma (Exterior Chief Designer at Volvo), Adrian van Hooydonk (Design Director at BMW) and Lowie Vermeersch (Design Director at Pininfarina) who were asked to choose a fragment of a movie as introduction to their talk. We also enjoyed shorter presentations by other TU Delft designers working for Ducati, Alfa-Romeo, DAF, Mercedes and Audi.

World Solar Challenge: TU Delft’s ‘Nuna’ to keep the winning streak

The World Solar Challenge is a renowned solar-powered car race run every 2 years since 1987 through the Australian outback with participants from all over the world. The TU Delft has been participating and winning every single event (kicking ass I may add) since 2001 with their car, Nuna.

This coming October the prestigious race will be ran again and this year’s team from the TU has a big responsibility on their shoulders to try and win their 5th consecutive event. The team is already in Australia preparing for the big event and in the mean time I wanted to post a collection of cool videos from this years Nuna 5.

Good luck to them, and I hope that they bring a new title back home!

Get the Flash Player to see the wordTube Media Player.

Metro de Bogotá: is this really what the city needs right now? / Realmente lo que la ciudad necesita en este momento?

[Texto en español mas adelante]

The mayor of Bogota has just released this new video to promote the construction of the ‘Metro de Bogotá’. It’s kind’a cool and gives a nice overview of the design of the first line of Bogota’s metro which should in theory be constructed in the coming years.

I’ve always thought that Bogota has been left behind in the stone age of mobility by not having some sort of rail solution operating. There have been many attempts to design and put in motion it’s construction since as early as the 1950’s, and millions have been spent by different local administrations over the years in viability studies and early designs for the metro grid.

This time however, it seems that they actually mean to take it to the next level and build the damn thing after all. But a big question arises: is this really what Bogota needs?

“World Builder”: Minority Report, eat your heart out!

Some one sent me a link to this very beautiful short movie, which shows some awesome holographic interfaces, and I just had to share it here. Not much more to say, but WATCH IT! it will certainly be worth the 9 minutes of your time.

World Builder from Bruce Branit on Vimeo.

The Crisis of Credit Visualized!

Today I came across this awesome video, and I just couldn’t wait to share it here. It’s a video made by Jonathan Jarvis explaining the oh so current and oh so cryptical crisis of credit which seems to be affecting everyone of us these days (whether we want it or not). I think it’s a great example of visual communication design at it’s best.

Here’s what Jonathan had to say:
The goal of giving form to a complex situation like the credit crisis is to quickly supply the essence of the situation to those unfamiliar and uninitiated. This project was completed as part of my thesis work in the Media Design Program, a graduate studio at the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California. For more on my broader thesis work exploring the use of new media to make sense of a increasingly complex world, visit my website www.Jonathan

Enjoy the video!

The Crisis of Credit Visualized from Jonathan Jarvis on Vimeo.

EVOthing about interaction design

I helped Evi to make a few minor adjustments to her site recently, and with a tweak here and there, I have to say that it really looks fantastic! This is trully one of my favourite websites. A very nice and clean design: Simple, beautiful, elegant and playful at the same time.

The website, of course, is Evi Malisianou’s portfolio site, an interaction designer from the TU Delft with a background in interior architecture and product design. On it, you will find a bunch of her very inspiring projects (would love to have a few of those on my own portfolio), along with pictures, videos and detailed reports of her work.

If you are into quality interaction design (with a strong background of user centered research), you should definitely take a look at her website:

Weirdest pregnancy icon I have ever seen

I dont know if it looked disgusting, weird, ugly, or what… but I found an icon that I assumed was representing a pregnant woman on the floor of the preferential parking space at a local supermarket in Athens, and I couldnt resist the impulse to take a picture of it and save it for posterity.