Humanistic Power Line Pylons

Choi + Shine Architects has a very interesting project called Land of Giants:

Making only minor alterations to well established steel-framed tower design, we have created a series of towers that are powerful, solemn and variable. These iconic pylon-figures will become monuments in the landscape. Seeing the pylon-figures will become an unforgettable experience, elevating the towers to something more than merely a functional design of necessity.

The human forms adapt to the terrain where these are erected, mimicking the figure’s (imaginary) interaction with the landscape, whether it’s climbing a mountain or crossing a valley, using small design changes to convey the differences in posture and mood:

Very interesting! It’d probably brighten anybody’s imagination (or thoroughly haunt him)…especially if it’s produced in enough variations – imagine a long drive  through a  countryside where the electrical lines become an animated xkcd comic. (Am I thinking too much?)

Microsoft Street Slide

This is Microsoft’s awesome Street Slide technology to be shown for the computer graphics conference SIGGRAPH 2010. I’ve always thought there’s little left to improve on in navigation aid (how naive…I know, I know) – so it was a fantastic pleasant surprise to see them demo this very interesting and engaging navigation mode.

Hopefully they would launch this as a real, available (and free!) interface somewhere. Not even really thinking too deeply about how/where this would be really useful – it’s just that there’s a general ass-kickery appeal that cannot be ignored!

Slurp digital eyedropper

Digital data and interfaces have certainly become more prevalent, even though to some it’s still a somewhat nebulous, intangible and hard-to-conceive abstract notion. There have been some efforts in making digital gestures more tangible, analog or personal, and the Slurp digital eyedropper is another very interesting concept. Here’s the description:

In this video I demonstrate how slurp can be used to move digital files between machines over the network. Rather than plug a usb drive into the port that corresponds with a specific file seen on a screen, just suck the file directly off the screen itself. Slurp is used like an eyedropper, it vibrates and displays light to indicate it’s state to the user.

Slurp is tangible interface for manipulating abstract digital information as if it were water. Taking the form of an eyedropper, Slurp can extract (slurp up) and inject (squirt out) pointers to digital objects. We have created Slurp to explore the use of physical metaphor, feedback, and affordances in tangible interface design when working with abstract digital media types. Our goal is to privilege spatial relationships between devices and people while providing new physical manipulation techniques for ubiquitous computing environments.

I have a personal interest in tangible media interfaces, especially in the balance between intuitiveness and “tangible-for-tangible’s-sake”, which we often see when some designers turn digital bits into some arbitrary physical objects for little additional benefits/interests. This uncanny valley between the two requires a delicate sense of what’s appropriate and resonant, and I think Slurp has managed this very well indeed.

Slurp is made by Jamie Zigelbaum, Adam Kumpf, Alejandro Vazquez, and Hiroshi Ishii, and you can see more of such works at MIT Media Lab’s Tangible Media Group.

Honda U3-X

Honda’s take on self-balancing personal mobility ala Segway – much more compact, personally liftable, well-’wrapped’. While Segway seems to target the <3-5miles type of navigation (e.g. 5 blocks down the road), U3-X – by virtue of its size and user’s posture (sitting rather than standing over a platform) – seemed to be suited more for indoors use like museums & galleries. I doubt this will revolutionize personal transport or replace cars, but it’d be interesting to figure out the niche markets that would desire something like this: nursing homes? Front-desk service personnel?

PacMan

As Google placed a Pacman doodle on its home page and cause worldwide productivity to drop, Wired did an article on the origin and creation of Pacman. Interesting trivia that caught my attention:

Wired.com: And of course, the game was originally called Puck-Man, but the name was changed for America because someone might vandalize the “P” and turn it into an “F.”

Iwatani: Yes, the U.S. subsidiary said that that would be bad. We wondered, what should we do? And decided to change it to “Pac.” Then, after the American version came out with the “Pac” spelling, we used that for the entire world.

Read the full article here.

KLM Sit on Air

Quite a clever stunt-ad! I wonder how often do the actor get to take a break too (without spoiling the wonder as he disengages from his position)…

Sneaky Ad on F1 Cars

Came across a very interesting article on graphicology showing how Malboro attempts to circumvent the no-tobacco-ad ruling in sports like F1. Here’s the picture showing the before/after:

Could you consider this as an ingenious subversive – and perhaps subliminal – advertising? While static it’s innocent enough as a barcode-like design motif, but at high speeds it blurs off to a somewhat familiar set of colors/proportions:

In a somewhat tangential note – it reminds me also of this article on the recent re-release of  Naomi Klein’s ‘No Logo’. Originally released in 1999 it was a passionate report documenting how mega-corporates manipulates consumers through subversive marketing despite the products questionable origins (of manufacture, eco-credibility, etc.). However, its popularity ironically also spurred marketers to engage in marketing tactics to appear ever more authentic and grassroots – using subversive techniques that bypasses the formal channels. This Malboro ad could just be one of  the many manifestations.

Making of a Boeing

Time-lapse of the construction and livery of the Florida 1 aircraft – nice (unique) livery!

Design for the First World

This is a very interesting design competition: somewhat subversive, wholly novel but really the question for me was “what took it so long?”

Our fellows in the first world often come to visit and give us their well intentioned but often very problematic “solutions”. We thought, why don’t we pay back? Dx1W is a competition for designers, artists, scientists, makers and thinkers in developing countries to provide solutions for First World problems.

Design for the First World (Dx1W)

Just as how a person from a first-world country may imagine the ‘typical’ problems of the entire third world, there were telling suggestions of ideas/problem spheres for the developed countries:

  • Reducing obesity
  • Address ing aging pop u la tion and low birth rate
  • Reduc ing con sump tion rate of mass pro duced goods
  • Integrating the immigrant population.

I’d be very eager to see the results!

Alice on iPad

What does it mean if our real life books are like those you see in Harry Potter? Would this format grow popular, or would people soon settle down to the more mundane, but solid, experience of text-on-lines?

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