Kit Bike by Lucid Design

Category: Industrial design


Cycling. I have tried it, but it hasn’t ever quite succeeded in becoming my dominant means of getting about. I think it has something to do with my clumsiness and lack of knowledge of the road rules. And maybe that time I fell off my bike face-first, trying to smoothly glide from road to sidewalk at high speed, scraping the skin off both of my palms…However, I admire cyclists immensely. The people who hop on these two wheels with nothing but their bodies to propel them onwards, wedged amongst fast mean cars of steel, are heroes in my eyes.

With the general populace becoming more aware of the drawbacks of oil dependance, and keen on becoming more healthy and fit, cycling has become increasingly popular. We have also seen bicycles become a fixation in the design world. From wooden frames, to slick minimal designs, to the tech-savvy machines, we’ve seen them all in the past couple of years. The Kit Bike, by Bangalore based Lucid Design, offers something different. As the name suggests, it can be dismantled into parts and reassembled back to tip-top shape in around 10 minutes. The wheels attach to the frame on one side, allowing it to lean against a wall for easy assembly. Other features include powder-coated aluminium tubes, beige rubber tyres and easy-lock joints. The 21 parts come neatly packed inside a round leather backpack. For most regular commuters this may not be entirely practical, but the Kit Bike would be mighty handy for a weekend away. Or just use it as a regular day-to-day bike—it’s a clean, minimal fixie—a hipster’s dream.

Lucid Design have won a 2014 Red Dot Award for this concept bicycle. There are, sadly, no plans to put this into production yet, and the structural integrity of design would need to be thoroughly tested. Still, the idea opens up new possibilities for portable bikes.

Anna Tokareva

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Tommy Carlsson’s Happycheap

Category: Architecture

If you strive towards some form of happiness in your life and love a good bargain, then Happycheap sounds like a perfect fusion of these two objectives. Happycheap is a recent enterprise by Swedish architect Tommy Carlsson. A quick search on Carlsson does not reveal too much about the architect, apart from a couple of websites—all in Swedish. I am sure that his name will be wider known soon enough, as more people find out about, and hop on board with, the Happycheap scheme. The idea emerged from the realisation that the only quality, beautifully designed homes in Sweden (and elsewhere, I imagine) fall into the unattainably expensive category for the average folk. Cheaper housing is seldom architecturally designed or aesthetically pleasing. Carlsson aims to fill this gap in providing well-built, beautiful homes that are affordable, making an impression in cookie-cutter suburbia.

The Stockholm house, situated by the Swedish seaside, is the first iteration of the Happycheap home. The house looks plain and unassuming from the outside, with its corrugated metal exterior and simple angular form. Inside, it is surprisingly spacious and light. The interior is out-clad almost entirely in thrifty plywood. It’s not a material I am accustomed to seeing floor-to-ceiling, but in conjunction with white walls, grey kitchen and splashes of blue throughout the home it looks homely and warm. The blue-stained plywood ceiling in the study is a fun touch. A staircase in the middle of the building leads to the second story, with open-plan living on both levels.

The Happycheap website offers a choice of three different house plans, of which this is the largest, at 110 square meters. A detailed breakdown of materials and costs for each option follows, it’s good to see this level of transparency. I’d happily settle in one of these abodes! Check out his website for more details, though you’d better speak Swedish or have Google Translate on hand.

Anna Tokareva

Photography: Michael Perlmutter (7&11) and Andy Liffner (2—6, 8—10)

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JIBO – personal robot to help out at home

Category: Design, Industrial design, Interactive

 

I hope 2015 is going to be the year of personal robots. This is something to look forward to! Personally I’m already tired of this year being ’the year of the smart watch’ although Apple haven’t even announced theirs.

Personal robots at this stage seem to be more like a smartphone with a personified physical presence and seem to build on refined voice- and face recognition technology. It is the ultimate interactive ‘hands free’ experience and if it’s done well it can make life easier.

As usual, Kickstarter and Indigogo is the platform for this sort of innovation, since big technology brands are still more interested in selling outdated technology. We seen initiatives popping up like the Romo which is basically an interactive iPhone app on wheels for kids, and the high-end Pepper, a child sized robot that can recognise human emotions.

Today, we arrived to a nice middle ground with Jibo, ’the family robot’. The first initiative I could see going mainstream through it’s accessibility, open platform and straight-forward features. The designer robotics expert / super-cool person Cynthia Breazeal also managed to make it insanely cute! Kind of reminds me of a simplified version of EVE from Pixar’s WALL-E.

Jibo can see through two high-res cameras, track faces, capture photos and has an immersive video calling feature that takes the concept to the next level. Jimbo can hear everything. It’s sensitive microphones can pick up and process speech, wherever you are in the room. Jibo speaks to you, reads messages, notifications, works like a personal assistant managing your day. It’s artificial intelligence is able to adapt and learn, it communicates with social and emotive cues. Jibo seems likeable through it’s appearance and ‘personality’. Watch the video above to see how it works! I quite like the smart, flexibly moving structure and the expressive eye feature.

Working on a Linux based platform open to developers the potential there is huge. At a later stage it might connect to your home systems to adjust light, sound or control the temperature. It is already impressive how handy it is in everyday situations like ordering your groceries or takeaway food, read up a recipe while you are cooking, take great photos or look up the answer to your questions online.

Jibo is on pre-order for $499 and arrives by the end of 2015. The public release will be early 2016. I look forward to revisit where it has evolved by then. The future is here!

Kyle Glass
Images: http://www.myjibo.com/

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Google’s Street Art Project

Category: Fine Art, Interactive

Last year I was fortunate enough to interview Shepard Fairey for our Frontier magazine focusing on Santa Fe. He was at SFUAD, one of our supporting universities, undertaking a collaborative art project. Since then, my interest in his work and that of many street artists has been piqued and this new website by Google allows me to delve into this even deeper.

Google’s new Street Art Project is a partner to it’s existing Art Project which aims to give access to influential art objects, historical artifacts and world wonders to a wider audience. Run by the Google Cultural Institute in France, the Art Project aims to democratise art. It seems fitting then for Google to enter into the world of street art which by default brings art to everyone. Much like the Art Project, the Street Art Project utilizes gallery archives, Google’s own street view, Google maps, and user generated content to provide a map of the worlds street art. Allowing viewers to zoom into details of the work, providing glimpses of work that has since been destroyed and showcasing pieces in locations many of us will never get to are just some of the features this incredible initiative hosts. Street Art is generally considered the ugly brother to that of the gallery world, bar the few exemptions of Banksy and Fairey, but here, the scope and detail of this project is given as much emphasis and importance as it’s older brother. With Amit Sood, director of the Cultural Institute initiative commenting, “Im not treating street art as anything different from what I would do with the Impressionist collection I’m getting on Art Project”, it’s clear to see that the intention of this site is to lift this often neglected art form to it’s rightful place. Personally, I find it incredible that this is even questioned – shouldn’t this should be the acceptable norm by now?

The best thing about this site though is that it’s fun! Seriously fun. I thoroughly enjoyed checking out street art in Oman, a place I’ve wanted to travel to for years but have never quite got there. How great that I can now do this, and more to the point, that once the artwork is painted over by some bored government official, we’ll still be able to view it as it was.

Click here to check it out. Definitely worth your time.

Logan Bradley 

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Chase zombies with Google’s Project Tango

Category: Gaming, Interactive

The best way to test and explore some new technologies is through games. This time we look at Google’s Project Tango and how it’s utilized in the context of gaming.

In short, Project Tango gives mobile devices a human-scale understanding of space and motion. Tango capable mobile devices contain customized hardware and software designed to track the full-range 3D motion of the device, while simultaneously creating a map of the environment. These special sensors process a wealth of data that updates position and orientation in real-time, creating a 3D model of the space around you.

There is plenty of ways this technology can be utilised. NASA for example is already testing it to map space stations in zero gravity conditions. But hey, how much more fun it is to use real-time sensory mapping to chase down and kill hoards of zombies?!

That’s exactly what you do with the Google Tango based game Zombie Gunship Reality. This new Android game from Limbic Software turns your Android device into a huge gunship. Moving around with the device you track down armies of zombies and basically shoot them to pieces from the air. If you check out the video above, it looks like loads of fun and you are getting a good exercise at the same time!

Google Tango is exploring new frontiers here and I am excited to see how they use the lessons they learn from gaming as they take this technology to the next level.

Kyle Glass

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