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Indigogo is the platform for this sort of innovation, since big technology brands are still more interested in selling outdated technology.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 Arts, Interactive, Web Design

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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Aquatilis Expedition and the amazing world of gelata

Category: Design, Environmental, Web Design

Crowd-funding has quickly become a popular and effective way of raising money for start-ups, new inventions and independent projects. The competition to capture attention and secure financial backing from the public is fierce. Those seeking support need to be inventive when it comes to running campaigns, and providing incentives and rewards to those who contribute their dollars. Aquatilis Expedition’s website is an outstanding example—it is a beautiful piece of design, showcases stunning photographs of the sea-life the expedition aims to study, explains the mission in an engaging and approachable way and ends with a call to action. It’s essentially a one-page website, but utilizes outstanding UI design with three different ways of navigating the site: via the drop-down menu icon, by scrolling, or the simple, slick navigation bar at the bottom of the page. The creative direction and branding is by the multi-talented Tobias van Schneider and you can see more details on the project here.

Aquatilis Expedition, seeking funding via Indiegogo, is a three-year project which involves an interdisciplinary team of scientists, photographers and videographers, complete with a rescue squad. These adventurers are taking sail to explore and study the world of gelata—groups of soft-bodied organisms (such as jellyfish and zooplankton) that we know very little about. I have always thought that jellyfish were pretty interesting, but the photographs of organisms such as sea angels and sea butterflies (who knew they existed?!) are astoundingly beautiful—no exaggeration! Go see for yourself, and learn a thing or two about this amazing world we live in! And follow the expedition on their gorgeous blog, they promise regular updates with more stunning photography and video footage. An amazing, multi-media scientific expedition like no other!

Anna Tokareva

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I remember—a galaxy of memories

Category: Interactive, Web Design

What a brilliant and beautiful idea! I Remember is a website created to engage the public and raise awareness and funds on behalf of the Foundation Recherche Medical in France. A mesmerizing galaxy of glowing orbs spreads before us, with a gentle, tinkling soundtrack contributing to the captivating experience of this magical digital space. Clicking on various parts of the landscape to navigate our way around, a few double-clicks zoom in on a selected area, until individual orbs can be clearly distinguished. Each one represents an image and a memory that somebody, somewhere, has uploaded to the side. I have read through a dozen or so and it is terribly addictive. The memories and photographs that random strangers have decided to share range from the silly, to the mysterious, to the devastating and the sweet. The overall experience is immersive and intimate, but also somewhat overwhelming—there must be thousands upon thousands of memories here!

The online social network represents the effects of Alzheimer’s disease—the content gradually fades away if memories are not constantly fed into the community. This adds an extra gentle push to share your own memory, which you can do very easily by uploading an image from your desk top or directly from Facebook or Instagram. Do have a look at the actual website, the screen grabs can only convey so much.

The project was created by a collaboration between agencies 60fps, Werkstatt and CLMBBDO, with the incredibly complex looking front and back-end development done by talented Edan Kwan.

Anna Tokareva

 

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Sneakerboy Changes The Way We Do It

Category: Design, Fashion Design, Interior Design

The retail world has changed dramatically over the last few years with escalating online retail stores and those that were anchored to the street quickly jumping on the shop-online bandwagon. Melbourne’s Sneakerboy, however approaches it all from a different perspective altogether.

Firstly, the store. Designed by local firm March Studio, the retail space takes it’s lead from the Underground station. Beginning with a large circular entrance, the visitor is then greeted by a multitude of illuminated glass shelves displaying each shoe style in an exciting shoe gallery. It’s a long and dramatic runway that leads you to the viewing chamber with it’s custom made, spun steel chairs, the sort of place you’d have found in any futurist’s wet dream. From here the change begins. Rather than your typical look, try, buy and walk away style space, Sneakerboy operates more in the digital realm than the physical. Customers first need to register online for a special ID. Once inside you’ll notice not a single till as no product ever leaves the store. Rather visitors try and then purchase all online by iPhone or the in-house iPads located in the viewing chamber. The glass display shelves feature a scrolling LED ticker that credits each shoe designer, and once scanned by the Sneakerboy app, displays the prizing, sizing options and availability. Sneakerboy carries a full size range of each style, and because none ever leave the store, your correct size is always handy for a try on. Once purchased the customers shoe is then shipped directly to them from the companies warehouse in Hong Kong.

So what benefit is all of this? Well, apart from architecturally enhancing the already fabulous Melbourne, this idea allows Sneakerboy to essentially carry more stock, more styles and more options. Space usually taken up in the storeroom with mulitples of every size, can now be used for more product styles by more designers. It’s the best of online shopping options with the security of having a correct fit brought together. And done so in a incredibly good looking way.

Sneakerboy also have an online shop of course, so if you’re not in Melbourne but want to be part of it, the head here to see some of the hottest sneakers this world has to offer.

Logan Bradley

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