Moleskine Smart Notebook For Evernote Digitizes Handwriting And Sketches

Italian sketchbook manufacturer moleskine has teamed up with application developer evernote to create pocket-sized notebooks capable of transforming text into digital files. Together with an app designed specifically for the iPhone and iPad, the program
transforms doodles and writing into a digitized version that becomes searchable and sharable. smart stickers tag specific pages, organizing them into categories for a fast and easy way to track and archive newly created files. The evernote page camera works
by detecting a specially designed dotted pattern on each page, which is optimized to work alongside the mobile software application.


SparkTruck: A “Bookmobile” That Brings Rapid Prototyping to School Kids

The truck has two 3D printers, a laser cutter, sewing machines, and a clay oven—and it is meant to foster a new generation of makers.

Somewhere between grade school and junior high, we stop making things. Popsicle sticks, Elmers glue and construction paper are abandoned, and learning becomes about ingesting as much information as possible and regurgitating it on the right lines of a test. We need to learn our long division, of course, but can we continue with creativity along the way?

SparkTruck is like a bookmobile for makers. Funded by Kickstarters and staffed by students from Stanford, it’s covering 13,000 miles over the next six weeks to bring creative crafting to kids around the US. And whereas most schools are fighting for funding for core materials like paper and pencils, SparkTruck is loaded to the brim with rapid prototyping equipment used by engineering and design houses.

The ‘high-tech’ tools we have in the truck are a laser cutter, two 3-D printers, a vinyl cutter, sewing machines and a clay oven. We also have a wide assortment of ‘low tech’ tools such as hammers, scissors, hot glue guns, tape, and various craft supplies,” explains coordinator Jason Chua. “We use these tools in tandem with one another–the high-tech tools like the laser cutter and vinyl cutter get people excited and allow them to create more durable final products and low-tech tools allow for more freedom of expression and hands on tinkering.

Rapid prototyping isn’t just a go-to of professionals; it’s the perfect complement to a child’s attention span. Theoretical designs can be fulfilled in near-instantaneous gratification. And if you think about it, the raw materials that go into 3-D printers and such devices are relatively inexpensive–they’re designed to be run for a very low cost–making them, again, a great fit for the tight budgets of the education system.

As for SparkTruck, they’re mostly focusing on that developmental pocket before high school, to excite kids before they stifle creativity underneath some of the most awkward, self-conscious years of their lives.

Our favorite age range to work with is 7-13 years old, because this is the range when opportunities to create and explore in school diminish, and pressure to conform and fit into standardized systems and tests increases,” writes Chua. “We want to make sure that fun, open-ended opportunities are made available to kids as they move through school and life because this is what helps kids get over their fear of failure and grow confidence in their abilities to be creative and work through tough problems.

In the wake of ACTs and AP classes, shop class developed a blue collar stigma. What a shame. As if the researchers at our top colleges are hiring Jiffy Lube part-timers to code their firmware, solder junctions, negotiate radio signals and tweak electromagnets.


USB Clip

USB Clip

The progressive technical development makes electronic storage devices smaller and cheaper. Especially USB sticks are often used instead of CD or DVD-ROMs for archiving or transferring data. But because of their small size there is the risk that these modern data storage media are not noticed by the addressee or even get lost. The USB clip, however, can be clipped on any paper like letter paper, a business card or a brochure. No way to overlook it. No additional constructions or fasteners that could disturb the data carrier‘s desired flatness necessary for the transport.


PenMoto – A Necessary Tool For Artists

PenMoto makes switching from drawing on your Wacom to typing on your keyboard totally seamless. Plus, it comes with a nice pen holder. A must-have for digital artists!

PenMoto gets your pen or stylus. It frees your hand to better hold your iPad, and improves the use of nearly any pen or stylus. PenMoto is a magnetic ring that quickly retrieves and stores a pen making it possible to transition from writing to typing with the simple flick of a finger. The self-sizing ring and coupler adapt to nearly any pen or stylus, and is ideal for a Wacom pen.

It features:
-Self-Sizing Rings (no need to measure your finger)
-Adaptive couplers for nearly any Pen or Stylus
-Simplified Pledges
-Stylish, Lighter, and more Comfortable
-Four alternatives for Manufacturing

View the video below from Kickstarter, where PenMoto was funded by 1005 backers:

More videos:



Why Great Ideas Get Rejected

Have you ever debuted an exciting new idea to the world only to receive a lukewarm or even highly critical response? Well, get used to it. Mounting evidence shows that we all possess an inherent bias against creativity. The good news is there’s something we can do about it.

On May 29, 1913 in Paris, Igor Stravinsky debuted perhaps his greatest work, The Rite of Spring ballet. Up until that point, most ballets were graceful and elegant, full of traditional music. Rite was different. Stravinsky had written intentionally inharmonic notes and arranged around pagan themes.

Within minutes of the show’s start, the audience began to boo the performers. Supporters rallied against the discontented audience members, and the show quickly degenerated into an all-out riot. Before the first intermission arrived, police had to intervene to calm the raging crowd. During the second half of the performance, riots broke out again. Surprised by the reaction, Stravinsky fled the theater before the show even ended.

Of course, history would vindicate Stravinsky. The Rite of Spring is now regarded as a milestone in the history of ballet and musical composition. Yet, even this legendary idea was initially rejected, which likely came as quite a shock to Stravinsky after he spent years crafting and refining the piece.

Similar rejections can leave us wondering what we did wrong or why others just couldn’t appreciate our creative idea. Fortunately, recent research in human psychology is finally shedding some light on how our brains accept (or reject) new ideas.

Creativity requires an element of novelty.

For a work to be truly creative, it has to depart from the status quo at some point. That departure makes many people uncomfortable. Despite our oft-stated desire for more creativity, we also hold a stronger desire for certainty and structure. When that certainty is challenged, a bias against creativity develops.

This bias was first discovered in two studies by researchers from Cornell, Penn and the University of North Carolina. The research team, led by Penn’s Jennifer Mueller, studied our perceptions about creative ideas when faced with uncertainty. In the first study, the team divided participants into two groups and created a small level of uncertainty in one group, telling them they would be eligible for additional payment based on a random lottery.

For a work to be truly creative, it has to depart from the status quo at some point. That departure makes many people uncomfortable.

The participants were then given a series of tests. The first test presented pairs of words on a computer to the participants and asked them to select their preferred pairing. The pairings shown always came from two groups: creative versus practical (novel, original, functional, useful) or good versus bad (sunshine, peace, ugly, vomit). In each round, participants would chose their preference between pairs like “novel vomit” or “useful peace.” The test, known as an “Implicit Associations Test” uses the speed of participants’ reaction time to measure the strength of their mental associations.

The second test was more overt; it measured participants’ explicit perceptions of creativity by asking them to rate their attitudes toward creativity and practicality on a seven-point scale (from strongly negative to strongly positive). When the researchers calculated the results from both groups, they found that the baseline group (the one given no chance at extra compensation) held both implicit and explicit associations between creativity and practicality. The uncertainty group, however, was different. This group held an explicitly positive association between the two, but implicitly their minds separated creative from practical. In other words, they had an implicit bias against creativity relative to usefulness.

Novelty provokes uncertainty.

If this bias is present in most people during periods of uncertainty, then it could well explain why society has a history of rejecting its greatest innovations. To test this thesis, the research team returned to the lab and this time studied a new group of participants’ ability to judge a creative product idea. The participants were again divided into two groups – this time into groups with a high tolerance or a low tolerance for uncertainty.

The high tolerance group was primed by being asked to write an essay supporting the idea that multiple solutions existed for every problem. The low tolerance group was primed by writing an essay arguing the opposite. Both groups were given the same implicit and explicit associations tests and then asked to rate a creative idea for a new product, a running shoe that automatically adjusted its fabric thickness to cool the foot in hot conditions. As anticipated by the first study, the low uncertainty tolerance group showed the same implicit bias against creativity and was more likely to rate the running shoe idea poorly.

Mueller’s results have powerful implications as we think about how to “sell” our own ideas. We now know that regardless of how open-minded people are, or claim to be, they experience a subtle bias against creative ideas when faced with uncertain situations. This isn’t merely a preference for the familiar or a desire to maintain the status quo. Most of us sincerely claim that we want the positive changes creativity provides. What the bias affects is our ability to recognize the creative ideas that we claim we desire. Thus, when you’re pitching your creative idea, it may not be the idea itself that is being rejected. The more likely culprit could be the uncertainty your audience is feeling, which in turn is overriding their ability to recognize the idea as truly novel and useful.

Regardless of how open-minded people are, they experience a subtle bias against creative ideas when faced with uncertain situations.

If the implicit bias against creativity is triggered by uncertainty, then crafting your pitch to maximize certainty should improve the odds of the idea being accepted. You can do this in a variety of ways. Reaffirming what the client or your manager knows is true about their project should prime them to be more accepting of novel ideas. Connecting the idea to more familiar ideas, such as previous successful projects or similar works, will also increase the odds that your idea will be seen as practical and desirable. Lastly, try leading clients toward your idea with a series of statements they agree with and then pitching your idea as if it’s theirs. Thus, counteracting the bias against creativity with an even more powerful bias – the bias for our own ideas!


What Happens If Google’s Glasses Are Evil?

We’ve seen Google’s Project Glass and Microsoft’s immersive mobile Xbox. We’ve even seen a new Apple patent arise showcasing a model for HUD glasses. With the big three involved, augmented reality is undoubtedly on its way. But how will it look? How will it feel? And where do we draw the line between the analog world and the digital one?

Sight is a short by Israeli student filmmakers Eran May-raz and Daniel Lazo that explores the potential of augmented reality. The short took the team 3.5 months of shooting, editing, and post production, and it’s full of ideas–some good, some bad, but almost all seemingly possible–that show where augmented reality could go if society continues its unbridled addiction with gamification, social networking, and Wikipedia.

This conceptual short is full of brilliant ideas as it is frightening ones. Where do we draw the line between real life and augmented life?


We were inspired by many current day apps and several sci-fi movies. But most of the ideas came from us trying to visualize a world where this tech is standard and what kind of interactions can happen in it. We tried to create interfaces that were believable. I’m very much into fancy complex interfaces, but not to the point where it hinders the viewer’s understanding of the shot. So we tried to carefully tread that fine line of making it look real and pretty, and at the same time communicate with the viewer effectively.

Lazo is right. The visuals are incredibly easy to grasp, with a cooking app that looks straight out of iOS and dating achievements that seem at home on any gaming console. The short’s UIs are a perfect half-step removed from current day technologies, making them great fodder for sci-fi.

But it’s the human elements that they nail–the dual appeal and superficiality of these AR apps–when chopping a cucumber or having a conversation has to become a quantifiable game or skill. A particular moment of brilliance occurs about three minutes in during the date scene. I’m not talking about the UI here. Listen to the cadence of the actors’ dialog. It’s the antithesis of Sorkin rapidfire repartee, as every response prompts a “let me look this up on my phone” information check.

If augmented reality succeeds, we’ll know pretty much anything we want about anything we look at. We’ll be able to remember names through facial recognition, learn skills through integrated coaching, and watch YouTube on 100-inch TVs mounted anywhere imaginable. But whether or not these experiences allow us to appreciate the world as perpetual students or tempt us to trivialize the world as persistent gamers (complete with ads!) is one of the greatest design challenges of the foreseeable future. The fact that we’ve seen so many videos of what this technology might feel like, and that none of them seem all that useful suggests that we still haven’t found the use-case that’ll spur AR’s adoption.


A Machine That Prints Food Smells On Postcards

China-based Zhu Jingxuan, a student from Donghua University’s Fashion & Art Design Institute, has created a concept device that captures pictures and aromas of food and prints them on postcards. The ‘food printer’ is a combination of a camera, a smell extractor and a printer: the camera takes the picture of the food; while the smell extractor collects the aroma of it simultaneously; and the printer prints a postcard with aroma ink.

Zhu’s idea behind her food printer is so that people can capture the fragrances of food when dining overseas, and send it to friends back home—so that they can experience the cuisine visually and aromatically. The system would work using an aroma sensor, which would analyze the smell of the food and simulate it by mixing different aroma inks stored in the machine. When the right formula is achieved, the smell would be printed onto part of the postcard.

I spent several months designing it. What I completed was just an idea and draft sketch. Without the help of Sony’s designers, I could not have made the model.

The food printer was created as part of Sony’s Student Design Workshop. Talk about synesthesia!


The Experience Imperative: A Manifesto for Industrial Designers, by Ken Fry

This was originally posted by core77 in 2009, and by my school’s IDSA chapter but I feel that it is a good article that pertains to Industrial Design.

At its core, industrial design has been about creating objects of desire. For nearly a century we’ve reinforced this understanding by celebrating the superficial beauty of the industrial designed artifact and forgetting the human context in which that artifact lives. Too often designers ignore how people interact with products over time, the cultural relevance of the artifacts they create, and the social and environmental consequences of their design decisions. We’ve allowed this malady to infect our schools and seduce our customers. The problem is pervasive. We need to do more than attach new words to our definition of industrial design. We need to redefine what industrial design means.

We need to do more than attach new words to our definition of industrial design. We need to redefine what industrial design means.

The impetus for change is not new. Industrial designers had the opportunity to examine their role the first time an empty shampoo bottle was thrown into the trash destined for the landfill. Or the first time an arthritic hand was unable to open a refrigerator door. Or the first time a camera failed to capture a fleeting emotion on film. While the physical object is essential in each of these situations, it is the larger experience with these products that is most meaningful to the people who use them.

The good news is that many industrial designers already embrace the ideas described here. Even though the situation demands a change to the discipline, the industrial designer is well-suited to serve the demands of this new age. The time has come for industrial designers to redefine their profession. Here are ten ways to make that happen.

1. Design beautiful experiences, not beautiful artifacts
History is littered with beautiful objects that are culturally offensive, socially anemic, environmentally irresponsible, useless, or unusable. Consider all of the contexts of the artifact that you create: How is the product used over time? Where does it live? Who uses it? How does it fulfill the practical needs of the person using it? And consider all of the meanings behind the artifact: What are the emotional, cultural, social, and environmental impacts of the product? The physical artifact will be trivial without considering these larger contexts and meanings; indeed, they are what define the experience. Think beyond the object and consider all of these contexts of use. Apply a design process that helps you learn about these contexts and experiences. Work toward an experience-oriented solution instead of an object-based result.

2. Stop asking “what” and start asking “why”
Designers are often asked to design an object that adheres to the strict guidelines of a brief. If the industrial designer only considers “what” they are asked to design, they enter into a design problem blindly, and the result will be an artifact that has been stripped of everything that is meaningful to people. The next time you receive a brief that tells you what to build, ask “why”: Why would someone be motivated to use this product? Why is it necessary to build a product for this particular market landscape? Why embrace a particular technology? The answers you get will open up new possibilities that go beyond the physical product and into the realm of experience. Asking “why” will take you to the edges of the product where experiences live.

3. Start with experience, end with experience
Understand and empathize with a person’s real experience before a single sketch is put to paper. Try to understand people who don’t rely on technology today. How might that inform a new design solution? First, go into the homes and workplaces of the customers you are designing for. Observe and understand what motivates them. Document what they say and what they do. Next, describe the experience using words. Develop a written narrative that represents the experience you observed. Focus on functionality and behavior. Finally, create an experience that would delight the people you met. Prototype several solutions, watch how people experience your designs, understand their point of view, and develop a new design solution that enables a meaningful experience.

4. Genius will fail, wisdom will succeed. Become wise
In his book The Logic of Failure, Dietrich Dorner suggests “Geniuses are geniuses by birth, whereas the wise gain their wisdom through experience. The ability to deal with problems in the most appropriate way is the hallmark of wisdom rather than genius.” It simply isn’t possible to derive a good design solution without understanding the experiences of the people you are designing for. Great design is the product of wisdom, not genius. Become immersed in the experiences of your users. Do what they do. Live where they live. Become sensitive to their needs and pain points. Become wise.

The challenge is not to design an object, but to design an object that changes dynamically and adapts over time. This requires a new approach to design.

5. Keep it simple
It’s hard to design a simple artifact or experience that is rich and meaningful for the person using it. Start by teasing out the complexities of a product’s value and context by understanding where it lives and how it’s used. Then, simplify the design by reducing the clutter, cutting unnecessary features, and removing steps in a task. Work together with the members of your team, informing yourselves through research, thoughtfulness, and discipline. Put the words of John Maeda into practice: “Knowledge makes everything simpler.”

6. From design thinking to dynamic thinking
Physical products aren’t frozen in time. The design process doesn’t end at the moment a solution leaves the designer’s hands or when the product leaves the factory floor. Products are living artifacts that change and adapt as they are used. The moment a product is purchased by a customer, it takes on new characteristics. This can happen in overt ways (“I’ve written my name on my new water bottle”), passive ways (“my water bottle is dented from the dozens of times I’ve dropped it on the floor”), and profound ways (“my behavior has changed now that I have a water bottle to drink from throughout the day”). The challenge is not to design an object, but to design an object that changes dynamically and adapts over time. This requires a new approach to design. Sketch the design in use, over time, with storyboards. Sketch the behavior of the product. Sketch the way the product responds to the context of the user and the environment. Design how it engages and communicates.

7. Let iteration direct your process: Work more rapidly, change more frequently
Don’t expect to get the design right the first time you put pencil to paper. If good product design requires multiple iterations, then good experience design requires even more iterations. Why? Because experience design is complex. The things we design exist in a system of user motivations and behaviors, and within contextual constraints and opportunities. Work more rapidly and change more frequently to solve for this complexity. Rough out the design quickly as a sketch and put it in front of people. Then refine it. Put it in front of people again, and refine it again. Don’t be afraid to shift your design goals as you progress.

8. Have fun
Great products are fun to experience, so make them fun to design. Not only do our design solutions need to incorporate moments of delight, engagement, play, and reward, but so do our design behaviors and practices. Remove the burden of adhering to tired processes, and think creatively about how you can make the process of creation fun. Turn your design activities into games and get your whole team involved.

9. Adapt your process to your design goals, not the other way around.
Industrial design processes have evolved and matured over the last hundred years. The industrial designer who is only focused on the physical object will rely on these tried and true methods. But today people demand more from products. We need to turn the process on its head and become more flexible: adapt the process to the design problem, and stop compromising the user experience by adhering to old practices.

10. Preserve the experience, not your own competency
Our tendency is to preserve our own competence when faced with a design problem that is unfamiliar or ambiguous. We need to resist that urge, and seek out new competence. Discover the meaning behind the experiences you create by consulting with people who aren’t like you. Talk to the ethnographer who is expert at observing people in their real environment. Work with the interaction designer who can envision product and people behaviors over time. And once you have freed yourself of the chains of competency, consider changing your title.

Call yourself an experience designer.