Typewriter Inspired Keyboard

Ugnh I need this. Qwerkytoys has made this typewriter inspired mechanical keyboard called the Qwerkywriter. It’s wireless and has its own macro return bar.

At the moment you can preorder it through their site, though the price is nothing to sneeze at, being $329. The Qwerkywriter will ship November 2015.

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StaffPad: Music Notation App

Okay not going to lie, this is pretty neato, especially for my DJ and music composer friends out there.

StaffPad is a brand new class of notation app, designed to take advantage of the advanced pen and touch input found on Microsoft Surface* and other compatible Windows 8.1 devices. As you write notation using the pen, StaffPad recognises your handwritten music and converts it into a beautifully typeset score which you can further edit, playback, print and share. StaffPad combines the best of working on paper with the best of working digitally, evolving the same process that’s been used for hundreds of years to write countless masterpieces. Natural pen input, detailed orchestral playback and powerful score editing features mean that StaffPad is perfect for professionals, and easy for beginners. For the first time, an entire orchestra is available at the tip of your pen. Getting StaffPad is easy – it’s available exclusively on the Windows Store.

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Japanese Designers Create Nameless Paints To Change The Way Kids Learn Colors

Ima Moteki, a design duo in Japan, has just created a set of Nameless Paints that aim to completely change the way children learn and think about color. Instead of using color names, each white tube of paint is labelled with an “equation” showing which CMYK colors, and in what proportions, were used to make the color inside.

The “Nameless Paint” designers, Yusuke Imai and Ayami Moteki, believe that color labels are problematic. “By not assigning names to the colors we want to expand the definition of what a color can be, and the various shades they can create by mixing them,” said Imai.

In addition to rejecting labels, the paints also teach color theory. The equations on the paint tubes help children understand some of the basic concepts behind color theory and how to mix and create new colors.

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Loopwheels by Sam Pearce

Pearce is an inventor and design consultant. He’s worked on non-invasive surgery equipment, early handheld PCs of the Palm Pilot era, 3-D folding mechanisms, and motorbikes. It’s always something new, and in 2007, it was baby strollers. Around that time Pearce was sitting in an airport in the Netherlands, waiting for his flight. He noticed a woman pushing a stroller. “As the woman got to a curb, she didn’t lift the front wheels and the baby was shot forward,” he says. “If the wheel hits the curb at the wrong angle it’s useless. So I just wondered, why can’t you put the suspension into the wheel?”

Baby strollers make for a great case study in how wheels interact with impact, which is to say, not very well at all. A stroller has shock absorbers underneath the seat, which helps reduce bounciness, but it doesn’t keep the wheels from bouncing backwards when they hit a curb head on. In a matter of about five seconds, Pearce had a new idea. He began envisioning a system that incorporated shock absorption directly into the wheels, making them capable of flexibly rolling over bumps instead of just rebounding. He drew a sketch, and then put it aside for two years. At the time, “it wasn’t relevant,” he says. “I couldn’t really see how I could make one, but I have lots of ideas, and this one kept coming back to me.”

After some 70 iterations, Pearce and the team of bow-makers hit on the right recipe. It’s proprietary, but Pearce describes it as a “carbon composite construction.” Loopwheels first debuted on bikes—mountain bikes are next—before a wheelchair manufacturer caught wind of the new wheels and started sourcing them from Pearce. “We say it’s triple-smooth,” Pearce says. The suspension in the wheels smooths out any traveling over bumps, and “gets rid of all the road buzz.” That’s crucial to wheelchair users, whose bodies are in full contact with the vehicle, meaning they often absorb road shock right along with the chair. Equally important to users? Cost. Pearce says he more or less arrived at an ideal design two years ago, but has since worked on refining manufacturing techniques, in part by adopting processes from the auto industry, to get the price down from $2,000 a wheel, to a few hundred dollars (depending on the model). “There’s only so much people will pay for new technology,” Pearce says. That’s true for wheelchairs, and it’s true for mountain bikes, which Pearce says is next in line for Loopwheels.

Their Kickstarter just recently succeeded to fund with over £20,000

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Triangle Notebook by Tan Mavitan

I’ve been posting a lot about 3D printing recently so I decided to share something a little more analogue today. This is the Triangle Notebook created by Tan Mavitan. It was being sold as a part of “Destination Istanbul” Exhibiton in MoMA Design Stores, but not sure if it still is. Pretty neat notebook and I hope to acquire one someday.

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KonneKt Now on Kickstarter!

 

Children playing 1

Earlier this year I did a blog post about KonneKt, an award winning toy for isolated children to play with other children using the window between their hospital rooms and the hallway, designed by Job Jansweijer. It’s been a few months but now it is on Kickstarter!

The game KonneKt transforms the window between the isolated child and the non-isolated child into a canvas
for play. The game consists of foam shapes that can be attached to the window between the room of the
isolated child and the hallway using suction cups and magnets. By combining the shapes in different ways,
children can play games such as tic tac toe, connect four, or build together to make a fantasy world with a
dragon and a castle, or a jungle. Because the game can be used in so many ways, it is interesting for both boys
and girls of different ages.

Children playing 4 (Credit photographer Frans van Beek)

 

The goal of the Kickstarter campaign is to give a KonneKt game to 100 hospitals. People who want to support
KonneKt can choose for a ‘Buy one+Give one’ option: they buy one game, and donate the same game to one of
the participating hospitals. They can also choose to buy one game, which they can either keep themselves, or
give to a hospital. The aim is to collect the needed €30,000 euro in 40 days. The pledged amount will only be
charged if the aim of the Kickstarter campaign is met.

Portrait Job Jansweijer 1 (Credit photographer  Hans Stakelbeek)

 

So go support a cool product and awesome designer on the Kickstarter!

2D Rubens’ Tube Visualizes Sound in a Plane of Fire

German physicist Heinrich Rubens became a god among nerds in 1905 when he invented a tube that uses fire to visualize standing sound waves. When there is no sound fed into the tube, the flames rise to the same height. When a sound is added into the tube, the waveform actually affects the amount of gas that is fed through each hole.

At the point of maximum displacement on the wave (the anti-node), the gas pressure varies. The pressure is highest when the wave crests and the gas is pushed closer to the hole, which forces more fuel out and causes the flame to grow higher. When the wave pushes down into the trough, it can’t really suck the gas back in. The flame has enough gas and oxygen to remain burning higher until the wave crests at that point again.

The part of the wave which crosses the midline and remains unchanged is referred to as the node. This area in the Rubens tube doesn’t have the pressure fluctuation and remains relatively low.

Of course, volume plays a big role on how these flames appear. The above description applies when the volume is high, but if the incoming sound is quiet, the crest of the wave isn’t enough to overpower the opposite pressure of the trough, and the anti-nodes actually appear smaller than the nodes.

Derek Muller from Veritasium traveled to Denmark in order to check out an updated version of the Rubens tube. These physicists and chemists have developed an apparatus with 2,500 holes in the top. The key difference is that these holes are not all in a line like a traditional Rubens tube, but actually cover an entire plane.

The results are pretty amazing. Check it out:

Read more at http://www.iflscience.com/physics/amazing-2d-rubens%E2%80%99-tube-visualizes-sound-plane-fire#9RzZpOl4iyy94qrr.99

Thermal Power: Use Your Body Heat to Power Wearable Tech

There’ll soon be no need to ever take off wearable technology as your body heat will be able to run a generator to keep it powered-up.

Thanks to a new invention by scientists in Korea heat that escapes the body can be converted into energy using the generator that can be curved along with the shape of the body.

The researchers developed the glass fabric-based thermoelectric generator to be light and flexible which could help to further commercialise wearable technology.

Byung Kin Cho, who led the team in creating the generator, said that with more development the technology could be used on a large-scale to stop heat energy not being used.

At present wearable technology, such as the activity tracking Fitbit Flex wrist band, is developed with long-lasting battery life – the Flex has a battery life which can last up to five days.

However the latest technology would remove the need to ever take wearable technology off, which can cause some users to stop using their gadgets.

It also comes with the benefit that using thermal energy to power and recharge wearables would not need to use any energy created by non-renewable forms.

The small generator was created and tested on small bracelet and it is said it can be able to provide power in a stable and reliable way.

Cho further described how the generator could be used, he said: “Our technology presents an easy and simple way of fabricating an extremely flexible, light, and high-performance TE generator.

We expect that this technology will find further applications in scale-up systems such as automobiles, factories, aircrafts, and vessels where we see abundant thermal energy being wasted.

So far only two types of thermal energy generators have been developed, these have been based on either organic or inorganic materials.

Until now the organic generators have been able to work with human skin but have not been able to generate enough power to be put to practical use.

While those made of inorganic materials have been able to generate enough power but have been too bulky to be able to be used with wearable technology.

Cho came up with the a concept and design technique to build a flexible TE generator that minimizes thermal energy loss but maximizes power output.

The new concept uses liquid like pastes of thermal electronic materials printed on to a glass fabric.

When using the generator, with a size of 10cm by 10cm, for a wearable wristband device, it will produce around 40 mW electric power based on the temperature difference of 31 °F between human skin and the surrounding air.

Images 2 and 3 courtesy of KAIST

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The Dash – Wireless Smart In Ear Headphones

World’s First Wireless Smart In Ear Headphones. 1000 Songs. Performance Tracking. Body Sensors. Secure Fit.

Music is a part of everyone’s life. It brings joy, excitement and motivation. However it is not always a pleasure listening to music with headphones. Cables tangle and pull at the headphones and ultimately break. In addition, accessing online content from a smartphone is awesome but needing to carry a smartphone all the time can be a real pain.

The Dash consists of a pair of discrete and completely wireless stereo earphones.They will playback music through a Bluetooth connection or use the embedded 4GB/1000 song music player. Everything about the design is focused on delivering freedom of movement, incredible sound and comfort. The Dash is awesome for sports and great for everything else.

The Dash works in sympathy with the wearer. Movements like pace, steps, cadence and distance are tracked. Heart rate, oxygen saturation and energy spent are measured, all the while real time acoustic feedback is provided. It even works without an attached smartphone.

Safety and the ability to communicate with others are important. In addition to being earphones, the Dash will double as a Bluetooth Headset delivering clear voice quality through the embedded ear bone microphone. The ear bone microphone is not sensitive to background noise, since it picks up mechanical vibration generated by your voice from the ear bone.

Even though The Dash provides impressive noise isolation, the wearer can choose to channel ambient sound into the headphone with the transparent audio feature. A swipe on the capacitive touch surface of The Dash will enable or disable ambient sound to pass through.

You can support their Kickstarter here!

KonneKt: A Social Game For Isolated Children In The Hospital

Opportunity

During their treatment, many child cancer patients are isolated for medical reasons. During this period, they often feel quite well, and are very willing to play and to make contact with peers, but because they are not allowed to leave their rooms, they have no way to do so. Direct contact and play with peers is crucial for normal social development, but in some cases, isolation can take up to 4 months, which roughly disrupts this normal social development.

The goal of this project was to support normal social development of isolated children by empowering them to connect with their peers in the hospital in a very direct (face to face) way.

Impact

Multiple iterations of KonneKt were tested at child hospitals to analyze the impact and effect of KonneKt. I could tell you that KonneKt works very well, but everybody says that about his/her project, so I prefer to show you. For that, I would like to refer to the added movie (at 1m14s). In the movie you see two girls engaging in social play in a situation where that would not be possible (or probable) without KonneKt. KonneKt transforms the glass from a barrier into a medium for interaction. During the tests, children between 2 years old and 15 years old played with KonneKt.

In the observations, I learned that individual play with KonneKt attracts other children to play, so when isolated children are building something on their window on their own, their play can easily transform into social play when children join on the other side of the glass. The ambiguous, modular and open character of KonneKt makes it interesting for different kinds of children. The two girls in the movie are using KonneKt for ‘adventurous’ play, and the boy on the background is tinkering!

Because the production costs of KonneKt are low, realization of KonneKt is very feasible.

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