Walyou » Concepts and Designs http://walyou.com Cool Gadgets, New Gadgets, Tech News and Geek Design Mon, 03 Aug 2015 21:07:50 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.2.3 SipSup Social Drinking Glass Saves the Party’s Best Moments http://walyou.com/sipsup-social-drinking-glass/ http://walyou.com/sipsup-social-drinking-glass/#comments Tue, 30 Jun 2015 20:21:57 +0000 http://walyou.com/?p=216887

With the launch of the world’s first social drinking glass, connected glassware is about to become a thing. SipSup won’t share any details about the beverage you’re enjoying, but it will save photos from the attendees’ smartphones.

Mind you, SipSup doesn’t only store the photos, but it also facilitates sharing them to other smartphones. On top of that, the social drinking glass (as its Slovenian developers like to call it) doubles as a photo album, so you can watch the party’s best moments even if your friends are long gone.

The social drinking glass may have been designed by the eponymous startup, but it’s Slovenian glassworks company Steklarna Hrastnik who is manufacturing it. The quality is attested by a Vitrux certificate that guarantees that SipSup is dishwasher safe up to 3,000 times.

I only wish the glass came in different sizes. I’m sure that’s possible, but probably the developers wanted to see first how beer and juice lovers feel about SipSup. I definitely wouldn’t recommend drinking wine or spirits in such a high-capacity glass. After all, this social glass is only dishwasher safe, not shatterproof, something that people might want to test after ingesting such alcoholic drinks.

Click to view slideshow.

Since it is a connected device we’re talking about, it has to come with a companion app. According to the developers, the app will be available for both Android and iOS devices (it looks like Windows Phone users are not getting any love, but given the market share of that mobile OS, it’s quite understandable). As for how the glasses connected to smartphones, NFC and visual IDs were used.

SipSup is currently the subject of a crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter, where its developers are looking to raise $30,000, so that the connected drinking glass makes the jump from a concept to mass production. At the time of writing, backers had pledged $2,104, but there were 31 more days to go, and with some proper support, SipSup could become a reality. The awards range from virtual cheers to SipSup glasses (which cost $22 or $40 for early birds, and $25 or $50 for regular backers, depending on whether you want one or two glasses), to ten customized glasses and a trip to Slovenia to meet the team behind all of this. For that you’d have to spend $4K and get your plane tickets.

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Tempescope Replicates Tomorrow’s Weather in a Box http://walyou.com/tempescope-weather-simulator/ http://walyou.com/tempescope-weather-simulator/#comments Tue, 02 Jun 2015 12:30:10 +0000 http://walyou.com/?p=216613

Some people are just too lazy to get out of bed and look out the window to see what the weather is like. The Tempescope is a little gadget build specifically for those people.

There was a joke running a few years ago (at least where I live) about one kid telling another that it’s raining outside, and the latter asked for a link, to see for himself. Jokes aside, that might be exactly where we’re heading, since it’s getting more and more difficult to detach our eyes from the computer screen. Japanese designer Ken Kawamoto has developed a unique way of displaying the forecast, using a connected device that acts as a micro-environment.

Tempescope, as this innovative gadget is called, has a limited amount of weather conditions it can replicate, but that doesn’t make it any less impressive. Kawamoto employed LEDs, water, and ultrasonics to simulate sunshine and lightning, rain, fog, and clouds. There won’t be any snow or blizzards, but these could be some great additions for the next version of Tempescope.

DIY enthusiasts will find here a tutorial on how to create an open source version of the gadgets. On the other hand, if you are looking for the commercial version of the Tempescope, you will have to wait just a bit longer, as the developers will launch a crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter later this year.

The following video demonstrates how the weather simulator works and the specific weather conditions it can replicate. Tempescope might as well be considered a mood lamp, since it has all the necessary elements to qualify as one. The only requirement is an Internet connection, as the device needs this to gather information about tomorrow’s weather. It would be great if in the absence of an Internet connection, Tempescope displayed all of the possible weather conditions in a cycle, for a predetermined amount of time.

One of the best things about the Tempescope is that it’s not obtrusive. The small dimensions make it look great both on a desk and on a nightstand. If people decided to display this at the office, it would undoubtedly become at least a conversation starter, if not even an attention grabber that does away with any productivity people may have left.

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Keep Warm During Winter with a Nerdalize eRadiator http://walyou.com/nerdalize-eradiator-data-furnace/ http://walyou.com/nerdalize-eradiator-data-furnace/#comments Fri, 29 May 2015 14:35:56 +0000 http://walyou.com/?p=216577

We keep hearing that winter is coming, so we might as well prepare for it. Dutch startup Nerdalize suggests to replace radiators with heat-producing data servers.

The Nerdalize eRadiator, as the Dutch company named its brainchild, is what others call a data furnace. In other words, behind the radiator looks there is a small server that generates up to 1000 watts of heating.

Tech giants know that maintaining a data center can often be a nightmare, due to all the heat that needs to be dissipated, so that the servers run properly. Nerdalize has figured that all that excess heat could be put to good use, and looked to a target audience that needs it: common householders.

There are two per-requisites to getting an eRadiator (well, three, if you also take money into consideration). Householders need to have a fiber-optic connection, as well as an external wall. Since this is basically a data server, it’s pretty obvious what the fiber-optic connection might be needed for. As for the external wall, it is required for dissipating the heat when it is not needed inside the house. That’s right, people are giving the option to turn off the eRadiator, case in which the server keeps going. Come to think of it, if people couldn’t turn it off, it would be impossible to stay indoors during the summer.

This is not the first time a company is considering using the heat generated by data servers to warm up something. The concept has also been studied by Microsoft Research, who also published a research paper about it, back in 2011. Three years earlier, in 2008, IBM used the waste heat generated by a data center in Zurich to heat a swimming pool in a nearby town. Nerdalize just proves that this could also be done at a smaller scale.

For the time being, only Dutch people can have a Nerdalize eRadiator set up inside their homes, and the whole operation costs between €400 and €500 ($440 to $550). It takes less than a year for the investment to return, which is pretty spectacular. Hopefully, the Nerdalize data furnace will find its way to other European countries, as most people with a fiber-optic connection wouldn’t mind hosting a data server in exchange for heat.

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Stained Glass Window Turns Solar Power Into Electricity http://walyou.com/stained-glass-window-solar-power/ http://walyou.com/stained-glass-window-solar-power/#comments Fri, 22 May 2015 12:30:39 +0000 http://walyou.com/?p=216511

Surfaces that collect solar energy and turn it into electricity don’t have to be aesthetically appalling. This stained glass window is able to achieve that while also looking great.

Marjan van Aubel, a London-based Dutch designer, has found a way of harvesting solar power by integrating photovoltaic cells into stained glass windows. Fully transparent solar cells will also become a reality soon enough, but for people who are also interested in the design, and not only in the functionality of solar panels, these windows might actually represent the better option.

People whose eyes are sensitive to sunlight might actually prefer stained glass windows, as unlike the fully transparent ones, they don’t allow all of the light to pass. Besides that, the projections you get to see in the room when light passes through are simply fabulous.

The Swiss-made Solaronix dye-sensitized solar cells are made of layers of semiconductor crystals, titanium dioxide, and dye that are applied on glass in order to achieve this magnificent effect. Upon absorbing sunlight, the solar cells start exciting electrons, action that leads to the production of electricity. Storing the resulted energy isn’t a problem, as the current is transmitted to a battery located at the bottom of the ledge. Using the battery, users can charge smartphones or even provide power to USB lamps. That might not sound like much, but wouldn’t you rather rely on solar power to charge your gadgets, rather than increase the electricity bill with that? I know I would!

“I imagine these in a church,” said van Aubel. “They would be so amazing there, but you could also have them in offices, or as facades in libraries or museums. They’re good for when you don’t want to have 100% glass, because they block some of the light. The metal parts of a window normally heat up, but these generate electricity.”

Van Aulden is not at her first attempt at creating a uniquely-designed solar panel. The Current Table, as the solar table she developed is called, uses the same principle and the same solar cells as the stained glass window.

Along with her business partner Thor Schuitemaker, van Aubel set up a company named Caventou that sells solar-incorporating products such as the ones described above. Hopefully, the commercial versions won’t be very expensive, even though that’s to be expected, given the innovative nature of these products.

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Samsung’s Project Beyond 360-Degree 3D Camera http://walyou.com/samsung-project-beyond-360-degree-3d-camera/ http://walyou.com/samsung-project-beyond-360-degree-3d-camera/#comments Tue, 25 Nov 2014 17:00:45 +0000 http://walyou.com/?p=199337

The Korean tech giant is not spending all of its R&D time and money on smartphones and tablets, even though the other devices might end up being used in tandem with these.

Project Beyond is the world’s first 3D 360-degree camera, and this sentence alone should give you a bit to think about how far companies have gone to take photography, video capture and recording to levels that were basically inconceivable before. Project Beyond was not built for any time of video capture, but as some sort of accessory for another of Samsung’s projects, the Gear VR headset. More precisely, Project Beyond is meant to capture 3D footage in 360 degrees, in order to create 360-degree environments for the VR headset.

This couldn’t have been achieved so easily using a dome camera, so Samsung proceeded to incorporating 16 + 1 full HD cameras in Project Beyond. Just take a few seconds to wrap your mind around this crazy concept.

Project Beyond could have a lot of applications. First of all, game developers would be able to create more realistic environments. Secondly, I can see how this device could make its way into the arms of 3D mapping software developers. That’s another industry that has yet to show its full potential. If you can think of other ways Project Beyond could prove useful, write them down below, in the comments section.

Watch the following video to get an idea about how Project Beyond looks and works in real life. Also included is a bit of footage recorded using this 3D camera, but watching it on a monitor is nothing like wearing the VR headset and walking through the 360-degree environment.

For the time being, it is unknown whether Samsung showcased this as a proof of concept, or if the company really means to launch it alongside the Gear VR headset. As no exact launch date is known, there’s obviously no way to tell how much this device would cost. Still, you have to admit that Samsung has come up with something very original in the world of virtual reality equipment, as neither Oculus VR (who is actually helping Samsung to develop its virtual reality headset), nor Sony (who has its own Project Morpheus) have thought of developing such a straight-forward solution for creating realistic 360-degree environments.

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Dynamic Chair Replaces the Mouse with Your Body http://walyou.com/dynamic-chair-replaces-the-mouse-with-your-body/ http://walyou.com/dynamic-chair-replaces-the-mouse-with-your-body/#comments Thu, 16 Oct 2014 20:35:17 +0000 http://walyou.com/?p=180135

Now that there are all sorts of mindblowing computers out there, maybe it’s time to bring office furniture into discussion. More precisely, the chair you sit in while using the computer.

What if, through some wicked engineering, the chair would enable your body to be used as a mouse? Starting from idea that sitting still in a chair all day long (or at least 8 hours) is bad for your health, Govert Flint, a recent graduate of Design Academy Eindhoven in the Netherlands created the Dynamic Chair, a seat that motivates you to keep moving all the time. Either that, or the pointer on the screen won’t move at all.

Flint, who enjoys dancing quite a lot, thought of ways to integrate fluid movement patterns into the design of this bionic chair: “It started with my questions about why I like to dance so much, and how it was possible I couldn’t enjoy my work as an architect in an office environment.”

The designer is well aware of the health problems caused by conventional chairs: “Standing desks damage cartilage similarly to sitting. While we sit, we don’t massage our cartilage. Even in our sleep, our body needs to move the joints and therefore has frequent motions.”

At the moment, the bionic chair is but a prototype, but I really hope that Flint will get the necessary support for turning this into a mass-produced item, regardless of how expensive it will get. This product achieves something that not many chairs are capable of: making the user happy, not just fit.

Of course, Flint also knows that there are still a lot of improvements that could be made: “It gets quite close to a comfortable sensation, but will need serious development before someone can work in it for a full day. But many people say that it feels much better than how it looks.”

Don’t expect to use such a chair for gaming, though! The pointer’s movement isn’t that fluid, for the time being, not to mention that a simple RTS or MMORPG game could exhaust the player in just a few minutes.

“At the moment it feels like playing a game to click on an item,” pointed out Flint. “The aim is to make a computer interface that allows people to work with typing, graphics, editing software, browsing and music making for daily use, without having the feeling it goes against their intuition.”

This exercise in design has a simple, but beautiful goal: “My quest is to find an integration of movement, function, and emotions.”

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New Smartwatch Projects Skin Buttons Instead of Using Physical Ones http://walyou.com/smartwatch-skin-buttons/ http://walyou.com/smartwatch-skin-buttons/#comments Tue, 14 Oct 2014 20:38:04 +0000 http://walyou.com/?p=180097

For some people, letting go of hardware buttons in smartphones and wearables is pretty difficult. The one’s who don’t think touchscreens are that appealing should give laser skin buttons a try.

The problem with wearables is that they really don’t have enough room for physical buttons. Apple claims to have found a solution to displaying images and other things on tiny displays, in the form of the digital crown that enables zooming in and out. Still, maybe people are looking for more functionality in a smartwatch, not just to zoom and scroll. For example, since these wearables are designed to display notifications, among many other things, maybe it would be useful if one button was used for cutting some text, and another one for pasting it somewhere else. Getting one button for each function is not exactly desirable in this day and age, and creating shortcuts by pushing multiple buttons at once would actually defeat the purpose of a variable. What if there was a way to project buttons on the skin, and this way assign their functions depending on the app that’s currently running? That’s pretty much what Carnegie Mellon’s Future Interfaces Group did with the ‘skin buttons‘.

The skin buttons, which are quite thoroughly documented in the accompanying research paper, are currently but a proof of concept. Four micro lasers are used for projecting icon shapes on the skin. It’s possible to display any button with any functionality, supposing that everything is linked to the smartwatch’s software.

If there had been only the four lasers, it wouldn’t have been possible for you to trigger any actions when touching a skin button. However, there also are infrared sensors that can detect when you’re tapping on the skin. The concept used here is very similar to the one that made projected keyboards functional.

There’s plenty of room for improvement, and the researchers who developed skin buttons are well aware of that. The buttons could be assigned various colors, in order to help users differentiate them. On top of that, there’s work to do on the software side of things. I think that skin buttons could become particularly useful for games on smartwatches and other wearables. Now I wonder if any of the tech giants will pick up this idea and implement it in the Android Wear smartwatches.

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Robot Fish Replace Detergent in This Sci-Fi Washing Machine Concept http://walyou.com/robot-fish-pecera-electrolux-design-lab-washing-machine/ http://walyou.com/robot-fish-pecera-electrolux-design-lab-washing-machine/#comments Tue, 26 Aug 2014 20:55:11 +0000 http://walyou.com/?p=178895

Washing machines didn’t exactly go through any major design changes in the past couple of decades. The one imagined by industrial designer Chan Yeop Jeong for the Electrolux Design Lab does not only redefine the shape of washing machines, but also the way they function.

Basically, Jeong concluded that the detergent that’s used by millions of people is harmful for the environment, and proceeded to designing a washer that cleans clothes using robot fish instead of this dangerous compound. The idea itself is beautiful, as real fish would also be hurt by detergent.

Pecera, as this design concept is called, makes use of robotic fish that eat the dead cell skins in a similar way to the doctor fish used as part of spa treatments in the Netherlands (and most probably in other parts of the world, as well). On top of that, the robot fish that populate Pecera consume the dirt found in clothes as if it were a delicacy. As a matter of fact, the collection of robotic fish even has a name, Dofi.

The Dofi rely on hydroelectric power to circulate through the garments, and are able to detect dirt by using a minuscule camera that’s incorporated in each fish. If you thought that the awesomeness of this design concept stops here, you couldn’t have been wronger. Each Dofi uses an alkaline liquid jelly to take the dirt apart and then absorbs it. Needless to say, this is an eco-friendly way of washing clothes that prevents oxidation and discoloration, two things that occur quite frequently when using conventional detergent.

Pecera would also work wonders for people with sensitive skin, who are affected by chemical detergents. Replacing these with the Dofi isn’t the only measure that proves the industrial designer’s love for the environment. This washing machine design concept does not use multiple washing cycles, in order to save water and energy.

Since this is an exercise in design, I should talk a bit about Pecera’s innovative shape. Given the unusual forms, people would be able to place this sci-fi washing machine anywhere in their homes, as washing clothes in such a thing has the potential of being more entertaining than television. It would really be a show, were this product a reality!

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Apple Wireless Wristband Concept to Store Health Data in Hospitals http://walyou.com/apple-wireless-hospital-wristband/ http://walyou.com/apple-wireless-hospital-wristband/#comments Tue, 05 Aug 2014 20:36:03 +0000 http://walyou.com/?p=177819

The Cupertino company has had a great taste for inventions, judging by the great number of patents that were granted by the US Patent and Trademark Office on Tuesday. One of them is a wireless hospital wristband that employs microwave frequencies to transmit health data from patients to the smartphone of their doctor.

Even though Apple seemed to have been holding back from all the wearable tech thing, it’s amassing patents over patents, either for itself, or to make sure that others can be sued in case they get the same idea. One of the 58 patents that were granted today to Apple refers to a wireless communication wristband that could change the way doctors interact with the health data pertaining to their patients.

The disposable wireless wristband envisioned by Apple would be able to store such data as “medical records, administered medications or procedures [like CT scans] that had been performed on a patient earlier during hospitalization.” More precisely, it packs an “autonomous battery-free microwave frequency communication device” that could easily be embedded in wristbands, flyers and cards.

A smartphone running an app developed specifically for this purpose (why lie ourselves, it’s going to be an iPhone and an iOS app) will gather data from the communication device and present it in an easily interpretable form. The iPhone will be able to read the stored data and write any modifications that need to be made concerning the patient’s medication, hospitalization time, so on and so forth. I assume that access would be granted to the wireless hospital wristband after pairing it to the iPhone and entering a PIN or something of the sort.

The communication device has a lot of potential, considering the Health app that Apple showcased at its Worldwide Developers Conference in June, and the iTime smartwatch, which the world assumes that will be launched this fall. Fitness and medical issues aside, Apple thinks that this communication device could lead to much thinner wallets, as a single card could act as an ID, loyalty card and credit card, all in one place. I’m not a big fan of Apple products, but that’s something I’d definitely like to see.

It is currently unknown if and when Apple plans to launch any products based on the recently granted patents.

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Olaf Diegel’s 3D-Printed Alto Sax Shows Musical Instruments in a New Light http://walyou.com/olaf-diegel-3d-printed-alto-saxophone/ http://walyou.com/olaf-diegel-3d-printed-alto-saxophone/#comments Mon, 04 Aug 2014 13:30:25 +0000 http://walyou.com/?p=179097

Known for his 3D printed guitars, Olaf Diegel now turned his attention to saxophones and created a prototype of a 3D printed alto sax he had been challenged to make by the head of 3D Systems, Avi Reichental, while attending Euromold 2013 in Frankfurt, Germany.

Saxophons are considerably more complex than guitars, so it’s no wonder that it took Diegel so long to 3D print one.

In an interview with GizMag, Olaf Diegel said that “This first one was printed from my own analysis of a sax, but based on measurements, and the mechanisms/linkages from a traditional sax. It really surprised me as to how mechanically complex a sax was and it did make me wonder as to whether the mechanisms could be simplified.”

When talking about the complexity of a saxophone, he mentioned that “On a conventional sax most of the springs are just bits of spring wire that are hammered into the metal upstands of the sax, and then bent into shape to provide the right amount of tension to each key. But, when I try the same thing on a plastic upstand, there is not quite enough grip, so the springs rotate themselves into a position that doesn’t give the right spring tension for the key. That’s why I want to integrate the spring directly into the key. So in this case I am doing it because I think it will work better than a hybrid traditional sax design. But the down-side is that it will take me several iterations of key design to figure out a ‘formula’ that allows me to get the right amount of tension (it’s quite complex as some keys need more tension than others depending on whether they trigger more than one pad at a time).”

The 3D printed alto saxophone makes a great addition to the 3D printed band that Diegel is working on.

Weighing only 575 g (20 oz), Diegel’s 3D printed sax is about 1/4 as heavy as a normal alto saxophone. Supposing that 3D printed musical instruments will become mainstream at some point, musicians will be able to perform longer on stage, due to the reduced burden. Or at least that’s how things should be.

Diegel concluded that “The aesthetic redesign shouldn’t take too long, but I am guessing the redesign of the keys will take me a few months of iterations to figure out the magic formula that makes it all work,” he said. “So my guess for the final version is early next year. Not sure yet whether the sax will be available for purchase. Once I’ve got the final design done, it will be a matter of seeing whether it’s commercially viable. I am very much hoping it will be, and that’s one of the reasons why I am working on changing the design to keep the assembly and tweaking down to a minimum.”

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