Walyou » Concepts and Designs http://walyou.com Cool Gadgets, New Gadgets, Tech News and Geek Design Mon, 20 Oct 2014 20:49:27 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.1 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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Toyota Features Pokémon Cars at Tokyo Toy Show 2014 http://walyou.com/toyota-features-pokemon-cars-at-tokyo-toy-show-2014/ http://walyou.com/toyota-features-pokemon-cars-at-tokyo-toy-show-2014/#comments Fri, 01 Aug 2014 13:00:47 +0000 http://walyou.com/?p=177711

Baby you can drive my Poké-car: Toyota rolls out two Pokémon cars at the Tokyo Toy Show 2014 that are totes adorable.

Would driving a Pikachu or Fennekin car in the Pokémon world be the epitome of swag? Would that loser Gary Oak own one and brag about it over other Pokemon trainer’s heads like the jerk store he is? Hmm, all good questions… But what I do know is that these two particular Toyopet Pokémon cars from Toyota are absolutely cute.

Just look at that face… d’awww!

Both Poké-mobiles were one of the main attractions at the Tokyo Toy Show 2014, Japan’s premier toy show where the country’s biggest consumer electronic manufacturers display all sorts of playthings. At the show, you can expect to see card games, robots (where else?!), and if it fits the theme – hello, Pokémon – a car with Pikachu’s lovable face on it.

Speaking of which, Toyota used a Toyopet for the chassis of both vehicles. What’s a Toyopet? It’s a pretty obscure car that’s mostly known in Japan, originating from the 1940′s in fact. Neither of these cars will never see the mass assembly line though; they’re just promotional vehicles. So to the Poké-enthusiast they’ll be extremely rare types.

Source: Japan Trends

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Blackberry Strong Concept Shows How Passport Would Look as a Slider http://walyou.com/blackberry-strong-concept-passport-slider/ http://walyou.com/blackberry-strong-concept-passport-slider/#comments Thu, 31 Jul 2014 20:35:42 +0000 http://walyou.com/?p=177713

Slider phones have been out of fashion for quite a few years now, but that didn’t stop a few Blackberry fans to imagine how Passport would look like in this form factor.

Blackberry Passport already looks very peculiar, being nothing alike anything made by this company or its competitors. The square screen is said to display more content, and the 1:1 ratio is meant to improve productivity. With its odd looks, it’s uncertain if businessmen will like it (that’s definitely the public that Blackberry is targeting with Passport). A group of fans of the company took this smartphone to the extreme, by designing it as a slider.

Blackberry Strong, as they named this concept, brings the square display upfront, while the QWERTY keyboard lies hidden in the back. The authors of the concept probably would have wanted the Milan project, a Blackberry 10 slider phone, not to be canceled, as it was.

Sliders had all sorts of problems with the sliding mechanism, fact that determined most smartphone manufacturers to abandon this form factor. Dirt could get in an block it, or if you had really bad luck, the strip that connected the display to the keyboard could malfunction, leaving you with an unusable phone. If anything, it’s better to attach a QWERTY keyboard case to your smartphone, than to have to throw it away entirely. Speaking of cases and protection, attaching a case to a slider phone is a difficult task, and leaving it unprotected is not a desirable thing, either.

As to the reaction people have when seeing this concept, most commenters seem to have mixed feelings. Some don’t like it, but admit that there might be niche market out there for a slider Blackberry Strong, while others say from the start that they like the concept.

When the keyboard is not visible, Blackberry Strong looks like a device you could take notes on. That means that the concept could be even more functional if it had a stylus added to it. The slightly smaller size, at least when compared to Passport, would make Strong more maneuverable, not to mention that it would fit better in pockets and bags. Maybe Blackberry will pick up this concept and turn it into a reality, but I’m not sure who would buy it.

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Electrolux Bartender Drone Mixes Drinks, Delivers Them in Flight http://walyou.com/electrolux-yura-flying-bartender-drone/ http://walyou.com/electrolux-yura-flying-bartender-drone/#comments Sat, 12 Jul 2014 20:57:59 +0000 http://walyou.com/?p=177232

If Amazon is considering using drones to deliver parcels, a student at the Kyiv National University Of Construction And Architecture thought that these flying robots might as well deliver cocktails.

At least that’s what the concept submitted at the Electrolux Design Lab suggests. Herman Haydin, the student in question, based its work on an idea that’s quite old now, that of a robot bartender. However, his twist is guaranteed to attract more attention. Yura, as the flying bartender drone concept is called, was short-listed among the Top 35 Finalists at the Design Lab of the Swedish home goods manufacturer.

Besides cocktails, Yura can also prepare tea and coffee. I wonder what Jura, the Swiss manufacturer of coffee machines has to say about this, given that the pronunciation of the two is pretty similar. According to Haydin, the amount of calories in each drink prepared by Yura can be adjusted so that it matches the body of the drinker. I don’t know what exactly is that supposed to mean, but I assume that overweight people won’t get any drinks that are rich in fat.

One of the most interesting aspects about Yura is the way users interact with it. The drone reacts to voice commands, but can also be activated via smartphones, tablets, and computers. The idea itself is pretty great, but I’m curious of how it would work.

The sensory body screens and the computer brain included in the drone take care of the power settings, navigation map, and voice commands. On top of that, those components manage the Wi-Fi connection between the drone and the various devices it’s controlled from, as well as any software downloads it may need. Besides the temperature of the prepared beverages, the drone’s brain controls the number of calories, carbohydrates, fats, and proteins. All in all, the concept is pretty great, but I’m not sure about it being realistic.

Haydin claims that Yura can be customized according to the user’s preferences. In other words, that means that its outer shell can come in a particular color. Other than that, the parts can also be colored, so it would all depend on the taste of people using it.

Personally, I wouldn’t mind if this concept became a reality, as bars and lounges would get a touch of modernism this way.

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Boston Smart Park Benches Let You Relax, Charge Your Gadgets http://walyou.com/soofa-smart-bench-smartphone-charger/ http://walyou.com/soofa-smart-bench-smartphone-charger/#comments Sat, 05 Jul 2014 20:30:49 +0000 http://walyou.com/?p=176906

Soofas, the smart benches developed by Changing Environments, offer a place for relaxation while also providing the power necessary for keeping your gadgets alive. Since all this is achieved with solar power, there are no external sources of electricity involved.

We can’t part that easily with our beloved gadgets, and if we’re not indoors while using them, we start trembling at the thought that they might get discharged. On the other hand, there can also occur unexpected situations when we need just a bit of juice for the device. If you need to power them up while also spending a bit of time to catch your breath, the solar-powered Soofa smart benches created by Changing Environments might be just your thing.

Jutta Friedrichs, co-founder of Changing Environments, explained how her company is intending to change the urban scene: “We want to reactivate the city and create a new shared social experience. Computers took people off the streets. We envision Soofas acting as magnets that invite people to enjoy the outdoors while reading the news, sharing a video, or catching up on email without fear of running out of power.”

Boston mayor Martin J. Walsh added that “Your cellphone doesn’t just make phone calls, why should our benches just be seats? We are fortunate to have talented entrepreneurs and makers in Boston thinking creatively about sustainability and the next generation of amenities for our residents.”

The officials of the city are asking residents to pick the locations of future Soofas by visiting bit.ly/bosbench or by tweeting @newurbanmechs. I’m glad to see that in some countries the officials are embracing new technologies that easily. While electronic mediums and hi-tech are looked with good eyes in such places, there are other countries that are stuck to bureaucracy and vintage tech.

Changing Environments is a MIT Media Lab spinoff and a Verizon Innovation Program. The fact that a telecommunications company is involved in this project shouldn’t surprise you. That’s not to say that only devices purchased from Verizon will work with these smart benches, but Verizon customers might indeed get some additional benefits. There have been other cases when telecommunications companies have invested in new ways of charging mobile devices, and there will definitely be more in the future.

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Google Gesture Concept Gives the Speech-Impaired a Voice http://walyou.com/google-gesture-concept-sign-language-translation/ http://walyou.com/google-gesture-concept-sign-language-translation/#comments Sun, 22 Jun 2014 20:23:18 +0000 http://walyou.com/?p=176676

Students at Berghs School of Communication in Stockholm imagined a wristband that could easily fit in Google’s portfolio. Google Gesture is a fictional device that translates gestures into speech, thus giving a voice to the ones who can’t normally talk.

The search giant has created software for the speech-impaired in the past, the app that translates speech into text being a great example. The reason why Google isn’t behind such a concept as the Gesture wristband is because such a device is most probably impossible to make for the time being.

This piece of wearable tech would be accompanied by an Android (what else?!) app, which would also be called Google Gesture. Judging by the position of the hand and the tension of the muscles, the wristband will be able to record sign language and transfer it to the app wirelessly, presumably via Bluetooth 4.0 LE. Once collected by the app, the data is translated into speech, so that other people can understand the gesture.

The idea behind the above video, which was created by marketing students at Berghs School of Communication in Stockholm, is that a lot of interesting conversations never take place simply because not many people know sign language. It’s wrong to believe that just because they cannot talk, the speech-impaired have nothing to say.

According to the students who have imagined it, Google Gesture would be able to turn sign-language into speech in real time. While that’s a bit improbable, it would help conversations to flow naturally.

Getting lost in translation would be impossible with such a device. More than that, Google Gesture could help people to interact, regardless of their country of origin. I think that such a device would be great not only for the deaf, but also for people who interact a lot with other cultures. Seeing how a hand gestures means something in one country and quite the opposite in another one, it would really be something if there was no room left for interpretations. For example, “thumbs up” is the equivalent of a well-done job in most countries, but in Greece and Turkey, this hand gesture symbolizes an insult. Same goes for the “V for victory” sign that’s interpreted differently in various parts of the world.

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