Yesterday, SolidSmack posted on the Electric Loog Guitar—a sort of build-a-guitar kit that encourages customization. While build-a-kits have been in existence for decades, there seems to be a resurgence in interest for both adults and kids alike. After raising over $160,000 on Kickstarter with 29 days left to go in their 30-day campaign, the Kano Build-a-Computer Kit just might have found the sweet spot that people are looking for in STEM-based ‘kits’.
Can you even imagine what you get when you have three young girls and Brett Doar (of OK Go fame) spending two weeks with a crew creating a Rube Goldberg machine made completely out of toys, putting it to music with a rewrite of the Beastie Boys’ Girls? Only the most awesome video in the history of girls and engineering. GoldieBlox, makers of engineering toys for girls, has the coolest toys bar none to help girls explore the art of making, inventing, tinkering and engineering. The toys and stories are top notch, but a video they just launched puts the icing on the frilly pink cake… then kicks it over, triggers a rocket and launches GoldieBlox into the hearts of girls around the world.
Master woodworker and community leader Eric Hollenbeck presents a rare breed in today’s technology-obsessed world. While 3D printers, laser cutters, and CAD software have re-defined what it means to ‘make something’, Hollenbeck’s most-modern tool in his impressive arsenal was built in 1948. In this mesmerizing Maker profile from director Ben Proudfoot of Breakwater Studios, we get to see firsthand how Hollenbeck and his Blue Ox studio in Northern California are not only preserving skills that took 25,000 years to master, but also how those same skills are helping at-risk youth and veterans re-discover themselves through the simple powers of ‘making something’. Ultimately, does Hollenbeck’s Blue Ox School present an ideal STEM curriculum that other schools should be paying attention to?
This past Friday, 40 of the world’s top experts in digital and interactive art, data visualization, software art, 3D printing, augmented reality, and other digital art and design applications converged on the stage at The New School in NYC’s Greenwich Village for LISA 2013 (Leaders in Software and Art) to discuss their projects, where these digital mediums are moving, and how we can start to think differently about where we’re heading with software, art, and Making. In case you missed it, here’s a roundup of ten of our favorite quotes that just might deserve a sticky-note presence on your monitor for the next few days.
Live design competitions have been one of the best ways for new (and existing) designers to showcase their chops and get great exposure without having to pull out their portfolios. Additionally, watching a mouse arrow dive through command menus and toolbars can be one of the best ways of re-imagining a software program or getting inside the creative mind of a fellow designer. Hatch Live is the latest live design competition from new collaborative design platform Hatch Hub that sits two competitors in front of a projected screen while they battle out designing a product in a fast-paced 5 round, 80 minute period. We stopped by the very first competition last week in NYC to check out this unique take on competitive speed-modeling and talked with the competitors about modeling under pressure in front of a live audience.
Repurposing existing industrial products into a static sculpture is a beast to tackle in itself, but what about creating kinetic sculptures that actually…play decent music…and have a social message behind them? Artist Pedro Reyes has done just that with his collection of eight new instruments created from repurposed firearms. Built in collaboration with several musicians and media studio Cocolab of Mexico City, Disarm aims to find a meaningful purpose in objects previously used to create destruction in various Mexican drug cartels.
To coincide with the Design Museum‘s The Future is Here exhibition—a showcase displaying some of the most pioneering pieces of the new industrial revolution—the Museum caught up with iconic industrial designer Ron Arad to discuss his thoughts on 3D printing…and why he thinks it’s being abused now more than ever.
What is a ‘smart home’ supposed to look like these days? How is the sudden increase of smart products on the market going to shape the future of home living both from aesthetic and convenience standpoints? NYC-based trend research company PSFK set out to create an interactive smart home experience for the urban environment that contains the latest in future-forward home gadgets and designs with their Future of Home Living exhibit in midtown Manhattan. Featuring everything from a household 3D printer to DIY speakers and modular furniture that can change throughout the day to an iPad-controlled micro-farm…are these products going to be commonplace in our homes within the next five years? We stopped by to check out it out.
It’s products like Sensorial Stimuli Tableware from Jinhyun Jeon that spark new conversations about re-interpreting the purpose and potential of everyday product designs. Does an office stapler really have to be hard and rectangular? Does a coffee mug really have to be cylindrical? For her MA thesis about the relationship of food and the senses, Jinhyun threw all preconceived notions of what tableware could be out the window…and created spoons and forks that not only act as a food-travel vessel, but also as an entirely new eating experience.
Slipping a chunky headset on your noggin and diving into a digital reality was a wonderfully inviting development in years gone past. Virtual Reality (VR) was a technology that went the way of badly marketed viewing devices and gaming platforms that eventually turned into large mechanized boxes at malls and theme parks–boxes you and your friends could climb into and sit staring at a first-person roller coaster ‘experience’ on a big screen for five minutes. Fortunately, times have changes and VR is back with a VRengeance. The VR headset is just one device delighting the depths of our viewing experience, but simply standing or sitting in a 3D environment doesn’t quite do VR justice. The Omni by Virtuix changes that… big time. It’s the first VR interface that allows you to walk, run, duck and dodge in a natural way. The applications for gaming are obvious, but this interface also brings interesting new potential for how you experience product design.