Rechner, a gesture based calculator app

Rechner, a gesture based calculator app

Technology is allowing us to push the boundaries of how we do common tasks like using a calculator, as evidenced by Rechner, a gesture based calculator app for the iPhone. Designed by Berger & Föhr, Rechner allows you to swipe left and right to add and subtract, swipe down to open a menu for options such as multiplication or division, and swipe up for equals. It seems almost counter-intuitive to the way we currently do math, with dedicated buttons for each of these tasks. But when you watch the video it’s actually quite remarkable how easy it is to use this app, and how you could potentially work faster on it. It’s great to see people experimenting like this, shifting paradigms of how we normally work.

Bobby Solomon

March 20, 2012 / By

A Solid Rocket Booster falling back to earth

A Solid Rocket Booster falling back to earth

A Solid Rocket Booster falling back to earth

Continuing the idea of sound design a bit further from the previous post about Leg Bound, is “a movie from the point of view of the Solid Rocket Booster with sound mixing and enhancement done by the folks at Skywalker Sound.” You know how there’s no sound in space because it’s a vacuum? Well whatever the hell the cameras and recording devices are picking up on this video is something pretty strange and fantastic. I found the sounds to be rather soothing, you know, once the rocket has been detached and all that. It might not be the most engaging thing to watch, it takes about 8 minutes for the rocket booster to fall back to Earth, but strap on some headphones and take a listen to something you’ve never heard before.

Found through Kottke

Bobby Solomon

March 19, 2012 / By

The genius behind the Nike FuelBand and why it works for me

The Nike FuelBand

A little over a week ago Kyle and I were invited by Nike to experience the brand new Nike+ FuelBand. The experience was pretty insane, as we were bussed over to the Paramount Studio lot and given a night of parkour, stunt falls and choreographed dancing from Michael Jackson’s choreographer. You can read all about that experience over on Los Angeles, I’m Yours.

Since then I’ve been wearing the FuelBand every day, testing it and seeing if I liked it or not. To be totally clear, I don’t owe Nike anything, and I wasn’t paid. If you’re unfamiliar with the what the FuelBand is, here’s Nike’s description of it.

Nike+ FuelBand tracks your activity through a sport-tested accelerometer, then translates every move into NikeFuel. Nike+ FuelBand tracks running, walking, dancing, basketball – and dozens of everyday activities.

The FuelBand has joined the class of lifestyle workout products along the lines of Jawbone’s UP and Fitbit. The idea is that these devices track your life, and help you live better. But there’s a huge distinction between the UP/Fitbit and the Nike FuelBand, and that’s accuracy. The Fitbit tracks your steps, your calories, the amount of time you sleep, and the UP does roughly the same thing. The FuelBand though tracks your movement, but the accuracy doesn’t really matter. What Nike has done is turn staying fit into a game.

Continue reading this post…

Bobby Solomon

March 14, 2012 / By

A refreshing Windows UI concept design by Sputnik8

A refreshing Windows UI concept design by Sputnik8

A refreshing Windows UI concept design by Sputnik8

A refreshing Windows UI concept design by Sputnik8

Microsoft has been doing some really interesting things with UI design lately, especially with the Windows Mobile UI in their new phones. So far though, they haven’t quite hit a home-run with their desktop experience, even though it may not be around for much longer. When I came across this UI concept from Sputnik8 I thought it was a really great idea and pretty nicely executed.

I haven’t soaked in all the details and minutia of the design yet, but from a purely aesthetic viewpoint, I think he’s right on point. The Windows Mobile design is nice and flat with big chunks of text, and Sputnik8 has done a great job of carrying this theme over to a desktop experience. It’s also nice to see that the UI is rather tap-able, so perhaps the UI could even be used for a touchable desktop experience, a path that technology is certainly heading down.

You should really go visit the Forum page he created over on The Verge where he’s received a ton of amazing and well deserved feedback.

Found through iA

Bobby Solomon

February 27, 2012 / By

Tricycle Caligraphy by Jonah Kessel

Tricycle Caligraphy by Jonah Kessel

Tricycle Caligraphy by Jonah Kessel

Tricycle Caligraphy by Jonah Kessel

Nicholas Hanna seems like he gets bored easily. With a Bachelor of Science in Architecture from McGill University and a Master of Architecture from Yale, the guy has the knowledge and curiosity to make some really cool stuff, like the Water Calligraphy Device. Water calligraphy is a thing in China, where old guys chill out in parks with brushes on poles, writing beautiful marks onto the ground.

Nicholas has created the modern day equivalent. Rigging up a trike with a computer and some water jets, he rolls around the city writing bits of propaganda like, “Civilization comes from every individual, to contribute from every little thing.” It’s a really amazing idea, and it’s cool to see how people react as he passes them by. Although, I feel like if this sort of concept was brought to America it would be abused and used for evil purposes like Burger King advertisements.

To see the rest of the messages he writes, click here.

Bobby Solomon

February 9, 2012 / By

A House Made from Fiber-Reinforced Polymer by atelier FCJZ

atelier FCJZ: FRP house

atelier FCJZ: FRP house

atelier FCJZ: FRP house

What’s great about the design of this house, called the FRP House after its fiber-reinforced polymer structure, is the experimental nature of the material. And by experimental, I don’t mean just different like an experimental hairstyle or the kind of experimenting that happens during college; instead, I appreciate that Atelier FCJZ, based in Beijing, is conducting tests and collecting data about an unusual structural system. By testing the compressive, tensile and bending strength of their design, the building mock-ups are approaching building reality. Someone had to be the the first to try reinforcing concrete with steel, right? Someone had to be the first to try braided hair.

atelier FCJZ: FRP house

The first person who braided his/her hair must have looked alien to folks who had never seen braided hair before. “What is… this… headropes?” But the design of this house is simple and modern in a way that doesn’t look so jarring. I can easily find articles published about fiber reinforced polymers in buildings systems from over a decade ago, and as this experimental material moves toward reality, it will confront new challenges (like how the enclosure system will work in this configuration). Still it’s nice to see architects experiment and to be reminded that building science didn’t stop progressing when we started using concrete and steel. Our future is an infinite series of new materials, the structures they enable, and the hairstyles we will wear inside them.

Alex Dent

February 7, 2012 / By

Kinetic toys from Marta Bakowski

Kinetic toys from Marta Bakowski

Kinetic toys from Marta Bakowski

Kinetic toys from Marta Bakowski

I stumbled upon Marta Bakowski’s work after she randomly tweeted at me, so of course, in my true Internet stalker style, I checked out her work and found a beautiful gem. She started this amazing self-initiated project to create toys with emotion. These toys are simple, made of simple materials and basic colors, but they’re absolutely charming and I’d love to own an entire set of these. Here’s what she had to say about the project:

Employing inherently playful materials such as springs, feathers, motors and gears, I created a series of small abstract, often geometrical constructions that I animated with a distinct rhythm and endearing characteristics, almost bringing each ‘creature’ to life.

This series of experiments resulted in a collection of colorful mechanical wooden toys, desirable to children and adults alike, which prove that fantasy is not necessarily a “stage one grows out of”.

You can check out some of her early prototypes in the video below, which gives you a great idea of exactly how fun these would be.

Bobby Solomon

January 4, 2012 / By

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