Innovation

IKEA Furniture Is A Snap

IKEA has always been a company that has innovated. It shows in everything from the use of materials, to the adoption of solar power for all of their stores.  They are constantly pushing themselves forward, growing, adapting, changing as they bring new products to market. If you are familiar with IKEA furniture, you probably know that you will be using an Allen wrench, and a screwdriver to get the job done, but now thanks to the designers on the team, you might not.

KEA has recently introduced a series of snap together furniture using a new dowel and wedge system. The new joint is called a wedge dowel, and it’s specifically designed for wooden products. Products like the Lisbo table, for instance, have a small ribbed wedge at the top of each leg, which is then inserted into a pre-machined hole in the tabletop. the joint requires no glue and can be taken apart and reassembled multiple times without damaging the fastener.

IKEA recognized the fact that it included a lot of small fittings with each of their products. The number of parts is often a turnoff for customers, and a waste of resources. By incorporating the wedge dowel, assembly time decreases and IKEA saves money by removing all the metal fasteners.

The special design was initially introduced in 2014 as a proof of concept in the Regissör storage products and Stockholm cabinets. It was tested on these products for 3 years and now IKEA intends to incorporate the system into other pieces.

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Ori

Over the last 25 years, I have never lived in a space larger than 1500 square feet. For my wife and I smaller has always been better. I know that we are going against the grain since the average size of a house in America has steadily grown from 1800 square feet in the mid-1960’s to just under 3000 in the 2010’s. The reality is though, not everyone is can afford to, or wants to live in a McMansion. World-wide the average size of a living space  is between 1000 and 1500 square feet, and in larger cities much smaller at 500 to 800 square feet. That means less room for furniture and furniture that is designed to function with multiple uses, or in ways that save space. This is where those clever students at MIT and designer Yves Béhar come in.

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A team of MIT engineers have partnered with designer Yves Béhar to develop the ORI system of robotic furniture system for smaller/micro apartments that transform at the touch of a button or via a smartphone app. The Ori system is a compact module that incorporates a bed and a closet on one side, and a home office and an entertainment suite on the other expanding and contracting as needed to give up much-needed space. (This would have been so useful in our 850 square foot loft)  On one side the bed is hidden, sliding under the bottom of the unit beneath a closet, couch, and office to maximize space. When activated, the unit moves in or out to become a bedroom or a more generous living room. One side of the unit hosts a full closet, but also contains a desk for a home office. The other side of the unit holds a media center for entertaining. Each room can be preset for Each room can be preset for your specific needs so that one touch on the physical interface or on the smartphone app will morph the room.

Ori is more than functionality. Units can be customized with a variety of finishes, materials, and colors that truly let you design your space. And the functionality means a small space can be transformed into a multi-functional home in just seconds. Beyond small apartments and loft spaces, I could see this being used in smaller vacation homes, guest houses, hotels and more.

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Craft. A Modular Camera System.

In the last 20 years there has been a massive change in photography and cinematography technology. Digital changed the game, then smartphones. One thing that has remained fairly constant though is the form factor. Aside from smartphones, digital cameras look and function very similar to an analog film camera. Your fancy DSLR might have upgraded electronics and a digital image processor, but it still looks and functions the same way your old film camera did. Buy a body, buy a bunch of lenses, get the the battery grip, etc. So here comes a new camera company that might just change all that.

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Craft has designed a camera system where every component is interchangeable allowing you to design a system best suited to your needs. While the video below is just a 3D rendering of the yet to be released final product, the system shows promise. This is a modular system with a number of unique innovations, and a very competitive price point for photographers. The website shows a complete 4K video set up for less than 2 grand which is not bad when you consider what you get.

Some of the innovations that I find really intriguing are the hot swappable lens mounts, the ND filter set up, the connectivity module, and the fact that you can build this to fit your needs. Full tech specifactions are at the bottom of this post.

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Technical Specifications (Full technical specifications will be announced early this summer):
HD Video Element, Super 16mm CMOS Sensor with Global Shutter (1920×1080, 1280×720)
4K Video Element, Super 35mm CMOS Sensor with Global Shutter (4096 x 2160, 1920×1080, 1280 x 720)
Frame rates 23.98, 24, 25, 29.97, 30, 50, 59.94, 60
Fast and slow frame rate speeds at intervals up to 120fps
Recording Formats Cinema DNG and ProRes (additional formats will announced).
Dimensions (W x H x D)
Video Elements: (97.15mm x 96mm x 39.68mm) (3.7” x 3.6” x 1.5″)
Store, Battery, Audio Elements: (97.15mm x 96mm x 33.4mm) (3.7” x 3.6”x 1.3″)
LCD Elements: (97.15mm x 96mm x 30mm) (3.7” x 3.6” x 1.2″)
Fully assembled cinema camera: (97.15mm x 96mm x 170mm) (3.7” x 3.6” x 6.6″)

WingLights.

Since last November I have been contemplating  getting a bike and using it for quick runs to the grocery store, and other errands at the shopping area just down the road from my house. Since I started working from home in June, I’ve been thinking about it quite a bit more. I live on a street with a dedicated bike lane, and the exercise would do me good. The thing is, every time I drive on that same street I witness all the distracted drivers that gravitate right and hug that thin strip of asphalt given to cyclist. Frankly I’m surprised they haven’t had more accidents.

All of this brings up an important topic. How do we make cyclists more visible and safe, and give them a better way to signal to drivers what they are doing? The folks at CYCL have come up with a pretty solid solution for this. WingLights. The video below shows them in action, and if I get a new bike, this is one of the first things I’m getting for it. The price is right and the function of these is pretty unbeatable.

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Knowing that every bike rider needs to see and, be seen by motorists, CYCL’s WingLights are a solid solution. The turn indicator light system mounts at the end of your handlebars, and is activated with a touch of a button that you have on each one of them. They indicator stays on for about 45 seconds, or you can turn them off by simply tapping the activation button. When you get to your destination, simply detach them from the handlebars, click them together and attach them to the included carabiner.

 

More Than Just Vodka.

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Swedish Vodka maker Absolut has tapped into the “Maker” movement with a new mobile innovation lab built from shipping containers and other recycled materials. The Absolut Creative Space  was designed by architects Astrid Skog and Charlotte Stuveback for Abslout earlier this year as a venue for creatives and innovators to produce unique with tools they might not have access to, in a collaborative environment. Inspiration was taken from Absolut’s production process and applied to each of the four individual spaces. The goal was to inspire and enable different types of work with limitless variations on the creative process.

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Creative Space was first placed outside Färgfabriken in Stockholm Sweden. The containers occupy enough space to hold all four containers and create a common area in between. That space is a “Semi-Official Zone” according to the architects that designed the Creative Space, which is designed to welcome visitors and encourage them to come closer and get involved. In addition the area was softened with landscaping creating an even more relaxed and inviting space for the creatives using the space as well as guests.

creative_space_bar-610x408 I really hope Absolut brings this to the USA for a tour. I think it would be a blast to participate. The first link above takes you to the Absolut site with case studies of projects already completed.

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An area of pallets with plants with meeting places surrounds the four containers.

The Current Table Charges Your Toys via Solar Power.

Talk about solid innovative thinking. The video below showcases the “Current Table” designed by Marjan Van Aubell in conjunction with Solaronix. The table uses Dye Sensitized Solar Cells to create electric current for the work surface. Dye Sensitized Solar Cells can work with diffused light and do not need direct sunlight to create electric current. The process is similar to the way plants create energy through photosynthesis. The entire glass table top surface is in essence a large solar panel attached to the frame and legs which contain connectors for all of your electronic devices. This makes Current Table the first piece of furniture that is harvesting energy indoors where utility and aesthetics are combined in everyday objects. The innovative table has a triangular base made of wood, that neatly holds the bold colored tabletop with a simple, natural based. Great aesthetics combined with high-tech functionality. This is right up my alley.

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Heads Up for Land Rover’s Discovery Vision Concept.

As automobiles and technology become even more fused together than they already are, engineers, and designers are coming up with some really impressive automotive features. At the upcoming New York Auto Show LandRover will be introducing its new Discovery Vision Concept. Taking advantage of heads-up display technology and augmented reality features, the Discovery Vision Concept allows the driver to see through the hood of the car exposing the terrain and objects that would normally be blocked from view. The video below shows the system in use, and demonstrates one of the better heads-up uses I have seen to date. One thing that I really like in the video is the way the image of the ground simply fades away as the vehicle levels out and it is no longer needed.