Ikea has put on a twist on customer research

In November 2017, IKEA created an innovative survey about co-living spaces. This study explores what the future of co-living will look like in 2030 when there are 1.2 billion more people on the planet with 70% living in urban areas with limited spaces and resources. IKEA’s future living research lab Space10 launched One Shared House 2030 developed by interaction designer Irene Pereya of Anton & Irene. This is an interactive take on customer research.

  • It’s an experiment: there’s an intentional pioneering spirit in the survey
  • Empathetic for its subjects: the research was inspired by a documentary Pereyra did about her own co-living experience from when she was a child; giving authenticity to the survey and creating a deep sense of empathy
  • Beauty: the research is visually beautiful with bold geometric shapes and intense colors; it’s inviting and makes you want to participate
  • Playful: the research is positioned as playful research that is designed more like an app vs. survey with music and pop-up windows
  • Setting it in the future: the survey doesn’t act you to imagine the future – it sets the whole survey in the future; it tells you it’s 2030 and the world is more crowded – allowing people to get into the right mindset

Now, the results are in! More than 7,000 people from 147 countries answered the survey. People of all ages, and are in any life situation from all countries on average:

  • Would prefer couples, single women and single men in their community
  • Are happier with access to multiple homes they could easily move between
  • Prefer members to share equal ownership of the house
  • Only want the common areas to come furnished and furnish their own space themselves
  • Want house members from different walks of life
  • Think the two biggest pros of living with others is having more ways to socialize and splitting costs and getting more bang for your buck
  • Most are interested in living in shared houses between 4 and 10 people

Why it’s hot?

The Survey: is engineered as a digital experience. Everything from the empathetic positioning to the sonic // visual design pulls you in. IKEA demonstrates that CX is something that should trickle across all aspects of your business – even market research.

The Results: show that no co-living company has really figured out the right balance between an economically feasible scale and a scale that favors human connections. It shows that there is still ripe opportunity to re-think the co-living space.


  • https://www.inc.com/ayse-birsel/think-customer-research-is-boring-here-is-how-ikea-made-it-fun-utterly-inviting.html
  • https://www.fastcodesign.com/90161409/what-todays co-living-spaces-get-wrong
  • http://onesharedhouse.com/

The Next-Gen Clothing Brand: Everlane

Since launching the company in 2011 as a direct-to-consumer clothing brand committed to “radical transparency,” Preysman and his team have been strategically expanding its scope. Defying the reign of fast-fashion heavyweights like Zara and H&M, Everlane has used its website and social media handles to offer customers a glimpse into its factories around the world, give voice to the workers making its garments, and share a price breakdown of each product it sells. Shoppers can see that Everlane’s original $15 American-made tee costs $6.50 to produce—and that the company’s markup is significantly less than the $45 that traditional designer brands tack on.

Everlane’s forthright messaging, coupled with its spare, fashion-forward aesthetic, has turned customers into emissaries—and inspired a slew of upstart fashion brands, such as shoemaker M.Gemi and technical clothier Aday. “Everlane provided a model for how to communicate that our quality is what we say it is,” says Scott Gabrielson, founder of accessories startup Oliver Cabell. Preysman is also pioneering new approaches to retailing, making use of steady product launches, waiting lists, and limited inventory to both predict and drive demand. “Everlane created a sense of urgency and exclusivity [around its products],” says Marshal Cohen, an analyst with market research firm NPD.

Everlane uses its waiting lists, along with real-time data and customer feedback, to make inventory decisions. When in doubt, it stocks less. And when items sell out—which happens a lot—Everlane can restock quickly, thanks to its close relationships with its more than two dozen factories worldwide. All of this generates the specter of scarcity, which Preysman leverages: Customers sign up for early access to new clothes and to be notified when popular ones are back. Last year, when Everlane’s new ballet-inspired heels sold out within three days, 28,000 people added their names to the waiting list. This steady communication with customers is so important to Preysman that, until a few weeks ago, he was involved in drafting every single email.

To avoid the appearance of discounting, Preysman developed a Choose What You Pay model for overstocked items, where customers can pick up, say, a dress shirt for one of three different prices. The website explains that the lowest one lets Everlane recoup its costs, while paying more allows it to invest in future product development. Twelve percent of shoppers opt to pay more.

Why it’s hot?

(1) Transparency, transparency, transparency!

Everlane is the definition of championing transparency – and it pays off! They clearly articulate their brand values of ethics, price and design that differentiate them from other competitors. They market their brand values first, products second.

(2) Agile inventory management  

Everlane is also smart about how to leverage inventory data. They strategically stock less and use wait lists, early access data and customer feedback to determine if/when they should stock more resulting in a strong pricing model and reduction of wasted inventory.


  • https://www.fastcompany.com/40525607/how-everlane-is-building-the-next-gen-clothing-brand
  • https://www.everlane.com/

No more “View Image” on Google Image Search :(

Google has removed the “View image” button, along with the “Search by Image” function. This follows a lawsuit by Getty Images in Europe.

As slashgear says:

Getty’s complaint stems from how Google has made it too easy to lift material without attribution. That is factually true since View Image doesn’t exactly inform users of any copyright or licensing requirements. But there is another aspect to its beef with Google. By delivering the image instantly, users no longer have to go to the source website, which deprives them of page hits and ad revenue from visits.

Search by image is also being removed, as it makes it easier to find the same image without watermarks.

Why it’s hot:

  1. Life is gonna be harder for designers
  2. I think this is interesting because it shows the difference in regulation and enforcement between Europe and the US. There’s a growing divide between the two, particularly in regards to the “right to be forgotten”. Obviously, the Internet is a worldwide entity, and it will be interesting to see how this plays out.


Everybody fall in line!

This incisive tweet from type designer James Edmonson of Oh No Type Co looks like a humorous one-liner but is actually a brilliant piece of criticism. In just five words, he summarizes the pervasive tendency towards a visual uniformity that seems to draw in nearly every major tech brand operating today.

Tech company logos

Consider the macro trend of these brands all visually converging alongside the industry’s current mania for design systems. That juxtaposition suggests that we’re far more interested in implementing ideas than we are in ideas themselves.

Put another way, as practitioners of design we’re most comfortable asking questions like “How do we implement our brand’s design language, propagate and scale it, and make sure it’s consistent?” We’re much less comfortable asking questions like, “What’s the larger context for the brand we’re building?

Source: Subtraction.com

Why it’s hot
This post raises valid questions in the age where digital design in general trends towards uniformity over expression.

A lesson in authenticity: The Mad World of the Lisa Frank Social Presence

We all remember our Trapper Keepers from the 1990s. Well now, you can get those same warm fuzzies + a shot of dada millennial feels from Lisa Frank’s social media pages.

The rainbow brand has taken their signature, busy, colorful style and added, busy colorful messaging… typically around the things they know you love. The up-coming weekend, sweet treats, and sitting on the couch and watching Netflix.

Lisa Frank is hoping to hone your 90s wistful nostalgia and adding a bit of what you aimlessly “like” on Instagram.

Posted by Lisa Frank on Monday, December 4, 2017

Pilates can wait until 2018! How are you enjoying this holiday season?

Posted by Lisa Frank on Wednesday, December 20, 2017


Posted by Lisa Frank on Sunday, January 21, 2018

Posted by Lisa Frank on Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Posted by Lisa Frank on Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Posted by Lisa Frank on Monday, January 8, 2018

Posted by Lisa Frank on Saturday, January 6, 2018

Why its hot?

Lisa Frank wins by being their authentic selves. By mixing their brand signature with not so amazing commentary on the work week, there is, some how a recipe for greatness.


Justin O’Beirne on Google Maps Moat

Justin O’Bierne, a cartographer from San Francisco, has a great article about the huge distance between Google Maps, and Apple Maps. Mr. O’Beirne writes a lot about maps, especially online maps. His most recent article centers around buildings. Namely, how is it possible that Google has so many buildings on their maps, even in very small towns?

Gif by Justin O’Beirne

This is something that Google has been adding in the last few years. Mr. O’Beirne notes that Google isn’t just adding addressed places, but they’re adding garages and other structures as well.

Gif by Justin O’Beirne

Not only are they doing that, their buildings are highly detailed..

Image by Justin O’Beirne

He goes on to examine a full range of buildings across the US, that show up as highly detailed models in Google Maps. He also shows that Apple and Bing have nothing even close to this imagery, so what’s going on? How are they doing it?

The answer lay in an old press release, dug up by Mr. O’Beirne. The models are coming from computer vision analysis of Google Earth satellite imagery. So, as summed up in a gif:

Gid by Justin O’Beirne

Not only is Google doing this, but it’s doing it FAST, and much faster than it’s competitors. As Mr. O’Beirne notes:

Just two years after it started adding them, Google already had the majority of buildings in the U.S. And now after five years, it has my rural hometown—an area it still hasn’t Street View’d (after 10+ years of Street View).

Graph by Justin O’Beirne

Finally, Google has also introduced another feature into Maps: Areas of Interest. Area’s of Interest are known by another name is academic research: Commercial Corridors. They’re typically defined by locations with densely packed shops and restaurants. This may seem simple, but it presents a problem to Google: how do you display all of those places on a map without the place names overlapping? If you can’t show all of the businesses, which businesses get picked? How will the user know, at a glance, which areas of the city are areas of interest?

As you can see in this screenshot of my neighborhood, Google has solved this by creating areas of lightly shaded orange.

Not a fancy gif

Justin O’Beirne notes that these areas are not smoothly defined, they seem to be form by conglomerations of actual buildings, and when you zoom in, Google is actually locating where physically the businesses sit in each building.

Also not fance

So how do they do THAT?

Well, this post is very long now so I’ll just show you a couple more gifs that Mr. O’Beirne made:

As Mr. O’Beirne notes:

…so this makes AOIs a byproduct of byproducts:

To sum up: Google made a map of the entire Earth available on Google Maps, and then used computer vision to create detailed models of precisely located buildings. It also sent a car with a camera around the world to all the road’s that it could to give street view imagery, and then analyzed that information for signs and other details. It then combined all of that information to create precisely detailed, located buildings with precisely accurate location information for businesses and areas of interest in cities. As Mr. O’Beirne notes, Google is making data out of data.

And that’s why Google is so far ahead.

Why Design Systems Fail

More and more brands are looking to design systems to unify their products. Designers love them because they make prototyping fast and easy, and devs love them because they make starting a new project a synch. But without the proper support, design systems can fall apart. Some considerations for keeping a design system going:

  • Successful design systems need investment of resources. Neglect the system and it quickly becomes out of date (and who wants to use dated code?). Small incremental updates over time keep the system working.
  • A team should own the system, and be responsible for supporting, developing, evangelizing, and managing the whole thing. This makes it more likely that the system stays relevant.
  • Continuous communication with designers and developers is crucial. Both should feel heard, although a final decision must be made about what to include and exclude.
  • People need to want to use the design system. Make it the path of least resistance and show value by recording wins and evangelizing.
  • Good design systems should scale, so plan the architecture in advance.
  • Most importantly, if it’s harder for people to use than their current system, people just won’t use it. Just because it might be an internal tool, don’t treat it as an afterthought – simplify until it’s easier than the ad-hoc systems designers and devs are using.

Ready Player Leg

A new poster for Ready Player One was released:

Notice anything weird? Well, you’re not alone.. The internet had some fun with that extra long leg. Here are some of my fav posts from it:

Why it’s Hot:

  • Make sure check there’s no obvious photoshopping in posters unless you’re looking for internet troll attention

More posts about the poster: https://kotaku.com/the-internet-is-having-fun-with-ready-player-ones-new-p-1821163585




Parker the stuffed bear

Say Hi to Parker, your augmented reality bear. He’s filled with nothing but love and stuffing but he’s so much more than that. When you purchase Parker for $60 you can get the whole Parker kit that’s compatible with your iOS devices! It comes with Parker, a wooden stethoscope, wooden thermometer and a few other miscellaneous items. The idea is to promote STEAM from a young age.

It’s a great way to integrate AR with a classic toy for kids. The greatest part is that you can also purchase the $40 extension bedtime kit for more fun! Purchases aside, at least the app itself is free.

Why it’s hot:

STEAM integration is becoming more and more important and it’s an amazing way to let kids explore from the get go. But is Parker worth $100?

source: https://www.macworld.com/article/3236200/ios/parker-your-augmented-reality-bear.html

New, cutting-edge technology lets you… call a website on your phone.

Ok, so maybe it is not on the forefront of new technology, but artist Marc Horowitz’s new website makes wonderful use of existing and familiar technology to bring the experience of a guided museum tour into a new light.

A conceptual artist, Horowitz felt his work needed additional context to be fully appreciated, but did not want to go the traditional route of adding lots of text or creating a video for his portfolio. Instead, created an experience that is part audio tour, part podcast, and part interactive website.

At first glance, HAWRAF’s design looks like a pretty standard portfolio. There are tabs at the top, with images below that represent 32 projects dating all the way back to 2001. But the designers, inspired by the audio tours you’ve probably experienced at a museum or gallery, added another element of interaction. In big block text at the top of the website, it says, “Call 1-833-MAR-CIVE.” When you do, you can hear the artist himself tell you stories about each project by simply dialing the reference number below each image.

As an added bonus, users can choose to read the descriptions rather than dial in, making the experience not only unique, but also accessible for the hearing-impaired.

Why it’s hot

As brands and agencies scramble to adopt bleeding edge technology and embrace the latest trends, it’s worth remembering that existing tools and technology can still be harnessed in interesting and new ways. Fitting the experience to the needs of the brand and the user will always result in a more useful and lasting experience than something ill-suited but fashionable

Learn more at 1833marcive.com or on fastcodesign.com

You’re Guilty…of Bad Design

Meetings seem to have become the keystone of business. From one room to another, we sit, interact and make decisions. But what if the furniture was influencing that process?

Studies show that the shape of a table can alter the dynamics of the room. From rectangles to ovals, triangles to circles each alters how those seated may react and make decisions.

Round tables – though great for knights, bring the issue of no defined leader. This shape leads to the feeling of equality among all members, which can be a good thing, but it also makes it hard to come to a concrete decision if there are varying opinions.

Narrow rectangle tables though they have defined ends, can lead to clustering of people who then don’t respond to the leader

U-shaped tables make it seem like everyone is too far apart…making conversation and concentration more difficult.

Now perhaps the meeting to decide the color of the office cupcakes isn’t that serious, but imagine the discussions that go on in a jury deliberation room.

Legend has it that law schools teach about a courtroom that moved to a round shape table, cases sent to that deliberation room ended in an alarming rate of hung jury verdicts. It seemed that though there was a foreperson assigned, no one voice could help lead the discussions. As soon as the table was switched back to a standard rectangle style, the verdicts reverted back to decisions.

So whats a meeting organizer to do?  Find a table that has a rectangular shape, perhaps with rounded edges. This style allows all participants to see, speak and interact with each other, but give the leader a spot in a power position.

Why It’s Hot

Design is everywhere. its presence has an immense impact on our conscience and unconscious actions. By understanding the everyday influence of objects and surroundings we are better prepared to leverage their impact.

Or, hear me out, we can just go back to having cubicles…

A Ukranian design company called Hochu Rayu has created a noise-cancelling helmet designed to block out sound for persons who work in noisy open space offices. According to CNet, “The design company came up with the Helmfon while trying to work out ways employees can Skype at their desks without bothering their co-workers.”

Giant helmet can cancel noise

Would you wear this?! (via In The Know)

Posted by Yahoo News on Saturday, November 25, 2017

Story on CNet

Who wore it better?









Why It’s Hot

This can be really useful for people who seek to improve their productivity when they’re surrounded by a wall of constant noise (*cough* 4th Floor *cough*), though, obviously, the design needs some work.

Designing for Mass Shootings

Amongst a myriad of other precautions being made to ensure safety in the event of a mass shooting, designers such as architects and landscape architects have also been taking measures to design with this in mind. For example, the new designs for the Sandy Hook Elementary School include doors hardened glass windows, deadbolts on doors, and an optimized landscape layout to distribute the flow of evacuees.

Landscape architects and researchers on evacuation patterns have already done research and taken methods to improve exit flows. However, these designs can only take into account types of attacks that have already occurred. Unfortunately, attackers can find new ways and methods to carry out their plans. The main goal however, is to make design decisions based on research that has been done and make spaces safer for threats that we already know have happened. These measures make it less likely someone will choose the site as another area to attack.

There have been some very interesting evacuation and crowd simulators to study how people evacuate spaces in mass.

Here are some videos showing this type of research:

Stadium Evacuation

Exit Choice in an Evacuation

Why it’s hot: With the number of recent mass shootings and public attacks, group safety is extremely important for designers to take into account for new or renovated spaces. The type of research that is done about evacuation patterns reveals insights into human behaviors that designers can utilize to better design safe spaces. Unlike digital design, iterations are less frequent and more costly, so doing research up front and spending the time to think through user journeys and patterns is of utmost importance.


It’s not a marathon. It’s performance art

BMW partnered with running apps to give runners in the Shanghai marathon an artwork based on their performance data. It created digital artworks that turned runners’ pace and speed data into colourful cylinders and waves.

BMW partnered with running apps such as CoDoon, JoyRun and Rejoice, as well as a data artist Joshua Davis, to collect runners’ data and then present it as an artwork. Runners could interact with the digital artwork, by rotating it, to reveal more information. The imagery could also be shared on social media.

Why its hot:
Applied BMW’s positioning as the Ultimate Performance Machine to running. It doesn’t feel too forced or out of place.

Applied the insight from car customers: just like car owners are curious about their car’s performance, runners have the same desire to know about their performance

What BMW said:
‘BMW aspires to earn a place in running culture while staying authentic to their brand. So we asked ourselves, if cars and running have almost nothing in common how can BMW add value to the running experience? The simple truth was performance. BMW has a rich heritage using technology to enhance performance in everything they do and we thought, what if they could do it for runners? This was leap off point our creatives took and ran with’

The Smart Coffee Cup

Amidst the range of smart products coming to market, it may not appear that a smart coffee cup has much to offer. Ember, a L.A.-based startup has been making temperature controlled products and have recently released their latest product: a smart coffee cup.

The cup connects with a mobile device through bluetooth and through an app the user can set the desired temperature of their beverage. The mug maintains the set temperature for 2 hours of sitting idle (it detects if you move it) and then goes to sleep as a safety measure. To recharge the cup, it needs to be placed on-top of a chargeable coaster.

Moving forward, Ember wants to continue to expand their products to plates, serving ware, baby bottles, and glassware for mixologists.

Why it’s Hot: Ember is focusing on creating products that “add technology to them without letting that technology take anything away from the original experience”. For example, Ember ensured the cup had the same curve of the lip and weight as a regular ceramic mug, as well as the same sound when placing it on a table. By focusing on these small details, it appears as if Ember has created a product that integrates technology in a subtle way the augments the experience without disrupting it.


Animation Created with the Use of Virtual Reality

Despite having no prior knowledge of VR coding, artist James Paterson has invented ‘Norman’ – an open-source 3D illustration tool created using Google’s WebVR, Google’s JavaScript API, which enables artists to experiment with their own VR tools. His animations resemble a flipbook made up of stick characters darting between planes, created in three-dimensions using VR controllers and a headset.

Why It’s Hot:

We’ve often seen experiences using VR as a way for people to have a more immersive experience when consuming content. In this case, Paterson is using VR as a way to create content in the form of animation. Instead of drawing on paper and then translating that work to a program that a computer can read, he has created a way to use VR to do the animation directly into the software while keeping his natural movements of drawing intact.

“Norman is the animation tool that I’ve always wanted. I built it in JavaScript, it runs in a web browser and lets me animate naturally in 3D using VR controllers,” he says, explaining its simplicity.

Can’t Cook? IKEA’s Got You.

Remember when it was difficult coloring inside the lines? They made “Paint-By-Number” for that. If you have trouble cooking inside the lines of deliciousness than you probably should check out IKEA’s “Cook This Page.” The yet-to-be-released cooking page literally lays it out for you. Each ingredient is drawn out so that you can place them down, roll it up, and it eat all! (Yes, even the paper.)

Why is this hot?

We live in a world where we are in a perpetual state of making everything easier. We’re working toward an era where our cars drive themselves, our phones talk to us so that we don’t have to, and so on. This innovation is for those who cannot cook; and it works.

source: https://www.boredpanda.com/ikea-cooking-recipe-posters/

Zocdoc Gives The Health Insurance Card A Facelift

“Health insurance cards are a mess. Critical information presented in a way that’s not typically intuitive with poor visual hierarchy, abbreviations that don’t make sense, information that’s not clearly labeled, and text that’s too small to read. This leads to a poor experience further down the line with medical care.”

According to a recent survey sponsored by Zocdoc, over 25% of patients booking appointments with new doctors aren’t confident that they will be in-network, and 56% of people say they have a hard time figuring out what their insurance will cover.

ZocDoc took a stab at reducing some of these consumer anxieties through redesigning the health insurance card. Zocdoc worked with the design studio Office of Baby to create a simple card that anyone can download, and hopes insurance companies take advantage of the free design and adopt it officially.

Zocdoc and Office of Baby split the card into two parts: a section for professionals and a section for consumers. The professional section contains strings of numbers the medical community needs for billing–Rx numbers, issuer ID, etc.–and the consumer section includes info people need to book services–their plan’s name, what their co-pay is, their member ID–and speaks in plain English. The hope is this will help patients book the care they need with confidence that it’ll be covered by their insurer.

Why it’s hot: Awesome, simple solve for a frustrating and dated item/process, similar to how Warby re-invented the prescription renewal process – ZocDoc further proves that their platform puts their consumer first.

Source: CoDesign

Saudi Arabia gives a fake person real citizenship









A robot built by Hong Kong-based Hanson Robotics named Sophia has been granted citizenship by the government of Saudi Arabia. Nobody is saying exactly what that means but, according to Futurism, “The move seems symbolic, at best, designed to attract investors for future technologies like AI and robotics.” Saudi Arabia has been trying to up its credibility as a tech player to compete with neighbors such as the United Arab Emirates.

Sophia was “designed to look like Audrey Hepburn” according to the robot maker. I see.

Sophia’s announcement is below:

Story on Popular Mechanics

The stunt was not viewed positively to all as some have made valid points about foreign workers’ inability to gain similar citizenship status despite their own contributions to Saudi society.

Here is the full video of Sophia’s (awkward) address to the Future Investment Initiative conference, held at the Ritz-Carlton in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

Why It’s Hot

This announcement adds fuel to the debate about what rights, if any, robots will have in our society. It also calls into question if countries such as Saudi Arabia have a moral responsibility to treat their female citizens and foreign workers equally to- or better than robots.

Increased Use of Point of Care Tactics Offer Opportunity For Better In-office Experience

MM&M announced this week that “up to 20% of pharma brands are moving digital media spend to point-of-care tactics” which was grounded in a study fielded by ZS Associates. To a certain extent, this is unsurprising as many forms of digital media such as social and display continue to face increasing scrutiny around the topic of ad fraud.

This will have an impact on two key audiences in healthcare marketing – patients and providers – which if well thought through, should be overwhelmingly positive.

Phreesia Patient Intake Platform


Platforms such as Phreesia offer patients the opportunity to engage with content as part of the intake process. The biggest challenge here will be placements that are relevant to the specific patient as there is a potential to spend effort on poor placements. Case in point; when I took my son to the pediatrician for his flu shot this year, I was offered the opportunity to “Learn More” about a branded product. The only thing I can recall about the brand is that is had nothing to do with why I was there and wouldn’t be appropriate for my son. Contextual relevance will be critical to success in these moments.

epocrates advertising platform from athenahealth


HCPs, particularly PCPs, are the target of massive amounts of marketing. Overwhelming is an understatement here. When you consider the necessity of staying abreast of current trends and new therapies, to a certain extent, they need to be exposed to these messages. However, when it’s all said and done, the moment that matters is when the Rx decision is made. The opportunity to be a relevant part of that moment as part of the HCPs workflow in the EHR/EMR offers pharma companies an incredible opportunity. When you consider the number of drugs that don’t have the budget for mass DTC advertising, the HCP really is the decision maker in the therapy of choice.

Why It’s Hot

While contextual relevance for audiences is improving and offers plenty of potential, the real win will be when a brand can own the conversation across the moments in an office visit.

Consider a diabetes patient checking in for a check-up who is offered a message around potential therapy they may be eligible with a DTC ad based upon key factors pulled through from their EHR.

Then, at the end of the appointment, the HCP if offered a targeted message in the EHR with a savings offer the patient can print and take with them.

With brands doubling down on these POC channels, we have the opportunity to take the in-office experience to new levels.

Overcoming the Challenges of Wearable Tech

Project Jacquard, an experimental initiative from Google’s Advanced Technology and Projects group, has partnered with Levi’s to create the Commuter Trucker denim jacket.

Source: https://www.fastcompany.com/40473911/google-and-levis-stitch-up-a-connected-jacket

“Aside from a couple of visual tells—subtle patches of raised stitches and a plastic button on its cuff—the Levi’s Commuter Trucker looks exactly like what you’d expect from the 144-year-old brand: a timeless jean jacket that keeps you warm while looking cool. But appearances deceive. The jacket is actually an interface between you and your phone. Brush, tap, or cover the right spot and you can answer or ignore calls, switch up your music, or get travel-time updates, all without looking at a screen.”

The Challenges

  1. Creating durable conductive thread. Tech is treated with gloves, textiles are meant to endure tough situations from being exposed to fire (to remove extra cotton fibers) to heated presses and pre-skewing (Levi’s process where toothed grips latch and torque the fabric).
  2. Figuring out how the wearer would interact with the interface, which is stitched onto the sleeve). “Levi’s and Google arrived at four main motions: brush in, brush out, tap, or cover the connected area. The actions are subtle enough so you can silence an incoming phone call during a conversation and it just looks like you’re brushing dust off your sleeve.”

Although relatively primitive, the gestures don’t do much more than what the remote control on earbuds, this is a starting point.

Why it’s hot:

  • Because although voice-based interactions are becoming more an more prevalent (Siri or Alexa), touch still has an important role to play in our future interactions with new technology meant to disrupt and replace our screens.

Headless Pet

Want a pet but are too lazy, allergic, or maybe even a little weird? Japanese company, Yukai Engineering produced a solution: Qoobo! It’s basically a headless, motion-detecting cat pillow. For just $100, it’s expected to be in your lap by June 2018.

Why is this hot?

All jokes aside; this product can be greatly therapeutic and eliminates responsibility. It also gives us insight as to where technology is today. If pets are absolutely not an option, this is an easy Plan B. (Comes in Husky Gray & French Brown!)

Here’s the source: click!

Machine learning as film critic

While identifying a Wes Anderson movie is probably something many moviegoers could do without complex AI, the creator of a new machine learning program called Machine Visions is hoping he can learn more about what makes an auteur’s works distinct.

[Yannick] Assogba uses four of Anderson’s films as source for his project — The Life AquaticThe Royal Tenenbaums, Fantastic Mr. Fox, and Moonrise Kingdom — from which he extracts a frame every 10 seconds, for a sample of 2,309 frames in total.

Assogba investigates color and recurring motifs in Anderson’s works, drawing out themes from the machine learning much faster than a human would be able to watch and process the images.

The Life Aquatic pixel grid

Each frame that the program analyzed from The Life Aquatic is displayed as a single pixel in this grid

Why It’s Hot

Machine visions not only provides an interesting way to look at film and cinematography through the lens of technology, it provides a detailed and accessible framework for starting to understand machine learning. By introducing people to machine learning through art and pop culture, Assogba gives both technical and non-technical people a reason to explore further.

“It can suggest similarities and juxtapositions for a human to look at, some are ones we would find ourselves while others might be surprising or poetic because of imperfections in the algorithms and models.”

Learn more  i-DMashable | Machine Visions

Caspar making new comfy sleep stuff, just not for you

Caspar has teamed with American Airlines to design and supply the massive airline with a slew of new sleep products. The 8 new products include “a mattress pad that fits over your seat, a regular pillow and a lumbar pillow, a pillowcase, a duvet, a blanket, pajamas and slippers.”

No, this is not a dream. It’s also not available for coach travelers. The products are solely for business class and first class travelers. You know, the people who need it the most.

You, however, will still be unable to sleep on the red eye on account of the demon toddler kicking your seat from behind during the entire duration of the flight. Happy trails!

Story on TechCrunch

Why it’s Hot

It’s hot for Caspar because it gives them bigger name recognition in the very competitive next-gen mattress space.

Mission E

Porsche’s first fully electric car is set to hit the roads in 2019. Although revealed back in 2015, the car is finally in its final development stages. The Mission E is said to go 300 miles on a single full battery, a top projected speed of over 250 km/h (155mph) and goes from 0-100 km/h in 3.5 seconds. It’s starting price is also likely to start around $80,000 USD. So what does this mean for Telsa and its Model S that also reaches top speed of 250 km/h and goes from 0-97 km/h in 3.1 seconds? Well, for starters the Model S is still going to be in a lower price range, meaning Porsche may still dominate in the category of high-class luxury.

Why it’s hot:
The microsite for Mission E is quite the experience, it almost makes me want to get one, but unfortunately being broke doesn’t help. It’s designed to feel incredibly futuristic and advanced, giving off an elegant, sleek, and luxurious feel.

Flying cars? Almost.Porsche - Mission E[+][+]

source: https://techcrunch.com/2017/09/17/porsches-electric-mission-e-arrives-in-2019-priced-like-panamera/


That Sound You Associate With Brands? It Actually Has A Name: Earcon

Design comes in all shapes and sizes. In everyday life we interact, and react to visuals, interfaces and even touch and smells. But what about sounds? Earcons, or sonic branding is an often overlooked part of an experience, yet each one of us associates certain sounds with brands, events or actions.
Leveraging senses is a key way for psychological recall and in a world of “noise,” designers need a way to identify and alert beyond just visual queues.
Lost? earcons are everywhere. From the iconic Windows startup sound to the omnipresent “iPhone typing” clicks, sonic branding remains an important element of interaction, design, and branding.

Why It’s Hot
Brands have the opportunity to take their branding to another level with earcons. As seen with NBC, Netflix and T-Mobile, an earcon can cut through and identify a brand even if you don’t see it visually. This use of the senses works to leverage human psychology to not only increase recall but lead to affinity and familiarity.
We know that onomatopoeia is when a word sounds like the very thing it’s describing (  hiss, buzz). So whats the equivalent in sound design? That would be Skeuomorphism –  the design concept of making sounds resemble their real-world counterparts. ( think “recycle” sound!)