Trash Eating “Shark”

Drones have – for the most part – been partitioned to the sky. But drone-like robots have been existing and thriving on land (and in water) for years. Insert RanMarine’s WasteShark. This drone is like a roomba for the water.

It sucks up garbage in marina areas in Dubai and several European countries at the moment. Take a look at the video below for more details!

3D Printed Hearts are a Scientific Breakthrough

Piggybacking off of a recent 3D printing post of mine, there is a big story in the news today. A university in Israel has officially printed the first biomimetic heart in history. I am not someone who is adept at scientific terminology, so I highly suggest you watch the short video above.

I also came across this very – VERY – in depth academic journal that outlines the process for this technology. If you’re interested in knowing the nitty gritty details, it was a great read. Definitely over my head, but I think it’s extremely interesting trying to understand reading material that is out of your comfort zone.

The scientists in the video said the blood-pumping actions that a normal heart would do itself, is still a few years away for the 3D printed one they created. However, they did elude to the fact that biomedical 3D printing is a largely unmapped territory that could become very successful in the near future. There is amazing stuff on the horizon people!

Generative Design

3D printing took the world by storm a few years ago, and designers haven’t looked back. In fact, the possibilities have started unfolding in many new ways. Tamu, a design company overseas, created the world’s “most optimized folding chair, which takes up less space and the least amount of material possible to make.”

So how do they do it? A thing called Generative Design. Designers put parameters into the computer, which takes those simple points and fills in between the dots. You can see the rudimentary physical model the design team created below, alongside the corresponding digital model they input.

From that minimal, planar model, the designers then have the capability to interpret the space between each hard point. Those hard points won’t change, so the structure will be kept intact. But the space of each plane has a lot of wiggle room. For example:

Look at all of the unique data that the computer can come up with. Those webs still create a structurally sound piece of furniture, but by thinking outside of the box (pun intended) the program is able to warp the planes into more hollow spaces. Resulting in the masterpiece we see here:

I mean, look how compact and flat it is! And it’s visually stunning. Amazing how designers can use new technology to create something so unique. I wish I knew more about Generative Design so I could give you specific details, but it’s still over my head. Here’s a video I had seen a couple of years ago when it had first launched. Enjoy!

My Color Project is Complete!

One of my projects for this semester has been completed as of today! I won’t officially present everything for another week or so, but I wanted to share the results. These posters will be hung up in an art gallery setting for our class with Ford. I will be inserting the poster’s text below after a few close up shots of the photographs. Enjoy!

There are now Roombas for your Garden

I’ve never had a Roomba. And I’ve never had my own garden. But a new company on Kickstarter is combining the two through their original design dubbed the Tertill.

I don’t have much to say on this, other than the fact I think it’s adorable and amazing. As robotics become more and more accessible to the average person, the unique ideas will be what sets a company apart.

Though people with gardens are typically the green-thumb types that will somewhat enjoy taking care of their land, I can imagine this would come in handy for certain folks with busy schedules. Their Kickstart site says you’ll need to keep the Tertill inside the garden with shallow barriers on the perimeter. Other than that, sensors will distinguish between weeds and actual plants. It’s solar powered so you won’t have to worry about charging it or plugging it in to run.

Solar Powered Weed Control

One of the best things about this design is that it’s completely chemical free. Say goodbye to the Roundup sprays, and continue growing beautiful things. Happy planting!

Designing Around the Human That Can’t Put Their Phone Down

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This is probably one of the most fascinating and infuriating designs I’ve seen in a long time. People have become so ingrained in their phones – even whilst walking across a busy street – that a Dutch town has started putting in pedestrian stop lights. No, it is not the same as the universal red blinking hand and white person walking signaling we see everywhere (like the photo above). It is even more obnoxious than that.

Several cities across Europe have started to adopt in-the-ground lighting that coincide with the traffic lights above. Here are some visuals:

So, why are we starting to do this? Well, turns out, people – might I add those who are not the brightest light bulbs in the box – have started walking across intersections while looking down at their phones. Like I said…not the brightest.

Designers being the cool people that they are, have now solved for this problem by putting lights below. Now, lazy people who don’t want to look up from their devices, can walk safely across the road without even having to try. How amazing! Let’s stop teaching our kids we have to look both ways before crossing the street. Brilliant.

As you can tell, I’m not super happy about this. This is a great example of ingenious design, and yet, people are balking. Several boards for these cities have said this is merely “rewarding bad behavior.” And I’d have to agree. I listened to a podcast the other night that had discussed the benefits and possible downfalls of artificial intelligence in the future. One of the researchers had said people often fear the one on one experience individuals will have with robots. But what he is concerned about, is the interactions people will have with other people once they’ve interacted with AI.

For example, he mentioned children talking to Siri/Alexa/Google in an authoritative tone without using pleasantries. “Siri, play me this song.” “Alexa, remind me to do this tomorrow.” “Google, tell me what ____ is.” All without one please or thank you. Children are (hopefully) taught at a young age to use pleasantries because it’s the right way to treat people. It’s polite. What starts to happen when children get what they want from AI by being rude? Will they start to be rude to other kids on the playground, bossing them around and hoping for obedient results? “Suzy, give me the ball.” Kids are ruthless enough as it is.

To be fair, I had never thought about this so poignantly. We see robots revolt in action movies after mistreatment and humans kill off robots after they’ve gotten too powerful. All of that is fairly black and white, and physical too. Easy to digest and predict. But what I’ve failed to see fleshed out, is this nuanced ripping of our social fabric like this scientist theorizes.

Now, I’m not suggesting this pedestrian lighting initiative is tearing apart the way of life. But I am suggesting people should look up from their damn phones because that’s gonna rip apart social fabric real quick. It’s already begun.

Why are People so Obsessed with Space?

The Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) -- a planet-scale array of eight ground-based radio telescopes forged through international collaboration -- was designed to capture images of a black hole. Today, in coordinated press conferences across the globe, EHT researchers reveal that they have succeeded, unveiling the first direct visual evidence of a supermassive black hole and its shadow.

It’s a genuine question, no? As someone (like I’ve mentioned before) who isn’t all that fanatic about the moon and stars and planets, and well, space, it’s hard for me to grasp the crazed excitement some people feel. Until now.

I suppose it’s the whole mystery of space that doesn’t excite me. Or should I say, it overwhelms me in such a way, I find it incomprehensible for me to begin to understand it. I’m an avid learner, but for some reason, outer space seems like it would suck up all my time. The pun was intended there, because today, for the first time in history, humans have taken a picture of a black hole.

That’s the fuzzy image you see above. Kind of boring right? Well, watch this video if you want to be able to grasp the sheer size and distance of what we’re talking about here.

So why does this interest me and space in general doesn’t? I have no idea yet. It’s almost finals week for me at school, so my life is the only thing I’m concerned about. Sounds stupid and conceited, I know. The world revolves around each student at college during finals. Everything that happens to me in the next couple of weeks is either a success or detriment. There is practically no gray area (wow I’m killing it today). When I was reading a few articles about this black hole today, I started to get this overwhelmed feeling.

I’m the kind of person that wants to know everything about a topic. If there’s a hyperlink in an article, I click it. Which typically leads me to another article within another hyperlink, leading me to another and another and another. You get the picture. So when I set out to learn about a subject (yes, I understand there are way too many things above my level of humble knowledge to truly know everything about a topic) I’m in it for the long haul.

When I say space overwhelms me, it’s the one topic I’ve avoided for years because I know how incredibly expansive it is (figuratively and literally, Sydney). It’s a foolish reason not to research something, but I just want to do it justice. For example, this black hole scientists took a picture of today, is so large that it’s almost the size of our entire universe. Now, because I don’t know a lot about space, I can’t even comprehend that. People who know a lot about space can barely do it.

It makes you feel so incredibly small and useless at times. Which is maybe why people are so fascinated by space. My finals week is inconsequential in the grand scheme of things. And yet, they could also shape the rest of my life pretty dramatically. I’m not even trying to exaggerate here. This doesn’t mean I can blow everything off because “in a couple of years I’ll be gone and nothing will matter.” Why not? I’m gonna pull the classic parent move here and just say, “Because I said so.”

The fascination the world has expressed over this black hole news today just goes to show you how little we know. But that’s not a bad thing in my eyes. If you want to somewhat understand what this image is really showing us, here’s a good comprehensive video. Have a wonderful time getting sucked into (sorry, I’ done) all of the content of this stuff.

Smart Home, Smart Safes

We’ve seen an increase in gadgets within the past few years that now make our homes infinitely smarter: thermostats, cameras, refrigerators, and more. What oftentimes is overlooked however, are our valuables. Insert the company QuickSafes. If you didn’t watch the video above, I recommend skimming through the visuals. It’s not the greatest acting, but for a company that is still a startup (and family built and owned), it’s easy to overlook the cheese-factor and see how brilliant their products are.

I’ve seen hacks for the beach where you can hide car keys or money in hollowed out tennis balls, sunscreen bottles, and even Pringles cans. There’s a factor to hiding things in plain sight that seems to render it more foolproof. It’s the every day objects we always overlook – and apparently thieves especially. Now, I’m not guaranteeing this is 100% going to work, and this company doesn’t either. But, the idea behind it is pretty genius in my opinion.

In a day and age where everything is going digital, opening a safe with your smart phone is practical and efficient. They have other options, but I think the app is an accessible way for people to start being smarter about their valuables. Nowadays, cars even have apps that can start the vehicles from miles away. I don’t have a vehicle with that luxury yet, but as technology progresses, it’s often the simple – and overlooked – things that really make a difference.

These safes are actually pretty reasonably priced too. The company has glowing reviews online, and as mentioned before, it’s amazing to see a family company doing great things. As Big Tech is ever-encroaching upon their global monopolies, it’s refreshing to see a small brand with an imaginative idea become successful.

The Newest Release in Video Editing is Mindblowing


As a design student, I’ve been using Adobe creative programs for years now. Photoshop and Illustrator are my main jams, but being in interdisciplinary classes this semester, I’ve learned a few new programs from other peers. It’s always interesting to see people use equipment that is foreign to you. I’ve had the privilege to be surrounded by amazingly talented friends who can teach me new things, and I’m so excited to tell them about this!

I’m going to use some jargon here, but if you’re not familiar with what I’m saying, definitely watch the video I’ll be placing down below.

So, for those of you that have used Photoshop before, hopefully you know about their Content-Aware tools. Whether that be the Patch, Healing Brushes, or Stamp options, there is capability to remove things from a photograph completely. Here’s an example (credit: Peter McKinnon). Notice the door to the left that disappears.

Pretty amazing, right? These tools can be used for a lot of really cool and useful things. But those tools have only been applicable to still images…until now! Adobe has released a teaser in the video below, showcasing brand new technology that can Content-Aware fill in a video! Seriously, watch it:

I don’t do any video work – or at least I haven’t in the past – but a lot of people in my studio right now are mocking up videos for our final project. Now, this technology won’t be out for a couple of weeks, but wow, this is incredible. For all of the artists and designers out there, welcome to the newest, coolest stuff on the market! Can’t wait to see what crazy things people will do with this. If you want more info, find it here.

Color Project Update

In the remaining few weeks of school, I have a lot of photos to take. I have over 200 pictures edited and placed in my catalog. My goal is to have more than 400 by the time the semester is almost over. I haven’t quite figured out my approach for the final presentation.

Color picking from photos is fascinating to me. Above, I’ve placed the photo catalog document (showing a few yellow ranges), and the corresponding swatches directly next to it. As you can see, the swatches sometimes don’t even seem to match the photo. But when you pick certain pixels – let’s look at the bottommost left picture of the doorway – the overall color you might see as a muted buttercup in the picture, ends up being on the peachier side of yellow (creamsicle maybe?) in the swatch.

I have quite a few color ranges – dark reds (mostly of varying bricks), teals (a lot of old window panes and trim), whites (mural and sign lettering), etc. – that will be showcased in the final catalog. Because I will have such a large swathe of swatches (that’s a tongue twister) I’m curious if having the corresponding swatch for each photo will be excessive.

My professor let me borrow a device that can scan a surface and tell you the exact color. It’s called a Cube. Here’s a quick video to show it in action:

My plan is to create the full catalog, see what colors are most prominent or common, and then go around to physically scan a few buildings and materials with the Cube for those hues. As for now, I’m still gathering photos and will check back in when everything is more complete!