The ‘au-naturel’ way of dehydrating and sun-drying your fruits and veggies

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Drying is one of the oldest and healthiest ways of preserving food. The drying process allows for long-term, compact storage while retaining vitamins, minerals, and flavor. Modern-day dryers and dehydrators may speed up the process, but are expensive, guzzle electricity, and are frankly unnecessary when you have the largest drying resource available to you for free… the sun.

Myriam Meyer’s Aliz uses the sun’s heat to dry out food. The Aliz looks like an alluring outdoor piece of decor, with its metal compartments layered upon one another (looking like a lantern). The sun’s heat pulls the moisture out from the food, which is stored in a ventilated chamber that is protected from pests. After a few days of drying, the food you’ve placed inside, be it berries or fruits or even vegetables gets effectively dried out by the sun and becomes preserved naturally while locking in every bit of flavor!

Designer: Myriam Meyer

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This wall-mounted shelf is actually a micro-fridge!

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Imagine this. You’re in front of your television and you’d really like a nice chilled beer, but you don’t want to walk all the way to the fridge. Or imagine buying groceries but having no space to store them because your fridge is jam-packed with stuff. Now imagine having a dedicated refrigeration unit disguised as furniture right where you need it. That’s the Shelves Fridge by Jinho Han. Designed to look like a shelf but work like a cooling unit, the Shelves is a temporary shelf-fridge that you can place stuff on, instantly chilling/preserving them.

The Shelves comes with a resting platform, a horizontal cooling duct, and a translucent box-cover. The cooling duct can push air either upwards, cooling the stuff kept on the shelf (you’ll have to place the box cover to enclose your bottles/food to cool them better and faster… or the cooling duct can push air downwards, allowing you to hang a shopping bag on it, as the air blows down on your groceries, giving them temporary refrigeration before you take that massive turkey out of the fridge to thaw and create more space for today’s groceries. When you don’t need the Shelves, simply collapse the shelf upwards into the wall and your temporary cooling unit recedes into the background! It would be cool if the ‘closed’ Shelves unit could work as an air-conditioner though…!

Designer: Jinho Han

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Drone lights will guide you home

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The idea seems wild, but the more and more you think about it, the more it begins making sense, and seems more plausible than before. The idea behind the Twinkle is to combine drone tech and illumination to make the world’s smartest and most useful street-lights.

Each individual street-lamp would be a vertical pole with multiple Twinkle drones docked in it. The drones would come with powerful lights at their base, illuminating the land right underneath them, and when docked in their lamp-posts, would look just like any streetside lamp. However, as soon as pedestrians pass from underneath, a single Twinkle drone would leave its dock and follow the pedestrian(s) around, lighting their path. This individual lighting solution would mean no dark alleyways or blind-spots for pedestrians, as they quite literally have a guiding light with them. If a Twinkle’s battery reached critical status, it would head back to its dock and send another Twinkle on the way.

A floating street-light goes far beyond making streets safer. Its ability to move allows it to patrol streets, alleys, and even off-road paths where you probably wouldn’t find any lights. The Twinkle drone helps guide you from A to B, rather than rely on a string of streetlights to illuminate your path. When done, it goes back to its dock, transforming back into your regular streetlight!

Designers: Honghao Deng & Jiabao Li.

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The baby-blanket that helps fight jaundice

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Newborns remain highly susceptible to jaundice, given that their liver cannot completely break down the high levels of bilirubin in their system. Exposing a newborn to UV rays, however, helps build their immunity to jaundice, and in most equatorial countries, newborns are kept in direct sunlight to help them absorb UV rays and build immunity towards jaundice.

In countries that don’t experience the powerful direct rays of the sun, babies are advised to be kept around UV lights for long intervals, helping their body break down the bilirubin in its system. SvetTex Nest is a phototherapy blanket that helps cure and/or keep jaundice at bay. The soft blanket comes woven from cotton and optical fiber yarns to be flexible, permeable and easy to sterilize. The optical fibers help evenly distribute UV light directly to the baby’s body without heating up, or emitting radiations that may be harmful for the child. The UV light source sits at the base of the Nest, with a cushion separating it from the feet of the baby, while a blanket surrounds the entire nest itself, so that the light doesn’t shine in the guardian or parent’s eyes. Designed to allow the baby to be placed in any position, the Nest delivers UV light to the baby from the top and the bottom, helping it fight off diseases like jaundice that cause problems in the developmental stages of the child.

Designer: Ioulia Kamalova for SvetTex

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The ST3 turns the world into your stage

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Reducing tonnes of equipment to just one travel-suitcase, the ST3 is a performer’s best friend. The innovative design packs a built-in amplifier, stage, microphone and stand. Perfect for impromptu performances, jam-sessions, and street performers, the ST3 and self-confidence is pretty much all you’ll need.

The stage, as it is, wraps around a central column that houses the wheels, handle, and a microphone stand. The stage itself opens into a flat platform big enough for even two people. Screw the microphone stand in, and you’re ready to perform. The stage comes with speakers powered by an inbuilt amplifier, and even has ambient lighting to add some drama to the performance. When done, fold the stage back down to its suitcase-worthy size, collect your compliments (tips too, maybe), and make a grand exit!

Designer: Lee Long Yin

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Turning any room into a dark-room

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The art of film developing is lost on the current generation, thanks to the widespread presence of the digital format, but even for people who love analog, developing film can be quite a laborious process because it requires a wide variety of specialist equipment, and absolute darkness.

While for the longest time, photography aficionados may have had an entire room dedicated to the craft of developing film, Thomas Müller’s Kanton DX35 compresses everything into a tiny desktop kit, eliminating one’s need to spend money on expensive apparatuses and chemicals, or even the need for darkness. Kanton DX35 is its own miniature dark room, and it comes with all the chemicals needed, and a simple step-by-step guide that mentors you through the process. The reel first goes into the container on the right, where it gets unwound and re-wound around a special spool. The screen on the bottom left tells you what chemicals to pour and displays a timer, allowing you to completely master the process. The DX35 even heats the chemicals to their precise temperatures, so you don’t need to do anything. When you complete a step, you pour the chemicals back into their bottles, eliminating chemical waste, while learning the golden art of analog film development without breaking the bank on various chemicals and equiment, or scourging the countryside to find someone who will develop film for you.

Designer: Thomas Müller

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This wheelchair turns the backrest into a steering wheel

The wheelchair is a very hand-intensive product, requiring arm strength to propel and brake the vehicle as well as your hands to maneuver the chair left or right by turning either one of the wheels. Reagiro takes some of the effort out of maneuvering the wheelchair by cleverly connecting the backrest to the front wheels. Lean left or right and the chair turns left or right too, letting you focus on just propelling forward as your chair moves in any direction you want.

Leaning to turn provides a different experience for wheelchair users. Not only is it much more intuitive (you lean in the direction you want to turn), it also adds an element of freedom, dynamism, and fun, much like in skateboarding or luge riding, where you lean to turn too. Aside from that, it relieves some of the forearm-stress involved in operating a wheelchair on one’s own.

Designer: Reto Togni

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What if your glasses could read to you?

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I firmly believe that the spectacle holds great opportunity for wearable tech, because even if there’s just a fraction of people wearing them, these people are ALWAYS wearing them. You could forget your watch, or your fitbit, but you never forget your glasses. Taking the function of glasses, and elevating them, the Oton is a pretty damn amazing wearable.

Designed to help you see, but even better than regular glasses, the Otonmake use of AI and Machine Learning to recognize images (text in particular), and play/read them out to the wearer. Imagine not being able to read the fine print, or even more useful, not being able to read a foreign language, the Oton turn image-text into speech, pretty much giving people superpowers, if you think about it! The future of wearables looks inclusive and empowering for sure!

Designer: Keisuke Shimakage

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Blinds that capture solar power and your attention

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The Rolar Blinds do three things. They harness the energy of the sun, they cut the glare of the sun out during the day, keeping your indoors ambient, and they look absolutely gorgeous while they do the above two.

The Rolar Blinds stand at the crux between new-age photovoltaic printing techniques, a rise in demand for solar panels, and absolute graphic beauty, as they explore printing solar cells in manners that almost feel like graffiti, but with a more direct purpose, i.e., charging your devices. At the bottom of the blinds rest the cylindrical weights that come with a USB port that let you charge your devices or your power-banks by simply plugging them into the curtain and leaving them on a table nearby or the windowsill as you tap into the solar system’s largest (free) power source. The cylindrical members (battery packs) are even detachable, allowing you to carry your power with you. However, the convenience of the Rolar Blinds takes second place to its graphical beauty that bring art and technology together beautifully and seamlessly.

Designer: Nathan Webb

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Clean Water, courtesy Coca-Cola

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This past year we’ve seen some wonderful designs that have the potential to truly make an impact on a global scale – from portable newborn incubators to hard concentrate shampoo to name a few. But innovation doesn’t come with an expiry date, and Co-Life by Jan Tuomas Burakowski & Tuomas Jussila just shows that we’ll keep pushing the boundaries of innovation year after year.

Comprised of two plastic water bottles, a two-part connecting chamber, a ceramic filter and a bicycle pump – Co-Life forces dirty water through the ceramic filter from one bottle and collects the clean water in the opposite bottle. Seemingly simple, Co-Life has the ability to reach a wide user group around the world due to its low manufacturing cost and low part count. Not to mention the fact that Coca-Cola bottles remain one of the most readily available bottles on the planet. Open Happiness indeed!

Designers: Jan Tuomas Burakowski & Tuomas Jussila

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