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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A car built with care

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If you talk with a couple raising a newborn, they’ll tell you that casual transport and journeys are a lot harder than they ever anticipated. There are a lot of nuances that only then become clear. With the future fast approaching, Anand Asinkar believes that the ownership model of vehicles will become obsolete in the future, meaning mobility will be used as a service.

In the hope of accommodating a 3-member family, Anand Asinkar has developed CARe – a retrofit vehicle that compromises the togetherness, care & separation at the same time. Complete with a removable baby stroller, CARe can be manipulated to facilitate from newborns to children aged 5. The vehicle itself has a somewhat elegant tone across the colors and materials chosen, revealing a premium service for the family that oozes quality and assurance.

Filled with sensors and some neat technology (similar to that of a Segway) the handsfree baby stroller provides a more comfortable transition from automotive vehicle to baby stroller in a seamless fashion. There is no doubt the CMF choices and tire design of the stroller are inextricably linked to the primary vehicle, and it neatly ties together but you can’t help but feel you’ll want to keep that baby stroller after the service. Reflecting the needs of the newborn and parents, CARe is a fun look into the future of autonomous service vehicles and one with a twist rarely looked into – potentially this may open the minds of other concept designers to come.

Designer: Anand Asinkar

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The keyboard of empowerment

Roya Ramezani made a rather interesting observation during her time working in Silicon Valley. While the gender imbalance was glaringly obvious, it had its effects on the way women worked in the male dominated environment. Roya noticed that women would often not speak their mind, or would do so sparingly, making use of words that were perceived as self-effacing and hesitant.

Highlighting the difference between one’s actual vocabulary and one’s spoken vocabulary, Ramezani designed the Exponent Keyboard, aimed at empowering women through text. Designed to look like Thomas Hansen’s Writing Ball Typewriter, the Exponent Keyboard allows your hands to circle around the product, making you feel in control… However, its true achievement lies in the fact that above the QWERTY layout sits a set of orange keys that allow you to add more impactful words to your sentences, making your typed pieces of text sound confident and assertive. The keyboard tracks keystrokes and uses its own server to analyze text and suggest more powerful alternatives, allowing you to input words like “Believe”, “Claim”, “Insist”, and “Disagree” into your text at the press of a button.

Empowered text helps build one’s self confidence not just behind the computer, but everywhere else too, allowing women to communicate more freely and have their thoughts and opinions heard in the powerful manner they deserve to be!

Designer: Roya Ramezani

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Like Guitar Hero for your Ukulele!

I recently tried my hand at the Ukulele, and being a guitarist myself, two things instantly came to mind. How difficult it is to wrap your head around the ukulele, especially since its string setup is different, but at the same how friendly it looks and sounds! Don’t underestimate its cuteness… the Ukulele can be a little confusing at first and there are two ways to go about it. A. Perseverance, and B. Creativity! Designers from Kaist University chose the latter and developed an attachment that reduces one’s effort to just simply pushing a button. The EasyKu won’t teach you how to play the Ukulele, but will have you performing in no time. The 3D printed contraption sits across the instrument’s fretboard, and comes with its set of buttons/keys that when pushed, press down on the Ukulele’s strings in a particular chord format.

What’s better is that the EasyKu isn’t a product more than it is an idea. Designers are encouraging people to take the CAD files and print the EasyKu for themselves, allowing you to use the Ukulele as a true accompaniment instrument without the hassle of having to learn it, so you can sing and perform your favorite music pieces without getting your fingers twisted in a knot!

Designers: Moojin Joh, Chanwook Kim, Hankyung Kim

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