These Smart Rotary Phones have Alexa on the other line!

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Imagine it’s sometime in the 1940s. You’re alone at home and it’s snowed heavily. You crave some Frank Sinatra, but instead of going to your record player that’s in the opposite room, you lift up the receiver on your telephone and say “Hey Alexa, play me some Sinatra”. This magical Alexa accepts your command, and somewhere in your house, the radio starts playing some of Frank Sinatra’s greatest hits.

That obviously wouldn’t be possible in the 40s, but it is now. Grain Design’s vintage telephones aren’t, in fact, telephones, but are actually repurposed Echo devices. Lift off the receiver and you’ve got Alexa on the other line. Ask her about the weather, tell her to play music, or order in some food or groceries. Alexa listens and obeys. Put the receiver down and click, the command line is over and Alexa’s disconnected.

That’s the beauty of Grain Design’s telephones. Repurposed from actual vintage phone-pieces, the people at Grain Design very cleverly integrate Alexa into the device, so when you lift the receiver, you’re literally speaking to your virtual AI as if she’s on the other end of the line. When you do eventually hang up, the phone’s microphone gets fully disconnected, making sure that Alexa doesn’t listen in on you. This prevents accidental communications with your Amazon assistant by ensuring that, whenever the receiver is on its hook, your conversations are completely private. Each telephone (Grain Design has modified certain models) is bespoke, and rewired with its new hardware by hand. They’re also incredibly limited in numbers and cost quite a bit!

Designer: Grain Design

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The Best Action Cam for Solo Skiers and Snowboarders

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Winter is right around the corner which can only mean one thing… SNOW! Here’s a little something to add to your selection of gear. The MK1 Snow Goggles not only shield your eyes from the elements while you’re skiing or snowboarding, they also capture every moment of the adventure using the latest camera tech.

The design, adapted to be able to use and control while wearing gloves, features dual cameras behind the front shield to capture 150-degree footage without the fisheye distortion of other single-lens cameras. Heart rate sensors on the temple also detect your most adrenaline-inducing moments and instantly categorize your recordings. Better yet, buttons on the side let you place markers in one press to easily go back and find your favorite moments. As if that wasn’t enough, a holographic display projected onto the shield lets you get ahead of the game and trim long videos while you go up the chairlift or take a break! DO want!

Designer: Vincent Wang

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“Paired with heart rate sensors on the temple, the MK1 automatically categorizes footage based on your heart rate BPM, making sure you can easily find all the heart-pumping content you want when you get home. TouchLens buttons on the sides allow you to effortlessly press anywhere in the zone to mark and favorite key moments for quick reference while editing,” Wang explained.

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Dual cameras hidden behind the lens captures 150° footage without the fisheye distortion of action cameras.

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An integrated holographic waveguide display allows you to quickly trim long videos while going up lifts or during your breaks, so you can skip right to editing the good stuff when you get home.

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This book is literally a planetarium, a guitar, and a phone amplifier!

Kelli Anderson’s books are proof that there’s a tonne of things you can do with paper and imagination. After the wild success of This Book Is A Camera, a book that literally turned into a functional pinhole camera, Brooklyn-based artist/designer and tinkerer Kelli Anderson’s next book explores the mysteries of the physical world with more paper-based experiments. This Book Is A Planetarium features a pop-up planetarium that you can activate with your phone’s flashlight, a spiralgraph that teaches children the infinite wonders of geometric art, a stringed instrument that lets you understand how acoustic chambers work and how strings make sound, a passive amplifier that uses a cone to magnify the sound from your phone, and a perpetual calendar that allows you to view the Gregorian calendar of any given year!

A wonderful gift for children (even the ones at heart) with an inclination towards curiosity, This Book Is A Planetarium allows kids to unlock small mysteries of the universe, and prompts them to question phenomena around them, helping them expand their knowledge base and eventually their wings!

Designer: Kelli Anderson

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This 3D printed hourglass should get a design award!

The beauty of the sand-hourglass is the way you see the sand travel grain by grain downwards. It’s pretty, no doubt, but from an experience level, it gives you the basic idea of a minute, and nothing more. You can’t count down the minute because the sand’s flow is continuous, not broken up into seconds, and more importantly, if you take your eyes off the hourglass, there’s no way of knowing when the minute is up. It’s purely a visual experience.

The Chrolo, on the other hand, is a sheer work of art and a feat of engineering. It also plugs all the experience gaps you’d face with the sand-vial hourglass. The 3D printed structure provides a path for a ball-bearing to slide down, step by step, utilizing gravity just like the sand-hourglass does… but each individual slide accounts for a single second (so there are 59 slides in total), and every time the ball-bearing drops from one slide to another, it makes a tick sound that mimics a clock, so you can count down the seconds as you go. It also means you don’t need to keep your eye on the hourglass as it operates.

The ball-bearing takes exactly 60 seconds to complete its downward journey, indicating the completion of a full minute. It furthers its audio-visual experience with a brass ring at the bottom, which the ball collides against after 59 ticks. The collision results in a satisfying ‘ting’sound, indicating the completion of a minute. If you want to add more minutes, just repeat the process by adding another ball bearing at the top the minute you hear the ‘ting’!

The Chrolo’s intricate, engineered-to-precision design is made entirely through STL 3D-printing (where a resin is cured using UV light), which ensures that each part is built accurately, without the need to sand, prime, or paint the product afterward. Its spiral-staircase shape comes after multiple iterations (initial concepts looked like a regular flight of steps). The spiral staircase was arrived at after multiple iterations. It occupies a smaller amount of space while also giving the ball-bearing a literal journey to go through. It’s fun to watch the ball-bearing go to and fro, almost like a pendulum, on each stair before dropping with a satisfying ‘tick’ sound. I can’t think of a more beautiful, multisensorial, and apt way to indicate the passing of a minute!

Designer: Sparkpluck

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Manmower: The wacky, innovative stubble shaver inspired by the lawnmower!

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The Manmower is one of those absolutely ludicrous products that’s also sheer genius. Conceptually, it’s a lawnmower for your jawline. An internal blade slices away at your facial hair, leaving just a casual, badass stubble behind, just like the lawnmower slices the grass in your lawn to a short, uniform length. The Manmower needs no electricity, no shaving cream, no water, and no prep. Just pull it out of your pocket and roll it across your jawline (you could practically do this in public too) and the Manmower cuts away at your beard, giving you a uniform stubble in no time. You don’t need water, cream, gel, or any sort of extra paraphernalia. Just the Manmower, an unkempt beard, and some free time!

The Manmower is entirely crafted from surgical-grade stainless steel and comes with an outer casing and an internal blade that trap and shear facial hair (you can use it on your head too, for a nice, manual buzz cut). Just like a lawnmower simply works on the grass without touching the soil, the Manmower trims only the hair without touching the skin underneath. The entire product is designed to work without any cream or gel, and can be simply rinsed under running water when done shaving. A simple 5 minute ritual not only trims your beard, it also massages your skin, and gives you a fidget-toy-esque activity to keep your hands occupied. Strap it on your keychain and carry it around with you as EDC, or slip it into your toiletries bag to carry on travels and trips. The Manmower will be the craziest, most unusual self-grooming tool you’ll ever own!

Designer: Timothy Mount

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Today’s technology in yesterday’s avatars!

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A perfect post for throwback thursday, these products show us how far we’ve come in just a matter of two decades. Each product you see is branded with an app or a service we, collectively, use and can’t live without. Making the point that we had alternatives (albeit less addictive) to each of these technologies is Thomas Ollivier’s set of old-world products with new-world branding… or rather, reimagining the very services we can’t live without, if they existed long before Y2K.

You’ve got a Spotify-branded Walkman (with a voice-activated system! How cute!), a Netflix View-master, a Facebook pager that takes a subtle dig at the company and at humanity’s addiction to likes/validation, an Instagram disposable-cam, a Whatsapp walkie-talkie, a Google toy-computer, an Adobe Illustrator etch-a-sketch, and if anyone knows what the Snapchat product is, do hit us up, my memory fails me… and if that isn’t proof that we’re all growing old, I don’t know what is!

Designer: Thomas Ollivier

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These Dominoes are quite literally edgy!

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Crafted from aluminum, as opposed to the wood or plastic construction, the Edge Dominos from Fore Road explore a unique, hollow design that’s lightweight, easy to use, and that results in absolutely no waste. The dominos are designed with an empty center as the edge forms the design of each individual block. All the blocks are identical, with white laser-engraved markings on them to indicate the numbers. The blocks are individually cut from an aluminum extrusion (resulting in no waste or need to machine each block), before being de-burred and anodized.

The Edge Dominos are a winner of the A’ Design Award for the year 2017.

Designer: Andrew Perkins (Fire Road)

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Introducing the World’s Smallest Dive System!

Diving opens up the possibility for us to discover a whole new world that’s beneath the surface of the water. The adventures this can bring can be filled with overwhelming beauty and sense of discovery. However, diving equipment has the potential of being extremely bulky and difficult to operate… and this is where NEMO really shines!

Nemo may just be the perfect companion for snorkelers who seek the thrill of adventure! The compact Surface-Supplied Air Dive system supports an individual diver to up to 10 feet beneath the surface, allowing them to take on the magnificent spectacles that lie before them.

Its compact size and lightweight design make it ideal to travel with, allowing snorkelers to explore places further-a-field with ease; this is made even more hassle-free with the NEMO backpack, that’s packed full of features to enhance the experience!

Designer: Verity Moorhouse of BLU3

Click here to Buy Now: $399 $699 (42% off). Hurry, less than 24 hours left!

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NEMO is the perfect way for snorkelers to take their adventures beyond the surface. It’s an incredibly compact Surface-Supplied Air dive system that supports one diver to ten feet.

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Whether you’re an ocean explorer, poolside parent, treasure hunter, underwater photographer, boat owner, kayaker/paddleboarder, or in search of the latest yacht toy – NEMO is for you.

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Only 10 pounds!

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How Does Nemo Work?

Inside of NEMO is a custom battery-powered air compressor. The compressor pumps air to the diver through the 10-foot hose and out through their patent-pending Smart Reg™.

Their Smart Reg™ saves battery life by monitoring breathing patterns to let the compressor know exactly when it needs to send air. This means NEMO doesn’t just push air to you, but rather breathes with you.

Click here to Buy Now: $399 $699 (42% off). Hurry, less than 24 hours left!

You can now build your own miniature walking Strandbeest!

Chances are, whether you’re a designer or not, you’ll have seen Theo Jansen’s massive kinetic sculptures walking across a beach in BMW’s advertisement. Titled the Strandbeest, these incredible automata gracefully walk across land using wind as their driving force, as they move, much like animals do, using large wooden legs in a graceful fashion. The Strandbeest was one of the reasons I fell in love with industrial design, and the fact that you can build your own miniature versions today is giving me major nostalgic feels!

The Heyzlass Mini Strandbeest is a miniature replication of Jansen’s large, hulking creature. Made out of plastic and built to be a spitting image of the original, the Mini Strandbeest comes with a fan at one end that catches the wind, propelling the legs to move in their cyclical fashion and have the entire toy gently sashay across a flat surface. Made from 117 separate parts that don’t need any special tools to assemble, the Mini Strandbeest can be built in just around 90 minutes, which is well worth the endless hours of joy you’ll get from observing one of the most fascinating mechanical actions of all time!

Designer: Heyzlass

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