Unveiled at CES 2021, the world’s first robot dog with decentralized AI does everything but walk on water!

Robot dogs have come a long way since Sega Toys’ Poo-Chi hit the scene. I still remember the day I got my Poo-Chi, whose digital bark soon turned into what sounded like a chain-smoking robot’s panic signal. Since its debut in 2000, Poo-Chi, along with many other robotic dog products have seen some major modifications and upgrades. Today, the world’s first decentralized AI robotic dog has been unveiled at CES 2021 by KODA Inc. Designed to offer both emotional companionship and practical, physical support, KODA, Inc.’s DAI robotic dog “is the perfect combination of function and performance,” as CEO of KODA, Inc., Emma Russell puts it.

Unlike the Poo-Chi, who couldn’t even hold its note singing “Ode to Joy,” KODA, Inc.’s robotic dog comes with four 3-D cameras, a single 13-megapixel front-facing camera, an ergonomic structure that incorporates realistic dog-like features such as a purely aesthetic tail, 14 high-torque motors with two on the neck offering full-range mobility for activities like climbing the stairs or trudging through snow, along with an 11 Teraflop processing unit. Since KODA, Inc. is dedicated to providing technology-based solutions to help people with everyday problems, either chronic or otherwise, the secure blockchain network of KODA robot-dogs is closely monitored and cross-checked for consistent and effective AI improvements. For instance, a KODA, Inc. robot-dog in Detroit might be the first to slip on a patch of ice, but thanks to a “futureproof,” supercomputing network, robot-dogs who find their home in a warmer climate will know not to slip on a patch of ice even if the dog’s home ground temperature might never call for one.

The development of decentralized artificial intelligence is integral to the success of robot-operated emotional and physical support products. Decentralized AI essentially equips the built-in software with the ability to solve the reasoning, planning, learning, and decision-making problems that centralized artificial intelligence does not compute. By endowing the robotic dog with Decentralized AI technological capabilities, KODA, Inc. provides a robotic, smart companion that can offer care and guidance for several different purposes including but not limited to, simple companionship, walking guidance for blind users, protective services as a tech-savvy guard dog, or KODA, Inc.’s robotic dog can operate as an animalistic personal assistant capable of solving ordinarily complex issues.

Designer: KODA, Inc.

These hillside cabins in Norway form an eco-hotel, bringing guests to the edge of France!

Sometimes a trip to a cabin in the woods or mountaintops to just get off the grid for a bit is all we need to recalibrate – to escape wireless service and social media, and rough it in the wilderness without the constant buzzing and notification reminders from our cell phones. Call me crunchy-granola, but it’s all I’ve been thinking about recently. Nestled somewhere in the northeastern region of France, that cabin awaits my arrival. Reiulf Ramstad Arkitekter, Norwegian architecture, landscape architecture, and design firm based in Oslo, recently finished work on an eco-hotel, called 48°Nord, located somewhere between the Vosges and Alsace regions of France. 48°Nord is a hive of 14 hyttes, Norwegian for small houses out in the countryside, that come in four different forms.

Raised up on stilts to avoid disrupting the natural landscape, all of the four different cabins were built using Passive house construction methods, each with homogenous shingle facades clad from locally-sourced, untreated Alsatian chestnut wood. Closest to the eco-hotel’s main building, which keeps an intimate culinary experience provided with homegrown produce as well as an exhibition showroom for local art and craftwork, guests can stay in the Low Grass Cabins. Designed for guests with limited mobility, the Low Grass Cabins comprise only one floor and were built to be universally accessible. Stationed into the gentle slopes at an angle, the Low Grass Cabins form upside-down, irregular pentagons in order to lock securely into the mountainside while still offering raised views of the valley below. The Tree and Ivy cabins at 48°Nord offer two-person accommodations and were given a vertical nature with three floors to provide high, sweeping views for guests to enjoy from the top floor’s window. Finally, the Fjell cabins accommodate bigger families with sleeping arrangements available for four people. The Fjell cabins also feature two outdoor terraces, giving the option of private time for each member of the family staying in the cabin.

The interiors of 48°Nord’s cabin are generally uniform, with rustic, light-colored wooden walls, simple, built-in furniture, as well as concave, geometric windows that were precisely prepared to offer uninterrupted views of the surrounding natural landscape and quaint town of Breitenbach below. The eco-hotel was designed and constructed in the name of Scandinavian design, leaning into the refined minimal elegance that comes with full use of small spaces and energy-efficient practices. Franco-Danish landscape architect and owner of 48°Nord, Emil Leroy-Jönsson says of the eco-hotel, “It is the meeting of my two passions, my two cultures; nature and architecture, Denmark and Alsace.”

Designer: Reiulf Ramstad Arkitekter

This sanitizing coat rack is a pandemic-era design that will be a part of the restaurant’s new normal

Whether it be to the grocery store or the library, when I leave the house nowadays, you won’t catch me without my hand sanitizer. No matter how little room I have in my pockets, I won’t leave the house without it. However, most stores are installing hand sanitizing stations in their storefronts in order to encourage sanitary browsing. Typically these stations come in the form of an old, previously discarded working desk with a handwritten note taped on the front that reads a friendly, health code reminder to use the available hand sanitizer before entering the store’s sales floor.

Retail establishments were quick to install their own hand sanitizing stations to their storefronts, but for some, the makeshift health posts end up looking less than sanitary and more like worn-down gatekeepers whose only purpose is to enforce clean shopping. Mexico City-based NOS Design understood how design plays a major role in making this essential health precaution feel a little more inviting, so they teamed up with Trusty Tower to design a sanitizing coat rack that fuses functionality with necessity and looks more familiar and less like an unfortunate sign of the times. Their sanitizing coat rack based on a conventional, average-sized metal tube that’s bent at its top so that bottles of hand sanitizers can be placed at an angle. Just below the metal tube’s bend, a short rod insert holds the hand sanitizer in place, allowing the bottle to be pumped at an angle by pressing the coat rack’s top lid.

Additionally, NOS Design attached four hooks for different items like outerwear, purses, or some trendy mask cases. I know when I enter the stores that require hand sanitizing before browsing, it usually takes a minute for me to set all that I’m carrying down before I can sanitize, and even afterward, gathering all my belongings takes more time than necessary. NOS Design cuts that time in half by assembling a means to sanitize and providing an easy hanging spot for all of your belongings at the same time. Hopefully, since responsible shopping in the age of COVID-19 is so important, with designs like this one, sanitizing your hands won’t feel like such a hassle before you can resume regular (pre-Corona) programming (shopping).

Designer: NOS Design x Trendy Tower

This desktop dishwasher inspired by rain is the space-saving solution modern homes need

I usually do my dishes just before bed so all I have to worry about in the morning is making my coffee. On some evenings, however, I just feel too tired before bed – doing the dishes feels more like running a marathon. I live in a studio apartment, so I know the importance of keeping a tidy space, but I don’t have room for automatic machines like dishwashers or steamers. To come up with a solution for small spaces in need of an automatic dishwasher, a team of creatives from Yifeeling Design felt inspired by the cleansing and quiet nature of gentle rain to design a micro dishwasher called Rain that’s functional for small spaces and also quiet, so it can run through the night.

Rain’s structure is inviting and bright, like a gentle sunshower, with rounded edges and smoothed-down sides for a reflective finish and refined shine. Then, Rain’s translucent front facade hides the dishes in plain sight with raindrops etched onto the dishwasher’s glass-pane door. The stainless steel interior of Rain reveals a compartment large enough to hold your bigger plates and a few smaller bowls, making it the ideal personal-sized dishwasher. Sockets for water tubing are attached to Rain’s rear and provide clean water for washing and an exit tube for dirty water. Finally, Rain’s control panel is located on the front-facing, digital interface where you can find a timer option, the power, start, and stop buttons, as well as a mode selector.

Yifeeling noticed a few problems in our existing catalog of dishwashing options. Mostly, dishwashers are too bulky and require too much space, they’re expensive and just don’t fit into smaller kitchens. In order to reduce the volume and space that dishwashers regularly occupy, Yifeeling aimed to design a desktop dishwasher that doesn’t rely on noisy mechanics to get the job of cleaning dishes done. Instead, Rain utilizes the gentle cleanse that follows a day of rain. The days after those summer rainstorms always bring with them cleaner air quality and naturally fresh aromas – those days just feel cleaner. While rain can sometimes be destructive and bring on floods or thunderstorms, it is also a natural element of our ecosystem and it always brings life to dry climates or lush forests, despite the floods and lightning. The creatives at Yifeeling Design utilized this latter aspect of rain to bring their own desktop dishwasher to life.

Designer: Yifeeling Design

This tiny home in the Community First! Village is built for previously unhoused individuals

Beginning in 1998, a mobile food truck based in Austin, Texas, with the help of thousands of volunteers, has helped serve food to unhoused individuals seven days a week and 365 days a year. That food truck has since transformed into Mobile Loaves & Fishes, a social outreach ministry responsible for the development of “the most talked-about neighborhood” in Austin, Texas, Community First! Village. The village is one of MLF’s three core programs that were started to serve the unhoused population of Austin, Texas, and offers permanent and sustainable housing for an affordable price in a mutually supportive community.

Teaming up with Bailey Eliot Construction, McKinney York Architects, an architecture firm based in Austin, recently designed and constructed a micro-home for one of the residents of Community First! Village. In order to meet the new homeowner’s tiny housing criteria, McKinney York Architects planned to design a micro house that met both the homeowner’s requirements for privacy and the village’s commitment to community support. The home’s final design incorporates a butterfly roof, which implements the use of a central valley where the two pitched roofs meet to collect rainwater for further irrigation use. Additionally, installing a butterfly roof allows for plenty of natural lighting to enter through the windows without having an impact on the homeowner’s privacy.

Taking full advantage of the 200 square foot area limit for each micro-home, McKinney York Architects also installed a screened-in sunroom for the homeowner to have the option of either opening the screens up to the rest of the community or keeping them closed for optimal privacy. Inside the home, original pine timber lines the walls, giving the feel of a blank canvas for the homeowner to leave as is or design as they’d like. The tiny home manages to include a bedroom with room for a twin-sized or larger bed, a modest kitchen, a relatively spacious working area, dining space, and a cozy den for relaxing.

Community First! Village is a 51-acre development planned by MLF over the course of two phases which spanned over four years and has expanded to include a total of 500 tiny homes as well as community amenities such as gardens and behavioral healthcare facilities. In 2014, the first phase of Community First! Village commenced after Tiny Victories 1.0, a design competition in partnership with Mobile Loaves & Fishes and AIA Austin DesignVoice, invited firms to design sustainable, tiny housing solutions that take up no more than 200 square feet. Following the first phase, which culminated with a 27-acre master-planned community for the “chronically homeless” population of Central Texas, the village’s second phase kicked off in 2018. Today, Community First! Village offers permanent housing and encourages a safe, uplifting community space for more than 250 formerly unhoused individuals.

Designer: Mobile Loaves & Fishes, McKinney York Architects, and Bailey Eliot Construction

This memory safe lets you both display your digital photo reels and keep your physical memories safe!

 

Smartphones make it really easy to hold onto our memories. Built-in 4K video cameras, photo editing apps, and social media time-hop notifications all seem to work together to preserve our memories for us in designated digital spaces. Of course, keeping all of our memories and pictures in one digitized space comes with some risk. I need two hands to count the number of times I’ve lost my phone, along with more than 50,000 pictures, and backing up our devices is convenient until storage space dwindles and an upgrade must be made before backing up can resume. One’s, a safe for memories that also implements timekeeping visuals with a digital interface, was designed by Ji Ye Hong in order to merge our digital storage with our memory.

One’s, named in honor of someone’s memory, has a recognizable, circular shape reminiscent of a grandfather’s clock and swinging pendulum, further enhancing the design’s tribute to memory. By way of Bluetooth connectivity, the product’s 20-inch round display panel ticks through photographs according to your digital library’s memory of each given day, echoing the iPhone’s “On this day” feature found in your photo library. The slideshow essentially grabs photographs based on special days  – photos from a past birthday celebration will be displayed on future birthdays and as your memories are presented, the pendulum swings. Then, on the days your mom sticks around for lunch, you can filter out the memories from college for PG ones from childhood by selecting and curating photo albums from your smartphone to be displayed on One’s.

Largely in response to the memory reels that we digitize every day, the popularity in maintaining and seeking out our more physical memories like childhood photographs, iPod Nanos from 2005, or heirloom jewelry, has risen.
Near the power, brightness, and sleep-mode control panel, notches etched along One’s perimeter introduce the product’s safe function, which opens up by turning the display panel. Tucked behind the main display panel, you can find One’s physical-memory storage area. Similar to shelving units found in medicine cabinets, the inside of One’s features narrow shelves that can hold onto smaller items like stationery or textiles – whatever small memory might fit, One’s can carry.

Designer: Ji Ye Hong

This WFH office kit comes with AR glasses, a smartpen, and an AI speaker to streamline group projects!

We’ve been working from home for a while now. I’ve honestly last track of how long it’s been, but we’ve managed to avoid going stir crazy (so far) thanks to home renovation projects. Redesigning our workspaces so that they accommodate the growing list of the needs of today is essential to keep from losing our heads. Fortunately, with today’s ever-evolving technology, designs like MAZI from Younghyun Kim help make working from home a little more exciting.

MAZI consists of three different pieces of technology: an AI speaker, a pair of AR glasses, and an accompanying smartpen. Since group tasks such as marketing campaigns or architectural conceptualizations seem a lot more organized when each worker is in the same room, MAZI comes equipped with AR glasses that enable coworkers to share their visual perspective with other team members. For instance, while working on a sketch, an architect can literally share their line of sight with a collaborator so they can see the sketches in real-time, the same way we once could in the office. MAZI’s AI-powered speaker, which doubly functions as a carrying case, helps keep your hands-free while speaking with fellow team members, only raising the bar for the product’s goal of streamlining each workday. Secure in a carrying case, both the smartpen and AR glasses snugly fit into precisely shaped pockets. The smartpen from MAZI remains locked with a fingerprint scanner that only registers the owner’s prints, keeping your private business details secure and locked.

Once upon a time, work was entirely contained in one designated space: the office. With stay-at-home orders commencing early with the start of 2020, the office’s hub of fullscreen monitors, cable webs, and project workstations was forced to find a compromise in the form of working from home. Meaning ‘together,’ in Greek, MAZI was designed to provide workers with a portable office kit for those long WFH days spent in the living room on the phone with business partners. While collaborative, performance projects can easily be discussed through a phone call or e-mail chain, sharing a screen isn’t the same thing as sharing your vision.

Designer: Younghyun Kim

This concrete cubic home’s CNC cut plywood spiral staircase visible from the outside!

The first thing a person notices when entering your home sets the tone. Of course, how this ‘rule’ comes to life varies from home to home. The first thing someone might notice could be your favorite piece of artwork hanging in the corner, the amount of natural lighting, a view of the ocean in the distance, or it could be a messy shoe rack and markings on the wall. Whatever the case may be, for Danish architect Tommy Rand’s family home, he was sure to make the home’s main event, a handmade, spiral staircase, visible even before walking through the front door.

Somewhere in Aarhus, Denmark, Tommy Rand both designed and constructed his family’s home out of concrete and Norwegian Skifer stone, along with the home’s interiors and most of its wooden furniture. The concrete dwelling consists of five blocks, each one peaking from different angles, creating the subtle illusion of looking toward a tiny city’s skyline. The cluster of blocky stone perches dons a multi-tone brick exterior, with a smooth concrete finish, and offers elevated, semi-enclosed deck areas with views of the surrounding neighborhood. Looking through the home’s wide, ground-level window, its stone-cold attitude is soon visually warmed up even before walking through the front door. From the home’s front-facing window, Tommy Rand’s hand-constructed spiral staircase provides a warm welcome.

Made from 630 pieces of CNC-cut plywood, the spiral staircase was assembled and glued inside Rand’s concrete home for true measurements and onsite adjustments. The staircase itself exudes playfulness and indicates a family residing inside the home’s sturdy and thick concrete facades. The combination of Norwegian Skifer stone and concrete otherwise works to balance out the staircase’s gentler wooden accents with an overarching cool and hearty tone. The concrete’s immensity feels stable, mighty, and calming while the rich, subtly stained wooden accents bring the home’s interiors to life with rustic warmth, artfulness, and changing textures. Moving through the home, glazed windows let in natural light to ricochet from the glossy, wooden cabinets, tables, and doors that sprout between cool gray, concrete panels.

Concrete homes are generally known to be more energy-efficient with proper insulation acquired either through insulating foam or other thermal insulating methods. The thick concrete equips the home with innate strength and durability, providing a solid base for proper, sustainable insulation to keep the home warm during colder months and cool during the summer season. Even when it comes to literal warmth and coolness, from every corner of this home, it seems that a looming, cooler backdrop built from concrete naturally invites the heat that comes with a wooden finish.

Designer: Tommy Rand

This pet-friendly sofa’s two-tiered design means everyone has a place to rest!

Just like their owners, pets need space. A dog bed to call their own, a cat tower they can easily climb up and down, or a corner of the living room no human can reach. And when it comes to time spent together, it’s important for our human spaces, like sofas and big beds, to be accessible for our animal companions. To create a sofa for both pets and their owners, Hyun Jin Oh designed CoZY, an adjustable, two-tiered couch that meets both pets and their humans right where they are.

When it comes to pet furniture, during the construction phases, functionality sometimes outweighs style, but Hyun Jin Oh found a sweet compromise with CoZY. The sofa’s stripped-down frame is made from stainless steel, evoking an industrial-chic personality, and utilizes the tension of four bold, bright red straps of leather that wrap around the steel bars of CoZY’s armrest and base, two along the rear and one on both sides of CoZY. Hyun Jin Oh’s sofa was designed specifically to create a space that’s accessible for older and smaller dogs to take a breather. Since we typically rest on sofas, dogs naturally follow suit, but sometimes the sofa requires too high of a leap for a smaller or older dog to manage all on its own. In order to encourage dogs to join their human on the couch, Hyun Jin Oh’s CoZY design utilizes a pull-out wooden board that slides easily along the sofa’s X-axis.

Once the sofa’s wooden board is fully extended, a quarter of CoZY’s cushioned area lowers down for small and old dogs to easily hop onto and rest beside their owners. On the days, your dog would rather be alone, simply slide the wooden board back into place to return to CoZY’s original form. Even for the dog owners who typically don’t allow their animal companions to rest on human furniture due to the hassle that sometimes follows – stains from dirty paws, leftover clumps of fur from shedding, or maybe you just wanna spread your legs some – CoZY provides owners with plenty of legroom and separate sofa space, and also an already defined space for pets to relax without worry, so you can too.

Designer: Hyun Jin Oh

These two family homes are connected by trees in the concrete alleys of Cipulir, South Jakarta

Flowering above the terracotta and metallic roofs of Cipulir, South Jakarta, two trees emerge from concrete. On a 70-m2 plot of land, wedged between the bustling pedestrians and motorcyclists, DELUTION, an Indonesian architecture, and interior design firm, finished work on their latest architectural undertaking, two adjacent, private family homes called, ‘The Twins.’

Constructed overtime in three separate phases, the designers behind The Twins call it a ‘growing home.’ Built to accommodate four people or two small families, the layout for the two homes was inspired by exactly that – family. Two bedrooms, one bathroom, and both a kitchen and joint dining area fill the interior of one family home, while its next-door ‘twin’ neighbor consists of a living area, one bedroom, along with an additional bathroom. While each couple and the children of both families have their own private bedrooms and bathrooms, the two homes are connected by glass doors that lead to a stone walkway used to separate the homes.
Both of the two houses that comprise The Twins are accessible to the two families that call them home. Glossy, sliding glass doors open up to make an even larger living space for both families to relax in and enjoy. Both ends of the stone walkway open up to tiny courtyards where homeowners can relax and unwind with a book or morning coffee.

Just by looking up while moving through the home’s walkway, DELUTION’s clients can enjoy green canopies of two trees that reinterpret what spires could look like. The two trees protrude from The Twins’ distinct roofs like landmarks for the home’s residences or a modern-day designer’s take on a family crest. Accessible only on foot or motorcycle, I can imagine flying overhead in an airplane and being able to identity The Twins just by noticing those two trees – there’s home.

Designer: DELUTION