Modular Framework Chromebook laptop puts a price tag on sustainability

The advent of laptops solved one of the biggest problems in personal computing by allowing people to bring their computers around with them. At the same time, however, that portability came at a cost beyond just the literal monetary price. Compared to their larger and more stationary desktop cousins, laptops were practically walled gardens, beautiful and powerful yet also restricted and inflexible. Things have improved by now, of course, with many laptops offering upgradeable memory and storage, but that’s pretty much it. Everything else is soldered down or at least artificially locked down, making repairs difficult for anyone other than experts and authorized technicians. There are attempts to change this industry culture little by little through making modular and repairable laptops more mainstream, like this latest addition that brings those desirable qualities to Google’s Chrome OS for a price.

Designer: Framework

Framework is one of the extremely few companies selling laptops that were designed from the ground up to be sustainable and long-lasting in multiple aspects. In fact, it might be the only one of its that is trying to turn this vision into a profitable business. Many manufacturers have started incorporating some recycled materials into their products or are paying closer attention to how easy it will be to repair their newer laptops. For Framework, however, these are the heart and soul of its business.

The Framework Laptop attacks the problem of sustainability from multiple fronts. At its most basic, it uses plenty of sustainable materials for its products, about 50% post-consumer recycled (PCR) aluminum and 30% PCR plastics. Going beyond the laptop itself, even the packaging and shipping are designed with sustainability in mind, using recycled paper and carbon-offset shipping methods to get the laptop from the factory to your desk.

Framework is probably the only laptop manufacturer that is heavily betting on modularity to keep its laptops going. Calling to mind the PCIe laptop cards of old, each Framework Laptop offers the flexibility to swap out parts for more ports, more data storage, or more connectivity options. You can even choose different bezel colors to personalize your laptop, thanks to a simple yet powerful magnetic attachment system.

What’s new here is the option to buy a Framework Laptop running Google’s Chrome OS rather than Microsoft Windows, a.k.a. a Chromebook. Although some stigma still remains, Chromebooks have long outgrown their modest roots and can give Windows a run for its money in many cases. In fact, the Framework Chromebook will be capable of running SteamOS games via the Chrome OS Alpha channel, in addition to supporting Android and Linux apps.

One potential showstopper is that the Framework Laptop Chromebook Edition starts at $999 for its most basic memory configuration. While it’s $50 cheaper than Framework’s equivalent Windows laptop, it’s still steeper than most of the high-end Chromebooks on the market. Granted, it does have powerful hardware inside, but savings from the Chrome OS operating system should be more than just the price difference. You are getting a highly modular and repairable laptop in the end, but the price tag could give people a wrong impression about the cost of sustainability.

The post Modular Framework Chromebook laptop puts a price tag on sustainability first appeared on Yanko Design.

This wall-mounted desk has a revolving drawer inspired by a Matryoshka doll

All of us want more space, be it on the floor, desk, or screen. At the same time, however, few of us actually want furniture or devices to take up more space than usual. This contradiction of desires requires some creative design, such as a foldable phone that expands into twice its size or a modular desk that can shrink or grow as needed. This has admittedly led to quite a few interesting designs, particularly ones that really go outside the box to deliver a unique experience. This design concept for a desk floating desk is one such example, where a drawer can be an extension of a desk and more, depending on how you swing it, literally.

Designer: Joao Teixeira

The Matryoshka doll has become a common design pattern in many products, particularly because of its ability to inconspicuously hide parts of the same shape inside itself. That multi-layered construction is a great way to save space while also providing some flexibility in terms of functionality. It can’t be applied to all designs, of course, but some creative thinking can really go a long way in creating something unique and impressive.

This Revolver desk concept is one such example. In its “closed” state, it looks nothing more than a wall-mounted floating desk with a rather bulky drawer on the left side. It actually looks quite attractive in itself with its minimalist wooden design. The real interesting part is when you swivel the “drawers,” extending the very space of the desk itself.

These drawers are actually three triangular wooden compartments that swivel out like a fan. All except the innermost part are hollow, so they can nest inside each other like that aforementioned Russian doll. That innermost compartment has a wooden bottom, so it can be used to hold items like phones and accessories. You don’t have to remove them either when you “close” the drawers since they’ll all be sitting inside no matter what.

The other parts are like shelves for books and papers, items that you might take out when the work is done for the day. Depending on how you move these drawers, however, you can actually form an extension of the desk’s surface itself, though it won’t be on the same level. The important detail is that this extension’s configuration can be changed at any time, presuming there’s nothing inside those to block their movement.

The Revolver desk concept is interesting both visually and functionally. It almost has a whimsical character to it in how its drawers swivel around to provide more space than you initially see. Unfortunately, the design is fixed in one orientation only, with the drawers on the left side, though it’s not hard to imagine right-handed options being made using this design.

The post This wall-mounted desk has a revolving drawer inspired by a Matryoshka doll first appeared on Yanko Design.

This Bluetooth projector tries to bring the metaverse to your room

Although the hype around the buzzword seems to have dialed down a bit, it’s hard to deny that the metaverse or something like it will eventually become our reality. The merging of the physical and the digital is something that will happen eventually, pending the development of hardware and people’s mindsets. Most of the rhetoric around the metaverse involves placing ourselves in the digital realm through avatars. It can, however, also involve placing digital assets into our physical spaces. That could become possible with holograms of the future, but until then, this stylish home projector system could bridge the gap by transporting some parts of the metaverse into your living room or bedroom.

Designer: Gyung Min Lee

Home projectors have become trendy these days, especially for people pressed for space or simply want to have flexibility. Naturally, these projectors prioritize displaying videos and sometimes photos on a rectangular space that recreates a TV screen. Their primary target, after all, is entertainment, so their designs and hardware are geared toward that purpose. The Light House projector concept might be capable of that as well, but its raison d’être is really to set the mood in a room with different visuals and, if needed, different worlds.

Rather than a typical box-type projector, Light House is made of one or two cylindrical projectors hanging from a pole stand. It has a typical projector lens in the middle, surrounded by an array of six bright LED lights. Together, these pieces can project not only images but also different colors that match a specific theme or mood.

While Light House can probably function as a normal projector for watching videos, it really shines in transforming a room into a lively party or a calming space. The ambient lights can set the mood, flooding the area with vibrant colors or soothing hues as desired. It can even try to recreate natural light, giving you a proper wake-up call while mimicking the sunrise.

The metaverse comes into play when you start projecting virtual objects onto walls, ceilings, and floors. Rather than having your avatar go to a beach or into space, you can bring those scenes right into your bedroom. Of course, you can also project screens and other pieces of UI that show information, though you won’t be able to interact with them directly except through a smartphone or a computer.

Although it’s not the most efficient use of a projector, Light House makes an interesting proposition on how we can build a bridge between the real and the virtual without having to wear headsets or touch screens. We’re still a long way from creating convincing room-wide holograms, so until then, we’ll have to make do with projectors like these, though hopefully with some form of hand gesture control in the near future.

The post This Bluetooth projector tries to bring the metaverse to your room first appeared on Yanko Design.

LG Rollable phone hands-on video shows the future that we could have had

Samsung might be crazy about foldable phones and is trying to make them mainstream, but these aren’t the only futuristic designs that could change the way we use smartphones forever. In some ways, it might actually be the less practical and less economical option, considering all the costs and compromises that had to be made to make it work well. Another option that phone manufacturers have been looking into is a phone that expands its display by rolling out part of the screen. LG was one of those dreamers and was on the verge of finally making it happen when it sadly had to close up its mobile shop. While the LG Rollable will no longer be, new information and videos show how this design could have offered a better way to have a phone and a tablet in one.

Designer: LG

To be fair, there is no clear winner yet among the different designs of these “morphing” smartphones. Foldables are currently leading the race, but it might only be a matter of time before rollables start rolling out. Despite being relatively older, foldable designs still have a lot of growing up to do. For example, one design requires having a second on the outside to make the phone even usable when folded. There is also still plenty of room to improve the hinge in order to reduce creasing. There’s also the fact that the flexible panel used is still more fragile than the regular displays on regular phones.

As this new hands-on video shows, the LG Rollable almost fixes most of those concerns. When rolled up, it is pretty much just a regular phone in a regular size that happens to have a softer display on the back. When rolled out, however, the 6.8-inch phone becomes a 7.4-inch tablet that, while smaller in size, could easily replace “mini” tablets in terms of use.

That’s the same spiel that phones like the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold series make, but a rollable design has a few advantages. One of the biggest is that the “main” part of the display doesn’t need to be flexible and fragile and can be as rigid as typical smartphone screens. Only the area that actually bends and rolls has to be flexible. This makes the phone easily usable in its rolled-up form while also minimizing the potential for damage.

As a first-gen device, the LG Rollable does still have a few flaws. The creases aren’t completely gone, and there are actually more than one of them this time. There’s also an audible sound when the motors roll the side of the phone to shrink or expand the display. These imperfections could be solved by iterating over the design and the technology, though that will no longer be possible in LG’s case.

It is definitely a tragedy that LG shut down its mobile business, especially before it had the chance to bring the LG Rollable to the market. There are, of course, other brands that will try to pick up where it left off to prove the feasibility of a rollable design. Perhaps those would have already addressed the flaws of what would have been the market’s first rollable phone and would deliver something that is a bit closer to the ideal form-changing phone.

The post LG Rollable phone hands-on video shows the future that we could have had first appeared on Yanko Design.

Logitech G Cloud handheld device puts a different spin on mobile gaming

For gamers, being able to play anywhere at any time is a bit of a dream come true. Of course, that has always been possible with certain game systems, like the Nintendo Game Boy, the Sony PlayStation Portable, or even smartphones, but a single device that is able to do all of these is still an unreachable goal. Thanks to advancements in technology, particularly in cloud computing, that dream is slowly becoming a reality. And it’s that kind of reality that Logitech’s latest device is trying to achieve with a gaming handheld that lets you play almost any game available, at least any game that’s available on smartphones or through the cloud.

Designer: Logitech

Logitech is best known for its line of computer accessories ranging from keyboards and mice to webcams. It doesn’t make nor sell computers, and this Logitech G Cloud handheld would be one of, if not its first, computing device. It’s a device aimed at a rather niche market that straddles the line between smartphone and gaming console, and it’s a market that it might have difficulty winning unless it plays its cards right.

This isn’t the first handheld gaming device to come in this form, after all, with the Nintendo Switch and Valve’s Steam Deck leading the market in terms of popularity. It isn’t even the first dedicated Android-powered gaming handheld to make its way to the market. And as those other attempts might have proven, it’s not an easy market to conquer. Then again, they might have just been ahead of their time.

In terms of design, the Logitech G Cloud aims for comfort and convenience to set it apart from both smartphones as well as other gaming handhelds. It’s relatively light, thanks to having nearly the same specs as a 7-inch mid-range Android tablet. Compared to a smartphone or tablet, however, it has dedicated physical controls that make playing many games easier. Logitech has even set its sights beyond just technical performance, boasting of the device’s carbon neutrality and sustainable packaging.

In terms of user experience, the gaming handheld is pretty much an Android tablet with a few built-in features related to gaming. In addition to a game launcher that takes a page out of the Nintendo Switch, it also has built-in support for cloud gaming services like Xbox Cloud Game Pass and NVIDIA GeForce Now. Additionally, it can also stream games running on an Xbox console or Steam PC at home, thanks to remote play functionality available on these platforms. In other words, the device can practically run any game from any platform except the PlayStation, presuming those services and features are available in the owner’s region, of course.

While it sounds like heaven for gamers, it’s still uncertain whether it will be a commercial success for Logitech. Many of these features can also be enjoyed on a large smartphone these days, so the Logitech G Cloud doesn’t really sound too unique. It does have the convenience of having a single device for gaming with built-in controls, but almost everyone has that kind of device in their pockets these days; they just need a good controller to go along with it.

The post Logitech G Cloud handheld device puts a different spin on mobile gaming first appeared on Yanko Design.

This waste bin has a neat trick for segregation and has a surprising function

We’re often told to separate our trash so that biodegradable, recyclable, and other types of waste don’t mix. That’s easier said than done, of course, thanks to the different categories that trash falls under, plus almost all waste baskets and trash cans are just singular receptacles designed without segregation in mind. Because of these considerations, most people don’t develop that good habit, especially at home. This “Hole Box” design concept for a home or office trash bin tries to solve that problem not just with separate sections for different kinds of trash but also by making garbage segregation as easy as playing a shape puzzle game.

Designer: Nikolay Vladykin

The problem with most garbage segregation systems is that they are wasteful and confusing. In many cases, the same amount of space is reserved for different types of trash, even if the volume of one kind is just a fraction of another. PET bottles take up more space than paper or even these bottles’ caps, for example. They can also be confusing because not all objects cleanly fall in those categories, especially in places where there are more than four of them.

Hole Box makes a rather intriguing solution to that puzzle by turning trash management into something like a puzzle. Rather than just equal spaces for different kinds of trash, sections have different capacities which can be utilized for waste that might need more or less space. Paper and boards, for example, can go to a section with a taller but narrower area, while recyclable waste will go in a bigger chute.

What makes this design concept even more interesting are the holes for different kinds of waste. These can be assigned to trash that comes in specific sizes and shapes, such as plastic cups and containers, or they can be labeled as needed. More importantly, however, these “holes” can be equipped with different bags inside so that they are really segregated the moment you put something in its proper place.

One rather curious design of the Hole Box is that it can also function as a pouf or even a table. The removable top not only provides access to the trash inside but also has a cushion you can sit on. Whether you’d actually like to sit on what is essentially a wastebasket is a different question, but it at least offers another seat should you be in need of one in an emergency.

The post This waste bin has a neat trick for segregation and has a surprising function first appeared on Yanko Design.

Orbit PC mouse gives your upper body an exercise to avoid strain injuries

The computer mouse today may look a bit different compared to its first incarnation, but the fundamental design of this important input device hasn’t exactly changed over the decades. That, unfortunately, also means that the problems associated with this old design haven’t really disappeared either, especially those that cause physical injury over time. There has been a great deal of interest lately in redesigning the mouse to be more ergonomic, but not everyone agrees that changing the shape is enough. This design concept, for example, takes a very different approach to resolving the problem of repetitive strain injury or RSI, mostly by shifting the movement away from the arm and wrists and giving your upper body a workout instead.

Designer: Simon Hochleitner

The computer mouse and even the computer keyboard are very unnatural interfaces as far as our bodies are concerned. Especially with the mouse, the hand and the arm it’s attached to are forced into an unnatural position, whether it is in motion or at rest. The movements associated with prolonged and repeated use of the mouse eventually lead to what is sometimes called “mouse arm,” as well as the injuries that come with it. You might think that your arm is getting some exercise, but it’s really the wrong kind of movement and resting position that actually causes those injuries.

Ergonomic mice can only do so much since it simply shifts the tension and strain to other parts of the hand and arm. Orthopedists and physiotherapists might have a different idea on how to solve this problem, and it unsurprisingly involves using correct movements and posture. What may come as a surprise, however, is how this can be done by simply changing the way we use the mouse.

James Dyson Award national winner Orbit redesigns the mouse not by changing its shape but by changing the way we move it across a flat surface. Instead of simply sliding over a mouse pad, Orbit has three resistance bands that hold the “mouse” in the center. To move the mouse, you have to exert a bit of effort to counter the resistance, which, in turn, shifts the force to other muscle groups, particularly the ones responsible for posture. With this system, the body is forced not to slouch and use those upper body muscles instead of relying on wrist and forearm muscles to move the mouse.

Orbit actually does change the design of the mouse by turning it into a joystick. Unlike a typical joystick, however, you still have to move it across the surface, much like a mouse. The only difference is that the joystick shape keeps the arm in a more natural position to reduce stress. The touch-sensitive ring on top acts as a mouse wheel so that you don’t have to change your hand’s position or stop the movement just to use it. There is also a “flat” version that more closely resembles a traditional mouse that’s designed for gamers.

Whether it’s changing the shape of the mouse or adding some resistance, it’s encouraging to see designers challenging the status quo when it comes to this input device. It might still take some time before the industry embraces these ideas, but increasing awareness about the problems with computer mice is an important first step in changing people’s perceptions.

The post Orbit PC mouse gives your upper body an exercise to avoid strain injuries first appeared on Yanko Design.

This lamp concept, inspired by the Earth and the moon, provides two kinds of light

Lamps come not just in many forms but also in different intensities and with different purposes. Some lamps are made to shine brightly in order to provide sufficient illumination, while others have a softer glow in order to set the ambiance of a room. Most of the time, these different functions are performed by different lamps, mostly because it’s difficult for the same design to serve the same purpose. Sure, you may be able to control the light’s intensity, but its direction and diffusion are entirely different things. This lamp concept, however, tries to prove that such a thing is possible, and it looks a bit to the heavens to find inspiration.

Designer: Nicola Pezzotti, Andrea Gallarini

A lamp that can provide both bright directed light and soft diffused illumination is going to be a winner for many people. Such a lamp would naturally save space and money, performing two functions in the space of one. It’s harder to pull off, though, given the different purposes they serve and the different requirements. It’s not impossible, though, especially with some creative and unconventional thinking, taking inspiration from unlikely sources.

As its name suggests, Orbis takes inspiration from the orbit of heavenly bodies, specifically that of the moon around the Earth. The cylindrical lamp holds a bulb standing as a pillar in the middle. A slider on top lets you direct where the bright light shines and whether it occludes part of the light or not. This is almost similar to how the moon travels across the night sky or how its different phases only show part or all of its face.

The moon’s light is also less harsh than the sun’s, and the Orbis lamp also provides that kind of lighting. A button at the top activates a ring of light on top, which has a softer glow and is perfect for a night or mood lamp. This way, a single lamp can provide two kinds of light for your room, letting you choose what to use for which purpose. Perhaps you want a more directed and brighter light while reading before bed and then switching to a gentler light when you finally want to sleep.

If not for the cord that gives power to this lamp, Orbis could be placed almost anywhere, whether on a desk or beside your bed. As far as structure goes, it isn’t exactly revolutionary, but its unusual design and mechanism successfully turn it into an interesting piece of decoration and lighting in any room.

The post This lamp concept, inspired by the Earth and the moon, provides two kinds of light first appeared on Yanko Design.

This gigantic bi-level toolbox is actually a workstation in disguise

When the world seemingly went crazy, and everyone was suddenly forced to work at home, we became more acutely aware of how precious and how little space we actually have at our disposal. Few people had an extra table to use as a workstation; fewer had extra rooms to convert into makeshift offices. Space-saving modular furniture became quite popular in the past two years or so, especially ones that could transform into different configurations to serve different purposes. That demand and interest gave rise to quite a few interesting designs and mechanisms that made that possible, including one cabinet that takes its inspiration from the humble toolbox to present a storage solution and workspace that can fold out of the way when not in use.

Designer: Benjamin Thut

Most homeowners are probably familiar with toolboxes, but one that’s popular among craftsmen is the bi-level toolbox. Thanks to a somewhat ingenious design that is now a bit commonplace, the box is able to store even more tools and parts than a regular box. The top half splits open to reveal layers of containers, making it almost an incredible feat to fit everything inside a compact storage unit.

Utilizing the same design principle, the Tool cabinet 490 implements space-staving storage that could solve many of the problems homeowners now have in keeping work and personal life separated. Rather than lying flat on the ground, the cabinet is like a bi-level toolbox standing on one of its ends, blown up to life-size proportions.

The mechanism remains the same, though, with the doors of the cabinet moving sideways to reveal two layers of compartments flanking the main body. Instead of containers, however, you have shelves of different sizes to hold books, files, and other items you might need to keep within arm’s reach. Thanks to the bi-level design, you don’t have to worry about these items getting in the way when you fold down the cabinet.

The main section of the Tool cabinet can serve different purposes, depending on how the cabinet is being used. It can be a workstation with a fold-out table that can be closed down at the end of the day. Or it can be a typical cabinet, with the central section reserved for hanging clothes and shelves for folded clothing and accessories.

Whether it’s at home or even in the office, the Tool cabinet 490 can be an efficient way to save space without sacrificing functionality or storage capacity. It even has wheels that make it possible to roll the entire contraption to any location, turning it into an agile and flexible solution for floor space problems. Its industrial and utilitarian aesthetics might indeed clash with some motifs, but those really pressed for space might not mind that too much if they can have a portable and multi-functional workspace hiding in plain sight.

The post This gigantic bi-level toolbox is actually a workstation in disguise first appeared on Yanko Design.

Niko trash bin tips the balance towards usability and sustainability

It’s sometimes both frustrating and amazing how simple changes can have massive impacts. That is true not just in philosophy and productivity but also in design, where a small detail can make or break a product. A small blemish can ruin a visual masterpiece, or a single part out of place could become a liability rather than an asset. Conversely, sometimes that small change can dramatically improve the usability of a product, almost changing the narrative completely. A wastebasket, for example, can become more than just a place for trash that we normally avoid, turning into an almost welcoming receptacle for things we will throw away as well as things that might still get another chance in life through recycling.

Designer: Fabio Rutishauser

While we’re all told to throw away our trash properly, trash cans and wastebaskets seem to be designed to discourage that habit. Because of what they hold, they’re often designed to be hidden in shame from view. Most are also designed to make it harder to place things in them, as well as difficult to segregate the different types of waste you’ll be throwing away. For example, why do all trash cans have small openings that face all the way up and away from you?

Niko challenges decades of design convention and presents a waste bin that is supposed to be more usable than ordinary waste baskets. That’s thanks to a single design change, where a “fin” protrudes from the bottom of the container, raising one side a little and making it tip forward just a bit. This puts the opening at an angle where it’s easier to put things in, even from a distance. It doesn’t require you to drop trash into the opening with precision or to walk over just to do that because the opening is facing upward.

The trash bin is also rather unique in its appearance, looking more like those file boxes you store folders and paper in. It’s actually made of two bins of different sizes, with the smaller box being a detachable container with a handle. The idea is that this section can hold sheets of uncrumpled paper that can perhaps be reused later. Of course, there’s no hard rule for that, and you can also use the two boxes to segregate different types of waste material.

Niko is made from powder-coated sheet steel, giving it its own sustainable appeal. A trash bin that encourages segregation and recycling is an ideal office accessory where there is a lot of paper waste that doesn’t get separated often enough. It also brings with it a small change that inclines the container to make it a little bit more usable while also giving it some character so that you won’t have to be embarrassed about showing it off, regardless of the trash inside.

The post Niko trash bin tips the balance towards usability and sustainability first appeared on Yanko Design.