This electric, self-driving, smart ferry is the Tesla of public transport boats!

Traffic is only increasing every day in cities and if they are located in a coastal area then using waterways is one of the most efficient ways to cut down on road congestion. Along with managing the flow of vehicles on land, the climate crisis has accelerated the need for smart, climate-friendly mobility solutions worldwide. Zeabuz, a Norwegian company, has stepped up to the need of the hour and will be launching a self-driving ferry next year!

The ferry will carry 12 passengers and will operate like an elevator where all you have to do is press a button to summon it. Zeabuz’s zero-emission ferry was first developed by researchers at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) in 2018 and the 2021 launch shows Norway’s commitment to developing climate-conscious transport systems. This ferry will be autonomous, “Autonomy fits like a glove with electric vehicles. This enables better control, optimal operation, safety, and maintenance. Our autonomy solution is world-leading and can enable self-driving ferries that safely manoeuver among other boats, dock to the quay by themselves and handle passengers safely,” says Asgeir J. Sørensen, director of NTNU’s research center on autonomous maritime operations, NTNU AMOS. Apart from wirelessly charging at docks, it is safe to assume that solar panels will be the way to go with a backup battery for winter months when the sunshine is not enough in Norway. Many major cities can replicate this solution to fit their water channels and maybe even boost tourism while reducing the vehicle count on the roads during rush hours.

As we try to build a sustainable future, boats needed a technological upgrade to give the people a greener alternative to road transport. The Zeabuz ferry reduces operation costs which also makes it economical – and on that note, riding this ferry will be free in Trondheim which will encourage more people to adopt emission-free commutes. The electric ferry will operate along the canal that connects the port and the city center of Trondheim and will charge itself when docked. This cuts the travel time from 15 mins to 1 minute as passengers won’t need to walk between the two locations. Keeping the urban audience in mind, the ferry also has the capacity to transport passenger bicycles. Water transport was popular before the invention of cars, and while it largely only benefits coastal communities, they are also the most densely populated which puts them first in line for emission-free transport solutions. Electric self-driving boats like these can truly reduce the traffic in big cities and improve air quality as well as reduce noise pollution levels.

Designers: Zeabuz and NTNU

This planter + lamp combo is an award-winning solution for the houseplant-obsessed millennial!

Any millennial can tell you that when it comes to interior spaces, both houseplants and light fixtures have this way of making a bedroom or office space feel a little bit more complete. Lighting design and indoor plants can complement one another by shifting focus from one to the other, and so on. Or, in some cases, they merge into a single product that simultaneously brightens and breathes new air into different indoor spaces. That’s the case for the ceiling, pendant, and floor lamp called Ring, a European Product Design Award-winning interior light fixture designed by Jackie Luo and Wilfried Buelacher for Lampenwelt.

The lighting fixture is ultimately a simple design, thanks to its hybrid of design attributes from both integral parts of this product: the common houseplant and lighting accessory. The lamp itself can be hung as a pendant lamp, but can also function as a floor lamp when not suspended from the ceiling. If the pendant lamp is the decided lamp, then the pots for houseplants can either be positioned in the center of the lamp’s ring or entirely done without. A centerpiece for Ring provides the placeholder for plant pots to hang from but can be opted out for a straight, iron bar. Alternatively, users can insert a spotlight that works to enhance the light coming from Ring, which can be used for any variation of the lamp. Thanks to the subdued yet infinite nature of the lamp’s circular head, houseplants are free to drape and grow as naturally as they please. The fixture itself gently diffuses light throughout the room in a circular frame so that maximal reach is guaranteed. This product’s ambient, warm lighting, and rounded top bring a sense of adaptability to any space you choose to position it.

During the daytime, houseplants like String-of-Pearls or ivy can bask in the sunlight but come sunset, the Ring’s circle of light provides a gentle frame for leaf-filled pots. With today’s generation’s excitement over houseplant decor, it’s no wonder Ring’s final product design doesn’t present itself as a hybrid at all, but rather, a distinguishable household item deserving of its own light.

Designers: Jackie Luo, Wilfried Buelacher (of JWdesign) for Lampenwelt

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This Star Wars-inspired smart assistant will turn your home into X-Wing Starfighter!

Nadeem Hussain, a United Kingdom-based designer, recently rendered a smart assistant robot that was inspired by BB-8 from Star Wars for Render Weekly’s Instagram showcase. Sometimes the most eye-catching designs find their inspiration from well-known film and television characters. If the designer channels their inspiration well, then the final product won’t be a spitting image of that character, but a gentle reminder of how art forms are inherently interconnected.

When design feels inspired by something as iconic as Star Wars, the tricky part doesn’t have to do with imitating the franchise’s original creativity, but with evoking a feeling of familiarity. Hussain’s render of a new smart assistant is as charming and functional as Star Wars’ BB-8 robot but resembles a futuristic robot that might reside elsewhere in the intergalactic universe. BB-8 is described as an “astromech,” or repair droid with humanlike qualities such as general skittishness, a fight or flight response system, and an overall softly charismatic disposition. The same can be said for Hussain’s interpretation of the household smart assistant. In today’s world, where technology is depended on for repair work just like the astromech is in the Star Wars universe, it’s vital to bridge cutting-edge innovation with familiar, natural design attributes, and this vision of a home smart assistant does just that. Thin, gray fabric lines half of this two-bulb miniature robot in order to indicate the product’s speaker features, and a true-tone, computer display fills out the smart assistant’s touch screen face. The smart assistant’s bigger globular base slides across surfaces with so much ease that it imitates a hovering orb, the likes of which we’ve been acquainted with time and time again on the silver screen.

As our world quickly develops into a technological hub of digitized timelines and self-driven cars, it seems that references from film and television connect us more than we might know. Smart assistants are becoming more and more popular in today’s households since there’s still room for both software and hardware developments. It’s comforting to know that creatives behind such iconic stories like Star Wars have imagined this future long before. Nadeem Hussain’s rendition of a smart assistant proves adherence to today’s technology and a familiar acknowledgment of generation-defining franchises, which is exactly what makes such artful displays of passion so eye-catching.

Designer: Nadeem Hussain

Disney robot with human-like gaze is equal parts uncanny and horrifying

Robots with human-like expressions are becoming ever more impressive, but Disney Research might just induce some nightmares with its latest project. Gizmodo reports that Disney has developed a system that gives humanoid robots more realistic gazes an...