Modular and multi-functional shelf and mirror is an aesthetic addition to your space

Normally, the shelves that I look for or I actually get have one purpose only: to hold and store my books. And I have a lot, and I mean a lot, of books. But there are times when I want to be able to get something that is also decorative or can be a conversation piece (although that still hasn’t happened yet since I still need for it to just be functional). A lot of designers now are creating ideas, concepts, and sometimes actual products, that can be multi-functional and modular and shelves are no exceptions.

Designer: João Teixeira

Wave is a conceptual design for a shelf that also doubles as a mirror. Even better, it is modular so you can arrange it into different layouts, depending on your need, your preference, or your mood. Just don’t expect a full mirror of course since the shelf part and the shape of the entire thing can be a bit obtrusive. But if you’re just looking for a surface that can hold your books, decorations, and other knick knacks that happens to have a mirror attached to it, then this is something you will be interested in.

Since the concept is named Wave, the shape of the mirror and the shelves is wavy and reminiscient of the letter S. It is modular yes but no matter where you place the different parts, you’ll still get the wave. The renders show that there are around 4-5 parts that you can assemble and play around with, depending on where you want to place the shelves part or if you want it to be horizontal or vertical in orientation.

If what you really want is to look fully in a mirror, you may be annoyed with the way this is designed. But if this gets made into an actual product, those who will buy it will probably just see the mirror as part of the whole design of the multi-functional shelf. You can also probably only just place a few objects on it (most likely not part of my book collection) but again, this is more for the added aesthetics rather than a fully functional piece of furniture.

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Disc-like smart device uses light, vibration to provide alerts for the hearing impaired

Smartphones and smart speakers are pretty useful devices for times when emergencies and disasters are upon us and you need to be alerted to the dangers. But for those who are hearing-impaired, they may not be able to get fast access to information, especially if they’re not looking at their screens. Light flashes and vibrations are the fastest way to catch the attention of these individuals so devices that utilize these features can be helpful to both the hearing-impaired and regular hearing people.

Designers: Kim Myeonjin, Noh Gaeun

Lamptok is a concept for a lighting solution that can be attached to a smartphone or any surface in order to give information to the hearing impaired about a dangerous or important happening. It’s basically a notification medium that uses lighting and vibrations to alert the user to any disaster or emergency. Think of it as a griptok for your phone except its main purpose is not for you to hold your phone properly but to give lighting and vibrating cues for times when it is needed.

The round device can also be adjusted from something that can fit onto your finger to something that can be securely attached to any surface. It can be charged wirelessly, is MagSafe compatible, and has a USB-C port for wired charging. During times of disaster, it can be integrated with alert systems and also has built-in pictograms to help the user quickly understand what’s going on. It also has stronger vibrations than the smartphone so it can also be used as a sort of alarm clock. It is able to detect abnormal sounds as well and will alert the user to it. And it can also alert you to notifications on your phone.

Lamptok can be connected to your smartphone through Bluetooth so you are able to better control and customize it. The renders show the device in different colors like olive green, black, white, and orange. It is probably also designed to be water proof since there’s a render of it attached to the bathroom tiles for when you’re taking a bath and still need to be aware of what’s happening. This should be useful for hearing impaired people so hopefully this gets turned into an actual product.

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Narc robot concept helps detect contraband in public spaces

One of my family’s favorite things to see at places like malls and airports are the drug sniffing dogs. We always joke about wanting to pet them, although of course we’re not supposed to. But there are times when I pity them since they have to work hard and it can even be dangerous for them. There are of course other technologies and devices that can be developed so the load of detecting contraband does not fall solely on them or on the staff that are monitoring the security check machines in the terminals.

Designer: Junwoo Lim

This concept for a robot that can serve as a contraband detection tool can serve both cargo terminals and passenger terminals. Narc will be able to help machines, dogs, and humans detect contraband like explosives, drugs, and other dangerous materials that are not supposed to be in public places like airports and terminals. You probably didn’t like being called a narc (if ever you were called one) during your school days but this device, which looks like a robot with four legs, gets the job done.

For the cargo terminals, Narc can serve as the detector for small packages in the conveyer belt so the first pass will not need human intervention. It has a small x-ray button at the bottom and 90 degree rotatable legs and a movable body that can go up to 500m up and down. It can scan the small cargo by moving around the cargo rails so humans can just focus on monitoring larger cargo. For passenger terminals, the Narc can move around, like those robots going around malls asking if you need help. But this time, they really act as a “narc”, scanning random people and if they detect contraband, they will alert security staff.

Once they spot someone “suspicious”, the staff can use the portable ion scanner to detect if the person really is carrying contraband. A sample can even be placed in the middle of the suction port if it needs further checking. There may be some privacy issues involved here but that’s probably a problem that can be resolved or fixed by the airport or terminal if ever this concept gets made into an actual product.

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AI-powered robot vacuum concept brings both brains and heart to your cleaning chores

A lot of people like me leave the house early in the morning and return late at night just to rest and sleep. I rarely have time and energy to actually clean the house thoroughly. But of course you need to make time to get rid of dust or else your health and your peace of mind will be affected. Robot vacuums are the best friends of those who need a bit of clean up without exerting much energy and we’re seeing a lot of options and concepts for this kind of cleaning tool.

Designer: Raye

Hestia is a concept for one such tool, named after the Greek goddess of the hearth and the home because it protects your home from germs and dust. It is basically a robot vacuum cleaner but it uses AI technology to make the cleaning process easier and more convenient. The AI, together with the ultrasonic sensors located on both sides, helps the cleaner set a path to clean your home and also avoid obstacles (probably as long as you don’t leave random things lying around your floor). It has two rear wheels that can give it a good “kick” while the front wheels lets it go forward and sideways.

The vacuum itself looks like a small, flat robot with a small head on top. It has an external display that shows off the “emotion” of the robot with its camera and lidor sensor while the Demeter CPU enables the smart space cleaning feature. The default face is its normal, tranquil mode while the cleaning mode shows off an angry face because of the dirt and dust she needs to clean. When the battery is low, it shows off a weak face. The monitor also displays the battery level and the cleaning process.

The Hestia robot vacuum cleaner uses anodized aluminum and polycarbonate material so you get a more “sophisticated” but clean and minimalist look. The charging station which looks like the robot’s mother ship is able to empty the dustbin so you can just gather all the dirt and dust inside it for disposal later on. It seems like something that will greatly benefit people like me who are too busy (or sometimes lazy) to do regular cleaning.

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One-piece silicone measuring cup concept saves space in your kitchen

If you do a lot of cooking (by choice or by necessity), you probably have a lot of kitchen tools lying around. But not everyone has a spacious kitchen or cooking area so having instruments and accessories that are space savers can be a big blessing. We’re seeing a lot of pretty simple yet innovative solutions to small ticket kitchen items like silverware, cooking tools, accessories, etc. They might not revolutionize your kitchen but they do provide convenience (and space) which can sometimes make all the difference.

Designer: Hatice Esra SUNGUR

One such product, or at least concept, is for a measuring cup called Boi. If you cook regularly, then you’re in need of different sizes of measuring cups. But sometimes they take up space and if you have a small kitchen or storage, then that can be a problem. This concept solves that by designing a measuring cup that is just technically a one-piece silicone cup. Because of its material, it is flexible so the size can change according to what you need.

The idea for Boi is to use the flexbile material and the slider to adjust the size according to the measurement that you need for your ingredients and your recipe. The maximum capacity of the measuring cup is 250 millimeters and it is 20 centimeters long and 6 centimeters high. There are notches and labels in the cup so you know what size you need, ranging from 1 cup (250 ml), 1/3 cup (80m ml), 1/2 cup (125 ml), 1/4 cup (60 ml), and 1/8 cup (30 ml).

The renders shows the measuring cup to have an orange color but it’s easy to visualize it having other bright colors. This kind of kitchen tool will not only help you save space but can save you water and dish detergent since you’re just washing one item. It’s a pretty simple but interesting solution if you want a more space-saving and convenient tool for your cooking adventures.

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SME smartphone concept aims to aid the visually impaired

Smartphones are mostly created for those of us that are seeing or at least not visually impaired. But for those that want to be more inclusive, there are not that many similar products in the market that would cater to those that have some sort of visual impairment. Good thing that there are product designers out there who are thinking of such things and if their concepts are viable, I really hope that they get the funding to produce devices like this or at least major telecom brands adopt these ideas and create product lines for those that may need smart devices to communicate but are unable to use the usual ones.

Designer: Eslam Shafik

The SME is one such concept for a smart phone for the visually impaired. Unlike regular smartphones that are usually in a rectangular or square-ish shape, this one looks more like a smart speaker or a smart home hub. This a specific design direction that will make it easy for them to carry it around on the palm of their hand without a concern for its orientation. It also has a fabric mesh so you get a tactile grip on the smartphone and the materials used do not conduct heat so it’s comfortable for the user.

It even has a walking mode so the built-in high-quality camera will be able to guide the visually impaired as they’re walking. The voice assistant, Loutaz, can issue warnings when there are obstacles at a distance of not less than 50 centimeters. This assistant, powered by ethical AI, can also read out messages, social media posts, and other digital assistance you may need. It has a base for charging and to dock it when you’re not moving so it can still act like a smart home hub when you’re at home.

If further developed, this can be a pretty interesting, not to mention, useful device for those who need something like this. The 3D modeling seems to have dealt with the ergonomics and design aspect of the SME so what needs to be enhanced are the actual features and functions that will be truly helpful for the visually impaired.

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SME smartphone concept aims to aid the visually impaired

Smartphones are mostly created for those of us that are seeing or at least not visually impaired. But for those that want to be more inclusive, there are not that many similar products in the market that would cater to those that have some sort of visual impairment. Good thing that there are product designers out there who are thinking of such things and if their concepts are viable, I really hope that they get the funding to produce devices like this or at least major telecom brands adopt these ideas and create product lines for those that may need smart devices to communicate but are unable to use the usual ones.

Designer: Eslam Shafik

The SME is one such concept for a smart phone for the visually impaired. Unlike regular smartphones that are usually in a rectangular or square-ish shape, this one looks more like a smart speaker or a smart home hub. This a specific design direction that will make it easy for them to carry it around on the palm of their hand without a concern for its orientation. It also has a fabric mesh so you get a tactile grip on the smartphone and the materials used do not conduct heat so it’s comfortable for the user.

It even has a walking mode so the built-in high-quality camera will be able to guide the visually impaired as they’re walking. The voice assistant, Loutaz, can issue warnings when there are obstacles at a distance of not less than 50 centimeters. This assistant, powered by ethical AI, can also read out messages, social media posts, and other digital assistance you may need. It has a base for charging and to dock it when you’re not moving so it can still act like a smart home hub when you’re at home.

If further developed, this can be a pretty interesting, not to mention, useful device for those who need something like this. The 3D modeling seems to have dealt with the ergonomics and design aspect of the SME so what needs to be enhanced are the actual features and functions that will be truly helpful for the visually impaired.

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LAYER Design and Deutsche Telekom unveil the future of communication devices

As a huge fan of science fiction content, from books to movies to TV shows, I am excited to see which things from what I’ve read and seen will come true one of these days. And with the advances in technology, a lot of them are not far-fetched ideas anymore. There are some things that may be scary or at least creepy but it’s still pretty interesting to see what we’ll see next which we thought were just works of science fiction before.

Designer: Layer Design for Deutsche Telekom

German telecommunications company Deutsche Telekom recently unveiled the Concept T project which is a collection of advanced technology and gadget concepts that will show consumers what may be the future of communications. Concept View is a home hub with a twist: it has a 3D holographic AI-equipped virtual assistant called Emma to guide you through things like video calls and other digital world activities. It looks like a cross between a crystal ball and the Palantirs from Lord of the Rings but instead of showing you what the future holds, it will show you the future of technology.

A Wi-Fi router isn’t the sexiest gadget out there but Concept Level definitely makes it more interesting. It is a re-configurable router that is made up of different interchangeable, modular elements. The set includes a display unit, Wi-Fi sensing element, mesh repeater, and computational module for Web 3 use cases. The elements are designed using different geometric forms so it looks like you have interesting mini sculptures rather than an actual router.

Concept Buddy is your own personal robot at home, similar to the ones you see in malls and airports. It’s an AI-based digital assistant companion that is able to communicate through the “emotion and information display”. It is able to give reminders like taking medication and household chores and can also assist in calls, online shopping, and other tasks you may need assistance. It can even warn you of potential hazards and contact emergency services if needed. It is able to adapt to your routine and will only “come alive” when it is engaged with.

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Portable moka pot lets you get that espresso shot boost while traveling

When I travel to a new place, one of the things that I always want to try out are the local coffee places. However, not all places have really great original beans and not all coffee addict travelers would trust coffee shops especially if there are not a lot of recommended places. So I know some people who are picky with their caffeine fix who actually travel with all sorts of coffee paraphernalia. Of course this adds to their luggage so it’s not always that convenient. So having paraphernalia that’s handy and at the same time gives you that kick that you need is a must.

Designers: Vanshika Singhal and Yashi Jivnani

BrewPin is a portable coffee machine using the moka pot brewing method that was developed as a concept for coffee brand Bialetti. It is meant for those picky travelers that need to have their espresso shot when they want a caffeine boost and there isn’t any local coffee shop that would suit their taste or if there aren’t any coffee shops in general, like in the mountains or in rural areas. It looks like your typical portable coffee tool but it looks like it’s much easier to use.

The bottom part has a silicone cover with power coat and above it, you find the stainless steel water tank. There’s also a funnel filter and a coffee pod tank as well as a perforated plate where the moka magic happens. There’s a borosilicate glass on top where you pour your coffee in and a nozzle to pour the coffee from. Basically you just plug in the BrewPin, let the coffee brew your espresso shot and then flip it, twist off the cup, and enjoy your caffeine boost.

As someone who often complains that the hotel coffee is almost always no good, this can be a great tool to tide me over until I’m able to get to a proper coffee shop. The only downside to this is that you need to plug it in but if they’re able to create something that would harness energy from somewhere else to get that espresso shot, it would be perfect.

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Minimalist desk lamp is a flexible and functional space saver

For people who spend hours (or more than half the day) at their desk, having proper lighting is a major factor for productivity. If the room you’re in doesn’t always have the best lighting, having a proper desk lamp is also important. Sometimes though, lamps can be bulky and take up precious desk space. This concept for a desk lamp solves that problem and also brings a bit of sustainability to the table, so to speak.

Designers: Simone Guglielmetti, Tommasso Rossi, Andrea Tomaciello, Nikia Kirilovs

The Tars desk lamp is a minimalist concept that shouldn’t take up real estate in your work space. That’s because it’s designed to be clipped to the edge of the table so you’ll have space for all the important things you need to do on your desk. The design also makes it more flexible and gives it a wide range of movement so you can easily place the light where you actually need it. You can twist it around and probably also stretch it to a certain extent so it can reach the parts of your space that needs lighting.

Even the controls are pretty minimalist but also easy to use. The interface is on the bottom of the head so it’s easy to reach wherever you’ve placed the light. The circle button is to turn it on and off while the other button is to adjust the light temperature. They’re both edgeless and can be seen from both sides. The designers also said that it’s easy to assemble and disassemble, also keeping in mind the repairability when choosing the materials to create the lamp.

They were able to do a 3D printed model to make sure that all the functionalities that they designed were working. I for one would want to have a desk lamp like this since one of my problems in my home desk is space. As they say on the internet, “shut up and take my money” if this ever goes into production.

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