Modular DJ deck controller lets you decide how you want to mix your music

Although it might seem like it, controllers for different devices and gadgets are actually designed to help make users’ lives easier. The overwhelming number of buttons on a traditional TV or set-top box remote, for example, are there to give nearly instant access to functions without having to dig your way through menus. Needs and trends change over time, however, and devices need to adapt with them, just like how those TV remotes have become significantly minimal, some with no more than five buttons. There are controllers, however, that can’t really be distilled down to half a dozen switches and buttons. Complicating matters is how different people might have different ideas on how to best use those controls. Straddling the fine line between those two camps, this design concept puts users in complete control of one of the busiest controllers in the market.

Designer: Marko Filipic

When there are so many things happening quickly that need your attention, the last thing you need is to fiddle with menus to remain in control. Sometimes, you don’t even get a few seconds to think about your next move and just function on autopilot. This is often the case with complicated controllers like the decks that DJs use to mix, scratch, and direct the flow of music at any given moment. A deck controller would have dozens of buttons, sliders, switches, and dials, but not everyone uses those same controls in the same way all the time.

This modular controller concept brings one of the rising trends in product design to the world of DJing, allowing the user to decide exactly how to arrange those controls or which ones to actually have present in the first place. The idea is to have a platform where one can easily add, remove, or relocate those gizmos where they’re most convenient. There are parts that are permanently attached to the deck, like the two large dials on each side, but the rest is fair game for the DJ.

This design is made possible by a grid of Pogo connectors in the middle of the deck, similar to those gold dots you’d find in older smartwatches as well as tablet keyboard covers. Here you can make any arrangement of buttons, sliders, and dials, some of which take up more than one “block” on that grid. In a way, it becomes a fun puzzle activity for DJs to build their own personalized deck.

The base design for this modular DJ controller leans more towards minimalist trends with its white coating and lack of decorations. Admittedly, this might look a little out of place among a DJ’s other tools, so there’s also a variant that brings those familiar accent lighting on a predominantly black deck, a better representation of a DJ’s vibrant and unpredictable style.

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How this 3D printed footwear concept tries to push the limits of tech and design

3D printing is one of those revolutionary technologies that truly changed the world even years after it became a hot topic. Whether you’re a lone hobbyist or a small company, these seemingly magical boxes are able to bring ideas and dreams to life or at least help jump-start the process of testing and refinement. Despite its amazing achievements, 3D printing technology is actually still at its puberty stage, with plenty of room for growth and, more importantly, experimentation. Fortunately, there are plenty of designers, engineers, and dreamers who are willing and eager to push the boundaries of what 3D printers are able to accomplish, whether it’s in manufacturing, food, or design. This experimental shoe, for example, makes you look like you’re wearing some sort of sci-fi wireframe footwear, and its complex structure really puts 3D printers to the test.

Designer: Matthew Blunt

In the beginning, 3D printers naturally had very limited capabilities, able to build only closed forms or relatively simple shapes. The materials used would be variants of plastic that would be unsuitable for anything but the gentlest and driest applications. Over time, though, 3D printing has moved onto a wider variety of materials, like metal or even chocolate, and more complicated structures. EXPLR 02 builds on top of that to create a design that is one part made of geometric structures and another part inspired by nature.

The result is a pair of shoes that look like the wireframe that you’d see in 3D modeling software, though with an even higher resolution and number of empty spaces. The design, however, takes its inspiration not from those digital artifacts but from nature itself. Repeating patterns, organic forms, and an almost chaotic composition all come together to create footwear that is both beautiful and intriguing.

This kind of design also pushes the envelope of what can be produced by 3D printers, particularly because of structural and material requirements. The complex mesh structure of the shoes requires an agile and flexible 3D printer, while elasticity and durability would need to be provided by unconventional materials that might not yet be available on these printers.

Whether EXPLR 02 can be a useful and practical footwear design, however, is still an open question. The myriad holes on the shoe’s surface provide better ventilation but also has less protection for the foot inside it. The structural integrity of such a design can also be in question since the thin intersecting lines could make it less durable under rugged conditions. Once resolved, though, it could open the doors to usable 3D-printed footwear, which could, in turn, unleash the floodgates of creativity in coming up with fresh shoe designs.

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Playful coffee table concept brings Piet Mondrian’s three colors to your home

Coffee tables, sofas, side tables, and shelves have all become points of interest and pride these days. Since they usually become the visual centers of a room, owners take the opportunity to use furniture that either reflects their interests and personality or, at the very least, shows off their design tastes. The variety of designs for tables and chairs can range from the ultra-minimalist to the highly elaborate, each with its own advantages and disadvantages. You don’t have to go overboard, however, just to make a memorable impact. This table, for example, is nothing but a few circles, one of which isn’t even full, and three colors, but the asymmetric combination gives it a vibrant and playful character, especially once you start looking at it from different angles.

Designer: Miguel Pinheira

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Dutch artist Pier Mondrian showed that it doesn’t take much to leave a lasting impression. His famed “Composition with Red, Blue and Yellow” simply used three colors, aside from black and white, and asymmetrical shapes to create a masterpiece that would be remembered for decades. This harmony of contrasts and economy of colors are what inspired this peculiar table design, resulting in a piece that, while artistic, also conveys some of that tension between elements in a lively manner.

Instead of squares, the RYB Coffee Table uses two circles and a half circle joined by transparent rods that make the circles look as if they’re floating on air. The three pieces serve different functions, like a tabletop, a secondary table, and a magazine or vinyl record holder. The top circle can even be removed and placed in a different position, making the design a bit modular.

While the main parts can be made of different materials and use a monochromatic scheme, the best effect is achieved with translucent or transparent material and sticking to the original red, yellow, and blue triplet. This particular combination really brings out the table’s personality, making it look like hard candy or stained glass. Even better, looking at the different pieces through each other can bring out other colors, like green resulting from mixing yellow and blue.

In terms of functionality, however, the RYB Coffee Table is probably better as a side table, though it will still manage to grab anyone’s attention, regardless of its location. Its arrangement makes it look a little unbalanced visually, which could make some people hesitate to put anything fragile on top. That’s also why it’s probably better off to the side rather than as a centerpiece, lending a bit of vibrancy and life to the room without getting in the way.

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This quirky mouse redesign reuses mechanical keyboard parts for buttons

The venerable computer mouse hasn’t changed its basic format in decades, though there have been additions like the middle mouse button or scroll wheel and shifts from trackball to laser. That means that this essential tool for modern-day life still bears many of the ergonomic flaws of its ancestor, an almost literal pain point in the age of computing. There have been a few design ideas centered around fixing this problem, though many of them pretty much change the mouse to the point that it has become unrecognizable. This particular design concept, however, has none of those and is instead focused on making the mouse a little bit more sustainable, mostly by letting you reuse keyboard parts that you might already have lying around.

Designer: Hizin Joo

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There has been a surge of interest in mechanical keyboards, especially among workers and gamers that rely heavily on precision, comfort, and satisfying experiences. Because of this, there are plenty of keyboard switches and keycaps available in the market for those who not only love customizing their keyboards but also repairing them on their own. In contrast, computer mice have barely reached that point where you can easily replace broken buttons, let alone change certain parts to your heart’s content and delight.

That is the kind of limitation that the Gima mouse concept tries to overcome, and it does so in a rather curious and almost whimsical way. The typical mouse buttons are replaced by what looks like keyboard keys because they are actually keyboard keys. Underneath the keycaps are actual mechanical keyboard switches that you can mix and match with whatever spares you might be lying around.

The general idea is to offer the same level of customization and flexibility that mechanical keyboards have, but on the other computer peripheral that barely offers such features. You can, for example, use the level of resistance you prefer using different switches, or you can use different keycaps to reflect your personal style. You might settle for simple L and R letters, or you can use specially-designed caps with different graphics. This also means that should one or even both of the buttons break, you can easily replace it with any other keycap or switch.

While the design is definitely interesting, Gima, unfortunately, doesn’t address the mouse’s ergonomic problem and may, in fact, make it worse. The resistance offered by mechanical switches for keyboards might not exactly be ideal for repetitively clicking with the same finger. The soap bar shape of Gima might also lead to incorrect positioning of the hand and the wrist, and the location of the touch-sensitive slope for the mouse wheel exacerbates the situation. To its credit, Gima does touch on the need to have a repairable and customizable mouse, much like their larger keyboard partners.

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Conical chair gives you a majestic seat whether indoors or outdoors

Chairs need to be stable and comfortable, but beyond these two critical requirements, everything else is pretty much fair game. From materials to forms, there is a lot of variation possible, which has given rise to a great number of chair designs, from the most minimalist to the most sophisticated. You don’t always have to go overboard, though, when trying to come up with a distinctive design for a memorable chair. This one, for example, starts out with a simple geometric shape that evolves into something with its own personality, almost resembling an exquisite yet subtle throne that you can sit on, whether relaxing in the castle that is your home or basking under the glory of the sun in your backyard.

Designer: Matias Ferrari

It’s easy to underestimate the value that simple shapes can provide, especially when there’s so much attention paid to elaborate and complex forms, contours, and colors. Even minimalist designs sometimes pile on multiple elements, straddling the fine line that divides minimalism and everything else. There is, however, an elegant beauty to simpler forms that diverge little from their base geometries, such as the Conicent Chair concept that elevates a cone into a majestic piece of furniture.

The design takes a simple cone with its front half chopped off and then makes the top drop inside, almost like caving in on itself. This creates what looks like a smaller inverted cone inside that serves as the main surface for sitting. Adding a cushion makes it a comfortable indoor chair, though leaving it bare makes it suitable for outdoor use.

The semi-circle shape of the chair’s base gives it enough stability, but a hollow trapezoidal structure can be added underneath for support. This can be made from a different material or in a different color from the chair, such as finished wood, to give a bit of chromatic contrast. A better material has to be chosen if the Conicent chair will be made for outdoor use.

The chair’s wide base that gracefully tapers toward the top helps lead the viewer’s eyes to the one sitting on it, an effect that is widely used for giving focus to prominent people, like royals on a throne. Unlike a throne, however, the Conicent Chair is made to be comfortable and ergonomic, regardless of your preferred sitting position, thanks to gentle slopes and curves in every direction. With just a cone and, optionally, a trapezoid, this chair concept offers a simple yet elegant piece of furniture that will make you look like royalty and maybe even feel like it.

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How to build self-control with this gamified digital coin concept device

Humans, especially the latter generations, seem to be terrible at self-control. Modern culture and technologies have made impulse decisions even worse, thanks to encouraging instant gratification. Although not entirely impossible, it has become more difficult to build good habits when the world seems to be designed to work against you. Fortunately, those very same psychological tricks used to trick your mind into a rabbit hole of procrastination can also be used to help build up your self-control. Rather than punishing people for failing, this toy-like gadget encourages good behavior by rewarding the person in easy, quick, and bite-sized chunks, almost like earning a coin for a small good deed that can then go into buying candy or, in this case, playing your console or watching TV.

Designer: Seokoo Yeo for Samsung Design Membership

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With instant gratification, you immediately receive a reward for doing very little work, a behavior that gets our minds almost addicted to the happiness that the reward brings, regardless of its long-term impact. Although mostly associated with bad habits, this kind of impulsive reward system can also be used to build good behavior using the same addictive methods, giving people small rewards more frequently with less effort until the good habit becomes second nature. Willet, which is a portmanteau of “will” and “wallet,” is a device that utilizes that psychological strategy to help people build self-control in utilizing their leisure time more wisely.

The concept for the device revolves around an orange coin-like piece that has an LED display on its surface that indicates how much “leisure time” you have saved up. This “Cookie” is charged on a different device that’s basically like a time tracker. The idea is to let the Cookie sit on the lamp-like Charger while you work, filling it up with minutes you can later use to run your leisure devices, such as a console, a TV, or even a radio. Take the Cookie too soon, and you won’t have as much time to use up compared to when you let it sit there until it’s full.

This Cookie can later be placed on a Pusher that, as its name implies, pushes a button to turn on a device. In this scenario, the Cookie acts like a timer that counts down until its earned time is all used up. Once that happens, the Pusher activates again, this time turning the attached device off until a refueled Cookie is attached again. The idea is to let the Cookie coin earn time while doing some other work and then use that time for a limited period of leisure.

Willet is a creative solution to the problem of self-control, one that uses the same impulsive reward system to do good rather than harm. While the design of the product itself also turns the system into a fun game, it does have some shortcomings in implementation. The Pusher, for example, relies heavily on devices and appliances that have a physical button to turn it on or off, and it doesn’t take into account devices like smartphones and tablets. Admittedly, that can be solved by locking those devices inside some storage that requires a push of a button to unlock.

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This eerie table lamp looks like an eyeball but can easily adapt to your lighting needs

There is a staggering number of lamp designs available in the market today, each of them trying to address a particular use case or setting. Some try to cast their nets wide, but it’s sometimes difficult to have a “one size fits all” solution that doesn’t make too many compromises in return. Some people need a concentrated beam of light, while others prefer a more scattered glow. While it’s trivial to change a lamp’s intensity, changing its spread is a little trickier to pull off with traditional designs. This concept design tries to diverge from well-trodden paths to come up with a solution that could satisfy most, if not all, needs, and it ends up having a unique, eye-catching design that, oddly enough, also looks like an eyeball.

Designer: Julian Topor

Lamps serve different purposes depending on where they’re placed and how they emit their light. Ceiling and pendant lights serve to illuminate an entire space, while wall lamps aim to enhance the ambiance. Table lamps often give a more limited amount of light in their surroundings, while most desk lamps focus the light in a specific direction. Solus is a desk lamp design that tries to check off most of those boxes, at least without leaving your desk, and it uses planets revolving around the sun as inspiration.

In this case, what orbits around a ball of light isn’t a planet but four curved plates that can cover parts of a sphere that houses the bulb. These covers can move independently of each other, so you can cover parts of the sphere only while leaving other sections exposed, even if those parts aren’t adjacent to each other. You can expose at most three-fourths of the sphere, for example, or show only a quarter of the ball, making it look eerily like an eye.


With this rather unusual design, you can have precise control of how the light is distributed around the area. It can be spread far and wide by uncovering the majority of the upper half of the sphere, or it can be directed at a single location by covering everything but the direction you want. You can even illuminate different directions by leaving opposite sides open. Of course, the lamp’s brightness can also be controlled, this time with a ring slider on the base of the lamp.

Although the source of its inspiration isn’t immediately obvious, Solus’ unusual design, not to mention its color options, makes it a fun yet multi-functional lighting solution for almost any table or desk motif you have going. It might not take the role of a ceiling or wall lamp, but its flexible configuration definitely makes it worth more than a few single-purpose lamps. Plus, its odd and eerie design is a great eye-catching piece, pardon the pun, that’s sure to get friends and guests talking or even envying your latest acquisition.

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This cute air purifier robot concept tries to make your home safer and livelier

Given the events of recent years, it’s really no surprise that air purifiers have become a little bit more popular and in demand. On the one hand, it hints at how bad the air is even inside our homes. On the other hand, increased interest in this kind of product has also opened the doors to rethink air purifiers’ designs. Gone are the conventional boxy or cylindrical appliances, replaced by more stylish forms that blend better with their surroundings, especially when it comes to home decor. Some designs even try to push the envelope further, like this robotic incarnation of the air purifier that not only cleans the air indoors but also creates a more enjoyable and personal atmosphere at home thanks to its disarming cuteness.

Designer: Sang il Shin

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Air purifiers are in the same class as air conditioners and electric fans, but unlike the latter two, they can’t help but be placed in more conspicuous positions inside the home. They have to be in a location where they can efficiently draw in dirty air and blow out clean air, which is why most designs simply resort to tall boxes or cylinders that stand in the center of rooms. That doesn’t have to be the case, however, especially if you have an air purifier that can actually move around the house.

PLANI combines the smart technologies present in today’s robot vacuums with an unconventional air purifier design that looks not only more interesting but also a little more human. The robot uses a variety of sensors like LIDAR to move where the air needs cleaning the most while safely avoiding obstacles, such as furniture, pets, and humans. When it comes time for it to do its job, it lifts its side flaps to reveal the air intake mechanism, making the appliance look like a cute mechanical creature.

The adorable life-improving robot has one other trick up its sleeve. In place of a face, it has a sheet of translucent material that is supposed to call to mind the windows of airplanes. Unlike those windows, however, it can change colors, most likely the effect of a ring of LEDs hidden around the glass’s edges that indicate the quality of air in the space. Green is clear and safe; yellow deserves a bit of concern; and red means that the machine needs to get to work.


It might be arguable whether such a design would be as efficient as a stationary air purifier placed strategically at the center of the room, but there’s little doubt it would be more effective in offering a bit more comfort and confidence. It could join the growing roster of smart home appliances that are being given faces or anthropomorphic forms in order to ease their adoption and integration into our lives.

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This mouse pad with wrist support adds durability and hygiene by removing parts

Computers might be powerful machines that help improve our lives, but it’s almost a bit ironic that their extended use can actually cause us harm instead. Keyboards and mice are critical in being able to properly use these computers, especially desktop computers, but their designs are innately uncomfortable and even harmful to use for long periods of time. There are, of course, newer and more ergonomic designs for these devices, but those often require changing familiar habits and retraining muscle memory. For the rest of us, we have to settle for non-ergonomic mice, but fortunately, there are still ways to mitigate potential injury. This mouse pad, for example, comes with wrist support, but it changes the design quite a bit to improve the product’s value, both in functionality as well as aesthetics.

Designer: Wonjun Jo

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Mouse pads with wrist support aren’t exactly uncommon these days, and they even come in all sorts of designs and appearances. Although there are some people that doubt the effectiveness of these accessories, it’s still better than keeping our mouse hands unsupported all the time. The problem with the typical design of these wrist supports, however, is that the materials they use aren’t exactly made for longevity. Foams deform and become dirty, while gels burst and become useless. Mouse pads are cheap, of course, but this only means they contribute to unnecessary waste.

The Curble Mouse Pad is a unique design that sort of does away with the middle man in providing necessary elevation and support for the wrist. Instead of some material like foam or gel underneath some fabric, it uses a sort of foamy material that is hollow inside and divided into strips. The result is a more resilient type of material that can retain its form regardless of the pressure exerted on it while still remaining comfortable.


The end result is a mouse pad with a distinct design that’s not only built for durability but also for hygiene. The mouse pad itself is designed to be easily cleaned, and the wrist support can be detached for easier washing. In fact, the detachable design of the wrist support makes it possible to use it without the mouse pad part, something that could be more convenient on cramped desks or public spaces.

The modular design of the mouse pad is also useful in mixing and matching different colors and designs, which opens the door to potential branding and collaborations. Curble is definitely an interesting twist to the common and bland mouse pad design that achieves a distinct appearance while also improving its usability and longevity.

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How a table tennis racket concept tries to level up your game

Most sports equipment haven’t changed their overall design in decades. Yes, materials and parts have been improved, but the general shape has remained the same, especially when they need to conform to certain standards. That’s mostly true for equipment used in actual competition, but there’s definitely plenty of room for innovation when it comes to learning and training tools. Of course, you can’t simply change a standard and well-tested design willy-nilly, but you can definitely make changes here and there to improve a player’s experience and comfort. The table tennis racket, for example, hasn’t exactly changed for over a decade, so this design concept tries to breathe new life into the sport by introducing not only flexibility but also a bit of intelligence to the traditional paddle.

Designer: Shubhangi Chuhadia

The table tennis racket is probably one of the more sustainable pieces of sports equipment even today. It’s mostly made of wood, though laminated for longevity, and rubber pads on one or both sides of the paddle. Unfortunately, this design has also made the paddle less flexible for customization after assembly. Professional players will have to choose the weight and materials to match their playing style before the racket is fully assembled.

Nimbus is a concept design that changes the core makeup of the tablet tennis racket in order to give it more flexible and ergonomic properties. By moving away from wood, the design is able to introduce a new element into the handle, a nook that can be fitted with different kinds of tabs depending on the need of the player. In this manner, a single paddle can be adapted to different use cases without having to wastefully manufacture a new paddle for every instance.

Those removable tabs, for example, can provide the desired weight to match the player’s grip or playing style. It can also be a tracker that can gather the player’s metrics and send the data to a paired phone for analysis. This way, the paddle itself can be an effective training tool without having to attach awkward sensors to the racket or the player’s body.

The redesigned handle is also designed for better comfort, especially for extra-long games. Although traditional table tennis rackets also keep that detail in mind, their conventional design includes sharp edges that cut into the skin after prolonged use. The Nimbus concept will hardly become a standard adopted by international sports organizations, but it shows how even the simplest changes can have significant benefits, especially when given the freedom to think outside the box.

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