Add a Touchbar to your keyboard with this sleek, infinitely customizable touchscreen gadget!

The Touchbar on the MacBook honestly felt like a solution without a concrete problem. It was designed to be a highlight feature without a highlight purpose, and was probably reduced to being something that people used just as a volume slider while watching videos. The Touchbar, in my opinion, failed because it lacked the two C’s – Context, and Customizability. CORSAIR’s iCUE NEXUS fixes that with its infinitely customizable little keyboard attachment that does anything from work as a miniature app launcher to a control panel, to even an always-on ticker tape that lets you see your computer stats or the GameStop stock price!

The CORSAIR iCUE NEXUS forms a modular add-on to CORSAIR’s line of high-end performance and gaming gear. The nifty little gadget can be used independently or snapped right to the top of a selection of CORSAIR keyboards, turning them into command-centers. Powered by the company’s iCUE software, the gadget’s screen can be entirely customized, fitting as many as 6 different buttons or modules into it to suit your needs. You can create custom layouts that change based on the program you’re running, and the capacitive-touch display lets you do everything from tapping to sliding. The screen measures 5-inches diagonally, and comes with a resolution of 640×48. The iCUE NEXUS’s power, however, lies in its contextual flexibility, letting you control practically any aspect of your computer with it. As mentioned earlier, you could use it to launch programs, but you could even control options within each program, changing features, display settings, or even controlling your computer audio with it. Moreover, it ties in with CORSAIR’s other equipment too, letting you customize and change color layouts on your keyboard, mouse, and desktop, activate or mute your headphone’s microphone, or even monitor your machine’s performance and control aspects like fan-speed, etc. With the ability to customize up to 256 screens at once, the iCUE NEXUS promises to do what the Touchbar could not. It focuses heavily on context, while giving you an infinite world of customizability.

Designer: CORSAIR

This ergonomic joystick-shaped mouse was inspired by the way our hand holds a pencil

It’s just common sense… your hand’s much more dexterous when you’re holding a pencil versus holding a mouse. Try writing your name on a piece of paper with a pencil, versus on the MS Paint program with a cursor and you’ll see the difference! The fact dawned on Seoul-based designer Foxtail Gihawoo too, that the best way to make a mouse that’s ergonomic as well as precise, was to rely on the pencil-grip technique.

Gihawoo’s Ergonomic Mouse looks like a joystick at first, until you realize that it’s meant to be held at its base like a thick marker instead of at the tip (where one would normally hold a joystick). It sports neat curved surfaces for your hand to rest on, with left and right-click buttons both resting under your index finger in a manner that may require a bit of getting used to. To left-click, simply press the upper button, and to right-click, move your finger slightly lower to hit the lower button. The scroll wheel finds its place naturally under the middle finger, which means you can scroll and click together without shifting fingers around. Ultimately, the design comes with a grippy rubberized surface around its sides, boosting dexterity, and even though the mouse isn’t ambidextrous, one can easily manufacture left-handed variants for people who require it.

Designer: Foxtail Gihawoo

This WFH setup is our dream workstation, including everything from virtual reality to detachable screens!

Now that we’ve had a taste of what working from home feels like, we’re all noticing the ways our work setups can be improved. It might be that your desk is too short or that your wires desperately need some organizing. No matter what you do, your workspace should feel comfortable and accessible so that you can move through the workday as smoothly as possible. After one year of intermittently working from home, Lucas Couto dreamed up his ideal WFH setup and it’s safe to say, we all want in.

What appears as a simple computer desk setup turns out to be so much more. For starters, Couto’s workstation setup, “Future of Work,” features a retractable display screen that detaches into a foldable tablet/laptop. The simple OS desktop functions as the workstation base, where files can be created and stored. Then, when Couto needs a tablet or laptop for easy portability, the same files will be made available on the go.

In addition to the desktop’s detachable screen, Couto’s design features another tablet that can attach itself to the desktop for an extended display, offering quick file sharing and supplemental portability. Finally, Couto’s “Future of Work” setup comes equipped with VR compatibility, providing a headset that turns into a dashboard where all of the work station’s appliances are connected. The integration of VR allows for seamless file transferring between devices, like sharing CAD models between devices and other file formats.

Nowadays, it’s important for the technology we use to cater to our needs, from getting stuff done for work to using it at our leisure. When technology doesn’t flow the way we need it to, it can feel like our whole workday has been derailed. Couto’s “Future of Work” conceptual design realizes the ultimate cohesive work setup through multiple device connectivity for a smooth workflow, convenient portability for busier days, and integrative VR assistance for intuitive file transferring.

Designer: Lucas Couto

Following multiple ideations, Couto conceptualized the WFH setup of his dreams.

Following a year’s worth of intermittently working from home, Couto designed a WFH station that includes multiple device sharing platforms and seamless file transferring.

Hinging on portability and accessibility, Couto’s WFH system includes a tablet that transforms into a laptop.

Featuring retractable screens that turn into standalone tablets, Couto’s WFH setup is designed for convenience.

After working on the tablet, it can then be transferred to the desktop’s screen just by dragging your fingers.

By incorporating a supplemental tablet, the desktop’s display screen can nearly double in size.

By including a VR headset, Couto makes it easy to search through his dashboard and organize his work across multiple device platforms.

Apple is expected to release the new 2021 iMac with 5 color options, just like the iPad Air

It’s been two years since Apple’s high-end computing department really saw a new release (we’re talking about the polarizing ‘cheesegrater’ Mac Pro from 2019). Reliable leaker Jon Prosser, however, has some news on this front. While Apple hasn’t really announced any March event, Prosser believes the company will launch a smaller Mac Pro, and will upgrade the 24-inch iMac series… with color options.

The colored iMacs are really a hat-tip to the candy-colored iMac G3 series from back in 2008. According to Prosser, who collaborated with Concept Creator over the following images, the 2021 iMacs are likely to come in 5 colors – black, white, green, blue, and rose gold… just like the 2020 iPad Air. The colors will be much more subtle than the iMac G3’s, but they provide an interesting dynamic to the aluminum-clad all-in-one computers.

When viewed from the front, the new iMacs tend to resemble the iPad too, with the bezel treatment. Unlike previous iMacs that came with a massive chin under the screen that sported the Apple logo, the new iMacs will have much more uniform bezels. It isn’t really apparent if they’ll also come with FaceID — although given they’ll be used indoors, in settings where masks aren’t really required, Apple could just as easily integrate the FaceID modules right into the design. Speculators also say that these new iMacs could be powered by Apple Silicon, making them not just a visual upgrade, but a performance upgrade as well!

Designers: Jon Prosser & Concept Creator

Yanko Design recommends work gadgets to shop that transform your mundane workday into an energetic one!

Okay, I love work gadgets! I think they have the ability to add some zest and excitement to an otherwise completely mundane workday. I love discovering new work gadgets, and keep one eye open for them at all times. Especially with the pandemic forcing us to transform our homes into our new office, it’s really important to have some nifty products that make work more fun, easier and efficient. Whether it’s an office chair that lets you work and work out, a portable magnetic whiteboard, or even a unique desk organizer, each of these designs adds a little spark to our daily work routine, combining fun and functionality and leading to a fulfilling day. These are the kind of designs that’ll make you look forward to work every morning, and you’ll be jumping out of bed, excited to get started!

Fitwork’s design sort of embodies a no-excuse mentality to being fit. Whether it’s the excuse of ‘being too busy’, or of ‘not wanting to go all the way to the gym’, Fitwork combats it by bringing the gym not just to your house, but to your workspace. Designed as a product to let you work and work out at the same time, this crazy hybrid of a desk-chair and treadmill keeps your legs active while you work. Whether you’re sitting in front of a laptop or standing in front of one, it’s the sedentary lifestyle that Fitwork tackles. The setup (which is sure to grab a few eyeballs) comes with an office chair attached to a treadmill underneath, and an elliptical in front. Coupled with an elevating desk, the Fitwork allows you to keep the lower half of your body active while you work, giving you cardio as well as keeping your spine engaged, whether you’re sitting or standing while working. While you’re sitting, your legs naturally rest on the Fitwork’s elliptical, allowing you to pedal away while typing out emails or attending zoom calls without really anyone knowing what a fitness buff you are. Swivel the chair back and boost your desk upwards and you’ve got yourself a standing workout workspace. Activate the treadmill and you can walk while working… or as I call it, walking the walk while talking the talk.

Click Here to Buy Now: $1499

The CheerPod is a tiny, handheld device that boils the mouse down to its essentials. With a design that’s dictated by the need to be small and remote-like, the CheerPod is to mice what smartphones are to landlines – Portable, rectangular, and heavily feature-laden. It comes with an infrared sensor on its base, like all wireless mice, allowing you to drag your cursor by moving the physical device, but it also allows you to mimic gestures by swiping across screens in mobile and desktop interfaces. The CheerPod, unlike most wireless mice, works without a receiver, connecting directly to laptops, desktops, tablets, and even phones using Bluetooth. It sports a Magic Mouse-inspired touch-enabled surface on its top that lets you click, scroll, zoom, pinch, swipe, and even use multi-touch gestures… sort of like the love-child of a mouse and a trackpad.

Click Here to Buy Now: $49

The 3-in-1 Snapmaker printer comes with an all-metal design, ensuring a high-quality and reliable 3D printing experience. The entire unit comes with a flat-packed, easy-to-assemble, solid aluminum alloy frame that’s CNC-fabricated for next-to-zero tolerance between parts, resulting in high-accuracy operations. The machine comes supported by a touchscreen tablet that acts as your user interface, allowing you to set up and control your production-line. Switching between printing, machining, and engraving modules is literally as simple as plugging out the old module and plugging in a new one. A 3D printing module, a laser engraving module, and a CNC carving and cutting module come right in the box, along with easy-to-assemble linear modules, the touchscreen display, a heat-enabled bed-plate for an immaculate 3D printing experience, and even a spool of PLA filament so you can begin creating right from day one, right within your home

Click Here to Buy Now: $649

Snowl reimagines the mouse… or more accurately, the control-input for computers. Designed as a wearable that fits around your finger like a ring, Snowl isn’t bound by optical sensors, and a 2-dimensional surface. Instead, it unleashes the ability to control your objects in all three dimensions, even accounting for rotation and tilt, otherwise known as 9 degrees of freedom. It’s the next evolutionary step in control, as we went from mice to touchscreens, and then to VR controllers. Snowl now combines them all into a single device that can shapeshift between all three, giving you a single way to control your laptop, smartphone, television, gaming console, or even VR headset with a wave of your hands. In short, it’s just a couple of holograms away from allowing you to interact with digital interfaces the way Tony Stark would.

Click Here to Buy Now: $99

The Orbitkey Nest reinterprets the stationery box by acting as a storage container for not pencils and erasers, but for your EDC. Designed to complement your tech-filled life, the Nest is perfect for storing your chargers, cables, AirPods, hard-disks, SD cards, pen-drives, etc. It helps keep your workplace organized not just by containing your tech accessories, but also by allowing you to dock/rest your belongings on it. The Nest’s upper surface comes with a slight indentation, perfect for resting your wallet, keys, or watch, while a dedicated zone even acts as a wireless charger for your phone. Made from beautiful materials that give it a contemporary touch, the Orbitkey Nest comes with a top-grain leather upper, a polycarbonate shell, and a nylon fabric base layer that allows it to complement as well as contain your belongings and lifestyle.

Click Here to Buy Now: $89

Designed with two halves that separate when pulled apart, the X-Kit transforms from a slim, baton-shaped form into a broad platform to dock your Mac or Windows laptop on in mere seconds, with an angling mechanism that can be set at 4 different positions to give you the right angle you need to minimize fatigue… something that most WFH setups fail to achieve. The angled stand, however, is just half of what the X-Kit is capable of. Also built into the product is a remarkable 5-in-1 multiport that unlocks your laptop’s true potential. Armed with a 4K (30Hz) HDMI port, two USB-A ports, one SD and one TF card reader, and a USB-C port to power the experience, the X-Kit gives you a multiport that is conveniently located right in your laptop’s stand. Not only does this make it easy to locate and access ports, but it also means a reduction in clutter i.e., cables, dongles, and paraphernalia around your workspace.

Click Here to Buy Now: $44

At its heart, the Nemeio is a traditional keyboard. It comes with its familiar layout, with the spacebar at the bottom and the function keys on the top, but look closer and you’ll see that each key isn’t just a plastic keycap… it’s a transparent button sitting above an e-ink display! Switch the Nemeio on and the e-ink screen underneath comes to life, with a backlight that illuminates each key, displaying the symbol the key represents. The presence of a dynamic screen right under the traditional keyboard is what gives Nemeio the best of both worlds. You can adjust Nemeio’s layout on the fly, changing between QWERTY and DVORAK layouts, adding other languages and glyphs to your keyboard, or turning less-used keys into program shortcuts. Nemeio supports all languages from your operating system and its dedicated software allows you to customize your keyboards to suit your needs. If you’re someone who relies heavily on shortcuts, you can even program them into the keyboard, and the shortcut icon displays on its relevant key. Layouts can be saved as presets and can be instantly switched between programs, and you can even create dual-language keyboard layouts, switching between typing in English and your language of choice in mere seconds!

Click Here to Buy Now: $248

Think of the SyncPen as an Apple Pencil or a Samsung Galaxy S-Pen that can also write on paper. Designed to look and feel like a regular pen, the SyncPen comes with an in-built micro-camera that captures what you write at a frequency of 200 frames per second, turning all your notes into digital text that can be stored infinitely, edited, and even searched through. The pen digitally records all your notes onto your smartphone, allowing you to seamlessly transition between digital and physical timekeeping. If you ever need to refer back to your notes for a certain piece of text, you can search for it either by word or date, much like within your phone’s own note-keeping app. The SyncPen’s functionality works across 66 languages and can even transcribe and translate mathematical symbols. The pen actively performs handwriting recognition, allowing you to write in your own personal writing style while the pen actively works to translate it on its own.

Click Here to Buy Now: $99

With a patented design that features 5 magnets on one side, the Mover Erase sits flat on any surface, but can easily be lifted up by pressing against its magnets. A simple push causes the individual note to lift up, allowing you to easily remove, replace, and rearrange notes on the fly. Your written matter, doodles, and graphs can easily be wiped off with a piece of cloth, or under running water, if the ink gets too stubborn. They say the average human uses 700 pounds of paper each year – averaging to roughly 8 trees and 7000 gallons of water to process those paper requirements. With the Mover Erase, that footprint is heavily reduced. Besides, it’s a much better way to ideate on your whiteboard or in your notebook, given you rearrange notes when you need, move them to one side when you don’t, wipe them clean when you’re reusing them, and carry them to your desk when you want them to be accessible. Oh, and they stack up too!

Click Here to Buy Now: $33

Having a UHD 4K screen (3840×2160 resolution and 1200:1 contrast ratio) that’s compatible with all the modern-day gadgets oriented for peak productivity and entertainment on weekends is one thing every professional or budding creative individual craves. Well, the 15.6-inch Mako Pro 4K touchscreen monitor by 6D Sharks is designed keeping in mind every little need of a productivity-oriented dual-monitor setup that’s compatible with all the devices one can throw at it. The slim, lightweight IPS monitor is compatible even with smartphones, gaming consoles, and cameras for seamless connectivity. This 10-point capacitive screen has minimal bezels to enhance the viewing experience and comes with a stylus touch pen to give your creativity wings. For solo use, the widescreen has a split mode which literally turns it into two screens for a multitude of uses. Unlike other portable monitors, Mako (the Max variant) has a 120 Hz refresh rate, so gamers and multimedia content lovers will already have a smile on their faces.

Click Here to Buy Now: $359

This sustainable biodegradable PC didn’t make it to CES 2021, but it could save our planet

A biodegradable PC is surely something that should be setting the internet abuzz, but with the tsunami of information that is the Consumer Electronics Show, it’s really difficult to focus on the truly innovative instead of on the big-brand announcements.

Meet the Pentaform Abacus. It looks like a keyboard because it is one, but lying underneath it is an all-in-one PC furnished with ports wrapped up in a neat, portable avatar… but that isn’t all. The Abacus Basic is also designed out of an entirely biodegradable polymer, so once it gets discarded, the tech can be recycled, leaving the outer body to safely degrade into the soil with zero negative impact.

The Abacus by Pentaform is touted as an eco-friendly and easy-to-use affordable computer built into a portable keyboard. It comes fully ready out of the box, and just needs a display to get started. On the tech front, the Abacus includes the full set up of USB Ports, an ethernet port, HDMI as well as VGA output, a built-in speaker, integrated track-pad, and pre-installed Windows 10 (with an option of Linux too). Everything is built right into the Abacus’ keyboard-esque shape, allowing it to be carried anywhere and simply hooked to a monitor, TV, or projector to power it. In doing so, the Abacus brings an unusual experience to computing that isn’t quite like the laptop. For starters, with its $121 price tag, it’s literally a fraction of the price of even the most budget laptops. It’s as portable as a laptop too, but provides the ability to work with any sort of display (even 4K ones)… and it even comes with more ports than most slim laptops can accommodate, and has a quad-core processor with as much as 4Gb of RAM and 512Gb of storage.

The Abacus’ most impressive feat, however, is its commitment towards showing that tech can be sustainable too. In a world that’s literally drowning in e-waste because people want slim products, and slim products are notoriously difficult to recycle efficiently, the Abacus was made with a very clear cradle-to-grave strategy. As an all-in-one PC, the Abacus has 63% lesser of a footprint than a desktop, and with a 31kWh/year power consumption rating, it’s about as energy-efficient as a lightbulb. The Abacus’ internal components are entirely reusable, and its outer body is made to be fully biodegradable. Moreover, even the product packaging is crafted from mushroom, allowing it to easily degrade into soil when inevitably thrown away. Who knew great tech could be cheap, energy-efficient, AND eco-friendly?! The tech giants could surely learn a lesson or two, don’t you think?

Designer: Pentaform

Kensington’s iPad dock turns your tablet into an iMac (and wirelessly charges your iPhone too!)

The iPad was practically designed to be the spiritual successor to the computer and Kensington’s StudioDock, unveiled at the virtual CES 2021, fulfills that prophecy.

Designed to easily snap your iPad Pro onto it (thanks to the magnets built into the tablet), the StudioDock gives you a miniature desktop experience, complete with a whole variety of ports as well as charging stations for your iPhone and AirPods. The slick-looking StudioDock comes with a machined aluminum body, allowing your tablet to righteously look like an iMac. Aside from the StudioDock’s USB-C power input, extra ports on the back let you connect an ethernet cable, accessories like mice and keyboards, as well as an external monitor to your iPad, while a neat 3.5mm port on the side lets you hook up headphones (that’s unless you choose to use AirPods), and an SD Card Reader to pull photo and video dumps from your DSLR or drone. In addition to rapid charging your iPad (USB-C at 37.5W – that’s 108% faster than Apple’s own charger), the StudioDock even sports Qi wireless charging surfaces on its base for your iPhone and AirPods and a dedicated dock on the side for your Apple Watch. It also keeps the iPad’s upper edge exposed, so you can snap your Pencil on too.

The StudioDock is designed to let you independently use your iPad as a desktop, or even as a secondary monitor for your current desktop. The even dock comes with a swiveling base so you can shift your iPad from landscape to portrait whenever you like, something Apple’s own levitating stand cannot do. Moreover, it really gives you the freedom to use your iPad however you see fit – as a monitor, a charging station, a makeshift desktop with ports, or even as a tablet PC that you can use independently. The dock is compatible with all iPad Pro models and even the 2020 iPad Air and comes with a 3-year warranty.

Designer: Kensington

Apple’s new MacBooks may have wireless charging surfaces built into them

It seems like Apple’s plans of not including charging cables with their iPhones may just make a little more sense, considering what they’re building their laptops to do. In patent files recently uncovered by Patently Apple, the company is rumored to be working on integrating wireless charging surfaces into their future MacBooks. According to the patents, charging zones on either side of the trackpad, and even at multiple locations on the lid, will be able to charge a whole variety of Apple products, from the iPhone to the AirPods, Apple Watch, and even probably future iterations of the iPad.

Apparently, we have the new M1 chips to thank for this, and their ability to pull off all this heavy-lifting and power delivery. The filing describes how multiple charging coils could be placed inside both the frame AND lid of a MacBook “that could accommodate charging of multiple devices at one time”. Combine this with some iteration of Apple’s new MagSafe technology and your MacBook, whether closed or open, could be the dedicated charging surface for most of your Apple peripherals. It’s an elegant solution that even does a hat-tip to user behavior patterns, where people already keep their iPhones and AirPods around their laptops while they work. Now these devices have dedicated spaces for charging right ON your laptop… and you don’t need a SINGLE cable. The powerful new MacBook got even more powerful!

It’s a good thing that AirPower Mat didn’t work out, huh…

Designer/Visualizer: Sarang Sheth

Image Credits: Sarang Sheth for Yanko Design
Patent discovered by: Patently Apple

DIY building block-like components make up this futuristic PC design

In this technology-infused world, working with or on a computer is almost unavoidable. This is especially true for graphic and designers, animators, filmmakers – anyone whose work calls for specialized computer programs. Among these creative professionals, all-in-one computers like an iMac are preferred due to their slim, compact device. However, when these devices grow old, it’s difficult to repair and replace specific hardware — you almost always have to buy a brand new device.

Now, some tech companies, like Apple, will buy back your older models in exchange for store credit. However, why replace a product when you can upcycle it? The Modular Workstation Computer offers an alternative device that would make this process easier. The computer’s internal hardware – its processor, memory, etc. – is attached to a tray of large, cube-like pieces that can be pulled off and reattached. This design choice is a huge departure from standard laptops, which tuck their hardware inside the body of the computer, requiring you to unscrew the bottom plate to access it. This inconvenience may discourage consumers from learning more about how their computer works – and how they might use that knowledge to extend the life of their device.

The Modular Workstation Computer presents a better solution: one that reduces long-term costs and environmental impact. This technology has the potential for mass adoption, especially as consumers move towards more sustainable, long-term purchases.

Designer: Philipp Seißler