This ambidextrous mouse uses an accordion-like design to give each hand an ergonomic grip

More often than not you’ll need to work on your computer, and the tools better be good. For people who are left-handed finding a mouse that fits the ergonomic posture for maximum comfort is not that easy. The reason being – most mouse designs are crafted keeping in mind right-handed people. So, it gives industrial designer Ju Yeon Baek reason enough to keep the needs of left-handed geeks in mind to come up with an ergonomic mouse.

Ju rightly christened this mouse design as “Ambi” – a mouse for ambidextrous, or more importantly for left-handed individuals. This peripheral in peppy orange and subtle black color grabs your attention instantly – not to mention its cool looks. Having an accordion-like design gives this mouse the flexibility to orient into any desired ergonomic shape for right or left-handed use. This is a big advantage as most right hand oriented mouse are virtually a nemesis to work with for a productive work regime. The aesthetic gives the mouse height adjustment flexibility as well – which one misses in conventional mouse designs at times.

According to Ju Yeon even a normal mouse (not designed specifically for right-handed use) can be a major cause of ‘carpal tunnel syndrome’ since the mouse’s angle does not fit with the hand’s structure. This causes long term use-related health issues which can lead to weakness and lack of coordination in your fingers and thumb. With Ambi however, that’s not a thing to worry about as one can adjust it depending on the hand shape and size. In fact, I was tempted into having this mouse as I was using mine which is right-handed oriented and I’m ambidextrous – wanting to explore the option to use my left hand when I feel like!

Designer: Ju Yeon Baek

Samsung’s fingerprint-secured T7 Touch SSD drops to $160 for 1TB

While you may not be leaving home as often as you used to at the moment, security is still important for all of the devices you might carry around, including external storage. Samsung's T7 Touch SSD can keep your data secure until you unlock it via t...

These intuitive portable speakers come with detachable headphones that keep the music always ‘on’

 

Here is an organizational problem that music lovers face: not knowing where to put their bulky headphones when they aren’t wearing them. As someone who recently bought her first proper pair of headphones, I relate to the struggle. Most of us are used to tossing my earbuds carelessly on your nightstand, leaving them in your jeans pocket, or finding them on the carpet at the end of the day. The headphones, on the other hand, took up more space and were more expensive, so I’m more careful about where I store them. But, I have the same problem that inspired the Talking Heads Speaker: no clear space to set my headphones down neatly. Until the designers at LeapX thought: What better place to keep your headphones than next to your portable speaker? (Obviously, true audiophiles have both!). You might as well keep your audio gear in one place. And then, the designer found that few things sparked joy the way that the image of a speaker wearing a pair of headphones could.

This was the beginning of what would turn into the Talking Heads speaker. The portable speaker/mount changed to a spherical shape instead of a boxy one. Now, the product truly looks like a head listening to music. However, the Talking Heads speaker offers more than just a pleasing, humorous aesthetic; the device has practical uses too. First of all, the speaker’s spherical shape allows you to slip the headphones on and off without stretching out the headband. Secondly, two devices are connected and will let you switch between listening through the speaker and the headphones. You don’t have to press any buttons: just pick up or set down the headphones on the speaker/mount, and the devices will automatically switch audio outputs. It’s almost like they are reading your mind. Finally, the speaker/mount doubles as a wireless charger for the headphones. I can’t review the LeapX speaker based on audio quality, but its design gets a 10/10. I appreciate how a delightful sight gag evolved into a product that truly made its users’ lives a bit easier and more organized.

A product that resolves a problem while adding to the aesthetic appeal of your work setup, that’s the definition of a truly useful product design. While the market is flooded with abundant headphone stands, having the stand just lie in wait is a waste of precious desktop space! The dual functionality of this speaker+ headphone combo is intuitive in approach and hence is a worthy addition to every desk setup!

Designer: LeapX

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A designer made a slimmer, sleeker looking PlayStation 5 with a modern Discman vibe!

Could we, collectively as a species, agree on just one thing? The Playstation 5 pushes the hyper-organic design language a little too far. Objectively, even though it looks better than the Xbox Series X (yes I said it… I like my gaming console to look like a work of art, not like something out of Minecraft), if the guys at Sony dialed down the organic, free-spirited aesthetic, the PS5 could easily be a stellar-looking gaming console. Speaking of which, feast your eyes on this absolutely beautiful alternative design for the PS5 by Riccardo Breccia.

Breccia’s reinterpretation of the PS5 comes from the same place as those who criticize the company’s existing design… it scales the height down dramatically and makes it look less like an upright folder and more like a console, taking a page from the 1st generation Playstation’s design. Breccia’s PS5 sports a circular form that harks back to the circular shape that punctuated the design of the PS 1st gen. One much even draw parallels to the Walkman/Discman designs of the pre-iPod days. The PS5’s redesign is a lot wider than you’d expect, given the components that sit within. Breccia’s taken the liberty to even detail out where the inner parts would fit, along with a detachable upper-plate that reveals the fan below, along with an SSD expansion slot. The front of the console features a disc-slot right beneath the PS logo, along with a USB port for connecting/charging your controller. The remainder of the ports, including the Power Supply, Ethernet, and HDMI ports sit on the back, obscured from view.

Overall, Breccia’s PS5 design does a good job of reducing the original design’s shock-value. Breccia’s redesign is sensible and simple (like the Xbox Series X), but does take the liberty of playing around with interesting forms, curves, form-separation, color-separation, and CMF, resulting in a design that should somewhat please both the people who love the PS5’s audacious design, and the people who appreciate the Xbox Series X’s overt simplicity.

Designer: Riccardo Breccia

The Swivel brings elegance and function together to make projectors look cool again!

Close your eyes for a second and think of a projector. Chances are you’ve got the same image in your head as I do. A cuboid-shaped device that’s either black or white in color, suspended from the ceiling, and with a massive lens on one of its faces. It’s safe to say that almost all projectors are designed to look practically the same way. Their purpose isn’t to look good. It’s to sit in the background, while you focus your attention on the image it’s casting. Some would argue that projectors are fine as they are, while others would probably say it’s a category that needs a radical relook. Yash Gupte (better known as his internet moniker Wacko Designs) considers himself to be a part of the second set of people.

The Swivel is Gupte’s answer to the stagnated design language of projectors. It ditches the notion that projectors need to be rectangular, and comes with a unique inverted U-shaped frame, within which sits a circular device. The name Swivel comes from the swiveling action of the main projector unit. Designed to be pointed at any angle (so you could use it as a long-throw or a short-throw projector), the swiveling detail lets you easily adjust the projector to face forwards, downwards, or upwards, with rotational freedom of up to 160°. Circular vents on the back of the projector help with heat-dissipation, while a single knob on the front (in the bottom corner of the frame) lets you toggle through the projector’s functions and tweak its settings. To make this already exciting concept even more fun, the Swivel runs wirelessly (which means you don’t need to worry about HDMI cables and cross-compatibility) and is small/slim enough to fit int backpacks, so you could carry it around to a friend’s house for a movie or game night!

Designer: Yash Gupte (Wacko Designs)

This modular MIDI Controller concept builds on the inventive format of the ROLI Blocks

The term Modular has a long tryst with music production, from the very concept of modular synthesis to modularity in DAWs, to the more recent modular ROLI blocks system which lets you build an extendable and customizable music setup just by snapping different units together like they were puzzle pieces. Juan Manuel Martinez Prieto’s modular MIDI controller builds on the kind of easy-to-use modular nature of the ROLI blocks. The MIDI controller concept (which remains nameless at the time) relies on multiple parts that come together to create a nifty music-production kit that’s easy to set up, carry, and use.

The overall design of Prieto’s MIDI controller feels like a cross between the styles of ROLI and Teenage Engineering (arguably two of my favorite brands), with a little speckled CMF to just make things more pretty! A parametric equalizer sits on the top, controlled by a set of 5 rotary knobs below. You’ve got two sliders on the side, along with a jogdial that I assume is a Master Volume control, and finally a series of 6 light-up pads that let you play anything from synths to drum-sets. Additionally, the MIDI Controller even comes with its own stand that lets you prop it up, so you can produce music on the fly, or have the kit standing at your deejay table without occupying too much space!

Designer: Juan Manuel Martinez Prieto

Electrolux’s WFH coffee-machine lets you take short coffee-breaks with your colleagues remotely!

Designed as a collaborative effort between Electrolux and the students at Umeå Institute of Design to think about post-Covid-19 home solutions, the Fika from Afar helps capture the nuances of work-life and work-leisure while at home. In Swedish, ‘Fika’ is a term for coffee or tea break (usually enjoyed with a cake or bun and in the company of others). Fika from Afar carries that concept and brings it into homes, allowing you to take a well-deserved break from work with your friends.

Working from home surely has its benefits, but it’s eroded the office’s social construct by creating an environment which only revolves around discussing work issues with your colleagues. Unlike offices, which have coffee machines or water coolers where people congregate to say hello, share a story while grabbing a refreshment, and renew their energy before they go to work, the home doesn’t have that social interaction. Fika from Afar, however, brings that interaction into homes, with a smart coffee-maker that connects you with colleagues through a smartphone app while you brew your coffee. Power on the Fika from Afar and it connects you and multiple colleagues through an app that lets you collectively take a break while you sip coffee. Friends can either share a cup of coffee with you, or some gossip, or even their own coffee recommendations, giving you a nice 5-10 minute break from the mundane routine of working from home. Besides, the coffee-machine even sports a side-platform to wirelessly charge your phone while you work!

Designers: Sydney Eilbacher, Jovan Vulic, Nathanael Boell (Umeå Institute of Design) in collaboration with Electrolux

This Assassin’s Creed Valhalla themed gaming controller already smells of the Viking age, and we want it!

Assassin’s Creed Valhalla had a strong launch a few weeks earlier, building on the success of Assassin’s Creed Rebellion and the Assassin’s Creed Odyssey. Ubisoft’s acclaimed title has seen many awards and record-breaking performance over the years, given its gripping open-world action-adventure gameplay. Now that we are talking about the exclusively released title for Windows, Xbox Series X, PlayStation 5, and even the cloud-gaming platform Stadia – there’s something more you can rejoice about if you are a die-hard Assassin’s fan.

This is the Assassin’s Creed Valhalla themed controller by Nacon Gaming that’s completely kickass if you are from the Viking’s clan. The controller is a themed Nacon Revolution Pro Controller 3, tailor-made for every fan of this epic series which came into existence more than a decade ago as a worthy successor to the Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time franchise. Since the Assassin’s Creed Valhalla is heavily based on the Viking invasion of Britain set in 873 AD, this controller bears every single element of that age on it. The motifs on the wooden textured surface, the game branding, the joystick, the buttons, and the signature leather strap on one side of the controller.

For all the Assassin’s Creed fans who have been following the franchise for a long time, and are looking forward to adding (or already preordered) Assassin’s Creed Valhalla for countless hours of RPG action, this one is definitely irresistible. That said the controller is not for sale and for now Ubisoft is only going to give away three of these to the lucky fans who participate on their Facebook page on the post by tagging a member of the Viking clan. So, do you want to lay your hands on this one or perhaps win it for your gaming friend? Boy, this is going to be so much fun!

Desinger: Nacon Gaming

This bird-inspired projector’s rotating beak is your space-saving home theater experience!

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As a movie-lover who also lives in a small apartment, I have limited space (and funds) for a TV monitor. I have been browsing through options for portable projectors because, in addition to bringing the charm of a drive-in movie, it would fit more easily into my cramped lifestyle. When I saw the Beak laser projector, I was intrigued by its sleeker, cylinder design, as it was such a departure from the boxy-silhouette I expected from similar products.

As the name suggests, the Beak projector from FUFU pulls design inspiration from birds, particularly the toucan, which can neatly tuck its head and long beak against its neck. This is not a new concept: many technological devices draw from animal traits and physicality. In this case, the toucan’s beak helped improve the usability and convenience of the projector. In original designs, the projector’s “skull” needed to fully rotate, which is why the creators settled on the curved shape. However, the projector also needed a mirror so that the refracted image could show right-side-up on the ground. This need for a mirror became the inspiration for the Beak projector’s shape.

I appreciate this design choice as someone who would want a product that was as compact as possible. The Beak projector does not look smaller than comparable devices. In fact, I could probably find other projectors with similar dimensions and weight. The key difference though is that the Beak’s narrow, tall frame makes it easier to store. I could keep it on the corner of my desk or nightstand, and it wouldn’t take up as much surface area as a typical box-shaped projector. Intriguing design + innovative inspiration makes this projector a must-have for your needs!

Designer: FUFU

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Apple accessories designed to fulfill every tech lovers dream: Part 4

Apple has released a slew of products this year – the latest being their ‘one more thing’ event that rocked the world this November with the advent of M1 chips to their MacBooks. The reviews are now just pouring in and they promise the new laptop is a beast – which makes me even more intrigued for the next series of MacBook Pro’s and while I wait for them, I shall bide my time collecting accessories that promise to take my gadgets to the next level. Each unique design here is a game-changer for every Apple lover – be it yourself or someone you know and the gifts make for great Xmas gifts for that person who seems to have it all!

Joyce Kang and C.O Design Lab’s Pod Case gives the Apple Watch a much-needed history lesson, introducing it to the ancestor that started the Apple craze. The watch’s screen roughly matches the screen size found in classic iPod Nanos, while its body is only a slight bit thicker. The Pod Case, made in silicone, slides right over the Apple Watch body, giving it a funky throwback, while also letting you use the watch as-is.

Moment, the Seattle-based accessories company specializing in phone camera gear has created a bunch of iPhone 12 series accessories that inherently have some kind of camera utility. There’s a whole bunch of cases, tripod mounts, and car vent mounts with MagSafe compatibility that add to the functionality of your Apple phone. First up, the cases come in two broader variations – a thinner version for better ergonomic feel in hand and the other, a more rugged one for more protection in event of accidental drops. All these cases have wrist strap loops and can endure a 6-foot drop. The cases priced at around $50 are compatible with the M-Series Moment lens system and they also work with the Moment Mounts.

The Apple x Procreate controller by Simon Pavy measures around 2-inches in diameter. With a rotating body and a liquid retina touchscreen surface on the top, the controller really lets you precisely control aspects of your workflow. The rotating knob lets you very intuitively increase or decrease brush sizes, cycle through layers, adjust colors, or even play around with other settings, while the touch surface on the top works as a brilliant dedicated color palette, and an interface for cycling through layers, experimenting with brushes, or quickly going through your list of brushes while you work on your art piece. The puck-shaped controller comes with its own battery, and a USB-C port to charge it (you could just hook it to the iPad Pro).

The way the Apple Watch docks on the iPad Pro is similar to the way the Pencil does. It sits right on the edge, allowing you to wirelessly charge your watch while you comfortably use your tablet uninterrupted. Like all of Satechi’s products, the USB-C Magnetic Charging Dock comes with Apple-certified MFI charging and works across all generations of the Apple Watch. The dock plugs right into the side of the iPad Pro or the MacBook Pro, although you could just as easily use it with any power-bank too. The sleek aluminum design does a pretty good job of blending in with Apple’s design language, while inbuilt magnets securely hold onto your watch as it charges, allowing you to dock your iPad on a stand without worrying about the watch slipping or falling off. Neat, eh?

Modeled on the concept of the MagSafe charger, the MagRig works with all Thunderbolt 3 and USB-C devices, which means not only does it bring the magnetic charging port back to the MacBook, it also works with the iPad Pro, most Android phones, the Nintendo Switch, and any device that use a Type-C connector. The two-part adapter attaches itself to both the port as well as the jack, giving you the satisfying magnetic click whenever you plug a device in. The magnetic connection even helps prevent damage caused by accidental cable-tugs. Instead of your phone, iPad, or laptop flying right off the table because your dog snagged the wire while running around the house, the MagRig detaches with graceful choreography, keeping your gadgets safe from physical damage.

The Magic Mouse Mini by Yongbin Kim looks and feels like your regular pop-socket. It attaches to the back of your phone, giving you a pop-out grip that you can firmly hold onto between your index and middle finger as you use your phone or click selfies. Switch the device on, and the optical sensor above the Apple logo powers on, turning your iPhone into a magic mouse! The iPhone and the socket at the back work in tandem to replicate the Magic Mouse experience. The optical sensor on the socket helps with cursor-tracking, while the iPhone’s touchscreen shoulders the responsibility of providing the control surface, allowing you to left-click, right-click, pinch, zoom, scroll, and do a variety of other gestures, just like you would on a Magic Mouse.

SuperCalla

Of all the cable-managing solutions I’ve seen in the near 30 years of my existence, SuperCalla’s solution seems the most compelling. I’ve seen thick cables, flat cables, coiled cables, woven cables, and even cable-holders, but nothing is as convincing as the video above. Say hello to the SuperCalla charging cable. It looks like most cables, except that at certain intervals the SuperCalla cable has magnets around it. These magnets effortlessly organize your cables and keep them organized, thanks to the satisfying snap of magnetic attraction. The magnets allow you to easily open the cable out, using as much as necessary, therefore keeping your drawer, bag, and general workplace as neat as possible. Besides, I imagine they’re incredibly fun to fidget with too!

Get those professional shots without having to study the manual and watch several YouTube videos, the iCamera by Cha Hee Lim aims at breaking down the complexity of advanced cameras to make people comfortable with the idea of shooting with a gadget that is not their phone. “It increases your ability and easily leads you to the world of cameras,” says the designer about the gap he wants to bridge with this concept design. The designer wanted to simplify the existing advanced cameras’ user experience by making the body more compact and lighter. The bulk of the lens is reduced but it still includes the revolving functionality to zoom. However, now you can do it comfortably with just a finger. It also aims to make transferring your files easier through cloud-based technologies – that one tedious task every photographer hates to do but has to do. 

The titles available on Apple Arcade are surely a class apart, but Call of Duty, Asphalt, Genshin Impact, Minecraft, and the widely popular Among Us have been pretty popular games on the iPhone too… and that’s where the Backbone One by Backbone Labs Inc. comes in. Designed for iPhone users who are also serious gamers, the Backbone One is a plug-and-play controller that snaps to your iPhone, turning it into a makeshift Nintendo Switch-style gaming device complete with two joysticks, a D-pad, XYAB Action buttons, and four shoulder buttons. The Backbone One features a Lightning connector that interfaces directly with your smartphone, creating a more stable, low-latency connection with the device.

Called the Mosaic, Berger’s concept is sort of a part-logical-part-sarcastic way of pointing out that camera bumps on phones are so big they might as well be an independent device! The Mosaic isn’t really intended at being an Apple concept, but the camera bump and CMF options seem pretty indicative. Pop it into its smartphone dock and you’ve got a phone with a maxed out camera, take it out and the Mosaic module is just as functional, with a screen on the other side big enough to read and even type out messages. On the lens-side, you’ve got three camera lenses, a ToF sensor, a microphone, and another tiny screen that’s great for basic notifications, or a nice preview window or countdown timer for your camera! The camera module can be even used as a neck-worn or wrist-strapped device, like an activity tracker or smartwatch, and a clip-on accessory lets you mount it on yourself, like a bodycam. It even has its own volume buttons, although the evident lack of real estate on a device so compact means there aren’t any ports on it.

Need more hits to meet your Apple needs? Check out more revolutionary Apple accessories here!