Xencelabs Pen Tablet Medium Bundle SE Review: Every Little Bit Counts


  • Premium build quality and packaging

  • Includes plenty of extras, such as a glove, pen case, and two pens

  • Bundles versatile Quick Keys remote

  • Good performance and accuracy


  • Expensive compared to other pen tablets (except Wacom)

  • A few driver quirks with Quick Keys remote

  • Tablet has too few shortcut keys without extra remote




A formidable rival to the Wacom Intuos, the Xencelabs Pen Tablet Medium Bundle SE offers impressive performance, premium aesthetics, value-add extras, and a rather daunting price tag.

Plenty of designers love the simple joys and liberating functionality of pen and paper, but it gets harder and harder to escape the call of the digital realm. When it comes to tools for turning ideas and designs into digital artifacts, Wacom’s drawing tablets have long held the lion’s share of the market and continue to do so, at least on the high end. Plenty of alternatives have popped up in the past years, each trying to nibble at that large pie, especially with exponentially more affordable offerings. Almost out of nowhere, a new competitor jumps into the fray, loudly challenging the long-time champion on its own turf. The Xencelabs Pen Tablet Medium makes quite a few promises, especially with its special Bundle, but are they just empty words or something that can truly stand the test of real-world problems? We put our creative hats on and give the pen a twirl to find out if this is a tool that designers and creatives can learn to love.

Designer: Xencelabs


Even before you open the box, you already get the impression that this is no mere challenger. Granted, it goes back to the age of packaging that is more elaborate and sometimes wasteful than necessary, but it’s hard to deny that the quality of the Xencelabs Pen Tablet’s presentation definitely makes a good first impression. Fortunately, it isn’t just skin deep, and this high-quality trait continues to other parts of the product.

For one, you are immediately greeted by a tablet and accessories that are predominantly white with mixes of gray, a color scheme that is almost unheard of and unseen in the pen tablet industry. It’s definitely a nice touch that sets Xencelabs apart from its peers. Of course, not everyone will find this color appealing, and there’s a non-SE bundle that has the traditional black motif.

Although the Xencelabs Pen Tablet Medium is your typical plastic affair, you can definitely feel in your hand that it isn’t the cheap and flimsy kind of plastic. It has a solid build quality that will be important if you plan on bringing this along with you a lot. The white surfaces are smooth and shiny, while the grays have different textures, depending on their purpose. The drawing area, of course, has a frosted texture that produces a more realistic drawing experience, while the rubber grip on the pens makes them more comfortable to hold.

The package also comes with a pen case that fits the two bundled pens, replacement nibs, a USB cable, and dongles for wireless connection. A pen case is already a rare treat on other tablets, but one that looks stylish inside and out is an even bigger deal. All in all, both the tablet and its bundled accessories look as premium as Wacom’s high-end offering, which shouldn’t really be surprising considering how much this bundle costs.


As a tool that you’ll be using as much as pen and paper, it is critically important that this tablet and its pen are comfortable to use, especially for long periods of time. Despite the “tablet” being the main part of the product, it is actually the pen’s ergonomics that is even more important. Fortunately, Xencelabs doesn’t disappoint in this area either, with not one but two pens to fit your preference and style. One is the typical Wacom-style pen that swells near the bottom before tapering at the tip, creating a bulbous shape that is something uncommon with normal ink pens. The other pen is the regular barrel, which is more common among laptops and mobile devices that support a stylus.

While both pens are comfortable to hold, the choice won’t simply be a matter of preference. The larger pen has three buttons, while the smaller rod only has two, forcing you to decide between functionality and form. Fortunately, missing a button isn’t as devastating as it sounds since there’s a remote that comes with the bundle. Both pens also have erasers on the opposite end that you can map to other functions, a feature that, so far, only Wacom has been offering.

The ergonomics of the drawing slate itself boils down to two things. First is how light or heavy it is to carry around, which, in this case, is more on the heavier side, which adds to the weight of the laptop you already have in your bag. The other aspect is how well it supports your hand and your wrist while you draw on it. Unlike any other pen tablet, the Xencelabs Pen Tablet Medium has a gently sloping bottom edge supposedly designed to be an ergonomic wrist rest. For those starting out with this tablet, that might indeed be comfortable, but those switching over from existing brands might find the curve a bit unfamiliar.


Xencelabs entered the drawing tablet scene with guns blazing, claiming to challenge Wacom on multiple fronts, especially the price. Of course, a lot of other brands have already been shouting the same thing, and their focus on the price tag produced less than impressive results. Admittedly, they have improved significantly over the years, but there’s still a gap between them and Wacom, a gap that the former Wacom employees that have formed Xencelabs are now trying to fill.

The good news is that Xencelabs isn’t all talk. Whichever of the two pens you choose, you’ll be able to get smooth, crisp lines with no jitter. You can definitely feel that 8,192 levels of sensitivity to the point that you might even want to dial it down a bit to suit your style and hand strength. The tablet’s surface has enough resistance that it doesn’t feel like you’re gliding plastic on glass, especially if you switch to the felt nibs that offer more traction. It’s definitely close to what you would expect from Wacom, but other more affordable tablets from XP-PEN, Huion, and the like are already catching up anyway, making this advantage less significant as time goes by.

The tablet’s value, however, goes beyond its raw drawing performance. For example, driver installation and software management has always been a bane of these computer peripherals, including Wacom. Xencelabs’ software, however, is almost perfect, except for a few glitches involving the included Quick Keys remote. The drivers work without problems, and the software to configure the tablet, pens, and remote is clearly labeled and easy to use. There are definitely a lot of features, almost too many for beginners.

One small but nice feature is the lights on the corners of the tablet’s active area, whose colors you can set on a per-app basis. It might sound inconsequential, but having very visible cues on the boundaries of the drawing area, as well as which app you’re focused on, can help a lot in staying sane during a crunch. That same light-changing feat can be seen on the remote’s dial, which can also change its hue depending on the mode it’s in.

If the tablet and the pen are the stars of the show, the bundled Quick Keys remote plays the supporting role. An accessory that comes as an expensive add-on on other brands, the remote offers 8 keys that can be assigned to different functions and 5 modes that bump up the total to 40 configurable shortcuts. That’s not counting the LED-lit dial that can be used to, for example, zoom in and out or change the brush size with a simple twist. Unlike other similar remotes, it has an OLED display that doesn’t force users to memorize which button does which action. The remote definitely works great and is one of the highlights of this package. Although it’s technically an extra, it actually becomes a necessity because the tablet, unlike others of its kind, only has three buttons that are awkwardly placed at the top. That might be far too few for the professionals that Xencelabs is targeting, making this $99.99 remote an essential part of its proposition.

Another thing that sets the Xencelabs Pen Tablet Medium apart is that it can work both with a USB cable and the included wireless dongle. The latter offers more flexibility in setting up your workspace or when working away from your desk without having to deal with the instability of Bluetooth. It does mean you’d be giving up a USB slot even when going wireless, which can become even more problematic when you use up another slot for the Quick Keys remote.


As a device that needs to be thin and lightweight, it’s really no surprise that the Xencelabs Pen Tablet and its accessories use plenty of plastic, although the packaging thankfully doesn’t have that much. If that weren’t bad enough, the track record of these kinds of devices being repaired and recycled isn’t that good, and most consumers opt to throw away and replace broken products instead of getting them repaired, especially when repair costs far outweigh new purchases. In that sense, there is very little that Xencelabs does differently from its peers, at least nothing that it has proudly revealed yet.

As an extremely young brand, it’s probably not that surprising that Xencelabs is laser-focused on actually cementing its place in the market. It has pit itself against a giant, and its survival and success is currently the most critical aspect of its business. At the same time, however, it is a young brand that could have made a difference right from the start with a stronger and more visible sustainability commitment. Only time will tell if it can get up to speed in this aspect, presuming it actually makes it through its first products.


From a design and performance perspective, the Xencelabs Pen Tablet Medium is already quite a heavy hitter. It performs just as well as an equivalent Wacom Intuos Pro but also goes even beyond that with features like wireless connectivity, configurable LED indicators, and two pens right off the bat. The bundled Quick Keys remote definitely adds to the value, something that you’d have to buy separately with other brands.

Things get a little less clear-cut, however, when you start talking about the price. At $380 for the white Bundle SE or $370 for the standard Black version, it isn’t exactly the most affordable kit outside of Wacom. If you remove the remote, you’re still left at $280, easily three times the price of a medium-sized pen tablet from XP-PEN or Huion. Of course, compared to Wacom, you’re actually saving quite a lot, especially if you consider all the extras you’re getting. Needless to say, the Xencelabs Pen Tablet Medium is in a middle ground of sorts, muddling its overall value when compared against more affordable options, with or without an extra remote.


Although it is still the household name among drawing tablets, both with displays or without, Wacom is no longer the only player in the field. A lot of rivals have risen up and have eaten away at its bottom line. There might still be a discernible difference between Wacom and other players when it comes to performance, but that gap is closing after years of improvement and development. Suffice it to say, there isn’t any lack of “Wacom alternatives,” which is what makes Xencelabs’ arrival both surprising and a little bit questionable.

Make no mistake, the Xencelabs Pen Tablet Medium Bundle SE is impressive in almost all aspects. It looks and feels premium, especially with its uncommon white design, and its accuracy and responsiveness demonstrate its pedigree that can be traced back to Wacom itself. The bundle throws in plenty of nice extras, not least of which is the Quick Keys remote, which is still a great deal, even considering the price. It’s that price, however, that will cause many creatives to pause for thought when there are exactly many alternatives that can do just as well for a lot less. Xencelabs’ pricing makes a clear statement that it is aiming for Wacom’s throne, launching a premium device that puts it closer to the titleholder than other rivals. It remains to be seen, however, if this strategy will pay off or if the Xencelabs Pen Tablet will be a one-hit-wonder.

The post Xencelabs Pen Tablet Medium Bundle SE Review: Every Little Bit Counts first appeared on Yanko Design.

NVIDIA GeForce RTX 40 graphics enable powerful tools for creators

A lot of our experiences today rely on computer graphics. Some might think that only games and gamers actually benefit from advancements in this field, but the proliferation of 2D and 3D digital art, the push for the metaverse, and even the booming industry of live streaming all depend on not only powerful but also accessible graphics. At the heart of all these is, of course, the graphics processing unit or GPU, the dedicated piece of hardware that can make or break the graphics experience. Graphics cards, especially those inside thin laptops, are no longer just a luxury for gamers, and NVIDIA’s latest GeForce RTX 40 Series is demonstrating how these same technologies presumed to be just for gamers are also essential in supporting the sophisticated needs and workflows of today’s creators.

Designer: NVIDIA

Announced a few months ago, NVIDIA’s GeForce RTX 40 family is built on the company’s new Ada Lovelace architecture that, as you might expect, pushes the envelope in terms of graphics performance while balancing thermal and power efficiency. The graphics giant’s CES 2023 address was naturally filled with the technical terms and buzzwords that both gamers and game developers drool over, including the next-gen AI-powered ray tracing technology DLSS3. These very same features, however, support more than just the consumption of content but, more importantly, empower creators with new tools to bring their ideas and imagination to life.

The GeForce RTX 40 graphics cards naturally make apps run more smoothly and fluidly, particularly those that depend heavily on graphics performance, such as Blender and Photoshop. NVIDIA’s graphics cards also include a tiny supercomputer inside for machine learning and AI, and this power also boosts the performance of AI-based tools, like image generation, real-time avatar control, and other neat features like “Eye Focus” which “remaps” your eye so that it seems like you’re always looking straight at the camera.

NVIDIA also presents its Omniverse platform and a suite of new tools in its NVIDIA Studio that allow creators to collaborate on a single project from different parts of the world using different tools. Whether it’s creating 3D animation or 2D art, NVIDIA’s latest generation of graphics cards provides the power and intelligence to make it happen.

Of course, all that power would remain unused unless it landed in the hands of the creators it was made for. Taking aim at the growing trend of 14-inch laptops, NVIDIA is bringing the GeForce RTX 40 family to a wide variety of laptops from different brands, some starting as low as $999. By bringing this technology in a more portable and accessible form, NVIDIA is empowering creators, designers, gamers, and live streamers to dream big and go big, bringing their ideas to life and making this world a more vibrant and lively place.

The post NVIDIA GeForce RTX 40 graphics enable powerful tools for creators first appeared on Yanko Design.

What would thrift shopping look like in the metaverse?

Built around the idea of a digital universe (or a metaverse), Around is a unique approach to thrifting, that facilitates the exchange of original products through online trading… and relies on NFTs to act as a proof of product authenticity as well as a sort of warranty card.

Sure, cryptocurrencies and NFTs are an absolute curse for the environment, although this new conceptual VR marketplace is certainly doing its part by promoting a somewhat sustainable culture of second-hand product ownership and an extension of a product’s life cycle. Meet ‘Around’, a metaverse marketplace for your physical goods. Much like a digital storefront like Amazon or Shopify, it allows products to be bought and sold, although it lets individual sellers sell their own belongings, sort of like a virtual garage sale – think eBay but better. What’s interesting about Around is that it doesn’t just let you buy and sell used goods, it’s a comprehensive virtual world where even your digital avatar buys and sells items too… so a pair of actual Jordans purchased in the physical world would also mean that your digital avatar would own a pair of Jordans.

Secondhand products are simply auctioned off to the highest bidder in this virtual universe. Your digital character participates in a bidding war with other characters, and the person who wins the bid doesn’t just get the actual product shipped to them, they also get the bragging rights of their avatar owning a digital copy of the product too (similar to buying skins on Fortnite). Along with the digital copy, your avatar even acquires the product’s NFT, which acts as proof of ownership and authenticity. An NFT is minted for each individual product, sort of like a digital badge, and when you sell a product, the NFT gets transferred to its new owner. The NFT serves as a warranty certificate in the real world, allowing brands to live up to the promise of their product’s quality, and for the added flair, it displays as a digital badge in your digital world, allowing you to flaunt your swag in the real world as well as the metaverse!

What Around proposes isn’t something radically new, but it does package a few existing concepts, like product ownership, thrifting, NFTs, and the metaverse into a singular cohesive solution. It seeks to reinvent how youngsters shop in the future, offering an interactive, immersive virtual storefront that people can practically line up in front of to buy limited-edition merch, effectively turning the digital store into a new social space.

Designer: Jeongin Lee

The post What would thrift shopping look like in the metaverse? first appeared on Yanko Design.

Emojis for the blind? A type designer is meticulously translating popular emojis into Braille

While the idea of emojis was originally to promote visual texting, its drawback remains the fact that its visual nature makes it inaccessible to the vision impaired. To help overcome this barrier, type designer and PhD student at Belgium’s MAD School of Arts, Walda Verbaenen took it upon herself to redesign popular emoticons in Braille. The project, titled “Braille Emoticons” proposes the addition of 22 different symbols or emojis to the Braille alphabet, comprising everything from the various smileys to thumbs up and thumbs down, and even the heart emoji.

“People who use Braille are forced to use the letters of the alphabet to describe their emotions”, Walda mentions. “This became a starting point to design an addition to the Braille alphabet, based on our visualized emotions into emoticons, converted into the ‘dot’ language that characterizes Braille.” To ensure it doesn’t conflict with the traditional braille alphabet of a grid of 12 dots, the emoticon addition to the Braille alphabet was developed in a grid of 9 dots, fitting well with the square structure of the emoticon symbols.

Designer: Walda Verbaenen

The post Emojis for the blind? A type designer is meticulously translating popular emojis into Braille first appeared on Yanko Design.

This automated robotic arm is actually an unconventional photo booth that draws your portrait!

Pankraz Piktograph is a reinterpretation of the classic photo booth, only this one uses automated robotics to translate photographs into portrait sketches.

Photo booths are just as good as cake at parties. Everyone loves a photo strip souvenir they can take home with them and laugh at in the morning or keep for years to follow. Taking inspiration from ancient photo booths like Maillardet’s automaton from the 1800s that didn’t use flash to capture smiles and funny faces, but robotics to perform automatic sketches of people standing before the machine. Felix Fisgus, a design studio, in collaboration with Joris Wegner, multimedia artist, and product designer, designed their very own robotic automated sketch booth called Pankraz Piktograph, a self-contained portrait-drawing robot.

Turning the act of getting your very own portrait into the event itself, Wegner created their Pankraz Piktograph to draw portraits of bystanders at events like science exhibits, trade fairs, and museums for them to bring home. With the press of a button on a handheld remote, the Pankraz Piktograph snaps photographic portraits of its users to then transform into a delicate pencil sketch.

Once the photograph has been taken, it’s translated into a vector representation, which can then be drawn by the automated robot styluses. Equipping the Pankraz Piktograph with the technical makeup to master various drawing styles, users can choose to have their photograph drawn from fast minimalist styles to more intricate, or abstract renderings.

Running the whole show, the Pankraz Piktograph contains a Raspberry Pi 3 that takes charge of drawing on the 3.5” display canvas. The machine’s integrated technology generates vector-based graphics from photographs and increases its contrast to capture the essence and edges of each photograph, leaving out the softer details to prioritize the image’s harsher lines.

Describing the robot’s motion technology, Wegner states, “Each arm is moved by a stepper motor via a one-to-five pulley transmission. This helps to increase the torque as well as the resolution of the movements. We decided to go for an open control loop, thus light barrier sensors at each shoulder joint are used for calibration and determining absolute positions of the arms.”

With such accurate movements, the Pankraz Piktograph is constructed to capture even the finer details of each photograph’s distinct features – from moles to dimples. Attached to each moving arm, the spring-loaded pens are set into motion with a servo motor to make enough contact with the paper, but to keep the pen swift enough to capture slight irregularities in each photograph.

Designer: Felix Fisgus

You won’t believe that these psychedelic art pieces are actually close-ups of molds and fungi!

No, this isn’t an alien planet. It’s a psychedelic work of art by Dasha Plesen using paints, pigments, foodstuff, and bacterial/fungal cultures from everyday life.

I don’t know about you, but when I see mold growing on something, my knee-jerk reaction is to throw it away. Daria Fedorova, on the other hand, busts out her camera, mounts a macro lens, and gets to work! Fedorova’s psychedelic artworks are more of a collaboration than anything else. She uses paints, yeasts, foodstuff, and biofilms to compose her art pieces, introduces microscopic fungal and bacterial cultures to the mix, and then lets nature take over as the molds grow on top of her abstract pieces of art, giving it a new appearance altogether.

Fedorova (who goes by her online moniker Dasha Plesen) hopes to redefine what it means to “create” art, and to explore how much of a role she plays in the creation. A lot of the artwork’s process is unpredictable, as Fedorova just allows the cultures to incubate over a period of 3-4 weeks, growing on top of the canvas she creates. The Russia-based artist spent 7 years researching microcultures and learning how to develop and control them. Most of her artwork occurs in controlled environments inside Petri dishes, and her microculture samples come from a variety of places, including “air, surroundings, body, and objects”, according to the artist.

It’s worth noting that no two molds/cultures in her artpieces are the same. They come from different locations and samples, and are the result of multiple natural bacterial and fungal colonies naturally propagating. Fedorova’s experimented with bodily fluids (like sweat, saliva, mucus, and milk) and even decorated her art with sprinkles and granules of sugar, adding pops of color to her “disgusting” art. The results are undeniably fabulous, that is, if you can somehow get yourself to look beyond the fact that those microbiotic cultures are incredibly unhealthy and potentially dangerous if exposed to humans (Fedorova does make it a point to safely dispose of them once she’s done). However, they make for great prints (Fedorova actually sells posters and tee-shirts)… and if you’re into NFTs, you can get your hands on some “CryptoFungi” too!

Designer: Daria Fedorova (Dasha Plesen)

These modular prefab homes could be the world’s first to use a steel 3D-printed “exoskeleton” construction system!

Located in Orani, Sardinia, Exosteel comprises the world’s first housing development to use a steel 3D-printed “exoskeleton” construction system that supports and distributes all the functional elements of the building, inspired by the sculpture work of Costantino Nivola.

Museums are social hubs for travelers. They’re cultural and artistic landmarks first, yes. But they’re also guaranteed spots where tourists can take some respite from long hours spent wandering the city. Near the Nivola Museum in Sardinia, Italy, international design studio Mask Architects visualized a cluster of homes to function as a housing development for the surrounding community. Conceptualized as a small village of modular prefabricated steel houses, Mask Architects is the world’s first architecture and design firm to use a steel 3D-printed “exoskeleton” construction system to build the small village, calling it Exosteel.

Exosteel comprises a group of modular steel homes that would be constructed using ​​a 3D-printed construction system that supports and distributes all the functional elements of the building. Mask Architects co-founders Danilo Petta and Öznur Pınar Çer felt inspired by Costantino Nivola’s sculpture work, in particular a travertine sculpture called ‘La Madre.’ Punctuating the terrain of a sloping mountainside in Sardinia, Exosteel is comprised of heart-shaped, white homes with center ‘energy towers,’ oriented in the same way as the head on Nivola’s ‘La Madre.’

Mask Architects plan on building Exosteel by first inserting a hollow central column ⅓ of the building’s height into the ground, reinforced by wooden beams to support each home’s three floors. Then, on each floor, a perimeter frame “divides and supports the [home’s] facades made up of panels modeled to follow the organic shape of the house,” as described by Mask Architects. Following Nivola’s pursuit of binding communities together through art, Mask Architects chose Exosteel’s location due to its proximity to Orani, Sardinia’s national museum, where Nicola’s ‘La Madre’ is on permanent display.

Striving to ensure each building is entirely “self-sustainable,” Mask Architects designed each module that comprises Exosteel to be expandable and flexible to meet the conditions of Sardinia’s natural climate and weather conditions. Considering Orani’s propensity for wind, the homes of Exosteel are completed with built-in voids that guide wind through each building to the development’s communal wind turbine. As described by Mask Architects, Exosteel garners energy from individual energy conduits placed at the top of each home.

Describing the energy conduits, Mask Architects note, “Each building is centered with an ‘Energy Tower’…covered with solar panels that will harvest solar energy while the top of the central energy tower itself will rotate 360 degrees at the same time with the wind that will also generate wind turbine energy…​​The main centered energy tower that houses all the systems is constructed out of a steel skeleton. By connecting our bearing steel beams to this skeleton column, we actually created a completely self-supporting steel carcass metal structure.”

Designer: Mask Architects

Warehouse-friendly robot comes outfitted with smart technology to streamline operation and optimize ergonomics!

In collaboration with OTTOBO Robotics, product and car designer Berk Kaplan developed a concept design for a task robot that integrates smart technology to streamline ergonomics and package-carrying flexibility.

Each day, it feels like we’re getting closer to a future where robots will walk among us. Advancements in smart technology and Artificial Intelligence have streamlined and catapulted robot development to the forefront of our minds. Wrocław-based car and product designer Berk Kaplan recently teamed up with OTTOBO Robotics to develop a concept design for their smart task robot.

During the beginning stage of the concept design phase, Kaplan first conducted his own research to settle on the overall mood and personality of the robot. Following the research period, Kaplan sat down to sketch outlines of his robot in development, toying around with practical elements and aesthetic touches. The first proposal envisioned the robot with both a hard outer shell and inner core, giving it a tough, hardworking personality and weighty body.

Where the first proposal found durability in a tough exterior and interior, the third proposal from Kaplan wrapped the robot in a soft outer shell to cover the robot’s soft interior core. The second proposal, which Kaplan and OTTOBO Robotics ultimately chose as the concept design’s final form, conceived the robot with a soft outer shell and hard inner core for a cushioned tactile experience, outfitting the robot with a friendly and approachable disposition.

Once the final conceptual form was chosen by the OTTOBO Robotics team and Kaplan, 3D models were created to further develop the robot from every angle. Working with 3D models of the robot allows Kaplan to find the best ways to optimize the robot’s ergonomics and package flexibility. During this stage, more technical specifications were chosen for the robot, more specifically deciphering how smart technology would be built into the room to ensure its operability. Following this concept design phase, Kaplan and the OTTOBO Robotics team are looking forward to future production.

Designer: Berk Kaplan x OTTOBO Robotics

Berk Kaplan used 3D models after deciding on the robot’s conceptual final form to understand its shape from every angle.

Using 3D technology, Kaplan deciphered how to best optimize the robot’s package-carrying flexibility. 

After settling on its form and creating matching 3D models, Kaplan added aesthetic details like branding and logos. Production coming soon!

The viral Xiaomi robotic dog posed to be an affordable challenge to Boston Dynamic’s Spot just released new images + sketches!

Quadruped robots hit the scene in 1976 and since then, they’ve been used for everything from unsafe forensic and governmental tasks such as bomb-sniffing and mine surveying to clinical tasks like connecting with patients to provide remote medical attention.

Quadruped technology is the talk of the robotics world. Four-legged robots are relied on by industries across the world for tasks that require a stable walking gait and agile mobility. Xiaomi, a Chinese tech company, recently unveiled more 3D renders of their own Quadruped robotic creation, CyberDog.

Currently, the bio-inspired, four-legged robot has been engineered as a robotic companion whose future technical capabilities are still in development. In a recent press release from Xiaomi, it’s said that CyberDog comes complete with “AI interactive cameras [and sensors], binocular ultra-wide-angle fisheye cameras, and Intel ® RealSense™ D450 Depth module, and can be trained with its computer vision algorithm.”

CyberDog’s external interface features an array of camera sensors. CyberDog’s involved vision sensor system allows the robot to carve out its own navigational map and analyze its surrounding environment in real-time, allowing it to look toward a destination and avoid physical barriers on the way. Currently, CyberDog’s integrated software allows the quadruped robotic companion to operate like a real dog.

Inspired by the pet-like nature of canines, CyberDog also features built-in smart technology that allows posture and facial recognition, which means CyberDog can even follow its owner around like a real dog. Xiaomi filled CyberDog with 11 high-precision sensors that allow the robot to register, analyze, and interact with its surrounding environment. With a maximum torque output and rotation speed up to 32N·m/220Rpm, CyberDog can move at speeds up to 3.2 m/s.

Syberdog also comes with 3 type-C ports and 1 HDMI port so users can attach hardware add-ons, Xiaomi describes, “be it a search light, panoramic camera, motion camera, LiDAR, or more.” In addition to its integrated biometric technology, CyberDog responds to voice commands like assigning tasks or operation control. Alternatively, users can manage CyberDog’s movement and direction via accompanying remote control or smartphone applications.

Expanding on CyberDog’s technical and managerial potential, a “rich external interface” includes 3 type-C ports and 1 HDMI port, allowing users to attach hardware add-ons or software systems to make acute improvements to CyberDog’s existing technology. On CyberDog’s ability to register commands, Xiaomi notes, “CyberDog can be called on for the most unique tasks, and the ways in which it can be interacted with holds unforetold possibilities.”

Designer: Xiaomi

Rubber bottomed feet allow CyberDog to move around rugged terrain and indoor settings alike.

Hinged limbs allow CyberDog to move just like a canine animal.

CyberDog can even do push-ups. Only half-kidding. It can do push-ups, thanks to its 220 rpm32N-m maximum torque.

Soft rubber bottoms allow for soft and nimble treading.

11 high-precision sensors fill out CyberDog’s internal wiring that give CyberDog the power to understand, analyze, and interact with its environment.

CyberDog comes equipped with voice command technology and facial recognition software so it can follow humans around and respond to tasks like a real canine might.

CyberDog can conduct high-speed movements up to 3.2 m/s.

This autonomous shuttle bus reimagines last-mile commute with informative graphics and a minimal, transparent design

Modern architecture constantly reimagines what cities might look like in the future, but public transportation still lives in an era of antiquated buses and faulty subway trains. Weaving between smart office buildings and shiny skyscrapers in a packed bus from the ‘90s proves that public transportation could use some reimagining of its own. Designing Campus Shuttle as a mobility concept to connect busy drop-off/pick-up areas, student designers Kilian Wiesmann and Nils Achenbach aimed to rethink public transportation through a transparent and autonomous public bus.

The designers prioritized versatility and accessibility with Campus Shuttle to ensure a smooth ride for everyone. From the outside, wheelchair access is made available via a retractable ramp that bridges the edge of the curb with the shuttle entrance. Curated animations and LED signal lights communicate with other vehicles on the road through autonomous programming. Built from curved glass panels and an aluminum framework, Campus Shuttle is a fully transparent, four-wheeled vehicle.

Getting inside the Campus Shuttle is also as easy as unlocking your smartphone. Using proximity sensors located in the shuttle’s sliding doors, commuters are granted access to the shuttle by scanning their ticket’s barcode or by paying for a ticket through Google or Apple Pay. Retractable seats line the perimeter of Campus Shuttle’s interior space, offering flexibility and creating more space when necessary. Situated in the center of the vehicle, an interactive information hub helps commuters become familiar with the shuttle route and surrounding city.

Campus Shuttle is designed to carry commuters between high-traffic pick-up/drop-off areas throughout major cities, such as airports, campus and office buildings, and public markets. The designers explain,” Our trend research phase has shown a remarkable inefficiency of transport in big cities. Individual traffic takes up a lot of space. In addition, the number of passenger cars in Germany has grown relatively steadily by half a million vehicles annually over the past two decades, from 450 cars per 1,000 inhabitants in 1998 to 560 cars per 1,000 inhabitants in 2018.” Designed to bring public transportation out of the ’50s, Campus Shuttle boasts a futuristic, sleek profile.

In cooperation with Brose Mechatronics, Wiesmann and Achenbach conceptualized Campus Shuttle to be a city staple for the public transportation industry. Designed with five curved glass panels that surround aluminum beams, Campus Shuttle maintains a minimal look. When in motion, Campus Shuttle almost appears to hover above the ground, linking a vision of futuristic public transportation with contemporary architectural landscapes. Personally, I see it as a nightrider in the dark, hovering above the street in sleek lighting. Campus Shuttle’s low-rise build makes it appear to hover above the ground when in motion.

Campus Shuttle was built to be versatile and accessible, so the designers implemented the most cutting-edge smart technology into the shuttle’s autonomous design. Pre-programmed signal lights and wheelchair access ramps add Campus Shuttle’s overall safety factor. These design elements specifically focus on the local users, “The university consists of several remote buildings that can be challenging to reach by foot, especially for students and staff with disabilities. This is exactly the challenge we took on with our concept vehicle: Linking extensive areas like universities, company facilities, airports, and trade fairs.”

With a traditional interior bus design, Campus Shuttle is familiar enough for commuters to intuitively understand and the modernization of the design makes it more accessible, giving a win-win situation that is sure to be appreciated by all users!

Designers: Kilian Wiesmann & Nils Achenbach