If there was one person on the planet I’d trust with hacking together a folding iPhone, it’s Scotty Allen. Based out of Shenzhen (and for a good reason), Scotty has a penchant for tinkering with electronics and we’ve even covered some of his exploits before, including building his iPhone entirely from scratch, and even adding a headphone jack to the iPhone 7 after Apple famously removed the beloved feature.
Of late, Scotty’s been obsessed by the idea of a folding iPhone, so much so that he decided to embark on the journey of making one. Now this video is by no means anything close to what Scotty’s gearing for (and he even talks about the obstacles against him), but it’s an introduction to this new journey he’s planning on taking, and he even has a resourceful hacker-friend who can help him realize this dream.
So what is the video about? In short, Scotty managed to get his hands on a flexible display that he hooked to a control board and subsequently to a Raspberry Pi 4. The Raspberry Pi was then instructed to mirror an iPhone’s screen, bringing the familiar home page to the flexible display. The flexible OLED doesn’t even have a digitizer module, which means it doesn’t register touch functions either. Unfortunately, that’s about as far as Scotty’s gotten, because it isn’t as simple as putting a flexible display on a rigid iPhone and calling it a folding device. Both pieces of hardware need to communicate seamlessly, and Scotty mentions how difficult that can be, given that the protocol MIPI (Mobile Industry Processor Interface) isn’t exactly accessible to everyone and that you really need to be a major player to get access to the documentation and the NDAs. Moreover, iOS itself is a closed-source operating system, which means building a device that’s iOS-compatible is another challenge altogether. However, Scotty seems determined… and as someone who’s literally built an entire iPhone from scratch by buying parts off the roads and markets of Shenzhen, he’s quite literally positioned to be the one guy who can beat Apple to the punch when it comes to building the first folding iPhone!
DJI‘s latest drone doesn’t want you to simply operate it… it wants to put you in a virtual cockpit. The DJI FPV Drone isn’t so much about being an incredible drone as it is about boasting of its one, standout feature – the FPV or First Person View. Armed with a pretty futuristic-looking pair of goggles, a low-latency video transmission unit, and a redesigned set of controllers, the DJI FPV drone is about giving YOU the thrill of the flight by allowing you to see exactly what the drone sees… in real-time!
At the heart of the DJI FPV drone are two incredibly revolutionary innovations. Firstly, its HD Low-Latency Transmission of video that gives you the ability to view high-definition footage from the drone in stunning real-time; and secondly, its set of hardware controllers, which allow all sorts of users to experience the FPV’s glorious adrenaline rush, whether you’re a novice or a pro drone-flyer.
The quadcopter drone was built for the thrill of racing. Its uniquely curved and aerodynamic design is engineered for minimal drag, as well as to house all of the drone’s modular, removable, and replaceable parts, including the battery, camera, gimbal, landing gear, and the top shell (which acts as a helmet, protecting the drone from head-on collisions). Needless to say, if your drone ever feels the wrath of a tree or a boulder, it can, for the most part, be fixed or repaired.
Built for the thrill of racing, the DJI FPV drone boasts of a camera that’s arguably as cinematic as the ones found on its Phantom series of drones. The DJI FPV aircraft can record 4K/60fps video at up to 120 Mbps, capturing crisp details that make footage look as exhilarating as the flight. Electronic Image Stabilization reduces jitter during flight, while DJI boasts of being able to beam videos from the aircraft to the goggles with as little as 28 milliseconds of latency, up to a distance of a whopping 10 kilometers or 6.2 miles. With that kind of speed comes responsibility too, which is why the aircraft comes built-in with a whole set of preventive measures and fail-safes to ensure your drone doesn’t crash or plummet from the sky as its battery dies out. Multiple sensors located on the aircraft allow it to dodge obstacles, while smart RTH features ensure the drone makes its way back home when it’s low on battery. In fact, the gear comes pre-equipped with Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B), which receives flight location information of manned aircrafts in the area, sending alerts directly to your goggles to avoid problems.
The goggles/headset forms the primary sensory element of the FPV experience, allowing you to see what the drone sees. It isn’t like your everyday VR headset, but rather sports a super-wide 150° FOV (so obstacles never sneak up on you), along with a max frame rate of 120 FPS, giving you ultra-smooth video transmission with practically no delay… so you can zig-zag to avoid obstacles like a fighter-jet, make freefall dives like a falcon, or perform stunts like a, well, stuntman! The goggles even offer a virtual training experience with the DJI Virtual Flight App for your smartphone, allowing you to race through VR environments before you actually take to the skies.
To maneuver the drone, DJI offers two controllers that unlock the aircraft’s true potential. You have the standard handheld controller which lets you operate the drone as you would any other, albeit with three different modes. The S-Mode unlocks simplified flight, giving you the freedom of fully manual flight with simplified controls. The N-Mode, however, is ideal for new users and novices, offering a traditional flight experience with safety features like obstacle-sensing. The M-Mode gives you complete manual control, intended at seasoned FPV drone racers. You can customize parameters and enjoy limitless control over your aircraft, including acceleration speeds of 0-100km/h in a mind-numbing 2.0 seconds!
The second controller feels a lot like entering into VR territory. Styled like a joystick, or the kind of controller you’d get with a VR headset, DJI’s Motion Controller (sold separately) lets you literally control the drone with your hands. You can maneuver the drone by simply tilting and moving the joystick around, giving you an incredibly intuitive and natural controlling experience. Moreover, a dedicated stop-and-hover button lets you instantly pause the drone in mid-air (a feature that’s great in emergencies), and a return-to-home button allows you to summon the drone back with a simple push of a button. Every aspect of the DJI FPV aims at giving you unbridled control over the drone, and putting you in the drone’s virtual cockpit. Unlike DJI’s other drone offerings that are made for videography, the FPV is for the sheer thrill of being able to fly like a bird, jet, or quite frankly, like Tony Stark… minus the weapons and hand-repulsors of course!
The DJI FPV drone currently retails for $1,299 on DJI’s retail website, with an additional $199 for the Motion Controller.
For most of us, it has been one whole year of working from home – congratulations! We have all adapted to the ‘unprecedented’ times in our own innovative ways as we share our homes with other people, pets, and do our best to work from home and not live from home which can be hard sometimes without a physical boundary to separate them. It left all of us wishing for our own office pod or productivity bubble where we can just zone in, something exactly like this Focus Room!
ROOM is a company creating personal prefabricated home offices for our flexible lifestyle as more people choose to work remotely even as things open up. Each office pod is thoughtfully designed to give you privacy, encourage productivity, and create the psychological boundary between work and home so you can maintain a healthy balance. One of the coolest parts about these office rooms is that each booth’s soundproofing layers are made from 1000 recycled plastic bottles! “From design to delivery, we strive to lessen our impact on the environment. Our products are engineered with recycled materials and replace multiple cycles of construction, minimizing noise and our footprint,” says the team.
The comfortable setups ensure you have a place to zone-in and work without distractions with features that shield and block out noise disturbances. Your private office comes equipped with a desk, accessory rail, and built-in power too. You’ll also receive USB ports at your fingertips to keep your devices charged and the most impressive and efficient feature is the wireless charging integrated into the smart desk. These personal office rooms are shipped in four flat boxes and are sold directly to the user to cut out all the extra costs. ROOM’s rooms are a popular choice with Apple, NASA, Buzzfeed, Reddit, Hulu, Uber and more!
An umbrella-shaped chair. The idea itself sounds absolutely outrageous until you realize how incredibly clever it is. Think about it… would you rather be carrying an umbrella with you wherever you go, or have those godawful wearable chair-legs strapped to your torso like Gabe from Silicon Valley? The answer is obviously the umbrella, given how ubiquitous it is. It’s compact, and more importantly, is socially acceptable. So when designer Yanagisawa Sera was looking for a way to reinvent the folding chair, hiding it inside an umbrella sounded like a perfect idea!
What’s brilliant about the Hide And Seek chair is its sheer absurdity… along with the fact that it actually works! Sera went straight from the drawing board to the metal workshop to test his idea out and from the looks of it, the umbrella-shaped chair works – at least on a prototype level! The frame of the umbrella was fabricated from stainless steel rods, and is designed to fold right into the umbrella shape when closed. A stretched fabric mounted on the frame helps distribute the weight when you sit, allowing the chair to actually take the weight of an adult human. It does look a tad fragile if I’m being candid, but that’s something that can easily be fixed by using materials like titanium or even carbon fiber. The best part about the entire product is that it folds right back into the shape of a standard umbrella, which means you can place it in backpacks, handbags, or even carry it to the grocery store or a concert… blending right into the crowd right before you open the Hide And Seek and take a seat on the world’s only umbrella-shaped chair! That should definitely grab a few eyeballs!
In fact, under certain circumstances, you could use the Hide And Seek as an umbrella too! Although considering its framework (which is designed to easily take somewhere around 160 lbs of weight) is much more robust than the kind found on most umbrellas, the Hide And Seek would be much heavier than your average umbrella, making it difficult to carry for longer periods of time. Nevertheless, the level of creativity and ingenuity the Hide And Seek demonstrates is truly marvelous… especially given the fact that the outrageously brilliant idea is even backed by a working prototype! Yanagisawa Sera, I hope you’ve filed your patents on this, because it may easily be the most brilliantly creative product design I’ve seen this year!
All industries are making an effort to pivot and use more sustainable designs in an effort to slow down the climate crisis. We are seeing a boom in material experimentation and exploration, especially to make products that are biodegradable because that encourages a circular economy that works for the planet and the user. Single-use plastic is one of the biggest non-biodegradable contributors to ocean pollution. My biggest pet-peeve is when hotels have each item in their toiletries kit wrapped in plastic – it is so unnecessary and given the turnover of these items, it creates a tonne of waste. The Green Box is an innovative solution that aligns hotel stays with your sustainable lifestyle choices!
It is an amenity kit designed to help hotels to transition to a circular economy and avoid the waste generated by tens-of-millions of amenity kits are thrown away by hotel chains – we use them once but they last forever on our planet. Green box is made from compostable plastic which will let hotels industrially compost and organically recycle the items in a controlled environment. The design goes beyond providing functional value and also aims to educate guests about the material and its impact to encourage better choices even after the vacation ends. Each box comes with a disposable bin for the room to familiarize guests with the new kind of waste-stream. The guests will sort materials as compostable and non-compostable by simply following the color grading – green for compostable and white for general waste. Then they will put the green compostable items in the green part of the box and the white parts (contaminated with bacterias to be composted) will be disposed of with the general waste.
Once separated, the green items along with the rest of the organic waste from the hotel restaurant will be composted on an industrial facility. After 10 weeks of the methanization process, we will be left with soil and bio-gas which can be used to generate power. In fact, the Green Box might produce enough energy to power a standard LED light bulb for over 27 hours. The remaining organic matter left could be used as a soil fertilizer. The color system is easy to follow and by doing it themselves, the guests can see how much waste is being generated. This creates a beautiful circular design and business model for hotels to implement using bioplastics.
Last summer’s Young Architects Competitions (YAC) saw several amazing concept designs but this Hyperloop Desert Campus by Begum Aydinoglu of Pada Labs, Mariana Custodio Dos Santos, and Juan Carlos Naranjo is a part of the noteworthy 30 shortlisted ones. The challenge was about creating a building in the Mojave Desert, Nevada, that blends the future of transport while also standing as a “sanctuary of science.” Of course, it is an architectural competition so the structure had to visually “wow” the audience/judges.
The team kept in mind the current struggles we face as a planet and came up with a design that focused on environmental sustainability, resilience, and knowledge sharing. Hyperloop Desert Campus will be a building that houses multi-dimensional experiences. The team reimagined the Mojave Desert which is North America’s driest desert (and stretches across four states!) as an oasis in their proposal. The campus sports a stadium-like design with smooth curves bordering four courtyards that feature water elements to support the growth of tall palm trees and other greenery which will also allow for natural cooling and ventilation in the space. Hyperloop’s looping structure will have solar panel farms installed on each of its sides to generate renewable energy that can support the campus while the four courtyards will be designed to facilitate rainwater collection and greywater recycling.
“The symbiosis between the rough landscape and the iconic technology, helps The Hyperloop Desert Campus find its form. The building was designed to seamlessly rise from the desert ground of Nevada…the building’s design spirals up – inspired by the speed of travel – large corridors loop around these Oasis, crossing and interchanging levels, resembling complex interchange high-ways in form and function,” says the trio. 2020 taught us all a lot about resilience and that is the core of Hyperloop Desert Campus as well and will be seen in the form of inclusive knowledge sharing with educational tours, multiple technical cores that establish a fail-safe emergency system, and built-in expandability with adaptable interiors to allow for flexible future growth.
Designers: Mariana Cabugueira, Begum Aydinoglu and Juan Carlos Naranjo
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!
Single-use plastic is one of the biggest contributors to ocean pollution – it makes up for more than 50% of the plastic waste problem. I am constantly looking for innovative packaging designs that can inspire the design community to continue building on sustainable solutions and I am adding Sprout to that list! It is an environmentally-friendly packaging that aims to contribute to the growth of local plants. I also love that the design is interactive – you can learn about the seeds and plant them instead of discarding the packaging!
Sprout’s plantable feature ensures that its life does not end right after consumption; its purpose continuously changes before, during, and after use – it’s where circular economy meets sustainable design. Each seed was selected after intense research to pick those that are non-invasive and would be seamlessly embedded in the Pinyapel material. Pinyapel is a specialty paper made of discarded pineapple leaves and was the result of an initiative led by the Design Center of the Philippines to give local communities and resources a boost. Mangulabnan ensures proper composting and planting is possible by using organic soy ink for the printing as well as an edible starch wrapper to further protect the food item inside the package.
This also addressed the issue of agricultural waste accumulating in the country, especially since the Philippines is one of the largest producers of pineapple fruit in the world. Sprout’s design will help eliminate unnecessary waste and encourage locals to actively contribute to the preservation of the diverse Philippine flora. Through the use of design, consumers can interact better with the product, giving them a sense of fulfillment and responsibility, as well as reinforce a positive behavioral change to further avoid littering and other harmful habits that
The internet is filled with rumors that Apple’s been working on a folding iPhone, and patents even show that Apple’s experimented with different layouts… but if there’s one thing that I’ve learned about Apple, they only debut products that fit perfectly into their ecosystem, and they spend years on product development in the pursuit of perfection; even though it can sometimes mean competitors beat them to the punch. With that being said, the iPhone Fold concept by Svyatoslav Alexandrov makes a compelling case for a folding smartphone. Here’s why.
From a strict ecosystem perspective, the iPhone Fold helps Apple develop one product that fits into two categories – the wildly popular smartphone category, and the sort-of dead mini-tablet category. With the iPhone Fold, Apple could easily discontinue the iPad Mini and focus on the higher-end, pro-grade tablet devices. The folding phone would then absorb the features of the iPad Mini, giving you a device that’s quite literally the best of both worlds.
The iPhone Fold concept designed by Svyatoslav Alexandrov (for the YouTube channel ConceptsiPhone) comes in the familiar Galaxy Fold format, with a primary 6.3-inch screen on the outside, and a larger, 8-inch folding screen on the inside. It ditches FaceID for the reliable TouchID, and turns the entire primary display into a fingerprint sensor – so you can unlock your phone simply by swiping up. The lack of FaceID means a significantly smaller notch with just one front-facing camera for selfies. The back, however, comes with the iPhone 12 Pro’s entire camera setup, featuring wide, ultra-wide, and telephoto lenses, along with a flash and a LiDAR scanner. Open the iPhone up and it transforms into a squarish iPad Mini that’s designed to be perfectly portable. While the concept doesn’t say much about whether this device supports the Apple Pencil, I’d like to think it does, and designer Svyatoslav Alexandrov does mention that the concept is MagSafe capable and 5G ready, which already makes it a pretty good iPad replacement, all things considered.
Multiple sources say that Apple already is working on a folding phone and patents show that the company is researching hinge-details and even folding batteries. However, until folding phones really prove to be a smartphone category that’s here to stay, I suspect Apple’s experimentations will never really see the light of day. It’s fun though, to speculate how a folding iPhone can fit well into Apple’s ecosystem by reviving one product line (the iPhone), and retiring another (the iPad Mini)!
I can practically see myself playing Mr. Sandman by The Chordettes on this!
Meet the VOC-25, a rather weird little synth from our favorite mad-scientist, Love Hultén. It sports a 25-key synth that’s directly hooked to a, well, display and control board that sports 25 plastic teeth that open to sing out the notes you play on the keyboard.
Inspired by a musical instrument originally created by Simone Giertz, the VOC-25 takes things to quite another level, with controls that let you fine-tune the synthesizer’s sound. Four mod-knobs below the teeth allow you to tweak the sound, while a circular display works as an oscillator, showing you the waveform. The surrealist synth comes with an Axoloti Core microcontroller board on the inside, that’s hooked to a 25-key keyboard. Notes that you play are sent to the controller board as MIDI signals, which are then converted to DC currents. These currents control individual solenoids inside the 25 plastic teeth, allowing them to open and close when you play a note.
The VOC-25, as experimental as it is, is quite an ingenious toy! It lets you build your own ‘choir’ by recording RAW vocal audio samples and editing them on the fly. Gives a completely different meaning to ‘backing vocals’, doesn’t it?!