This Dyson-inspired inclusive ticket machine adjusts its height, increasing convenience for its users!

Coinvenience is an inclusive ticket machine design that incorporates adaptive light fixtures and a hydraulic rail system that adjusts the machine’s height to meet users where they are.

We don’t know how inconvenient ticket machines can be until we have to use one. In parking garages, when we don’t pull up close enough, ticket machines are impossibly out of reach and the glare of sunlight makes reading the screen on outdoor ticket machines hopeless. With a few random clicks, all we can do is hope we pressed the right buttons to avoid a ticket. Making it more convenient for everyone’s use, Coinvenience is a new ticket machine designed to adapt to changing daylight and heights to meet people where they are.

Inspired by the Dyson Tower Fan’s ingenious bladeless build, Coinvenience encases its ticket machine inside of a multifunctional metal shroud. Addressing the conventional ticket machine’s lack of adaptive lighting fixtures, Coinvenience is wrapped in a metal shroud that blocks sun glare from obstructing the machine’s main control display.

Additionally, the metal shroud features a toplight that turns on at night to ensure the ticket machine and display panel are always visible no matter the lack of daylight. Another key feature of Coinvenience is its adjustable height. The same metal shroud that protects the machine from sunlight glare keeps a hydraulic rail system that moves the ticket machine on a vertical plane to reach different heights.

Primarily designed as a project for Loughborough University, Coinvenience was designed by Harry Rigler, Katy Finch, Reuben Williams, Omar Alqasem, and Bianca Tartaglia who each shared the same vision of creating a ticket machine with its users at the heart of it. Following the university’s guidelines that required the design to operate on a strictly coin-based payment system and feature a non-touchscreen display panel, the team of student designers looked to inclusivity to give Coinvenience the edge it needed.

Designers: Harry Rigler, Katy Finch, Reuben Williams, Omar Alqasem, and Bianca Tartaglia

An introvert-friendly semi-enclosed chaise lounge chair that doubles as a private resting area for public spaces!

‘Esc.’ is a semi-enclosed chaise lounge chair designed to double as a resting space in public to get away from overpowering outdoor stimuli.

Nowadays, the world is at our fingertips–it can be hard to get away from it all, even for only a minute. Distractions come in the form of digital timelines, midday traffic, lunch rushes, and our own smartphones. Our minds and mental health could benefit from a moment’s rest. Realizing the need for a piece of furniture that could double as a place of respite in public spaces, student designer Toine Baert of Two One Design created ‘Esc.,’ a semi-enclosed chaise lounge chair.

Designed to provide people with a secluded resting area, ‘Esc.’ is essentially a chaise lounge chair that’s partly wrapped in an overhead umbrella-like awning. Baert felt inspired to create a private nook for the Highly Sensitive Person (HSP) to look forward to when the stimuli of everyday life become too much. The overhead awning buffers any noise coming from outside to offer an acoustically, visually, and emotionally quiet hideaway inside. The awning can even be adjusted to varying positions to tread the spectrum between enclosed and semi-enclosed, offering anything between an open bench to a dark zone for sleeping. Made from 100% recycled PET felt and durable wood, ‘Esc.’ was made responsibly and built to last.

With upcoming generations giving more credence to the needs and stressors of mental health, design-focused industries are following suit. ‘Esc.’ was developed in part to showcase the ways that furniture can work as a conduit for change within the field of design, creating solutions for today’s and tomorrow’s obstacles.

Designer: Toine Baert x Two One Design

IKEA’s latest Paris project is a fleet of bike-driven sleeping capsules for people to nap in!

Photo by Twitter user @tomsDlu

La Sieste is an outreach project from IKEA that makes up a fleet of cargo bikes that carry sleeping capsules for people to take naps in while cyclists cart them around the streets of Paris.

We could all use a nap. The pandemic has changed our relationship with sleep and many across the globe experience sleeping issues as a result of the quarantine. According to a SleepStandards study, 98% of people in the US have developed new sleep problems post-lockdown. Thankfully, we can always nap and IKEA’s got our back. Hitting the streets of Paris from August 30 to September 3, IKEA launched La Sieste, a fleet of cargo bikes that cart sleeping capsules with beds around the city where people can take power naps in before returning to work.

In the midst of semi-returning to the office, we’re tired. Today’s workspaces have moved to the home and the lack of certainty around when we’ll be fully returning to the office is hanging us in an exhausting limbo. This newfound lack of sleep across the globe seems to be both a cause and effect of lifestyle changes brought on by the pandemic. Part-marketing strategy, part-wellness boost–IKEA’s La Sieste bike fleet will comprise of sleeping capsules outfitted with IKEA furnishings, such as a mattress, cushions, sheets, duvets, curtains, pillows, and bed frame. Nappers will have the option of blacking out their IKEA La Sieste capsule with heavy curtains or leaving the curtains pulled back for a brief, 30-minute micro-tour of the avenues in Paris.

When the itch for a nap comes, don’t yawn it away–take a trip around Paris in one of IKEA’s La Sieste sleeping capsules. Nappers will only have to post to their socials by mentioning @IKEAfrance on Instagram or tweeting @IKEA_france on Twitter with the hashtag #lasiesteIKEA. From there, a cyclist will slide into your DMs and confirm your nap before picking you up to catch some Zs.

Designer: IKEA

La Sieste will hit the streets of Paris on August 30 where they’ll remain until September 3.

Nappers will Catch be limited to 30-minute sleeping journeys.

Catch some Zs by tweeting @IKEA_france or mentioning @IKEAfrance on Instagram.

These immersive lamps are designed to show us exactly how bad light-pollution can be for cities

Can you remember the last time you looked up at the city sky and saw the stars? Chances are if you live in a metropolitan city, you’ll barely be able to see any stars in the sky because of how bright your surroundings are. It’s a phenomenon referred to as light pollution, or the presence of so many artificial lights that it results in ‘wasted energy’ in the form of light particles that ‘litter’ our skies. Unlike noise and dust pollution (which have pretty noticeable effects on our wellbeing), light pollution’s negative impact isn’t noticeably adverse, although it’s known to mess with our circadian rhythms, our mood, visibility, and the environment.

For billions of years, most of the earth has been used to a pretty fixed cycle of having the sun out for half the day, and darkness for the other half. Most plants and animals rely on this consistent pattern of day and night, but urban setups interfere with this cycle because cities are constantly artificially lit during the night. Notably, plants bloom open during the day and shut during the night – a process made rather difficult around streetlights or in indoor settings. Nocturnal animals find living in cities exceptionally difficult too, since years of evolution have equipped them with the ability to see and forage/hunt in pitch darkness, and well-illuminated cities often making hunting difficult with their bright lights, loud sounds, and fast-moving cars. The ill-effects of light pollution aren’t immediately apparent to us, but they affect our environments – something that designers Hao-Mei Wang and Pei-Tzu Ku are bringing to the forefront with their series – Trapped In Light.

Trapped In Light is a series of immersive experiences that tap into our empathetic side by allowing us to understand how nocturnal creatures feel in light-polluted cities. The lamps are positioned at eye-level, and require you to stand with your face inside the lampshade. The inner surface of the lampshade comes painted with cityscape artwork that is illuminated by the lamp’s bulb. Switch the bulb off, and you’d expect things to go dark, but the lamp begins glowing thanks to a coating of phosphorescent paint. You’re never in pitch darkness because the ‘city is always glowing’, and while humans are diurnal in nature, it’s easy to understand how difficult it can be for animals that need the dark to survive – either to navigate environments, to hunt, or to avoid being hunted.

The lamps, which were exhibited at the Taiwan Tech University, have an eerie appeal to them. You immediately feel a sense of being trapped because there’s no escaping the city. Even in the darkness, lingering lights from buildings, windows, roadsides, mobile screens, somehow find their way to you. Even the sky gets so illuminated by the stray photons of light that you can’t see the stars up above… a price that seems pretty small for humans, but goes against the very process of nature for some animals and plants.

Designers: Hao-Mei Wang and Pei-Tzu Ku

Artificial wood made out of Kombucha brewing waste wins the 2021 USA James Dyson Award

Winning the US-leg of the James Dyson Award, Pyrus™ (a kombucha-based wood-alternative) now progresses to the international stage of the James Dyson Award to compete with the other participants, with the international winner being declared on the 17th of November.

With its uniquely rustic, wood-like finish, Pyrus has the ability to offset the use of exotic woods as a material, helping protect fragile ecosystems in the Amazon rainforests from excess deforestation. Its primary ingredient? Kombucha! Well, rather, the Scoby from the kombucha brewing process. Right before going to college, Gabe Tavas became aware of deteriorating environmental issues and conditions after living in an indigenous community in Ecuador. His interests and research led him to focus on bio-design, where Tavas soon committed himself to creating a new, lab-grown synthetic wood that could be used as an alternative to actually felling trees for exotic woods. Tavas’ research helped him understand that wood could essentially be broken down into two components – cellulose (which gives the wood its structure) and lignin (which binds everything together like glue). Cellulose, he discovered, could also be found in abundance as a waste by-product of kombucha-brewing.

Often referred to as the ‘mother’ or the Scoby in your kombucha, the small jelly-like sheets that float on the top of your drink are rich in cellulose. Given that they aren’t consumed along with the kombucha, these sheets are either reused to brew more beverages or are discarded as a waste product. To make Pyrus, Tavas blended these sheets of cellulose to an even consistency and then embedded them in Agar, an algae-based gel. As the gel dried, it hardened significantly and could be placed under a mechanical press to form a flat sheet of wood. “This material can then be sanded, cut, and coated with resins just like its tree-based counterparts”, Tavas mentions.

Symmetry Wood (the group founded by Tavas) mentions that the one thing that sets Pyrus apart from other engineered woods is that it doesn’t harm a single tree. Engineered woods like MDF uses compressed sawdust in their production, which while being relatively waste-free compared to wood, still requires trees to be chopped/sanded/processed. Pyrus, on the other hand, can be made without harming a single tree. In fact, Symmetry Wood touts that it’s petroleum-free too, unlike other artificial woods.

Tavas has produced 74 wood samples of Pyrus in a variety of colors and textures over the past year, mimicking high-demand woods like Ebony and Mahogany among others. Pyrus woods can be treated like regular woods, being spun on lathes, cut with hacksaws, sanded, and even laser-engraved/etched. The Symmetry Wood website even lets you buy Pyrus products, including a set of 3 guitar-picks made from the ‘booch-wood’ (that’s my phrase, not theirs) as well as Pyrus Earrings.

As a winner of the USA James Dyson Award, Tavas was awarded $2,600 prize money. He plans on using it to expand production facilities and even develop 3D printing processes. “The top priority is to put Pyrus into various environmentally-friendly product forms that meet consumer needs and are commercially viable”, Tavas says. “Eventually, we hope to turn any customer interest into revenue streams that will sustain a formal company, Symmetry, and fund improvements for the material that will let it work at larger scales like furniture and even buildings.”

Designer: Gabe Tavas (Symmetry Wood)

This induction stovetop uses voice commands + haptic feedback to make cooking safer for the blind!

Cookware developed specifically for the blind and visually impaired communities requires a good blend of ergonomic and tactile design elements. While today’s product designs across industries shoot for minimalism, ditching bulky gear for a more elemental and bare look, the lack of sensory components overlooks those who might benefit from an ergonomic design, like the visually impaired community. French industrial designer Dorian Famin created Ugo, a two-part induction stovetop, to help streamline work in the kitchen for the blind community.

Ugo is a portable, two-part induction stovetop that helps blind people navigate cooking through haptic dials and an overall ergonomic build. At the center of Ugo’s design, Famin incorporated a chunky stove dial that clicks into place when turned to the right. The size of the stove dial enhances the stove’s ergonomic design by guiding the user’s sense of touch to the stovetop’s main power function. Famin’s stovetop also implements wide, easy-to-grip handles, ensuring safe carrying and boosting the stove’s tactile attributes. Ugo also recites step-by-step recipes to users, weaving in the sense of hearing to aid blind people’s experience in the kitchen. This addition allows room for users to engage with the cookware and accessories already in their kitchen and get cooking while Ugo narrates each step along the way.

While cookware for the visually impaired still has a long way to go, designers notice the lack of inclusive home products and create appliances that streamline everyday tasks. Striking a balance between tactile, bulky stove dials and clever incorporation of sensory elements, Famin’s Ugo boasts accessibility without compromising its refined personality.

Designer: Dorian Famin

The stovetop’s chunky main dial guides the user’s sense of touch to its center.

Wide, easy-to-grip handles enhance Ugo’s ergonomic design.

The two-part construction of Ugo allows users to use their own kitchen accessories when cooking.

The stovetop’s built-in heating coil adds to Ugo’s overall safety factor, allowing for flameless operation.

Braille guides fill out the front panel of Ugo to ensure that users can distinguish between the different dials and buttons.

The LED traffic signal gets redesigned with a single screen stoplight for the 21st century!

Makeshift detour notices and ancient traffic lights from the 20th century sometimes make following road rules difficult. Human error and faded signals sometimes send the wrong sign to drivers and pedestrians, resulting in car accidents and injuries. In addition to the traffic light’s archaic design, those who are color blind can have a difficult time distinguishing between red and green, stop and go. Confronting the downfalls of a design from yesteryear, Moscow-based design firm Art. Lebedev Studio developed a traffic light fixture to match today’s modern design and technological capabilities.

Requested by two cities in Russia for testing in a limited capacity, Art. Lebedev Studio’s traffic light condenses the three-tier stoplight into one digital panel that runs a continuous loop of various traffic signals. When it’s time to stop, the entire fixture emanates a red glow and projects an ‘X’ to signal to color-blind drivers that it’s time to stop. Similarly, when it’s okay to drive on, green fills the screen and an arrow indicates full speed ahead. A countdown is also displayed when each traffic signal starts, allowing drivers to countdown when it’ll be time to go and when they’ll have to slow down.

If you’re like me and the first thing you look for at a stop sign is a ‘No Turn on Red,’ posting, this traffic light from Art. Lebedev has got us covered. Nonstandard signals are also programmed into the traffic light, so drivers will know when it’s okay to turn on red among other road rules. Hybrid display panels will color half of the screen red and the other half green, with an ‘X’ indicating stop and an arrow pointing to the right signaling to drivers that right turns on red are allowed.

Bringing the new design to the pedestrian level, Art. Lebedev developed almost a little sister to the taller traffic light. Shorter than the traffic light, the pedestrian’s panel will also feature simple animations that illustrate when pedestrians can walk across busy streets and when they should hang back to wait for traffic to pass. Relying only on a 5G connection for operation, new traffic and detour information can be programmed remotely into traffic lights to keep drivers up to speed on the latest road rules.

Designer: Art. Lebedev Studio

This signal indicates that while it’s not your lane’s turn to go straight, you can turn right.

This signal shows that it’s all systems go.

Pedestrian signs are positioned beneath traffic signals, closer to the sightline of walkers and bikers alike.

This signal displays a countdown, indicating that drivers have 54 seconds before the light turns red.

LED lights radiate a glow on Art. Lebedev Studio’s signals stand out amidst city lights.

Some various signs can be condensed and displayed on Art. Lebedev Studio’s traffic light for the modern era.

Face Masks are not going anywhere, so this mask is built with an opening for drinking liquids safely during travel

Wearing face masks in airports and airplanes can get uncomfortable, especially if your trip is a long one. It can become difficult to breathe, there’s no eating or drinking, and it gets pretty sweaty under there. After traveling forty hours from the United States back to China, designer Ruitao Li developed the Umai Facemask, a silicone face covering with a breathing valve, air filter, and small mouthpiece slot that can be used to eat and drink while wearing the mask.

While we haven’t entered a post-COVID era yet, we are seeing a small light at the end of the tunnel. Rounding the corner, many restaurants and bars are opening back up to the public around the world. However, with new variants causing hot spots and surges all over the world, masks are still as necessary as ever. The Umai Facemask comes as a set, including the silicone face mask as well as a water bottle with a soft, bendable straw that fits into the mask’s mouthpiece slot.

Users can fill their bottles with their preferred beverages and say goodbye to airplane dry mouths. The removable straw can even be swapped from Umai’s water bottle and used to drink from another one. Umai Facemask’s breathing valve and air filter also make wearing a face mask feel a little more comfortable. Powered up with a type-c charge, the air filter ensures that the air you’re breathing in is clean and fresh, while the breathing valve circulates the air inside the mask to avoid the damp humidity that comes with conventional face masks.

Not eating and drinking while wearing a facemask has to be the hardest thing about traveling nowadays‒who doesn’t love airplane food? Designed to make the experience of modern travel feel a little more relaxed, the Umai Facemask doesn’t compromise the face mask’s primary purpose of keeping viruses and bacteria at bay, it enhances it. With adjustable aluminum nose pieces, hypoallergenic silicone covering, and several air filters, the Umai Facemask ensures comfort and safety.

Designer: Ruitao Li

Complete with a mouthpiece for eating and drinking, the Umai Facemask was designed to make modern travel more comfortable.

Constructed from hypoallergenic silicone, the Umai Facemask doesn’t cause acne or oily skin.

Traveling during the COVID-19 era requires a lot of caution, which can get uncomfortable.

Ruitao Li aimed to make a comfortable and safe face mask for the modern age.

Umai comes as a set, including the face mask, water bottle and bendable straw, and a type-c charger for the air filters.

Ruitao Li found that the most comfortable material for their face mask was silicone.

Medical professionals can also enjoy the benefits of eating and drinking while wearing a face mask.

The soft, bendable straw can be used for any water bottle as it is detachable.

Stocked with plenty of air filters and breathing valves, the Umai Facemask provides plenty of clean air to breathe.

These non-humanoid robots express emotion by reacting to physical touch, just like plants do!

Most often, we only see plants moving and growing when they’re filmed in slow-motion for nature documentaries. But even in those slow scenes, watching plants bloom and grow into themselves feels emotional. It’s like watching a baby tiger wake up from a cat nap on the big screen, except it doesn’t have a face and it’s green, not furry. Inspired by the growth cycle and emotive movement of plant life, student designer Keunwook Kim designed Post-Plant, a collection of non-humanoid robots that respond to and move through non-verbal, physical interaction.

Following a period of researching how humans can read emotion from non-verbal cues, Kim gathered that arousal (dynamic energy), valence (intrinsic attractiveness), and stance (visual disposition) can each be interpreted as signs for emotional analysis. Applying this information to Post-Plant, Kim’s non-humanoid robots do not express emotion through facial expression, but through movement and changing forms. Built into each one of his Post-Plant robots, Kim incorporated a motor interface that combines an input and output system, registering when the robot is touched and responding with movement.

For example, when the top of Kim’s green robot, which could also be an interpretation of Maypole dancing from Midsommar, is turned, the robot responds with arousal, by spinning its ‘leaves.’ Signaling when its valence is turning negative, the Post-Plant robot binds its leaves tightly together. Once those leaves are touched by a human, the robot spins its leaves out once more, indicating a changed, positive valence. Similarly, Post-Plant’s white robot spins its propeller-like leaves in response to being touched but shivers to express unhappiness, indicating a need to be touched once more. By studying how humans read emotion, Kim hopes to cultivate the emotional relationship we have with robots and the potential to express a robot’s emotion through non-humanoid, kinetic gestures.

Designer: Keunwook Kim

Keunwook Kim built three different non-humanoid robots resembling various forms of plant life.

Taking cues from nature, Keunwook Kim researched the different ways humans can read emotion through non-human gestures.

When expressing happiness, this robot spins out its leaves, binding them together to express a negative valence.

This robot spins its propeller-like leaves to express happiness, shivering to express the opposite.

To express happiness, the single electrical string that flows through this robot stands erect.

When unhappy, the string falls limp.

A built-in motor translates input and output information acquired via touch to respond with movement.

To express positive valence, this Post-Plant robot rotates freely.

Spinning its propeller, this robot expresses general contentedness.

Inspired by everyday objects familiar to humans, Kim conceived the form of his non-humanoid robots.

Following multiple iterations, Kim felt inspired by plant life to build the bodies of his robots.

The leaves of this robot seem to be constructed from leather bands.

These prefab cabins require zero assembly and unfold into shelters in case of emergencies!

The modern world is overwhelmed with what feels like countless crises‒climate change, human displacement, and global pandemics begins a list that barely scrapes the surface. Architects and designers alike have been taking notice and utilizing their learned disciplines to provide relief. Entering the conversation around structural relief projects, Hariri & Hariri, a New York-based architecture firm founded by Iranian sisters Gisue and Mojgan Hariri, debuted their own solution: a prefabricated folding pod or cabin that doesn’t require hands-on assembly or the need for hardware or tools.

Modeled after the intricate paper folding art of Origami, the pod’s initial folded form can fit onto flatbed trucks for efficient and manageable shipping. Once positioned for assembly, the pod from Hariri & Hariri readily expands and unfolds to create a prefabricated and modular, single-story housing unit. Born out of a need for emergency shelter across the globe, the architects behind the pod note, “In the middle of a hurricane you don’t have time for a screwdriver.” With this in mind, the pod was designed to instantaneously unfold and build itself with the push of a button. Structured like a pop-up cardboard box, hinges and hidden panels strewn across the pod’s creases aid in the unit’s assembly process. Whether multiple emergency shelters are needed or if the pod is used as a luxury single home unit for a beachside vacation, the modular construction allows the pod to either be configured together with multiple pods to form community shelters or stand alone as a single prefabricated unit.

Hariri & Hariri developed the pod into one that leans on an affordable, transportable, and efficient design by giving it a lightweight and thin exterior build. Constructed with accessible building materials like glass and Equitone panels, the pod can be acquired and utilized by most countries across the globe in need of emergency shelters. The prefabricated pod boasts simple and speedy assembly and transportation processes, making it an ideal modular unit for any event from beachside couple retreats to crowded music events or even extreme emergencies that call for immediate shelter units.

Designer: Hariri & Hariri

When situated in clusters, the pod from Hariri & Hariri can create community-wide shelters in the case of emergencies.

Alternatively, the pod can make for the perfect beachside getaway, with an open-air layout and expansive windows.

The pod can also function as a luxury single-residency for longer vacations.

Inside, the pods are roomy and offer sweeping views of the outdoors.