Now that we’ve had a taste of what working from home feels like, we’re all noticing the ways our work setups can be improved. It might be that your desk is too short or that your wires desperately need some organizing. No matter what you do, your workspace should feel comfortable and accessible so that you can move through the workday as smoothly as possible. After one year of intermittently working from home, Lucas Couto dreamed up his ideal WFH setup and it’s safe to say, we all want in.
What appears as a simple computer desk setup turns out to be so much more. For starters, Couto’s workstation setup, “Future of Work,” features a retractable display screen that detaches into a foldable tablet/laptop. The simple OS desktop functions as the workstation base, where files can be created and stored. Then, when Couto needs a tablet or laptop for easy portability, the same files will be made available on the go.
In addition to the desktop’s detachable screen, Couto’s design features another tablet that can attach itself to the desktop for an extended display, offering quick file sharing and supplemental portability. Finally, Couto’s “Future of Work” setup comes equipped with VR compatibility, providing a headset that turns into a dashboard where all of the work station’s appliances are connected. The integration of VR allows for seamless file transferring between devices, like sharing CAD models between devices and other file formats.
Nowadays, it’s important for the technology we use to cater to our needs, from getting stuff done for work to using it at our leisure. When technology doesn’t flow the way we need it to, it can feel like our whole workday has been derailed. Couto’s “Future of Work” conceptual design realizes the ultimate cohesive work setup through multiple device connectivity for a smooth workflow, convenient portability for busier days, and integrative VR assistance for intuitive file transferring.
Designer: Lucas Couto
Following multiple ideations, Couto conceptualized the WFH setup of his dreams.
Following a year’s worth of intermittently working from home, Couto designed a WFH station that includes multiple device sharing platforms and seamless file transferring.
Hinging on portability and accessibility, Couto’s WFH system includes a tablet that transforms into a laptop.
Featuring retractable screens that turn into standalone tablets, Couto’s WFH setup is designed for convenience.
After working on the tablet, it can then be transferred to the desktop’s screen just by dragging your fingers.
By incorporating a supplemental tablet, the desktop’s display screen can nearly double in size.
By including a VR headset, Couto makes it easy to search through his dashboard and organize his work across multiple device platforms.
Brain-Computer Interfaces (BCI) are essentially communication devices that acquire brain signals to then translate into electrical signals, which are ultimately used to control a device’s operating and navigation system. BCIs were initially developed as assistive devices used to aid people with complex communication disorders such as ALS, muscular dystrophy, and Cerebral Palsy. Since their conception, BCIs have grown with the time’s technological advancements, coming equipped with features such as augmented-reality and robot control. Today, Cognixion ONE, a wearable speech-generating device with AR, is the latest BCI innovation and the first of its kind.
Conixion ONE works simply by strapping the headset on and letting the AR interface guide its user through communication processes. Six non-invasive electrodes manage brain communication by determining where the signals are coming from within the brain and translate its signals into electrical signals that guide users through features like a context-aware predictive keyboard, radial sentence builder tools, an integrated AI assistant, and data streaming. The headset’s dual-display allows users to ask or answer questions, with their responses then getting broadcasted on the display’s front-facing screen. The headset’s AR environment registers signals coming from head movement, voice commands, BCI, and switch controls. Cognixion ONE also comes enabled with 4G LTE to allow for full functionality even on the go and equipped with a USB-C charging port.
The makers behind Cognixion ONE designed the BCI out of necessity– there’s not another BCI on the market that enjoys its many features. Developed by a team of neurologists, biosignal engineers, Speech-Language Pathologists, special educators, as well as individuals who actually use AAC/AT tools in everyday life, Cognixion ONE evolved into the world’s first BCI to use AR to translate thought into speech. With such a well-endowed team of innovators, Cognixion ONE is able to offer speech and an integrated AI assistant for home automation control.
Cognixion ONE is completely wireless and comes equipped with 4G LTE for use on-the-go!
Cognixion ONE’s headset forms to the person wearing it, adapting to any brain and head shape and size.
Cognixion ONE’s headset registers signal from head pointing, BCI, or switch controls.
With added padding, the makers behind Cognixion ONE ensured that when wearing the headset, the user remains comfortable.
Through AR capabilities, Cognixion ONE guides users through display screens that help generate thought into speech.
The COVID-19 pandemic has brought to us one overwhelming realization – how fragile life is. It has truly backed up something we heard all our lives, but never took quite literally, ‘Health is Wealth’. Though the vaccine is slowly finding its way in the world, the cases are still ongoing, and they’ve created tremendous pressure on the medical industry. However, designers all over the world are coming to the rescue! Medical innovations are booming. Designers have been coming up with new and improved, innovative, and life-saving medical designs that not only boost medical care but relieve some of the pressure from our tireless medical force. From a stethoscope that detects the early signs of arthrosis to an ambulance that tactfully avoids traffic, these designs tackle a variety of problems in the health and medical field. They’re a boon to modern healthcare and a reminder that we cannot take our health for granted any longer!
Literally, the size of a quarter, Adam Miklosi’s Dab is an unobtrusive Holter ECG/EKG that rests comfortably on your chest, constantly reading your heart’s movements. Designed to be minimal, non-invasive, and simple, the Dab tries to bridge the gap between medical appliances and wearables. Its tiny yet classy design sits on your chest via a gel patch, while the electrodes capture your heart activity. The Dab’s dry-electrodes allow it to be used and reused, while constantly measure one’s heart activity (requiring periodic charging via their wireless charging hub), and keep logs of accurate readings, quietly sitting on your chest while you absolutely forget that they’re even there in the first place!
This clever design safely transports spillable food for those with Parkinson’s disease. Designed by Jonas Krämer and Ayla Warncke, the Foodsling facilitates the transport of spillable foods for everyone but it was specially designed keeping in mind people who have to live with Parkinson’s disease. Due to the weakness of their musculoskeletal system, they often face mobility issues and need assistance with simple tasks like carrying their food bowls. The Foodsling is created for individual use so that it can be kept lightweight and small for the user’s ease. The designers are using soft silicone to make the final product and that will also incorporate transporting smaller vessels, the prototype already has an adjustable diameter. The Foodsling can be carried with one hand, enabling the user to hold a walking aid in the other hand. The designers carried out tests with people who suffer from Parkinson’s disease and while the design works for most of them, each person’s intensity and experience with the disease is different so we must remember that this is not one size fits all but it will be one size that fits all bowls!
The Auvis is a digital stethoscope that is structured to detect early signs of arthrosis. The instrument has built-in sensors to catch sounds emitted by joints, making it easier to pick up degenerating cartilage inside them. The arthrosis that this digital stethoscope intends to detect is a non-inflammatory degenerative condition that’s mainly associated with aging. It occurs as a person grows older and the joint cartilage becomes rugged and begins to wear out. Since, the designer says, “cartilage degeneration, the starting point of arthrosis, can neither be seen on X-Ray nor MRT,” the Auvis presents itself as a viable med gadget. Degenerating cartilage tends to generate sounds that the sensors on the Auvis can pick up to let a physician interpret the feedback and give the diagnosis. Like an ordinary stethoscope, Auvis also comprises an examining tool and a neckpiece – the only difference being, these are wirelessly connected and offer an unrestricted opportunity to examine various joints on the body.
The California Institute of Technology is working on an electronic skin, a sensor-filled sticker, that can turn human sweat into energy enough to power basic devices like heart-rate sensors, glucose-level trackers, or even a low-energy Bluetooth radio. These stickers work by harvesting ‘lactate’ from the sweat we produce. The lactate is absorbed by the electronic skin’s fuel cells – which are made from carbon nanotubes that host a platinum/cobalt catalyst and an enzyme that uses oxygen in the air to break down the lactate into water and a substance called pyruvate. CalTech’s researchers say these stickers can generate a continuous stream of energy (as much as “several milliwatts per square centimeter”), making it enough to offset the need for a battery, which the technology hopes to eventually replace.
Hearings aids have always made the user feel conscious and many will try to hide the fact that they are wearing one. The device that is meant to empower them and help with their hearing is actually doing the opposite by making them feel like they have something to be embarrassed about. Alice Turner decided to design Amplify, a hearing device that was made to be seen, to feel confident about, and to help people experience life to its full potential! Amplify was created to give the hearing-impaired demographic an added value that made the hearing aid more than just a medical accessory. “In the ’60s, glasses were aids for a disability. Now, glasses have evolved into ‘eyewear’, a fashion statement, and an extension of your personality. This shift made me question why the main innovation in hearing aid design is developing technology to make them smaller and more hidden,” says the designer on her thought process behind starting the project. Using bone conduction technology, Amplify provides users with high-quality audio for a more comfortable and wholesome sound experience. This technology enables the device to decode sound waves and convert them into vibrations that can be received directly by the Cochlea so the eardrum is never involved. Amplify essentially becomes your eardrum!
How does an ambulance reach a victim in a road/highway accident when there are more than a dozen cars stuck in a traffic jam between the ambulance and the site of the accident? Up until now, the only solution was to drive in the opposite lane, weaving through oncoming traffic to get to the victim. A band of Korean designers created the Median AMB, a special ambulance that can directly reach the point of the accident without getting affected by the traffic congestion created by the accident. The Median AMB sits on the road divider/median and drives up and down the highway almost like a monorail. It features sliding doors on both sides, seating for a driver and an assistant, and an area for a stretcher that holds the victim. The Median AMB drives down the dividers, right to the victim’s location, picks them up, and brings them to a proper ambulance that can take the victim to the nearest hospital.
While the world’s scrambling to deal with the sudden explosion of the COVID-19 virus, it’s pretty refreshing to see that certain startups are pushing the boundaries when it comes to lending a helping hand in any way possible. Health startup Oura, the creator behind the 2018 Red Dot-winning Oura Ring, is teaming up with the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) to see if the physiological data picked up by the ring combined with responses to daily symptom surveys, can predict symptoms of the illness. “The study aims to build an algorithm to help UCSF identify patterns of onset, progression, and recovery, for COVID-19”, says the team at Oura. The ‘Oura TemPredict’ study will be split into two groups, where Oura will test data collected by front-line health professionals, and data gathered by the general public. The startup plans to supply more than 2,000 healthcare workers (who are in daily contact with patients who may be afflicted with COVID-19 at UCSF campuses) with Oura rings to monitor changes in their body temperature, respiratory rate, and heart rate. Daily Symptom Surveys will be made available to all Oura Ring users too, allowing participants to send their crucial data to UCSF’s team of researchers to help them identify patterns that could predict onset, progression, and recovery in any future cases of COVID-19.
Across the globe in 2018, 2.5 million babies died within their first month of life. Collectively, Africa and Southern Asia made up approximately 87.7% of these deaths. – UNICEF. To address this issue, designers Chris Barnes and others at Cambridge Consultants of Cambridge, UK have designed a wearable health monitor for newborns in areas where current solutions are not easily available. Called ‘Little I’, their innovation empowers parents in low resource countries to monitor the health of their newborns by providing a low-cost, durable device that gives them assurance of their newborn’s survival despite lack of medical knowledge. This service is implemented by NGOs first buying and transporting the device to the community and teaching the workers how to use it. And in parallel, the mother/caregiver would hear about the device within the community and then later be provided one by a health care professional after giving birth. After 28 days, the device is returned which is then cleaned and recharged to be used by another newborn.
These ICU pods are called CURA (Connected Units for Respiratory Ailments) which means “cure” in Latin (doesn’t that make you feel a little better?) and these will help take some load off the hospitals, especially in Italy. Ratti’s Studio, Carlo Ratti Associati, and MIT’s Senseable City Lab are creating mobile field hospitals with these CURA Intensive Care pods that serve as a biocontainment unit for two patients at a time. “The aim is that they can be quickly deployed in cities around the world, promptly responding to the shortage of ICU space in hospitals and the spread of the disease,” explained the CURA team as they build the first prototype unit at a hospital in Milan. These units can be set up as fast as tents with the benefit of having hospital-level hygiene which will help contain the infection and especially help those suffering from acute respiratory problems as they need intense care. This will also ensure that the health professionals remain safe while treating the infected who will have a better chance at recovery in the biocontainment units.
Omamori (お守り) are traditional good luck charms in Japanese culture that protect the wearer of the charm. The concept of Kenkō is a futuristic take on the traditional Omamori, it does not cure illnesses or ward off evil spirits but it helps you stay healthy by being in sync with the earth’s electromagnetic frequencies. The earth is constantly emitting 7,83 Hz (also known as the earth’s breath, who knew that?!) along its surface which is believed to allow living beings to regulate their physiological functions. Scientific studies show that the earth’s natural magnetic fields have a positive influence on our brains. With the rapid development of electronic communication technologies, our bodies are getting confused between the natural and artificial frequencies which are dwindling our inherent ability to be in sync with nature. This concept device is aimed at increasing focus, coordinated neural activities, improve sleep and circadian rhythms, stabilize blood pressure and stimulate osteoblasts. Kenkō will be created to produce a 7,83Hz signal, reproducing the natural frequency using technology which will help human bodies re-establish their intrinsic relationship with being healthy naturally. It will have an LED light strip that glows when you switch on the device. Electrosmog caused by Wi-Fi and smartphone frequencies can no longer disturb the sync between the natural rhythm and your brain with Kenkō’s 1.5m protection radius around you.
With a level of aesthetics that’s comparable to seeing the Yin and Yang elements lock in to form a complete circle, the Koishi TWS Earbuds by Sjoerd Ramaker focus on visual gestalt. The headphones come with a square case that has no lid to begin with. Instead, the headphones ARE a part of the case as they snap conveniently into the sides to complete the soft, rounded square’s form.
Named Koishi, after the Japanese word for Pebble, the TWS Earphones come with a soft, pebble-inspired form that’s beautiful to look at, comfortable to store in pockets, and can even be stacked one above another as Zen Stones. They come in three stone-inspired colors, and even sport a slightly mottled stone texture. Running right through the case is a light strip that helps let you know when the earbuds are charging, or when they’re low on charge. However, it also visually guides you to instinctively know where the earphones are, so you can glance at the case and pull the earbuds out without fiddling to find them. I personally love how calming they look, and how satisfying it feels to see the earphones snap right into the case, creating a flush, complete form!
Designer: Sjoerd Ramaker
It seems like the AirTag announcement from Apple is beyond just grapevine gossip at this point. Companies like Samsung and Oppo have both released designs for their own tagging chips, hinting at healthy competition, and now an Apple accessory maker has inadvertently leaked the news out. A listing on mobile accessory maker Cyrill’s website shows what they’re calling the Apple AirTag Strap — a small keyring-style case designed to hold the rumored Apple “AirTags.”
The keyring case is ideal for the AirTags, which are roughly coin-sized. The tags slide right into their leather casing, while a flap and press-stud shuts to enclose the circular tag within. On the other end of Cyrill’s AirTag Strap is a ring to store your keys or USB sticks. The idea is to pair the AirTags with your phone, which then lets you keep track of your keys and other belongings using the “Find My” feature. Given its coin-like shape, the AirTags could easily be kept in your wallet too, ensuring you never lose a belonging again.
The texture of wearable designs, like watches, has the ability to grab our attention before we even fully understand the designing the first place. I know I’m not the only one who can’t help but reach out to run my fingers over all the different fabrics as I pass them by in department stores. The texture of a product’s exterior is what tells our brain whether or not we’re interested in learning more about it. In collaboration with Adobe, Jean-François Bozec sourced inspiration from surfaces of raw materials like obsidian crystals, natural aluminum, and upturned leather, when designing the Obsidian Watch, his latest 3D visual concept.
The digital interface on the Obsidian Watch is raised with a gradual pitch that gives it an air of reserved elegance to match the subtly intricate textures of its watch bands. The iridescent nature of red obsidian is presented in Bozec’s design through the dual-toned case. The watch’s case creates shadowed layers and was inspired by the matte textures of aluminum and iron. When strapped onto a vermillion red, plush leather watchband – the shadows remind those who wear the watch of its obsidian origin. In addition to crystals, Bozec felt equally as inspired by snow-covered mountains and other natural elements like stones. In order to evoke the image of snow, Bozec turned to CGI to develop a fabric for the watchband that mimicked the tightly-packed nature of snow, as he explains “CGI was the ideal way to materialize the intimate emotions born of the rawness of nature. The irregularities of the geological formations inspired the creation of the leather band. In the same manner, the fabric loop band stemmed from the lightness and softness invoked by the snowy environments.”
In addition to texture, through his 3D concept, Bozec also explored technology’s role in influencing how people think and feel. Bozec goes further to say, “My goal was to transpose feelings provided by [a] substance…on a smart and non-intrusive wearable device.” With the current influx of smart technology, too often a product’s textural design is sacrificed for the sake of preserving the user’s technological experience – Bozec set out to create a compromise. While Bozec considers the Obsidian Watch project more of an “emotional visual experiment,” than a full-fledged product design concept, the truth is that it could get away with being both.
Designer: Jean-François Bozec