Monthly Archives: March 2008

Phones of the Future

design-futurist-android2-natalia-allen-032608.jpg

We were eagerly awaiting the G-Phone. Instead Google surprised us with Android, an operating system for mobile devices (http://code.google.com/android/).

More than 30 technology and mobile companies including T-Mobile and Motorola have come together with Google to create an innovative mobile platform that is more user-friendly. The new platform allows for seamless access and movement of data.

Android is an open-source software and runs on Linux version 2.6 and Java. It includes typical applications such as: contacts, maps and a web browser, but with more of the Internet’s efficiency and usefulness.

Android software stack
1, Optimizes multiple virtual machines to run at once with Dalvik
2, Accelerates graphics by combining both 2D and 3D graphics based on OpenGLS
3, Faster Internet with 3G networking and WiFi technology
4, Streets views, pan around, and zoom in with GPS
5, Open source WebKit, enables you to view a screen as it would appear on a desktop

Researchers are expected to improve and add to the Android Software Development Kit (SDK), leaving the possibility for endless innovation. Phones containing the Android platform will be available later this year.

Google does not want to sell us a phone, they want to revolutionize the way phones operate. They won’t sell us an operating system, they want to provide it to every phone for free. So how will Google make its investment back? Ad revenue of course. Now that’s clever. NATALIA ALLEN

Sold on Skandium

design-futurist-032408-skandium.jpg

Not too long ago, I discovered a brilliant shop along Marylebourne Road in London. Skandium is a hub of modern Scandinavian furniture, lighting, kitchenware, and glassware for the home and office. Unlike Ikea, the products are made with quality and built to last. Skandium was named after the rare earth metal scandium, a rough dark metallic that turns pink or yellow when exposed to air. Skandium unites functionality and simplicity and provides a fresh aesthetic to traditional English homes. Developed by a collaborative team of many architectural designers such as, Arne Jacobsen, Poul Henningsen and Alvar Aalto, Skandium design is both ergonomic and beautiful. Their designs are mainly associated with clean lines and clutter-free interiors. Although its designs have minimal ornament its pieces are far from simplistic. The works maintain a contemporary refinement and classic elegance fit for today. Good news, Skandium designs developed between the 1930’s and 1960’s have become valuable collectors items, much like Bauhaus. Today’s Skandium products may be the collectables of the future. NATALIA ALLEN

Remote Wink

Remote Wink

In this age of computers and technology people often try and find the shortest and easiest way to accomplish tasks. Recently, a group of Japanese researchers led by Kazuhiro Taniguchi (http://www.osaka-u.ac.jp/eng/) have taken this idea to a whole new level. They developed a wink-based system for controlling devices suchs as MP3 players. The system being used will allow people to play their iPod with just the blink of an eye. The wink remote is a single chip computer system that uses infrared sensors to monitor movement in your temples. The temple switch is small enough to be built into a pair of glasses. Imagine being able to fast-forward, skip or backtrack to a song through eye movement. The system is advanced enough to distinguish between a one-second wink and a natural blink. The temple switch is also able to control many other household appliances. The device is underway and will be made available within the next two to three years. Researchers have also begun developing a sister to the wink-based technology, the teeth-clench method. NATALIA ALLEN

The Wonder Block

designfuturist-blog-031703-wunderbloc1.jpg designfuturist-blog-031703-wunderbloc6.jpg

After being homesick for New York’s small-scale boutiques among San Francisco’s downtown skyscrapers, Scott Lee conceptualized Wunderbloc.com, a website that allows viewers to discover, browse, and review the myriad of New York boutiques by neighborhood. With this website, Lee gives boutiques a uniform platform to represent themselves—to announce store news, display products, and receive consumer feedback. Furthermore, Wunderbloc offers an opportunity for the privately owned boutiques to collectivize and organize community events with one another and others within their area, creating a personal feel and space. Lee gives the boutiques an opportunity to counter the Internet marketing campaigns of chain stores. Because the website organizes by neighborhood, the boutiques have a community feel, resonating with the indie ideals of localism. More than just a list of individual stores, each boutique is a personality, an attribute to the distinct areas of New York. With pictures of storefronts and neighborhood landmarks, the website catalogues the different areas of the city through fashion. Moreover, the snapshots of random streetwalkers (examples featured above) of each neighborhood, labeled fashionistas, give a distinctly human picture of NoLita, SoHo, UWS, etc. The website showcases fashion in a unique way, as an exhibition of authentic lifestyles and communities defined by creatively dressed pedestrians, famed neighborhood blocks, and most importantly small-scale, local boutiques. All in all, Wunderbloc is a counter to the pre-packaged, singular and generic fashion chains across the country. YAO

Show and Tell

blogentry-pic-030708-showandtell.jpg

Showstudio.com has been a keystone site for me for the past few years. Photographer Nick Knight has developed an amazing platform where the worlds of art design, fashion, photography, theory, films, and just really cool content collide in a thought provoking and entertaining way of digesting fashion, images, and presentation.

Roger tredre, Editor in Chief of WGSN contributed his thoughts in an essay called, “ Fashion’s Ecopolitical Drama”. This is the beginning of numerous essays from theorists for “Political Fashion” a project conceptualized by Nick Knight on Showstudio. Roger’s essay highlights fashion fickle relationship with “what’s new” particularly with the green movement we are witnessing. He stresses that there is no time better than the present to implement our knowledge in a way where it becomes a part of the fashion cycle, and not just a momentary trend.

In this essay Roger tredre states, “For fashion, in particular, fence-sitting is not an option. The hard truth behind the rapid depletion of the world’s resources is that we must learn to consume less. But fashion is intrinsically linked to consumption. From clothes to mobile phones and cars, fashion is the driving force of modern consumer culture. Indeed, the recent retail industry emphasis on “fast fashion”, based on a faster turnover of trends – coupled with ultra-low prices – has encouraged us to buy more, not less.”

How can the fashion world straddle both worlds of consumption and quality? I don’t feel suggesting to others to buy less is the answer. The world is expanding, always offering something new, even if it is not a tangible product. Desire is always going to be there. The fashion world needs to offer a desire for quality. It’s not about consuming less. It’s about consuming intelligently. SOSA