For the time being, “smart watches” aren’t a smart bet. So far most companies are producing mobile phones that fit on your wrist, not truly thinking of what the utility of a wrist mounted computing device should be used for. Google’s Android Wear watches seem to be the first coherent thought in this brave new world, but unfortunately it’s focused on being a cool gadget for the tech-savvy first while putting the everyday people market second.
That’s where Withings and their new Activité watch come in. At first glance what do you see? A watch. A beautiful watch designed in Paris and made in Switzerland out of stainless steel and unbreakable sapphire glass. This is first and foremost a beautifully designed object that will appeal to folks who still wear watches. Looks are deceiving though as it features a variety of helpful, tech focused features like monitoring distance (walking, running, or swimming), calories burned, and quantity and quality of sleep, all of which will sync with Withing’s existing Health Mate app.
This to me feels like the natural progression of smart watches. Be sure that they appeal to a market of people that still wear watches, a number which I’m sure is dwindling, and give them more functionality with less fuss. The less fuss? The battery in the watch will last a year, not the nightly charging that Google’s watches require. I suppose time will tell how these devices evolve.
I’ve been on a minimally designed watch kick lately (just got this) so when I saw Greyhours’ newest watch I immediately wanted it. Simply called Essential, the slimmed down watch comes in a white and black versions, each only uses a subtle bit of color for the second and day hands.
When a 40 mm stainless steel case takes shelter under an ion plated silver coating with the dial dressed in white, a subtle seduction is created by the power of the design. The task of powering this beauty falls to an IsaSwiss quartz movement, driving silver hour/minute hands over black markers and a red seconds hand and date display.
If you’re not in the market for a new watch you should check out their top notch product photography, like the image above.
It’s like George Orwell’s Animal Farm meets 1984 with these CCTV camera cases by Italian designer Eleonora Trevisanutto. Her creations transform dull security equipment into friendly looking animals and in the process she creates security equipment which feels far less intimidating. It’s a really interesting concept and I must say I quite like Eleonora’s brightly-colored creations.
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German based watchmakers NOMOS Glashütte are known for their high caliber of watchmaking and this video proves it. Aptly titled Look over the watchmakers’ shoulder we get an intimate look at the intricate process that goes into the making of a watch. It’s honestly mind-boggling to think of how confident these makers are at creating something with such small scale. I think it also clearly shows why these watches are so expensive: it takes a lot of work to make something so perfect.
Biomimetics, the imitation of the models, systems, and elements of nature for the purpose of solving complex human problems, will be a huge field in the years to come. We’ve seen it in science fiction films and slowly but surely we’re starting to see it in real life. To that end, Festo, a robotics company, has made a bionic kangaroo.
On the artificial kangaroo, Festo intelligently combines pneumatic and electrical drive technology to produce a highly dynamic system. The stable jump kinematics plus the precise control technology ensure stability when jumping and landing. The consistent lightweight construction facilitates the unique jumping behaviour. The system is controlled by gestures.
Of course the best way to comment on the current state of art and technology has to be through a GIF. What other form could it take? A website? A painting? No: a GIF. (Or perhaps a single channel video on a flat television, a la Brian Bress?) Portland artist Zack Dougherty is colliding classical art with very forward focused technologies that come together in retro future GIFs. They’re mesmerizing and dark, perhaps admonishing the dwindling talents of contemporary artists.
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A few weeks ago Fast Company published an article naming the 50 most innovative companies of 2014, claiming that their “staff has spent more than six months gathering and analyzing data.” Landing at the top of the heap was Google, the worlds leading search engine operator who uses our information to sell display ads to corporations. Here’s Fast Company’s take on Google.
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M Plummer Fernandez is a South East London artist who uses computers to push the boundaries of industrial design. I came across these pieces he made titled Digital Natives where 3D scanned a series of traditional objects and then abstracted and distorted them, turning them into new objects.
Everyday items such as toys and a watering can are 3D scanned using a digital camera and subjected to algorithms that distort, abstract and taint them into new primordial vessel forms. In some cases only close inspection reveals traces inherited from their physical predecessors. These are then 3D printed on a z-corp printer.
Vessels are arguably the lowest common denominator for man-made objects across all cultures, these objects however have no storage function other than to embody the stored digital data that describes them.
What I love about these objects is that they’re not only abstracted physically, but with a unique blend of colors. The faceted gradation really is a beautiful effect which gives each piece a sense of movement. I’m really looking forward to the day where I can buy a “recipe” for one of these vases and then print it out in a matter of hours. DIY will take on a brand new meaning for us all soon enough.