Viewing entries in
product design


bring on the internet of things

The more real world objects pop up that connect to the Internet, the more demand there is for network infrastructure like sensors and routers. 

Cisco has designed an infographic that offers a simple example of how Internet of Things will affect you in your everyday life. It also states that by 2020, there will be 50 billion ‘things’ connected to the Internet - everything from your body, car, alarm clock and even cows.

The number of things connected to the Internet has already exceeded the number of people on earth. So this is a big trend - and big business for Cisco and other technology companies.

via readwriteweb




mercedes gets it: simple smart and social service augmentation

Mercedes-Benz just announced a new app that connects its in-car navigation systems with its customers’ iPhones. Mbrace version 2.0 still lets drivers unlock their vehicles and, more importantly, find it in a crowded parking lot while adding location-based personal assistance ranging from entertainment, restaurant, directions, and traffic updates via Mercedes-Benz’s Concierge service — assuming you’re are an mbrace PLUS customer. Destination information is then fired off directly to your in-vehicle navigation system to get you there. The updated app also includes enhanced Roadside Assistance that transmits the driver’s location whenever a call is initiated.



muji + legos = Bob The Sculptor

Is your kid more like more like Paul Teutul than Bob the Builder? Then peep this.

From Today and Tomorrow: The Japanese retail brand MUJI and LEGO teamed up to develop a set of 4 different boxes. Inside those boxes you’ll find the classic LEGO bricks but also a few sheets of paper. No big deal. But when you also have the right punch hole tool, you can combine both to create something new. I really like this concept. You can order a set here (when you speak sone Japanese).

Flippin’ sweet.



boxee in the man cave!

I got a bit tired of my Apple TV last year and decided to hack the Boxee Beta onto it (among other things). The promise of a Boxee set-top box was amazing. I had played with the app on my computer for some time, and it worked fairly well when I installed it on my laptop. I figured the jump to Apple TV would be just as good an experience. Nope. Well, maybe that’s too harsh. It worked pretty well at first. But over time it became sluggish, unresponsive, and would crash more than actually do what it was supposed to. Par for the course for Beta stuff, I suppose.

All in all, though it was a great conversation piece in the home, and really demonstrated for me how close we really are to completely transitioning from clips on your ‘puter to clips wherever you want them. Then YESTERDAY I got fed up enough with it crashing, etc I decided to reset my Apple TV and updated it to the latest Apple firmware. I gotta say - I love it all over again. It’s not quite Boxee, but I seriously love my Apple TV. Good news!

better news

Holy shit balls, look at this little gift from our friends at Boxee. A clever, handsome, useful piece of hardware that promises to work just like the Boxee app (and then some).

Getting the awesome web-to-TV software, set up in your living room used to be a headache if not disfunctional. Not anymore thanks to the Boxee Box (around $200; Q1 2010). This angled wonder lets you consume all the free movies, TV shows and music from the internet, all from your couch — and hooks it up to your system with just a single HDMI cable. Like the standard Boxee software, it also sucks in your own videos, music and photos, playing just about any media format that still resides on your broken down laptop. I’m in. Santa, you listening?



fresh pizza made with computers

Italian food is famous for being cooked fresh with fresh ingredients, but an entrepreneur wants to popularize his automatic vending machine that will cook pizza with fresh ingredients, including the dough.

A new pizza vending machine will cook an entire pizza with fresh ingredients, flour, water, tomato sauce and ingredients in less than three minutes.

Claudio Torghele, 56, become successful by selling pasta in California, and now wants to sell his automatic pizza vending machines in Italy.




lose "wait"

So you show up at your favorite Cheesecake Factory ready to stuff your fat face full of fried foccacia, but the line is around the friggin’ block. You have two choices: Sit and wait. Forever. (Whilst holding the dumbest invention in all the land - the buzzing beer coaster.) Or head to the next spot on your list. Maybe their line won’t suck. But let’s face it you really wanted some fucking Cheesecake.


Now you have a new option (are you listening Cheesecake Factory?). Your mobile number. Yep. Your mobile number. Vis-a-vis the fine folks at Qless.

QLess is looking to provide a more logical system that uses your mobile phone. You can check into a line by sending a txt message or making a phone call, without even the need for someone to physically check you in. Then, you’ll simply receive a txt message or phone call when your turn in line has come up.

What does all that mean, fatboy? (Geez I’m angry today). Now you can go and walk the avenue with your hot date until your txt arrives. When it does, txt the hottie back at the Cheesecake Factory and let her know you’re 10 min away. (She’ll bump you 10 min in line) est voila! your seat is waiting. Neat, right? You might have even walked off some of that double order of corn fritters you’re about to order because you can’t help yourself every time you go. Too much info? :)

but wait, there’s more

In addition to making things more convenient for customers, QLess offers establishments that use it a number of marketing and research features. For example, you can send out coupons to customers that are waiting in line, and utilize analytics to see how your establishment is trending in terms of return customers or average wait time.

While restaurants are the most logical place for something like QLess to take hold, the company is also targeting kinkos, post offices, and the DMV, and pretty much anywhere you want to shoot your face off because “those fucking morons behind the counter can’t seem to get their shit toegether…”

As a customer, there’s not much more to see other than a txt message and a high five from your amazed friends, but as a business that might want to consider implementing its service, QLess’ website offers some more details on the features and how to get setup.

So what are you waiting for (ahem Cheesecake Factory, ahem…) get your asses over to and make me a sandwich!



Google Latitude: schedule impromtu meetups or stalk people. the choice is yours

Welp, if you read my last post you prolly saw my rant about Loopt and Tweetie and how 2009 is the year for location based networking. Wait for it…waiiiit for iiiiit….

I told you so. :)

Meet Google Latitude. Google’s next foray into location based networking (miss you, dodgeballl. sniff.) It lets you see where your friends are on a map (Google Maps for mobile and iGoogle) so you can plan an impromptu meetup, see that a loved one got home safely, or you know, stalk people.

But that’s not the bad news. The bad news? (No iPhone support yet.) Grr.

It was only a matter of time before Google entered this market, and no doubt millions of people will soon be flooding the service with their up-to-the-minute location details. With the combination of Google Maps, Google Latitude, Google Friend Connect, and Android, it’s not very difficult to begin daydreaming about the potential for this service.

But it’s also a leap of faith as a user, entrusting Google with yet another piece of data that helps them figure out the puzzle of understanding you - and how and where you’re likely to perform actions that put money in Google’s pocket. It will be interesting to see where Google goes with this one - and interesting to see where you’re going, you know, now that I can stalk you.



get rich quick with the new platform fund. ok, not really. but kinda...

It is getting mixed reviews, but I think this is fantastic. Want to make something geeky but need an extra 3k to do it? Ask these guys.

Consulting firm Herman Blackbook launched a new micro-fund for application developers who want to build stuff on top of “Twitter, Boxee, AppNexus, Trulia, iPhone, etc” called the New Platforms Fund.

You give up a little bit of IP…and they are only investing in “up to 10 cutting edge ideas.”

Whatcha think? Get on it!



Ford Parental Control 2.0?

Meet MyKey Ford’s new programmable key/dashboard that does three basic things: it allows parents to limit a vehicle’s top speed, it allows parents to limit the stereo’s volume up to 44% of its max, and it allows them to set a sustaining chime if the seatbelts aren’t being used.

I applaud Ford for their efforts trying to take a proactive stance at attempting to make driving a bit safer for teenagers. But the new Ford MyKey is taking the driving nanny thing too far. Ford, sometimes you can over-do it with technology and this new innovation takes the cake.

Parents: talk to your children. Teach them about their automobile. Healthy relationships have a foundation of trust. When parents respect and trust their children their relationship matures. When parents trust their children and their children make a mistake (like a speeding ticket or god forbid, an accident) - lessons are learned - valuable lessons.

I can admit to learning some big driving lessons when I was a teenager. I sometimes think back at how lucky I was being able to walk away from some of the predicaments my car and I found ourselves in. And today, I cringe in fear at the thought of my children driving someday and making their own choices behind their own wheels. But, as scary as it is - I’m OK with that the responsibility I have as a parent to let my children make their own decisions and help them learn from their mistakes. That’s what parenting is about. And if there is one thing I learned from being a teen with too much energy - any attempt at bridling my spirited nature - was met with much retaliation.

I for one don’t want Ford teaching my son about automobiles. I’ll happily take that task on myself.



if you do one thing today, read this awesome post

Awesome. When I first saw this stationary on SwissMiss today, I thought, man that really speaks to me. I’m always starting up things (projects, postings, exercise routines…) that I never finish.

But today I’m inspired. Today I have this notepad to rid me of my non-starter multitasking hell. Today I’m going to tell you all about this notepad and why it speaks to me so. Yes sir, today is going to be dif



now that's some schmart thinking

Stealing your co-worker’s lunch is a downright contemptible act, that is, if it’s perpetrated by someone other than you. But, if you’ve ever had your lunch stolen, you know the the frustration and anger it causes. You know the revenge and ill-will it inspires. And you know that no matter how well you try to hide your lunch bag at the back of the refrigerator, something’s gonna be missing when you open it. Well, lament no more. The Anti-Theft Lunch Bag to the rescue…

Anti-Theft Lunch Bags are regular sandwich bags that have green splotches printed on both sides. After your sandwich is placed inside, no one will want to touch it.

If you’re interested in getting your hands dirty with these bags, please send an email to and you thank Sherwood Forlee for saving your egg-salad on rye.



this is just awesome

So I found this site today. There is something about this app that celebrates Typography in every way my brain is inclined to see it. Play with it…and don’t forget to enter your own letters. Really amazing stuff - for such a simple toy.

Typography is a special thing for me. I wouldn’t say I’m the best Typographer - far from it. But I am always fascinated by typefaces and their relationship to how expressive a designer can be in any medium. I’ve found over the years (and it has always amazed me) how certain designers can really have communion with Typography while other so called “Designers” don’t even scratch the surface. To me, Typography is something that appeals to all senses. It’s a design adventure. (Just ask my buddy Erok (and his Typography Friday experiments.



fabrication, fashion, and futurecraft: the new "sweat"

Hokay soh, I’m not much of a fan of virtual worlds though I’ve dabbled here and there. You prolly already know this. But  recently discovered Stephanie Rothenberg’s latest project doublehappinessjeans, a Second Life sweatshop that produces designer denim by the underpaid labor of virtual avatars; producing the goods in both physical and digital form. Wait.  What?  Yeah.  Watch:

Unfuckingbeliveably mindblowing opportunities for discussion around Personal Fabrication (the ideas that one day manufacturing of complex products will be conducted digitally, through digital fabrication machines, while only bits (design information) would be transferred around the world.) Basically designs would still be centrally distributed while manufacturing will become clean and compact enough to happen anywhere. Doublehappinessjeans suggests that the sweatshop endures regardless of the sophistication of design or manufacturing.  Through the virtual world, low-cost labor continues to be exploited, whether to design or fabricate real or virtual goods, either through ‘gold farming‘ or simply because design itself creates interesting / easy / creative opportunities for the “workers” to produce monetizeable stuff. I need to stop thinking about this before I explode.  Incedentially, tweet my business partner @neonarcade for more on gold farming.  He’s well more versed in its ins and outs than I.  Rock on.

From the site:

Invisible Threads is a mixed reality performance installation created by Eyebeam artists Jeff Crouse and Stephanie Rothenberg. The project explores the growing intersection between labor, emerging virtual economies and real life commodities through the creation of a designer jeans sweatshop in the metaverse Second Life. Simulating a real life manufacturing facility that includes hiring Second Life “workers” to produce real world jeans sold for profit, the project provides an insider’s view into current modes of global, telematic production.



JetSuite: aye, believe I can fly?

What if jet ownership were re-thought to a point where overall travel costs could be reduced to a level that’s actually comparable to first-class commercial travel? What if you could come and go as you please and take off from airports that still have parking spaces? What if you had access to travel the way it was meant to be?


What if you were friggin’ loaded? Well then, the creators of JetBlue (my favorite way to travel) might have yet another refreshing air travel idea for you. It is an interesting alternative to small chartered flying. JetSuite is assembling a fleet of 100 Embraer Phenom 100 jets, with the twist being that the company is lobbying private buyers to buy the jets. Did you catch that? You own the jets. Then, when you don’t need your aircraft, JetSuite charters it to someone who does. The new idea? Unlike the private time-share competition, no matter how much (or how little) your plane is flown, you’re guaranteed a monthly revenue stream.

How? JetSuite will pay the owners $25,000 per month in exchange for allowing JetSuite to use and maintain the jets during their down times. (You know, when you’re not frolicking from coastal golf course to strip club on the weekends. Sure, you’ll have to drop $3,000,000 but that $25,000/month could pay for your fuel costs to Cabo.*

Full disclosure: I have spent much of my career creating marketing programs, interactive ideas, brand launches and web redesigns for brands like JetSuite in the Travel and Hospitality industry. It is by far my biggest corporate passion. Couldn’t be happier to see a new idea like this in the wild.

*No it won’t



it's the walker two point oh!

El Camino :)
Call me a dirty hick, but this thing is friggin’ awesome! Sadly, this post isn’t about design. (You can read me lusting after this thing here.) So what else is awesome? The smart peeps at GM’s Marketing department took advantage of the obvious naming surge (for the record I’m supporting, “El Camino”) that this thing would cause online and created a community naming site. Cool!

The site is up ready to go for auto-show season. So guys, head over and give this baby it’s rightful name :)


See more photos of the car here.



cheap hackery makes pretty

I love this thing: Its the new Asus Eee PC 4G. Small, capable, very cheaply made and get this:

* Weighs about 2 pounds
* Has WiFi
* Runs Xandros Linux - no frills and totally hackable
* Has an integrated webcam, microphone and speaker jacks
* Gets the job done

UM. Yeah - it costs $399. (Your iPhone was 400.00).

537861-1254577-thumbnail.jpg My favorite part (and why this is relevant)? This thing is small, light, and cheap. The perfect hackable toy for use in interactive installations in or out of the home or office. I predidct this little guy is going to change everything.

Oh and one more thing. Seeing a trend people? More value, less money. We’re all in love with the latest gadget - true, but not everyone is prepared to spend 800.00 hundred dollars to own a new Kindle, when for the same money, you could have a computer that does it all.

Non profit agencies have been fighting for the low cost computing market for years. The truth is, it all should be low cost and with a price tage (and functionality) like this, this thing will get hacked, designed, re-designed, mounted to someone’s refridgerator, slapped on a remote control car, mounted to the back of an SUV on Pimp my Ride and could quite possibly run be the engine that put digital pants on your ass and this table in your living room.

2008 will bring more product designers to the realization that hacking and adapting technology is an important component in development of new ideas.

Related post: interactive snow projection