What is Design Fiction?
"the deliberate use of diegetic prototypes to suspend disbelief about change. That’s the best definition we’ve come up with. The important word there is diegetic. It means you’re thinking very seriously about potential objects and services and trying to get people to concentrate on those rather than entire worlds or political trends or geopolitical strategies. It’s not a kind of fiction. It’s a kind of design. It tells worlds rather than stories." — Bruce SterlingExamples of Diegetic Prototypes in Design Fiction. [more inside]
The two-day Interactive Telecommunications Program (ITP) graduate showcase at NYU was a madhouse, with some 100 projects on view, ranging from groundbreaking innovations to timely trinkets. But the most talked about project by far was Peiqi Su's "Penis Wall" - an array of 81 robotic phalli that rise and fall in response to the stock market. Official Vimeo account for the project - Thesis presentation - in depth How-it-was-made production blog. (Slightly NSFW if your work doesn't like white, plastic, abstract dicks.)
Following on the heels of Phonebloks, a Google/Motorola formed a design group called Project Ara. The Verge recently interviewed Paul Eremenko, the project lead, about progress made towards modularization of mobile phone components, overcoming engineering issues, and the group assigning itself an ambitious timetable to succeed in delivering a sellable product within two years, or disbanding.
World's longest-running experiment captures elusive tar pitch drop fall on video after 84 years of waiting — though, sadly, too late for physicist and former pitch drop custodian Prof. John Mainstone, who passed away last year.
The Nordic Society for Invention & Discovery has brought never-before-seen and totally exclusive technologies into the world, such as the Aaltopuck (an ice hockey puck modeled after Alvar Aalto's Savoy Vase), the Flower Shell (a shotgun shell that shoots seeds into the ground), the Wall of Sound (an 8000-watt iPod dock) and No More Woof (a device that wraps around your dog's head and translates his or her brain waves to computerized speech).
Unleashing Genetic Algorithms on the iOS 7 Icon - In the pursuit of something just a bit tighter than Marc Edwards' superellipse approximation, Mike Swanson applies genetic algorithms to the task of making a better button-making script.
How The Economic Machine Works by Ray Dalio actually makes a case against austerity and for redistribution, but also for money printing (and, arguably, for bailouts), while stressing the need to keep making productivity-improving public and private investments. However, it could be equally entitled: How The Industrial Age Political-Economy Doesn't Work Anymore, viz. Surviving Progress (2011)... [more inside]
Phonebloks suggests a different way for dealing with obsolescent hardware, through modular design on a common base
Yahoo! CEO Marissa Mayer discusses how she redesigned the new Yahoo! logo over a weekend.
How NASA brought the monstrous F-1 "moon rocket" engine back to life - "The story of young engineers who resurrected an engine nearly twice their age." [more inside]
Artist/designer Shepard Fairey was commissioned the Center For The Advancement Of Science In Space to design a brand new patch for the International Space Station's ARK 1 (Advancing Researching Knowledge) mission. CASIS's Pat O'Neill unveiling the patch and the ARK 1 proposal.
Every film Pixar has produced has landed in the top fifty highest-grossing animated films of all time. What's their secret? Mathematics. Oh, and 22 Rules of Storytelling. [more inside]
Brain Pickings presents the Best Design Books of 2012. Because you weren't really going to get anything done today anyway, right? [more inside]
Prototypes are usually the missing links in the evolution of human technology, the dead-ends of ideas that give way to the refinement of the final physical product. Prototypes aren't just for Darth Vader. While the legal back and forth between Apple and Samsung continues, a treasure trove of prototype designs for Apple devices has been released to the public, showing insights into various design approaches and feature enhancements, including larger form-factor iPads with and without kickstands and landscape ports and iPhones that parody the Sony logo, show a different layout for camera elements, and look remarkably like fourth-generation models, as far back as 2005. On the other hand, some have made prototypes into the end goal itself, such as the folks at Dangerous Prototypes, a site which features a new open-source electronic hardware project each month. Some are just gratuitous fun, while others are a bit more practical, such as one project that recycles old Nokia displays and another that provides access to infrared signal, useful for hacking together remote controls for all sorts of IR-based devices. Other prototypes of tomorrow's technology are less concerned with shrinking down the guts of the invention itself, to make it disappear, but rather on how we interact with and integrate physical representations of these ideas into our daily lives. Above all else, prototypes are always forward-looking and are therefore inherently optimistic expressions of human creativity: Even children are getting into imagining the world of tomorrow.
The Ladder of Abstraction does an amazing, Tuftian job of illustrating the convergence of science, engineering, and intuition that is involved in tackling the difficult problems of today's systems and software. [more inside]
"Street Anatomy obsessively covers the use of human anatomy in medicine, art, and design."
Ever made an indie action film and needed something for that epic glass-break scene? How about the blackest black you can find? Want to adjust your boots so that they are mud repellant? Inventables has everything you need - for the budding inventor, busy set designer, or Q in training.
Conceptual Devices is a think tank that considers design as a social engagement. Its projects operate through a shift of symbolic values due to the social utility and social responsibility of arts and design in contemporary society. Where you can learn how to transform a hoodie into a: computer sleeve, baby carrier, strap bag, back-pack, pillow. The DIY diary, Graphic Templates for DIY Leaflets, and much more. [more inside]
Inducement Prizes -- Best known for the Ansari X Prize, the DARPA Grand Challenge and the Clay Mathematics Millennium Problems, inducement prizes have a long history, but their recent successes have led to increased government interest, viz. challenge.gov, and resulted in the development of vaccines, thanks in large part to the work of Michael Kremer.* [more inside]
C0nc0rdance [sytl] asks; How far should we trust common sense? A less than 9 min video on Common Sense as it relates to Science. Enjoy.
Imagine nature's most elegant ideas organized by design and engineering function, so you can enter "filter salt from water" and see how mangroves, penguins, and shorebirds desalinate without fossil fuels. That's the idea behind AskNature, the online inspiration source for the biomimicry community. The featured pages are a good starting point. Cross-pollinating biology with design. [more inside]
Dorkbot is a "monthly meeting of artists (sound/image/movement/whatever), designers, engineers, students, scientists, and other interested parties who are involved in the creative use of electricity." Started in NYC in 2000 by Douglas Repetto, Director of Research at the Columbia University Computer Music Center as well as one of Wired's 10 Sexiest Geeks, there are now dozens all over the world. Past presenters have been featured here on the blue. For instance Jeff Han presented his multi-touch interface at dorkbot-nyc in April of 2006. Miru Kim presented her naked city spleen at dorkbot-nyc in October of 2006. Bummed that there's not one in your own city? Start your own! [more inside]
Biomimetics: Design by Nature. "Burs on a dog's coat led to the invention of Velcro. That's an example of biomimetics—the young science of adapting designs from nature to solve modern problems. Now it may be coming of age."
Dean Kamen's Artificial "Luke" Arm - Segway inventor reinvents the prosthetic arm: "I've been able to do stuff with this that I haven't, seriously haven't, done in 26 years... uh, pick up a banana, peel a banana and eat it without it squishening... I can't wait to get one of these in a real environment, a home environment, and actually my wife can't either. She's going, oh yeah, I got lots of stuff for you to do."
'Race' graphically illustrated - "most Europeans" vs. Ashkenazim (previously; see also IQ & Gladwell, viz. ;) [more inside]
The dangers of living in a zero-sum world economy - naked capitalism reprints (with added commentary) an FT article by Martin Wolf on why it's vital for (civilised) society to sustain a 'positive-sum' world, otherwise: "A zero-sum economy leads, inevitably, to repression at home and plunder abroad." Wolf's solution? "The condition for success is successful investment in human ingenuity." Of course! Some are calling for more socialism, while others would press on to build more megaprojects. For me, at least part of the solution lies in environmental accounting and natural capitalism :P
Mere color, unspoiled by meaning, and unallied with definite form, can speak to the soul in a thousand different ways.
COLOURlovers blog - science, design, art, culture, travel - you name it, they can relate it back to color. [more inside]
The Buckminster Fuller Institute is now accepting submissions for it's new, annual design challenge contest. Submissions must be applicable with real-world technology, solving real-world problems with a minimum of ecological impact. The offered prize is $100,000, on par with some of NASA's challenges. ( Buckminster Fuller on Wikipedia, and E2 )
We could wait for NASA to build that permanent moon base they keep promising. Or we could just turn our apartments on earth into our own moon bases, space ships, or spy pads.
3quarksdaily. Just another blog, sure, but a good one. 3quarksdaily is a filter blog much like our very own, but with only 15 users (and an editor). As they say on their about page "On this website, my guest authors and editors and I hope to present interesting items from around the web on a daily basis, in the areas of science, design, literature, current affairs, art, and anything else we deem inherently fascinating." The do an admirable job.
A more efficient microbe genome. A more efficient sorting algorithm. A more efficient keyboard layout.
The table that cooks ~ A train that can calculate ~ The alarm clock that physically drags you out of bed
We Make Money Not Art :: art meets science and technology in the near near future and begets some cool and scary toys.
Scaled Composites unveils a privately built spacecraft Could this be the leapfrog event that all of us sci-fi fans have been waiting for? If successful he will open up space for organizations other than the worlds most wealthy governments. Warp speed Mr. Sulu! (sorry getting a little carried away).