Chinese Medicine Vending Machine Concept
Lo Ho Lung (with Andrew Lam and Weng Chan)
Macao Polytechnic Institute, Macao SAR, China
Satisfying an assignment to design a digital device or environment that would best suit students’ needs at the Macao Polytechnic Institute, graphic design student Lo Ho Lung’s vending machine concept dispenses nonprescription Chinese medicine to sleep-deprived students. A humorous, fast-paced Flash presentation visually describes how the machine works. First, the stressed-out student places a hand in the pulse-reading cradle. The pulse data is recorded along with a photo of the student, which is printed on an ID card. After specifying symptoms on a touch screen, the student inserts payment and retrieves the appropriate medicine, in the form of a tea or a powder, from a drawer evoking those in traditional Chinese medicine shops. The interface mixes contemporary technology with hand-drawn and stylized illustrations. Drawings of scrolls, for example, unfold for navigation. “Who does not feel ill at school or at work?” Kalman observed. “I want one for my house,” she added.
Aachen University of Applied Sciences, Aachen, Germany
Rudiger Schlomer’s Additional is a “parasitic” brand that exists not through products of its own, but by adhering to, and changing the purpose of, other things. It consists of five kits for the alteration or customization of objects and surfaces. The textile kit, for example, contains red thread and labels that can be applied to store-bought clothing. Other kits provide ironing tape to add extra folds, pockets, and Velcro ports. In printed text, Additional can insinuate itself between the lines, color the original text, or block it out completely. “The project recognizes that, in a culture that conspicuously brands almost every consumer product—are there sunglasses without logos?—the designer name or icon becomes the defining feature and, arguably, the product itself,” said Rice.
Art Center College of Design, Pasadena, CA
In 2002, $7.7 billion worth of bottled water was sold in the U.S. alone. Tapping into this lucrative market, product design student Sang-Beom Kim designed a line of portable add-on items for water bottles. The products include a battery-operated humidifier, a water mister (loaded by inverting the bottle to fill a small chamber that holds enough liquid for several sprays), and an “energy capsule” that dispenses powdered vitamin supplements into the water. Rice described the injection-molded polypropylene-and-acrylic screw-on devices as “meticulously prototyped and market-ready.” Kim ensured Avien+PLUS would be market-shrewd, too: He designed the products to fit the screw thread of only one brand of water.
Herman Miller Identity Book
College for Creative Studies, Detroit
Advanced visual communication students at the College for Creative Studies were asked to create a publication that conveyed the approach of a design-driven company. Ashley Adams chose the office-furniture manufacturer Herman Miller and, using documents found in an archive in Dearborn, Michigan, traced the development of the company’s corporate identity since 1905. Quotations and design epigrams fill the book’s 50 pages, which are sandwiched between two untreated aluminum covers. George Nelson’s iconic M provides the connective tissue for the book: The negative space above the M’s slope is formed by a swath of corrugated leather that wraps around the book’s hinge, while Adams’s die-cut covers and interior pages echo the curve of the stylized letterform.
Tabletop sauce dish and sauce can
Pratt Institute, Brooklyn
Soy sauce and vinegar, two popular brown-hued condiments in Asian cuisine, are often hard to tell apart by sight; the diner must distinguish them by smell. Fulfilling an assignment to fashion utensils for a national cuisine, industrial design student Wei-Chieh Tu produced a pair of flower-shaped sauce containers that celebrate this smelling action. The white ceramic containers feature wide, lily pad-like openings that invite curious noses to sniff the contents. A companion double-sided ceramic sauce dish (shown) is sloped for dipping food at the base and removing extra liquid by tapping it at the top. The other side of the dish boasts a neat little partition for separating out the wasabi. Kalman described the elegant sauce containers as “little modern sculptures on the table.”
Art Center College of Design, Pasadena, CA
When charged with reinterpreting the bathroom as we know it, product design student William Hsu thought globally. His folding temporary toilet, UnBathroom, can be rapidly deployed in emergency situations or remote locations where running water and professional installation might not be available. It ships flat, assembles easily, and is made from wax-coated c-flute corrugated paperboard that withstands rainy conditions but is also biodegradable. Capable of supporting 200 pounds, the toilet has interlocking joints and features a single-use sealable liner and limited-use base to prevent the spread of disease. Rice was impressed by UnBathroom’s simplicity and economy of means: “This project takes seriously its purpose of dealing wi
th waste,” he remarked. “It presents just the essential information necessary to use the product with no graphic or material excess.”
Nutri-Terra Indoor Composter
Art Center College of Design, Pasadena, CA
How do you forge a symbiotic relationship between a product and its owner? Product design student Julia Sorzano created a self-powered indoor composter that is compact and economical, and thus imposes few behavioral adjustments on its user. Nutri-Terra converts the heat generated by the decomposition process into the energy necessary to run itself. Organic materials such as food leftovers, plant clippings, and leaves are deposited into the container via a pedal-activated flip-open lid, which spares owners intimate contact with the rotting material. After a couple of weeks, when the decomposition process is complete, the nutrient-rich soil is collected in the removable drawer at the base and can be added to houseplants. “I need one for the country house,” said Kalman. “This removes all worries of bears coming to the compost heap.”
iVi Infrared Vein Imaging
University of Cincinnati
Matt Miller’s device for phlebotomists and nurses makes the process of finding veins for blood retrieval and inserting intravenous needles easier, safer, and more comfortable. Comprising a digital camera with a special infrared filter, Miller’s viewer increases the visibility of veins and arteries. A response to an open brief in his industrial design thesis studio, the palm-size iVi machine would be especially useful for geriatric, obese, and infant patients. The imaging electronics are protected by a polycarbonate housing and sealed with a waterproof rubber gasket, and the device is compact, lightweight, and easy to use with one hand. Rice found the idea promising: “Part X-ray glasses, part William Gibson near-term science fiction…it suggests a futuristic device, the development of which is somehow inevitable.”
Designstars Trading Cards
Shirley Liao (with Mike Sheppard)
Cranbrook Academy of Art, Bloomfield Hills, MI
Taking the increasingly blurred distinction between brand, product, and personality as her inspiration, 3D-design student Shirley Liao produced a set of trading cards featuring celebrity designers like Karim Rashid, Tom Dixon, and Ingo Maurer. With a stylized headshot on the front and vital statistics, such as the number of pieces produced, on the back, Liao’s cards are bubblegum pink with a bubble-shaped display font to match. (Mike Sheppard collaborated on the graphics.) The cards also include information about each designer’s “signature look” and “other interests,” alluding to a “star” status beyond their design achievements. Distributed for free at Milan’s furniture fair in 2003, the packs are now available for purchase. Readers may recall them from the May 2004 I.D. (“To the Trade,” p. 54).
James Patten and Ben Recht
Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge
Audiopad, designed by graduate students James Patten and Ben Recht for a Tangible Interfaces course, tracks the position of objects on a tabletop and converts their motion into electronic music. A video projector beams a computer screen onto a custom table that has built-in sensors. The sensors track the placement of colorful plastic disks representing the elements of music-samples, audio effects, volume, rhythm, melody, and bass. When the disks are moved, information gathered by the sensors is relayed to the computer, which produces the desired sound. Audiopad’s interface is more expressive than a laptop screen and provides the satisfaction of a physical performance that is often absent from electronic music concerts. Rice saw this project as “a speculation on a fresh form of social-performative space, combining the physicality of Minority Report‘s glass-screen interface with table game-board logic.” He imagined Audiopad’s growth beyond the table to “a mat at room-body scale-Twister with a purpose-that fully integrates composition, dance, and performance.”
New York University Interactive Telecommunications Program, New York
Graduate student Josh Nimoy’s fascination with type and type systems provided the focus for a project that combines interactive physical computing with an investigation of kinetic structure. He designed this robotic typeface to explore the potential of dynamic text in public spaces without resorting to pixels, which he feels are overused. When you press a letter on a keyboard, six “brushstrokes”—wooden calipers attached to hobby servomotors spinning to the angle specified by a PIC chip—rotate to form the character. Nimoy called the typeface Davenport Sans after Thomas Davenport, inventor of the first DC motor, a fact that Kalman responded to warmly. “I love that it is named for something invented in 1834, before the Industrial Revolution, even,” she said.