Archive for the ‘Inspiration and things i like!’ Category

Its not about using the colour green

March 1, 2009

For the past two weeks at CIID we have been working on sustainability briefs, and thinking about the climate change conference that is happening in Copenhagen in December 2009. All of at CIID care about the environment, but i think we can also say that we are careless sometimes, especially when it comes to the use of materials within the studio!So….our class buddy Ujjval, put together a very inspiring and motivating 2 minute presentation for us to make us think a little bit more about our actions! It is absolutely fantastic, and he deserves the biggest gold star for it! Here it is…..

Jaime Lerner…Environmental Star

March 1, 2009


For the past 2 weeks we have been working on a sustainability brief. Whilst doing some experience prototyping with Isabel (CIID lecturer) she pointed us in the direction to read about Jaime Lerner, and i feel i have to write a brief post on him, as i feel absolutly inspired by the work he has done.

Jaime Lerner  was born December 17, 1937, he was a renowned architect and urban planner who was elected mayor and then later governor of the state of Paraná, in southern Brazil.

During this time he made radical urban planning changes that turned the city of Curitiba into one of the greenest cities in the world, which people from all around the world now look to, to learn lessons from. Some of his successes included approving 150km of bike paths and a bus system that soon became so popular that commuters left their cars at home. The buses now account for 55% of the city’s transport demand. People still own cars, but they use 30% less petrol than other brazilian cities.

Other programs he set up included gardens and parks that were looked after by street children and teenagers and recycling centers where handicapped people worked sorting bottle and cans. Personally my favourite intiative that he set up was one to teach children how to do recylcing within their home, so they could then pass this knowledge onto their parents. I love this idea as it is what my group in our last project were trying to acheive……teaching children to teach their parents. So seeing this success story fills me with hope!

“We decided to teach kids in all schools for six months [to separate garbage], and then children taught their parents. So then we started a campaign [to encourage recycling], and Curitiba has been the city with the highest indicator or garbage separation in the world for 20 years now: 70% of the population separates garbage.” Lerner

Obviously not every initiative worked perfectly, but the majority of lerner’s initiatives were a huge success inspiring so many people especially those living in Curitiba,  so much so that 98% of them say they are happy with their city.

TED talk on Jaime Lerner

Perfect music for a perfect trip

March 1, 2009

I have just come across a new service via springwise called Amplified Journey’s. This services combines a classic journey planner with an extra function to generate the perfect playlist for your journey!



You very simply start by entering the start point and destination for your trip, then you can add an artist or  musical genre you would like the music to be based on. Then all you have to do is sit back and wait! Amplified Journeys then puts together your driving directions and produces an accompanying playlist including tracks inspired by landmarks and artists from points along the way. Once the playlist is generated you can edit it if you wish, and then it can be exported to iTunes!

Personally i think good music is essential for a good road trip especially when traveling with friends! This service may not give you the exact songs you would personally choose, but i like the idea that it chooses songs inspired by your travel route and you never know you might just find a new favourite song……plus it takes away the mundane task of making 10 hours of playlists before you leave!

The interface for it is also very simple and easy to use!

Amplified Journeys is now in beta 1.0 and free to use.

AMAZING animation explaining co-design

February 24, 2009

This is an animation that award winning thinkpublic (social innovation and public service design agency) have been produced to explain what co-design is. Not only is it super informative and easy to understand, but it is simply beautiful!Both visually and the experience you receive from watching it I love it!

Post-its taken to a new level!

February 22, 2009


This image was taken by one of my design hero’s, Gill Wildman. She is currently writing a book about the people side of managing design projects and is using post-it’s to do so!

“We’re stretching our use of post-its this time by writing a book with them, and how great is it to be able to move pieces together, and re-work sections?

It looks like every other wall filled with notes, but has a distinctive linear structure…chapters and actions in zones. It’s really helping” Via Plot Blog

Simply Brilliant!

Wind Powered Subways

February 21, 2009


For the last week we have been working on a service design project to increase environmental awareness with regards to transport and mobility. Whilst scouting around to see what other people have been up to, i came across this post on GOOD/magazine.

New York City’s Mayor, Michael Bloomberg, recently announced a massive plan to dramatically increase the city’s level of sustainability by 2030. Here is an idea that might help the Big Apple reach its goal. It’s free for the taking.

The idea:

Each year, the New York subway system uses 1.8-billion kilowatt-hours of electricity, making it the city’s single largest consumer of electricity. What if the subway’s MetroCard machines offered the option of paying a small premium to purchase the rider’s share of electricity from non-polluting wind power instead of traditional hydroelectric, nuclear, and fossil fuel sources?

How it might work:

For its residential customers, ConEdison—the city’s only electricity company—charges an additional 2.5 cents per kilowatt-hour to use wind energy. The average subway ride uses 1.2 kilowatt-hours of power (based on 1.5 billion 2006 rides), which means the wind power surcharge would amount to 3 extra cents a ride—a 1.5 percent increase from the normal $2 charge.

What it means:

With a 1.5 percent surcharge, a seven-day unlimited pass would

cost $24.36 (up from $24), and a 30-day unlimited pass would cost $77.14 (up from $76). Say the surcharge was 5 percent—those prices would only increase to $25.20 and $79.80. A 5-percent per ride surcharge with a slim 10-percent participant rate could inject as much as $15 million into the wind-power market annually”

To me this sounds like an absolutly amazing idea, the increase in the cost of the tickets is tiny, but i guess the biggest challenge is convincing people of NYC and inspiring them that this is a good idea, and good decision to make! All which are issues we have been facing this week when doing research for our project!

Getting Around:data vizualization

February 21, 2009


A very clear, yet playful data vizualization of fuel used in various types of transportation.  I especially like how it gives you the amount of “fuel” ie burgers in this case that is needed when it is a person cycling or walking! See here for the fuel size version. Via

Spectacular Sticky note experiment

February 10, 2009

and for all you post-it note lovers check this it too

digital media in bonnie scotland

February 10, 2009


Today i came across an organisation called Distance Lab

“Distance Lab is a creative research organisation bringing together digital media technology, design and the arts to redefine and overcome the disadvantages of distance in learning, health care, relationships, culture and other domains.

Working with briefs from industry and governmental partners, Distance Lab generates ideas and builds prototypes that inspire and can lead to new innovative products and services.

The Lab is headed by Dr. Stefan Agamanolis, a graduate of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Media Lab and one of the founding research directors at Media Lab Europe, its former sister lab in Dublin

Inspired by the culture of the MIT Media Lab, Distance Lab is an interdisciplinary work environment full of radically creative scientists, designers, artists, and engineers from all over the world. We are concentrating our efforts on the theme of distance.

We don’t just philosophize and write about the future, we invent it. We emphasize the development of working prototypes and demonstrations of new technologies.

Our projects range from technology and design solutions that can be commercialised in the near-term to more far-reaching experiments that inspire and challenge assumptions about how we use technology and how we will deal with various forms of distance in the future” via Distance Lab homepage

When i found this page, i was super excited firstly due to the great work they are doing, but secondly that they are based in a rural part of Scotland. Anyone who knows Scotland will know this is a rare occurrence to find a design company that is doing meaningful work and tackling it through new and innovative technologies. I would love to visit these guys if/when i return home. Some of their research topics that they are exploring currently are:

Can we develop compelling distance learning experiences that are more than “lectures over television” ?

Can we create inexpensive solutions that allow people with health problems to be robustly cared for over a distance and have a better quality of life no matter where they reside ?

Can we combine communication technologies and architectural design to create new kinds of work and living spaces that span multiple geographical locations ?

Can we create new systems that enable distributed knowledge and expertise to be aggregated and exploited more seamlessly ?

Can we devise new modes of communication that enable distant family members and loved-ones to feel a greater sense of awareness and togetherness between each other ?

I especially love this last one, it is something i extremely interested in for exploring during my thesis project!

Nine year old writes iphone code

February 10, 2009

Amazing article via BBC news (spotted on nick’s twitter feed!)

“A nine-year-old Malaysian boy in Singapore has written a painting application for the Apple iPhone.

Lim Ding Wen created the finger painting program, known as Doodle Kids, for his two younger sisters aged three and five.

The program allows iPhone owners to draw images on the handset’s touch screen using just their fingers.

The program has been downloaded more than 4,000 times from Apple’s iTunes store in less than two weeks.

While most children of his age are painting or drawing with crayons, Lim Ding Wen has been programming.

Lim, who is now fluent in six programming languages, first started using a computer when he was two-years-old, discovered programming aged seven, and has since completed more than 20 programming projects.

His latest application, Doodle Kids, allows users to draw pictures using their fingers and then clear the screen by shaking the iPhone.

“I wrote the program for my younger sisters, who like to draw,” said Lim. “But I am happy that people like it.”

Lim wrote the original application on his computer but has now adapted it for use on an iPhone”