An acronym for architecture for health in vulnerable environments, believes design can help combat disease. A recent pilot project confirms the belief. In 2014, the nonprofit launched Health From the Ground Up, an initiative to improve conditions for the disadvantaged in Southeast Asia. Upon learning that thousands of Bangladeshi children die due to parasites harbored in the dirt floors often used in their homes, the team focused on a single basic element: new flooring material. They chose poured concrete, not only easy to maintain and less likely to transmit disease but also able to be installed by local masons. A month after installation in 10 homes, post-construction surveys revealed no new infections in the children living there.
The Machines Inch Closer to Overthrowing Humanity With Language Development... Coincidence??
A team from Facebook's Artificial Intelligence Research lab recently revealed that in an experiment designed to replicate human negotiations between two chatbots, the machines actually developed their own non-human language. While many animal species do show evidence of complex forms of communication, language remained firmly in humanity's realm until this development. What the machines' new ability will engender remains to be seen, but it's nonetheless a humbling reminder that machine learning offers unprecedented scientific and philosophical investigative opportunities.
From Fringe Idea to Mainstream Imperative: The Future of Design Depends on Biomimicry
Over the Earth's 3.8 billion-year history, plants and animals have come up with ingenious design solutions to keep them alive and thriving. Today, the idea of looking to nature to improve the functionality and sustainability of humanity’s creations is gaining steam in the architecture, design, and engineering industries. It's called biomimicry and it's here to stay.
Leather has been the quintessential material of good taste and class for centuries, but its throne as status symbol is increasingly being usurped by high-tech consumer goods. In a bid to create the ultimate semiotic expression of the aspirational lifestyle, HP rolled out the Spectre Folio, a leather-bound convertible laptop. It remains to be seen how many people who don't resemble Patrick Bateman will actually purchase this $1,300 computer.
In the Future, Couples Will Break Up Over Everything Except Assembling Ikea Furniture
Ikea furniture may look innocuous, but it has of destroying new couples before they even leave the store. And when lovebirds do escape the commercial behemoth's clutches, they inevitably fall apart when it comes time to assemble the pieces. Two researchers from Nanyang Technological University in Singapore may have finally given couples everywhere a solution to the latter problem with a robot that can (partially) put together Ikea products in under a half-hour.
Boeri, Diller, and Sejima Make Their Milan Fashion Week Debut
Fashion and architecture don't often intermingle, which is strange considering that both fields make functional art for distinctly human use. So when Prada featured three handbags by female architects Cini Boeri, Elizabeth Diller, and Kazuyo Sejima at this year's Milan Fashion Week, the evidence that these two industries had more to offer each other only mounted. Each of the bags expertly riffed on Prada's iconic nylon bag, offering new possibilities for an accessory that set the precedent for a new idea in women's fashion: functionality can be luxurious, too.
Rothy's, a footwear brand that makes shoes exclusively out of recycled plastic water bottles, has at last rolled a sneaker style. The shoes resemble classic Vans, but come with an added benefit of being sustainably sourced and completely recyclable. The asking price is $125, which runs a little less than Adidas's Parley shoes ($140).
Weather Graphics Become Frighteningly Advanced
As Hurricane Florence barreled closer to North Carolina, warnings about the potential dangers came from the usual sources: meteorologists and doppler radar maps. In order to truly illustrate the danger this storm could bring to the region, the Weather Channel created a terrifying new animation that depicts how a three, six, or nine-foot storm surge would actually appear. The animation was produced using the Unreal Engine, the same system that makes countless video games look and feel lifelike.
The Tesla of the Sea Has Arrived
First trains, then cars, and now yachts are getting the eco-friendly electric treatment. The Hinckley Company's Dasher is the world’s first fully-electric luxury yacht, earning the nickname "Tesla of the sea.” The stylish boat produces zero emissions, runs with whisper-quiet propulsion, and can be fully charged at the dock in half the time of its land-locked counterparts.
As 3-D printing becomes more available, the potential to create unprecedented architectural feats has exploded. The latest iteration of this growing trend involves a research team at ETH Zurich and the super-slim concrete ceiling they made with a 3-D printed sand mold. The team made a total of 11 1,000-square-foot slabs, which will be installed in their ongoing DFAB House project.
Mirror, Mirror, on the Wall...
Who's the buffest of them all? Thanks to Naked Labs' newest product, a high-tech personal computer housed in a floor-length mirror, athletes and fitness enthusiasts will have an answer that's more than what meets the eye. The mirror comes with a scale that can produce a 360-degree 3-D model of the user, showing current and predictive weight loss, in just 15 seconds.
Instagram Is Re-Shaping The Museum Experience
If the modern art museum is starting to lean a little too heavy on the installation side of things for you, blame Instagram and the profusion of pop-up museums the photo and video-sharing social media giant has spurred. Places like the Museum of Ice Cream or the wndr museum cater to the type of visitor who needs to document and share everything on "the 'gram," creating beautiful if slightly over-hyped exhibits in which to take the perfect selfie. The question remains: is this a bastardization of artistic traditions, a new chapter in the historiography of art, or just a fad?
Nanobots may be teeny-tiny, but once they become commercially viable, their impact could be huge. A team of MIT scientists recently created an aerosol spray full of these microscopic, self-reproducing machines. The spray could be used to identify problems in systems in our built environment and eventually in our own bodies.
Moscow's Metro Is a Design Kaleidoscope
Moscow's Metro has been around since the 1930's, a time before the hegemony of any one style in public spaces came to be the accepted norm. Because of this, each station in the Russian capital treats urbanites to a vast array of architectural and artistic motifs that today would be extraordinary to imagine a government endorsing. Architectural historian Nikolai Vassiliev has been documenting the stations in hopes of preserving them.
Numtots Are Exactly the Type of Meme-Making Millennials That City Dwellers Need
Public transit: it’s ubiquitous, divisive, and apparently meme-worthy. Numtots, or members of the Facebook group “New Urbanist Memes for Transit-Oriented Teens,” are an international group of millennials whose big ideas about improving city life all use the Internet’s favorite means of communication. Although seemingly niche, the group has over 100,000 active members.