Posts Tagged ‘flipbooks’

Brilliant Design Thinking: Boyan Slat’s Solution for Ridding the Ocean of Plastic Waste

Social Design


We all know the oceans are filled with plastic waste, and we’ve seen the horrific photos of dead animals that have ingested the stuff. It is up to activists, responsible corporate citizens and lawmakers to stop these plastic garbage patches from growing. But that won’t solve the problem of how to get rid of the stuff that’s already floating around in there.

Enter Boyan Slat, just 19 years of age. At 6, he was diving in Greece—that country whose postcards show pristine beaches and blue water–and was horrified at the amount of floating garbage he encountered. “I saw more plastic bags,” Slat told the BBC, “than fish.” When he returned home to the Netherlands, he started working on a way to rid the oceans of garbage—and his design solution is as promising as it is out-of-the-box.

The conventional thinking goes that ships need to be sent out into these garbage patches with huge tow-nets. The problem is that these nets would capture aquatic life as well as the garbage they’re trying to collect. And ships burn fuel. So Slat took a closer look at how oceans operate and how the garbage migrates around.

Oceanbound trash tends to gather into their own little garbage continents, driven by “gyres,” or rotating currents. There are five of these trash gyres worldwide.


Although the concentration of plastic in these areas is high—it’s sometimes described as a plastic soup—it’s still spread out over an area twice the size of Texas. What’s more, the plastic does not stay in one spot, it rotates. These factors make a clean-up incredibly challenging.

“Most people have this image of an island of trash that you can almost walk on, but that’s not what it’s like,” says Slat. “It stretches for millions of square kilometres – if you went there to try and clean up by ship it would take thousands of years.” Not only that, it would be very costly in terms of both money and energy, and fish would be accidentally caught in the nets.

Slat reasoned that it would be more efficient to let the ocean move the trash around, as it does on its own. We would then simply place floating barriers in the known trouble spots, allowing the floating garbage to simply run into the barriers. Aquatic life could still flow under the floating barriers unmolested, with no nets for them to get caught in, and the barriers would be anchored to the seabed via cables to prevent them from floating off. Garbage could then be harvested and recycled from an area with a much smaller footprint.

What’s impressive is that not only did Slat devise this solution, but he’s actually putting his money where his mouth is and has dedicated himself to seeing it to fruition. What began as a high school science project has turned into an obsession, one that Slat dropped out of university (Delft, no less) to pursue it full-time.

One early problem was funding. The 200€ that the teenager began the project with was not exactly a round of angel investing, and Slat had hundreds of doors figuratively slammed into his face as he sought financial backing. But after giving a TED Talk that went viral, his crowdfunding campaign landed him over US $2 million, and he was able to set up The Ocean Cleanup as a viable organization.

Here’s the aforementioned TED Talk:

And while there aren’t any gigs there for designers, the organization is” target=”_blank”currently hiring, for those of you non-creative folks looking for a gig.


How to Draw a Perfect Circle

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‘Karen’ is a Virtual Woman That Will Psychologically Profile You

The 2013 Academy Award-nominated film Her dealt with virtual voice companions who interacted with humans through their personal cell phones and devices. Providing advice and companionship for the main character, Samantha was able to interact through audio with the outside world. While we aren’t at that level of technology yet, we may be one step closer.

Created by Blast Theory, Karen is a mobile storytelling experience that puts the user front and center in a thrilling game. At first, the digital counselor states that she just wants to help you through issues, but soon she starts pulling information from your phone to get to know you in ways you may not want it to. It promises to be a one-of-a-kind experience if they can get their Kickstarter funded by Nov. 5, 2014.

Believe it or not, Karen is a play on the exchange of personal data from establishments that have no right to share it, though perhaps less scary of a concept according to the Kickstarter page:

We’re always looking at where technology is going, and what that might mean for culture and storytelling. At the moment we are really fascinated with big data, and particularly how governments and large companies such as Facebook are collecting data on us secretly and using it without our consent.

We feel it’s our job as artists to pose questions about these trends. Karen pushes the boundaries of artistic apps and uses data in a way that is playful, open and fun.

As of Oct. 19, the Karen Kickstarter has earned nearly £9,000–about $14,500 in USD–of its £15,000 goal with just over two weeks to go. A donation of £10, just over $16, will get you first access to a download of the app. Larger donations will earn you special meet ups, original artwork, personality reports, posters and more. If you want to be part of this unique social experiment that’s as simple as interacting with your phone like you do every day, you’ll have to make sure the project gets funded.


Kill Screen

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Door Lock Integrates Braille for Added Layer of Passcode Security

Passcode-equipped doors might look good and remind you of scenes from the latest Bond film, but they can leave you exposed. To prevent people from looking over your shoulder and stealing your pin, South Korean designer Kwon Hyuk-sang has created a door handle that features a discreet keypad with built-in braille. That means safer passcodes, less unwanted visitors and more peace of mind.

As Kwon describes on the mock-up product poster:

When entering the PIN, the greatest security threat is shoulder surfing attack. Shoulder surfing attack is watching the pin being entered from over the shoulder to obtain the number. It is the most common and powerful security threat of stealing the PIN.

With the Pattern Door Lock however, the keypad you use to enter your PIN is hidden on the underside of the handle. Braille indentations make sure you can feel which button is which, while a green built-in light will let you know when you’ve entered the correct combination. Potential intruders will be greeted with a glowing red light that encourages them to try somewhere else.


Kwon’s creation is the kind of device that would be right at home in research facilities, high-security establishments and anywhere else where privacy is of the utmost concern. It could also provide an alternative for visually-impaired people who have to deal with traditional keypads and other types of access security that don’t fully accommodate for their needs.


Yanko Design

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Interactive Music Video Lets You Click Through a Craigslist Board

72andSunny’s in-house creative program 72U has created an interactive music video experience for NYC band, Superhuman Happiness. The experimental video lets users decide and click which of the 150 moments they’d like to watch, creating a unique experience.

72U is made up of a team of individuals with diverse talents and interests. It offers a 12 week one-of-a-kind learning experience designed to cultivate leaders for the creative industry. They created the interactive video, “Catch a Break,” in an attempt to depict the idea that all of a person’s life (including heartbreak, happiness, and surplus appliances) can be contained in a message board like Craigslist.

Superhuman Happiness, founded by multi-instrumentalist and songwriter (and Arcade Fire sideman) Stuart Bogie, wanted to create a video that captures the human experience. 72U hit upon message boards as a cross-section of humanity and this resulted in a Craigslist-style faux public message board embedded with 150 human moments that represent life’s ups and downs.


Using interactive technology on a web-based platform, the viewer becomes the visual curator of the music video as they are encouraged to explore and experience the message board. They can navigate the highs and lows of life, while overcoming and rejoicing in all of the risks, setbacks, and rewards.

Vocalist Andrea Diaz’s performance forms the central thread of the experience, while the viewer controls the other things they see as they explore a fake Craigslist site embedded with many slices of life. As they hunt around, they can discover the detritus of a failed romance, such as a turntable that’s useless because the ex took all the records, or a desperate attempt to find a new roommate to help with the rent.

72U built the interactive experience and produced the video for less than $1000. It was created for Google Chrome using web technologies like HTML/CSS, Java Script and JQuery. The video was launched on Oct.16 and has its own advert on the real Craiglist, with 275 simultaneous posts in 11 categories in 25 cities. You can check out the interactive music video below or go to the site to experience it for yourself:

Catch a Break

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Mind Your Health, Weight Loss with Portion Control Plate

Nutritional science has known for decades, and the public has known since the 2006 release of Brian Wansink’s Mindless Eating, that the single most important factor in how much people eat is how much food people are given. Its a simple fact of food consumption that is too often exacerbated by large dinner plates, super-sizing and all-you-can-eat appetizer deals at your favorite restaurant.

Dutch designer Annet Bruil saw the problem, and offers a solution in her ETE plate. It’s a “pie chart” for the meal you eat before your pie. The simple, white plate has lines drawn on it dividing its surface into sections for vegetables, carbohydrates and proteins. The size of the plate keeps your total amount of food in line with daily calorie requirements, and the dividing lines keep the relative proportions in line with what nutritionists recommend.


The plate comes with instructions for meals with mixed components — like a stir fry made with veggies, noodles and chicken. It offers a simplified, visual approach to eating fewer calories with better nutrition.

The ETE plate is manufactured in the Netherlands, and shipped internationally in Dutch or English for 25,50 Euros plus delivery costs. Though designed specifically to match the dietary recommendations of the Netherlands’ government, users from other countries can use online resources to use the plate to match their home country’s guidelines.

Despite the designer price tag, early reception of this new product has been enthusiastic. Since “too complex” and “too hard” are two of the top objections people give to learning how to eat better, the ETE plate has potential for helping people make positive changes in their eating habits.

ETE Plate

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