Posts about design

Roominate: Inspiring Artists, Engineers and Visionaries

Roominate is a cool new toy created by 3 engineering students aimed at giving young engineers a way to learn, experiment and create. The 3 women used kickstarter to get the funds needed to launch their product. They raised $85,000 (the goal was $25,000).

We’re more than just a toy company. We want to inspire your daughters to be the great artists, engineers, architects, and visionaries of their generation. We intend to give them every tool to reach that potential.


Bettina Chen: CalTech BS in Electrical Engineering, masters in Electrical Engineering from Stanford.

Alice Brooks: MIT BS in Mechanical Engineering, currently at Stanford pursuing masters in Mechanical Engineering design.

Jennifer Kessler: Bachelor degree from University of Pennsylvania, currently an MBA student at Stanford.

This is yet another example of entrepreneurship shown by Standford students. The USA is hugely benefited by Stanford (along with a few other schools: MIT, Caltech, etc.). There is little a country can do that is as helpful economically as encouraging the type of entrepreneurship Standford does.

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Great Furniture for Small Spaces

Wonderful design from Italy with great space saving furniture. Great design with wonderful engineering provides solutions that are a joy to see and live with. These are not cheap though. New York City distributors of the furniture.

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Fiskars Cuts+More 5-in-1 Multi-Purpose Scissors

These are some well engineering scissors with all sorts of handy features. Fiskars makes some great products. High-quality blades provide excellent cutting performance on a wide variety of materials. Large, ergonomically sculpted finger and thumb loops provide excellent comfort and control when cutting.

Additional features include a power notch for cutting light rope, wire cutter, twine cutter, pointed awl tip and bottle opener. You can even take the scissors apart and use the titanium-coated blade as a knife. It’s dishwasher safe and includes an innovative sheath with a built-in tape cutter and a ceramic scissors sharpener to keep the blades performing at their best. Ergonomically sculpted handles provide comfortable use and cutting control. Power notch cuts light rope. Wire cutter makes cutting wire without damaging the blades quick and easy.

A pointed awl tip is perfect for piercing small holes in cardboard, leather and more. Bottle opener makes it easy to open bottles. Take-apart design offers a titanium-coated knife that is three times harder than steel for general cutting needs. Dishwasher safe for easy cleaning. The sheath protects blades, sharpens scissors and includes a tape cutter for opening boxes.

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Honda U3-X Personal Transport

Honda and Toyota continue to develop personal transport and personal robotics assistance products. While other car companies can barely stay in business Honda and Toyota not only are doing well (even if Toyota will lose money this year) they are investing in the future and pushing strong engineering programs. I must say the personal transportation devices seem less than awesome to me though this video does make the Honda U3-X seem reasonable – better than the Toyota Winglet looked.

Honda unveiled U3-X, a compact experimental device that fits comfortably between the rider’s legs, to provide free movement in all directions – forward, backward, side-to-side, and diagonally. Honda will continue research and development of the device including experiments in a real-world environment to verify the practicality of the device.

This new personal mobility device makes it possible to adjust speed and move, turn and stop in all directions when the rider leans the upper body to shift body weight. This was achieved through application of advanced technologies including Honda’s balance control technology, which was developed through the robotics research of ASIMO, Honda’s bipedal humanoid robot, and the world’s first omni-directional driving wheel system (Honda Omni Traction Drive System, or HOT Drive System), which enables movement in all directions, including not only forward and backward, but also directly to the right and left and diagonally. In addition, this compact size and one-wheel-drive personal mobility device was designed to be friendly to the user and people around it by making it easier for the rider to reach the ground from the footrest and placing the rider on roughly the same eye level as other people or pedestrians.

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Goldbergian Flash Fits Rube Goldberg Web Site

Intentionally, I hope, the Rube Goldberg Machine Contest web site illustrates how to use needlessly complex engineering to design a tool that fails to follow sensible engineering guidelines. Rather than aiming for well designed usable products, the desire is to produce a machine that sort-of complies with the requirements but in a extremely foolish, convoluted way. Obviously it would be much more sensible to design that web site with html and it would just work simply, easily and quickly for everyone. But flash is the perfect tool to use if you want to promote Goldbergian thinking.

The web site, for example, does display content to a web browser. If that web browser has a flash plugin installed and it is the proper type. And sure the conventions of the web don’t work in this crippled environment but who cares about that when designing Goldbergian web sites. Of course if you actually want to design a good web site such choices would be – lets see, oh yeah, lame. I could link to the contest information – but in good Flash Goldbergian fashion that is not possible with the non-website website they have.

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