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Preview: Co.Design


Inspiring stories about innovation and business, seen through the lens of design


Google’s Risky Plan To Beat Apple And Facebook In The Chat Wars

Fri, 20 Apr 2018 15:20:15 GMT

Google wants to reclaim ground on messaging. But without encryption, users may pay the cost.

Google’s Android messaging app strategy has been a mess for years. Apple Messages, Facebook, and WhatsApp offer vastly better experiences and enjoy a much wider user base. The Mountain View company seems to have realized that to defeat its competition, it needs to do something drastic. A Verge exclusive reveals the simple and risky plan: First, stop the development of Google’s own proprietary messaging app, Allo, and reposition Hangouts as a competitor to the professional workgroup chat application Slack.  Third, the company will put all of its messaging eggs in a basket called Rich Communication Services (RCS), or what Google calls “Chat.”

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Heartbreaking Photos Of Eviction Day In America

Fri, 20 Apr 2018 12:01:58 GMT

New data on eviction rates across the country comes to life in an exhibition at the National Building Museum.

In Richmond, Virginia, one in nine renters were evicted in 2016. It’s a staggering figure, born of a new analysis of 900,000 eviction records taken from 83 million court documents that shows just how widespread eviction is in a subsection of cities around the United States. The research, by Princeton University professor Matthew Desmond, points to a deeper problem: a downward cycle of poverty that eviction exacerbates.

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Watch Super-Intelligent Robots Build A $25 Ikea Chair In Minutes

Fri, 20 Apr 2018 09:00:00 GMT

Plus, no crying!

Scientists at the Nanyang Technological University in Singapore have finally solved one of the toughest problems in the history of humanity. A problem that has plagued hundreds of millions of buyers on a budget since 1943–the year they started following Ikea instructions. Now, finally, robots are sophisticated enough to assemble our furniture for us . . . or at least one chair, for starters.

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I Run “Facial Recognition” On Buildings To Unlock Architectural Secrets

Fri, 20 Apr 2018 07:30:21 GMT

Peter Christensen, an assistant professor of art history at the University of Rochester, writes about his work with architectural biometrics.

This post originally appeared on The Conversation. 

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OK Go’s Videos Are Internet Gold. Their First VR Experience Is Even Wilder

Fri, 20 Apr 2018 07:00:36 GMT

Lead singer and guitarist Damian Kulash and I made beats using lemmings and chords using puffer fish.

I’m standing in a meadow. Suddenly, Damian Kulash, the charismatic lead singer and guitarist of the rock band OK Go, appears next to me in the form of a giant lamb with rainbow streamers protruding from his arms. We meander around the meadow, playing synthesizers connected to hybrid musical instruments that are themselves powered by animals: lemmings jump off cliffs to power snare drums, blowfish play mini harmonicas, and electric eels light up an electric guitar (obviously).

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The Airplane Saddle Is A Standing Seat For Super-Economy Flights

Thu, 19 Apr 2018 09:54:28 GMT

Howdy, pardner, please buckle your seatbelt and put your phone on airplane mode.

There’s nothing inherently bad about the design of the Skyrider 2.0, a new compact seat that allows airlines to fit more passengers in less space with a hypothetical super-economy class. Engineered by Italian aerospace interior design company Aviointeriors and introduced at Hamburg’s Airplane Interiors Expo in earl April, the seat positions a willing passenger almost completely upright on a polyester saddle and back support. It seems well thought out, it’s reportedly very functional, and it even looks good.  But I’ll still never sit on one.

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Big Data Is A Sham

Thu, 19 Apr 2018 09:34:40 GMT

Big companies are hoarding big data and doing nothing with it–except invading our privacy. It’s time to think small, writes Paddle Consulting’s Brian Millar.

There’s a joke about a quality control guy in a match factory. He picks up every match, strikes it, says, “This one works,” blows it out and puts it in a box. The joke is funny because instinctively we know that he doesn’t need to see every detail to understand the big picture. This instinct seems to fail people when it comes to Big Data. As a reader of Co.Design, you’re probably the kind of person who has to turn insights into things, whether it’s communications, products or entertainment. As that insight increasingly comes from data, it’s a failure that affects us all.

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This Bridge Is The Product Of 6 Straight Months Of 3D Printing

Thu, 19 Apr 2018 09:00:23 GMT

Six months, 4.5 tons of steel, and 684 miles of metal cable went into the making of the first 3D-printed steel bridge.

Four years ago, the designer Joris Laarman had a crazy idea for a bridge over a canal in Amsterdam. He proposed building the bridge using a robotic arm and 3D printer–a process that seemed as simple as wheeling the printer to the edge of the canal and hitting “print.

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The Hidden Masterpieces Of The N.Y.C. Subway

Thu, 19 Apr 2018 08:15:37 GMT

Philip Ashforth Coppola has spent 40 years illustrating subway stations–and revealing their forgotten histories.

If you’ve ever taken a ride on the New York City subway, you’re familiar with the musty stations, the feeling of bodies packed into crowded cars, and the desperate rush to make an overcrowded train. You’ve probably caught a glimpse of an enormous rat scurrying among the garbage on the tracks.

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Ikea Debuts A “Lifestyle” Collection Of Hoodies And Skateboards

Thu, 19 Apr 2018 07:30:29 GMT

Calling all teens and perma-teens. Los Angeles collides with Sweden in the furniture giant’s latest limited-edition collection.

I won’t bury the lede. Ikea offers skateboards now. They cost $90. That’s along with a table for your DJ gear, a shoe rack to display your limited-edition drops, and a black hoodie to mask your wealth or complete lack of it. It’s not just furniture or fashion; it’s a lifestyle.

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Google’s Ivy Ross On The Future Of Industrial Design

Thu, 19 Apr 2018 07:00:45 GMT

The mastermind behind Google’s push into gadgets talks to us about where they’re going next.

The company that’s creating the most beautiful hardware in the world is no longer Apple. It’s not Samsung. And it’s not even Microsoft, either. It’s Google, with its new line of cloth-covered speakers, phones, and VR headsets.

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The Problem With Fetishizing Midcentury Modernism

Thu, 19 Apr 2018 06:00:12 GMT

Housed in Finnish architect Eero Saarinen’s landmarked 1962 TWA Flight Center at JFK International Airport, the forthcoming TWA Hotel is an homage to the midcentury era of Jet Age optimism—and blithe indifference.

Around this time next year, travelers passing through JFK International Airport’s notorious chaotic halls will have an incentive to linger in Terminal 5, with the opening of the splashy new TWA Hotel–a 512-room property centered around an extensive restoration of the landmark TWA Flight Center, the midcentury jewel completed by Finnish architect Eero Saarinen in 1962.

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The Secret Life Of Hong Kong’s Communal Rooftops

Wed, 18 Apr 2018 12:54:26 GMT

Photographer Romain Jacquet-Lagrèze captures life atop buildings in one of the world’s densest cities.

I’ve been a fan of Hong Kong-based professional photographer Romain Jacquet-Lagrèze, and his depictions of Hong Kong’s architecture, for a really long time. His latest series, called Concrete Stories, offers an entirely new perspective on the city’s urban life, capturing the way that space-squeezed residents utilize their building’s communal roofs. It’s both beautiful and mesmerizing, in a Rear Window kind of way.

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An Unabashed Tribute To Books In A Relentlessly Digital Age

Wed, 18 Apr 2018 08:15:10 GMT

OMA’s new library in Qatar celebrates the printed word.

In a world full of blaring screens and pinging notifications, respite can still be found in a very old-fashioned, centuries-old object: the book.

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Viz Palette: The Ultimate Tool For Anyone Who Works With Color

Wed, 18 Apr 2018 07:30:01 GMT

Two data viz specialists at Netflix have published a new color analysis tool that anyone can use.

Humans are visual creatures, and today, when the national conversation is framed by data-driven topics like climate change, data security, and gerrymandering, data visualization has never been more important. Yet for designers and engineers, a palette, arguably the most impactful design choice when it comes to data viz, can be difficult to get right.

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Don’t Let Your Kids Use Apps

Wed, 18 Apr 2018 07:00:47 GMT

It’s not even about screen time anymore. It’s about privacy.

That harmless-looking kids’ app, with the cute cartoon characters and funny noises, is really a monster in disguise. That’s according to a new study of 5,855 children’s apps in the Google Play store that found that most apps collected personally identifiable data and transmitted it over the internet. From there, that data could be shared with advertisers–data that is not erasable and could follow a child as a targeted profile into their teens and adulthood.

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T-Mobile Slapped With A $40 Million Fine For Its Deceptive Design

Tue, 17 Apr 2018 14:31:17 GMT

Using fake ring tones, the company lied to millions of users.

If there’s a pantheon for dark patterns (sometimes known as “asshole design“), T-Mobile has earned a spot on it for this dreadful example of deceptive user experience. The company used fake ring tone noises to make customers think their calls were connecting–while in fact they were not.

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This Huge Concrete Seesaw Turns Flood Infrastructure Into Fun

Tue, 17 Apr 2018 11:00:09 GMT

The stunning installation will rock back and forth with the tide along the Dutch seashore.

Dutch architectural firm MVRDV recently won a competition to design a unique permanent art installation for the scenic coastal Dutch city of Den Helder. The firm’s design, which will rise on a historic dyke directly north of Amsterdam, is a curvilinear observation platform that twists into an infinite loop perched several feet over the sea.

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A**hole Design Is The Subreddit We Need Now

Tue, 17 Apr 2018 09:40:48 GMT

Finally, a cathartic place to shame the terrible UX and industrial design all around us.

I can’t stop laughing at the design work featured on the young subreddit known as r/assholedesign–or imagining the conversations that must have happened between their designers.

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This Ingenious Furniture Doubles As A Microgrid

Tue, 17 Apr 2018 09:00:05 GMT

It can power light, sound, and electronic devices for up to 24 hours.

Homes are becoming smart–which means they’re increasingly dependent on electricity. But what if furniture could act as its own energy source?

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