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A Heated Jacket That Understands Your Temperature Preferences Better Than You Do
As a mid-winter beacon of hope for city commuters and outdoor enthusiasts, Ministry of Supply recently launched the Mercury Intelligent Heated Jacket. There are a few other battery-powered thermal jackets on the market, but Mercury's machine learning capabilities make it kind of like wrapping yourself in a chic heated blanket that reads your mind. The jacket is able to analyze temperature, motion data and user preference to ultimately find your perfect heat settings, letting you live the ultimate cozy lifestyle. Using the connected app, you can either set your jacket to begin heating before you leave your house or right when you step outside. Once outside, the jacket's sensors gather both temperature data from the outdoors and your own internal temperature to keep its heat in sync with your body. Heart rate is also measured and accounted for, which means as you pick up your pace, the jacket will begin lowering its temperature. Translated to New York commuter language: When you're all layered up running to catch the train in the winter, you'll be less of a sweaty mess. After three or four times using the app, Mercury is able to start learning your temperature preferences so you don't need to pull out your phone all of the time.Mercury is lined with S.Cafe lining, which incorporates coffee grinds to help control odor, keeping the jacket feeling fresh. And for when it's not feeling fresh, Mercury is machine washable without needing to take the whole thing apart. While much of Mercury's design success stems from its unassuming silhouette created by previous Theory design director Jarlath Mellet, this strong material foundation acts as the bow that ties the sensors and fashion together in a complete package. The sensors inside the jacket are surprisingly subtle, with just two taking up minimal space inside the lining near the pockets and one larger one in the back. They glow a slight red when heated, but are mostly masked by a ventilated section of the lining. Other than what you can see from the two sensors, the rest of the internal tech is hidden. The only tech that makes its way past the lining is the cable for the battery, which pokes out through one of the pockets. We were also pleased to see that the required battery pack is slimmer than expected and can double as a phone charger.Overall this jacket is a step in  the right direction for smart clothing. I'm only nervous about two things: Even though Mercury is officially TSA approved, I'm hoping wearers will be able to get through the airport hassle-free. Although maybe I'm just paranoid—last time I flew, TSA was convinced I was wearing a money belt filled with cash because my sweatpants waistband was rolled twice over. The second is that you can summon Alexa to turn your jacket on and off, but I don't trust Alexa enough to relinquish outfit control to her—she might figure out how to tighten the wires around you or something...Anyways, Ministry of Supply doubled Mercury's funding goal in less than one day, proving that a minimal heated jacket might be what the world needs right now.Learn more about Mercury and secure one of your own here.[...]



Today's Urban Design Observation: Minimally-Connected Scaffolding Levelers

We think of sidewalks as level, until the first time you drop something round or cylindrical and watch it roll towards the curb. Sidewalks are of course graded to send rainwater into the gutters. Just how sharply they are graded can be seen anywhere there is scaffolding. Look at the height difference between these two parallel uprights, which by necessity must have level bases.

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The base of the outermost uprights are always, at least in New York, raised up on a stack of 2x12 Douglas Fir cut-offs.

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The cut-offs are toe-nailed together.

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Here you can see a couple of nails are driven in the usual manner through holes in the base of the upright, and then the clinched nail technique is employed.

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You might think that's not a very secure way to hold a scaffold upright in place. But in fact, the nails are not there to hold the uprights in place. They are there to prevent the 2x12 cut-offs from sliding around.

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The weight of the scaffold, which consists of many members, is such that simple gravity will hold it securely in place. The cross-members prevent racking. It reminds me of those Chinese earthquake-proof temples, where the uprights are not even fastened to the stone pilings they rest on.

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This Bridge is Cleverly Designed to Slice Ice Into 250-Meter-Wide Strips
Flight instructor Paul Tymstra was flying 7,500 feet over Canada's Confederation Bridge when he spotted this unusual site. Tymstra snapped a pic and Tweeted it:[...]



Explaining Why the U.S. Speedskating Team's Outfits are Designed That Way
More than a few viewers have been puzzled by Team U.S.A.'s speedskating outfits. They seem to be designed purely to draw one's eye towards their junk: The uniforms were designed by Under Armour, and InStyle asked them about the crotch bling. Here's UA's statement:"The contrasting material in the inner thigh (friction guards) has been commonplace for speed skate skins for decades, to reduce friction. The 2014 UA skin had one panel instead of two, but in testing the new skin, the addition of a second panel reduced friction even more—by 60 percent."Okay, but why not make the inner thigh panel the same freaking color as the rest of the outfit?"We tested a multitude of friction guard materials to find the material that reduces friction the most. Altering the color or using a material that comes in a different color would have rendered it considerably less effective. The athletes love the look of the skins and how they perform and are getting compliments from other countries."I'd have thought that they could simply make the entire suit silver, but presumably each nation's predominant uniform colors are pre-agreed-upon to avoid on-rink confusion.Still, when we look at other countries' thigh panels that are a different color……they don't appear to be quite as prominent, nor do they extend as far north as the American uniforms.I understand function over aesthetics, but I can't help thinking "Who designed these, Borat?"[...]



The Design Process, Moldmaking and Casting of a Concept Vehicle

In this week's video, Eric Strebel casts a series of concept car models and reminds us that industrial design often involves a lot of bodies. Here he shows you his part of the process, which also includes designer Brook Banham, modeler Claas Kuhnen and Joe Fournier's Millennium Mold & Tool.

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The project was done for the 2018 North American International Auto Show, and the object being made is "the Axalta Iris concept vehicle that was used to unveil their StarLite color of the year," Strebel explains. "All of this work was done in Michigan, U.S.A. Even the polyurethane resin used for the casting was from a Michigan company."

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Yo! C77 Sketch: Digitally Rendering a Shoe

To bring the fidelity of a sketch up just a little bit, I'll render it digitally. In this video I'll take a simple ballpoint pen drawing of a shoe and show you how I simulate color, form, and texture in Photoshop using a Wacom tablet. 

As always, if you have any questions or comments on the techniques shown, leave them in the comments below. What other techniques would you like to see?

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Yo! C77 Sketch is a video series from Core77 forum moderator and prolific designer, Michael DiTullo. In these tutorials, DiTullo walks you through step by step rapid visualization and ideation techniques to improve your everyday skills. Tired of that guy in the studio who always gets his ideas picked because of his hot sketches? Learn how to beat him at his own game, because the only thing worse than a bad idea sketched well is a great idea sketched poorly.

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Parley's Cyrill Gutsch on Why Reduce, Reuse, Recycle Is Invalid & How to Stop Designing with Plastic
Thumbnail image via Eric White; Image above via Ami Sioux Cyrill Gutsch talks about plastic use the way doctors talk about drug addiction. In a way, he's not far off. Although wildly harmful to the environment, plastic has become engrained into the worlds of design and manufacturing as a go-to material that simply gets the job done. Cyrill Gutsch and his organization Parley are on a multi-faceted mission to end this mentality by ridding the world of plastic—entirely.Starting as a small design form in 2012, Parley made the switch to environmental collaboration network after an eye-opening meeting with environmentalist, Paul Watson. The designers were shocked to learn that our oceans are on the verge of extinction and decided it was their duty to take action. Parley's goal is not to shame companies, governments and individuals for designing with plastic but to instead act as an agent of change, helping them create multi-step action plans to slowly end their use of plastic altogether. Nobody explains Parley's structure better than Gutsch himself, so we sat down with the designer/environmentalist to learn more about Parley and how designers at all levels can take actionable steps to avoid touching plastic during the design process:Can you describe Parley and a few of your projects for readers who may not be familiar?Parley is a new form of environmental organization where we don't focus on protests—we're not demanding change without looking into solutions. It's more about inspiring key companies, organizations, governments and individuals to explore new ways of making product. We're using harmful substances that damage our environment and our own health, which we simply can't afford to do anymore. We are coming into an urgent material revolution where we will recognize this and start changing how we make things. In the beginning, around 2012, we were looking at plastic in a time where plastic was not seen as such a large environmental threat. We were growing up with the idea, especially in Europe, that recycling is an answer. You have these recycling symbols on every product, but you don't even differentiate if the product is recyclable or already recycled. You think, "Oh my god, it's all okay. Somebody takes care of it. It's this place where things go when I've used them.""[Plastic] is a design failure—just alien matter that shouldn't be on this planet." Then suddenly, you realize that there is no place where these things go. Even if they get recycled, on the way there they're leaching a lot toxic substances, and they're creating harm. It's a permanent journey of destruction that these materials cause. We understood at Parley that materials like fossil fuel-based plastic are not fit for an idea of a circular economy. Plastic itself is a design failure—just alien matter that shouldn't be on this planet. From outside, the ocean surface has always looked the same, but nobody really puts their head in the water to relate to everything—all the life that's down there—and sees the beauty, the horror, and the destruction. It's very difficult to make people understand that the oceans are dying at a rapid speed. We felt like we needed to ask ourselves,"Is this the legacy of our generation? Is this what we want to leave behind?" I personally couldn't live with that idea that the oceans would die, and I didn't do anything about it. I couldn't forgive myself, and that was the moment we started Parley for the Oceans. How did you even begin to approach this large-scale environmental problem?If we are able to destroy the environment, then we're able to create and we're able to change. We just need to come to the point where this huge trend happens where people start redefining and redesigning materials and redesigning the idea of products. We felt like if we created a lot of awareness, and we created trends,[...]



Today's Urban Design Observation: A Laundromat's Space-Saving Free Entertainment Solution for Customers

This laundromat in Chinatown/Little Italy offers free entertainment to waiting customers. When it's warm enough out they'll sit in one of two chairs provided outside the facility.

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Against the window on the left is a free library of books. They look to be Chinese versions of steamy Harlequin romance novels.

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Not sure if you can tell from the photos, but these books are outside, not inside, the glass. 

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To hold the books in place, a shelf bracket holder has been attached between the glass and the tracks for the roll-down security shutters. That way, at night when the shutters are rolled down, no one can steal the books. And by leaving them outside they don't need to take up space with a display shelf inside.

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This Video of an Automated Factory Producing Lasagna at an Industrial Scale is Mesmerizing

Years ago I was walking through my neighborhood (New York's Little Italy) and stopped to wait for the light to change on the corner of Grand and Mulberry. Suddenly I heard a voice coming from above: "Hey mister! Mister! Hey mister!"

I looked up to see a middle-aged Italian woman in a house dress, rollers in her hair, unabashedly leaning out of the window. It was straight out of an old commercial, and I felt certain she was going to ask me if I knew what made her Alfredo sauce so creamy.

Instead she said "Can you throw these in the box?" and dropped a rubber-banded bundle of letters two stories down to me. I caught it, looked around and deposited it in the mailbox on the corner. "Thank youuuuu!" she called, and shut the window. I found it kind of disappointing.

Why am I telling you this? To explain that I have been conditioned, by watching the commercials of my youth, to believe that Italian food products are handmade by warm-hearted people with ebullient personalities. It's a total stereotype of course, I have no idea if that woman even knew how to cook.

Anyways I thought of this as I came across this video. It's footage of pasta company Roma Prince's automated factory in Costa Rica producing lasagna at an industrial scale:

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As mesmerizing and artfully-shot as the footage is, I found it depressing that human beings don't even show up until the end. I also found it sad to watch because I'm trying to quit processed carbohydrates, which I love. But that's another story.

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Unique Furniture Design: Tables Featuring Urban Maps Finished with Photoluminescent Resin, Resembling Cities at Nighttime
In an older post we looked at Mike Warren's unusual technique of filling voids in wood with photoluminescent resin to create this striking-looking table:In a different post we highlighted the work of Lake Art, a family business that produces laser-cut maps:Independently of these, Poland-based Maciej Kozerski has combined these two techniques to create eye-catching pieces of furniture: Coffee tables and side tables with maps of world cities etched into them that, when the lights are turned out, glow like a real city does at nighttime.While the map you see here is of Warsaw, Kozerski also offers Amsterdam, Barcelona, Berlin, London, Munich, the southern half of New York City, the northern half of New York City, and Paris. You can check 'em out here.[...]



Susie Wise Says Traditional Education Deserves a Design Revolution
For this year's Core77 Design Awards, we're conducting in-depth interviews with each of our jury captains to get in a glimpse into their creative minds and hear more about what they'll be looking for in this year's awards submissions.For 2018 Design Education Initiative Jury Captain Susie Wise, design thinking in the realm of education is a topic she practically lives and breathes. Following an impressive breadth of career experience, including founding Stanford's K12 Lab Network, Wise has recently focused her energies primarily on a project bred from the K12 Lab—School Retool, a professional development program rethinking education by incorporating design thinking into curriculum planning. We recently spoke with Wise about the early days at the Stanford d.school with David Kelley, how lesson plans should be redesigned to give students an active role in the formation of their education, and what "design thinking" really means.Starting off, can you just tell me a little bit about yourself and the work that you've been engaged with over the years?I went to college thinking that I would be in politics and work on Capitol Hill. As I was finishing up school I thought, "you know, I don't think I want to go to Washington D.C. and just be trained in the protocols of how the Hill works." I came out to the Bay area, and I started working in education with a bunch of different educational non-profits. Kind of trying to find my way.I would think a lot about how I wanted to become a teacher, but I found that I really liked working with programs that went into schools. I did some work in HIV and AIDS education, and that led me to work at the Exploratorium—it was there that I really started to recognize the role of design. After that, I started working in game design and was super intrigued by some of the early multimedia of the CD-rom era. At a certain point, I got tired of making multiplication games for third graders, the kind of "drill and kill" games, so I started working for SFMoMA (San Francisco Museum of Modern Art) leading the interactive educational technology group. The way that I got connected more formally to an understanding of human-centered design and design thinking was when I went to Stanford to do a doctorate in a program called Learning Sciences and Technology Design. I took my first classes with David Kelly, in what at the time was called the Joint Program in Design. I wasn't enrolled in that program, but I took a lot of those classes as part of my doctorate. This was prior to the d.school being created, but I was there right at the time when David Kelly and George Kembel, who would become the first executive director of the d.school, were investigating and prototyping their way towards what would become the d.school. I was involved in that early work and stayed involved. I was the only person all these product designers knew who was in the school of education, so I got to play this kind of interesting bridge role. This led me back in 2007 to create what is called the K12 lab at the d.school. This was the entity where we really investigated what design thinking could look like in K12 education. We did this by working with folks in K12 education, but also by teaching graduate level courses related to it. After early prototyping, we found that introducing the design process to educators really reconnected them to their own creativity. In many cases, that's why they were teachers to begin with. Most of the work of the K12 lab over the subsequent years has been focused on introducing educators to the power of using design thinking as a process. More recent work, like a program we have called School Retool, introduces just three design mindsets to school leaders to help them start to change their schools and turn them[...]



Explaining the Hidden Elements in the Design of the Pyeongchang Olympic Medals
Last night, another thrilling spectacle at the Olympics as longtime archrivals Canada and U.S.A. faced off for the gold in women's hockey. But before I can get to that, let's talk about the interesting, largely unseen design elements of the Pyeongchang events' medals.First off, you've probably seen the medals on TV only from this frontal angle:The striations appear to be random and fanciful. But if you were up close and could see the edges, a different story emerges. Industrial designer Lee Suk-woo, who established his own ID firm in Seoul just over a decade ago, was tapped to design the medals and wanted to incorporate the Korean alphabet, Hangeul, into the design. After going through 10 iterations, Lee and his design team settled on a version where "Pyeongchang Winter Olympics" is written in Hangeul along the edge, and the characters were then extruded in CAD along the obverse (a fancy word for the front of a coin) to create the striations:The reverse of the medals contains the name of the event:The Paralympics medals were designed with additional textures representing elements of nature local to Pyeongchang, as well as "Pyeongchang 2018" written in braille:Here's a video of Lee explaining him and his team's design process on this project: src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/7--A7gM8BvA" allow="autoplay; encrypted-media" allowfullscreen="" style="height: 371.25px; width: 660px;" width="560" height="315" frameborder="0">On to the hockey! The rivalry between the Canada and U.S. Women's Hockey Teams has been going on for years, and these women really don't like each other. While checking is technically illegal in women's hockey, apparently no one told these two teams. Here's footage of them clashing and discussing the rivalry.The Canadians have bested the U.S.A. in four out of their last five meetings at the Olympics. When women's hockey was first introduced to the Olympics in 1998, U.S.A. won gold; but Canada has handily defeated the U.S. in every Olympics since, taking home the gold each time. Sochi in 2014 was a particularly painful loss for the U.S. (video summary here) that treated the world to a sight we know most of you like to see: Weeping Americans.The anticipation for last night's game couldn't have been higher, and once the women took the ice it was clear this was going to be a nail-biter. At the end of the third period it was 2-2, and when the game went into overtime, the Canadians nearly put it away--but had to contend with our brilliant goalie, 20-year-old Maddie Rooney, who kept us in the game with this one: Overtime expired with no goals and the two teams went into a shootout. Viewers got to see why these two are the best women's hockey teams in the world: Take a look at this ridiculously skillful shot by Canada's Melodie Daoust: The U.S.A.'s Jocelyne Lamoureax-Davidson answered with some fancy stickwork of her own: With the shootout at 2-2, it call came down to Team Canada's best player, Meghan Agosta, versus Rooney: It drives me nuts that NBC is making these videos unembeddable, but you can watch the re-cap of the game here.Congratulations to the U.S. Women's Hockey Team! And don't worry, Canada, we know you'll be back.[...]



Tools & Craft #85: Understanding How Chisels Work, Part 1 - Bevel Angles
Take a sharp chisel and pare some cross grain of a board. Work at the end of the board and you will find it's easy to pare end grain. Then try cutting the same cross grain but not at the end of a board. It's impossible, isn't it? The reason is that the amount of force needed to cut the cross grain is pretty small but the amount of force needed to push the wood out of the way of the chisel bevel is pretty huge.With a mallet of course we can easily go pretty deep before the forces get too great and the chisel jams. There are several solutions to this: Use a narrower chisel - less force is needed so for the same effort we can go deeper. (Fig. 2) Use a shallower bevel angle. That helps a lot and for the same force the section of wood we have to push out of the way is less so we can go deeper. The problem is that a narrower chisel doesn't give us the clean cut lines we need and a chisel with a lower bevel angle has a weaker and less-long-lasting cutting edge.The correct approach is a compromise between penetration and edge longevity. It also turns out to be a compromise between control and precision and edge longevity.Before we tackle the first set of problems there is also an additional problem to consider. As we chop down into the wood the bevel bears again the cut and tries, successfully, to push the chisel past the initial cut line (fig. 3). This is most annoying, it means that when we chop out the waste from a dovetail by putting the chisel on the scribe line we will go below the baseline and ruin the fit of the joint.While the first set of problems are annoying, the baseline problem is critical. So let's look at the base line problem first. If we reduce the bevel angle of the chisel we can reduce the lateral force on the chisel to reduce how far it moves, but it will still move.There are several solutions to this problem that are in general use:1. Cut away all the waste that the chisel bevel will push against. This is a pretty common modern method and it works. You use a fretsaw or a coping saw to saw out the waste so that when you put the chisel on the scribe line there is nothing blocking the body of the chisel and it goes straight down. With the waste removed the cut is like paring end grain and it works precisely. But it's one more step and requires another tool. It does mean that with the waste removed you can put the chisel exactly on the scribe line and the chisel will track true.2. In Lonnie Bird's dovetailing video he uses a narrow chisel to remove all the waste by chopping. He starts at the edge of the boards and nibble his way to the scribe line bit by bit. I don't know of anyone else who teaches it this way but the method works.3. This is how I was taught: Place the chisel in the waste a little bit in front of the scribe line and mallet the chisel until the chisel moves to the scribe. Then hold the chisel bevel up and smack it into the end grain, removing a chip the depth of the chisel cut. Once the first bit of waste is removed the chisel has a wall at the scribe line and additional chiseling won't move the scribe line back. You repeat the process until you have removed as much waste as you want. Halfway through I flip the work and work from the other side. This technique works great but you have to move the chisel in your hand, and possibly use a different size chisel for chip removal. There is also no support for chiseling on the flip side.4. Frank Klausz demonstrates dovetailing using a technique similar to what I learned, and the first step of chiseling (just before the scribe line, until the chisel is forced back to the scribe line) is the same. Once the scribe line is defined by the chisel he backs off a little and chops out a wedge of waste. He uses a chisel a little narrower th[...]



Telescoping Airtight Food Storage Containers
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This is one of those product designs that sounds like a great idea, but which also makes me curious to see how the UX plays out long-term. A company called Botto has designed this 1/2 Smart Storage System, which consists of compressible storage containers that have a one-way valve in the cap. As you press the top half down it not only squeezes the air out of the vessel, but shrinks to the precise height of its contents:

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The part I found hilarious was them boasting about how the "crystal-clear transparent body provides 360-degree clarity." As if other manufacturers of transparent food storage items skimp out and only give you 340-degree clarity.

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What I'm curious to see is if it grows annoying to use over time and/or actually confers a benefit that people are happy to avail themselves of. In any case, at press time 704 backers had kicked in $63,505 on a measl $10,224 goal, so there appears to be strong demand. I did a double take when I saw that one unit costs $118, before realizing that's in Hong Kong dollars; for us yanks it's USD $15.

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