Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Student Achievement: Whaletail

Congrats to my former CCA student, Daye Kim, for winning the Core 77 Design Award for student designed soft goods.  Her project, the Whaletail, is a clever way let your kids play on the floor without getting filthy in the process.  By focusing on a specific slice of the traveling population, families with small children, Daye did a great job of discovering an under developed design opportunity.  And she ran with it.

I wish Daye continued success and the best of luck in the future.  Well done!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Barbasket is Live on Kickstarter!

Alright everybody.  The train has left the station.  We're live on Kickstarter! If you like what you see, consider being a backer at whatever level makes sense for you.  Posting our kickstarter link on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, etc. is also MUCH appreciated.  That's how this crowdfunding wildfire spreads.

Thanks to everyone who has helped bring this project to where it is now.  And thanks in advance to everyone who climbs on the bandwagon!

Monday, July 16, 2012

Student Achievement: Duly Noted!

Huge congrats to my CCA student Jean Lin!  Her Arm Ray Wheelchair Lights were deemed notable by the 2012 Core 77 Design Awards for Consumer Products, in the student category.  Jean did this project for ID4, a design studio for juniors, that I co-taught last spring.  The class was asked to create objects that enhance mobile safety, based on design research around a specific user.  Jean chose to study people who use wheelchairs.  And to meet a bunch of them, she found the local wheelchair basketball practice and hung out.  Here's what the judges said:
The jury was particularly impressed with the thoroughness of the research behind ArmRay. Building intimate connections into the user’s life helped establish a design that really answered their needs.
There are still plenty of designers, students and professionals, who see design research as a way to justify what they already wanted to do, rather than inspire new directions.  Jean's  openness to folks with a really different perspective paid off big time.  Way to go Jean!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Barbasket Kickstarter Preview

Barbasket from Chris Luomanen on Vimeo.

Tomorrow is the big day, everybody!  Tomorrow my Kickstarter for the Barbasket goes live.  For the last week I've been trying to get the word out to as many people as possible without making too much of a pest of myself.  It took a lot of work to get it to where it is now.  And its going to take a LOT more work to take it to market.  The beauty of Kickstarter is that we won't be bringing it to market without knowing if people like it or not.  Hopefully they do.  Stay tuned!

Student Achievement: Design for Social Impact!

Huge congratulations are in order for Stanford Design MFA and my former teaching assistant at Stanford, Alejandro Palandjoglou.  He just won the student division of Core 77 Design Award for Social Impact .  His project, the Adaptair Pediatric Nasal Interface, which he developed along with a team of medical and business students, is a simple and affordable way to deliver effective respiratory treatment for children who suffer from life threatening illnesses.  I'd say that's a social impact.

In addition to his outstanding problem solving skills, Ale is a gifted form-giver who has an undergraduate degree in ID and had his own furniture company back home in Argentina.  His strong work ethic, hands on approach, sense of humor and good taste represent the best qualities of the Stanford Graduate Design Program.

Way to go, Ale.  You're a star.

Student Achievement: CCA and Wilsonart

I was at NEOCON in Chicago a few weeks ago and was delighted to see the work of two of my CCA students, Jeni Tu and Rosalie Wild featured as runners up in Wilsonart Challenge!  Both of these outstanding designers have bright futures ahead of them.  Jeni's brother, and fellow CCA student, Kaii Tu was the winner of the challenge.  While Kaii was not one of my students, I did a portfolio review with him and his work is impressive.

It really warms my heart to see young talent getting this kind of exposure and recognition.  Huge congrats to all of you.  And it was great running into Kaii and Jeni at the show.  Keep killing it, guys.  

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Making Things that Matter

You may have read this New York Times article about how the US lost out on iphone work.  It raises fascinating questions about what it takes to be the most desirable manufacturer for the tech industry.  Its not all cost.  Its cost plus flexibility plus precision.

But maybe there are other routes.  Maybe it's possible to make valuable things without their success hinging on making workers live in company dorms and work 12 hour days?

Tech is fleeting.  I have given away an iPhone, and I have a dead one on my desk.  So I'm on my third one in about 4 years.  That creates lots of demand, which is good for business.  But is that the only way?

I recently saw these two videos, shot within a few years of each other, about the manufacture of two products that are WILDLY more valuable today than they were when they were new; the Porsche 356, and Fender guitars.

Porsche 356s, in restored condition are now regularly selling above $100k.  I don't mean special models, just regular coupes and cabriolets.  Fender Stratocasters from the late 50s are selling for $20K-$30k.

What did they have in common?  Transcendent design and beautiful workmanship.  Among the things we make today, how many will be worth more in the future?

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

I, for one, welcome our new robot overlords.

You know that part in the horror movie where somebody does something that more or less gives the monster a perfect opportunity to eat or dismember you?  Skinny dipping alone at midnight.  Making out in a graveyard.  Playing hide and seek in an old abandoned warehouse.  You get the idea.

I feel like I'm watching that part of the movie as robotics scientists at the University of Pennsylvania develop swarming helicopter robots.  I mean what could go wrong with swarms of formation flying nano robots, right?  Oh wait, I have an idea.  Lets make them self replicating and give them a desire for self preservation at all costs.

Its almost as creepy as that chainsaw powered robot dog.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Peel Away!

As my friends at Edison 2 like to say, the two factors that matter most for fuel economy are weight and aerodynamics.  They should know, they are the  makers of the worlds most efficient four passenger car, according to the Automotive X Prize.

Of course, there's another factor--going slower.  It reduces the influence of aerodynamics, and as owners of very slow cars know, it reduces your blood pressure too.

That's why I was THRILLED to hear that the ridiculously small and underpowered Peel nano-sized car is going back into production!  How'd you like to do your commute in this little baby!

With a top speed of 40mph and 157mpg, this throwback to a simpler (often smarter) time offers insane efficiency, weather protection and the ability to make everyone around you smile.  All while you calm down already.  You might as well--you'll get there when you get there.

You can watch Jeremy Clarkson drive one here.


Friday, January 20, 2012

Wispr at CES

The response to the Thing Tank designed Wispr portable vaporizer has been overwhelming.  We were honored to be talked about in the New York Times, Wired, Gizmodo, and this in depth article in Core 77.

But we never expected to be picked as best of CES by anybody, let along the blog for the fabulous  Fab.com.  But we were. Read the whole story here.  Oh and we were mentioned in Apartment Therapy's best of CES (though not ranked #1...maybe next time).

Not bad for a product whose only electronic part is an igniter.

Here's a video from Tech Crunch interviewing our pal Jacqueline Oglesby (Hi Jacqueline!) at the Wispr booth.  Looking good.

And of course, Sequitur getting their props on Lovely Package.

Viva la Wispr.