2016/5 Design Magazine

In Mediterranean waters, off the coast of France, a diver recently visited the shipwreck La Lune — a vesssel in King Louis XIV's fleet — which lay untouched and unexplored on the ocean bottom since it sank in 1664. But the wreck's first nonaquatic visitor in centuries wasn't human — it was a robot.

OceanOne, a humanoid robot diver

Dubbed OceanOne, the bright orange diving robot resembles mermaid. It measures about 1.5 meters in length and has a partly human form: a torso, a head and articulated arms. Its lower section holds its computer "brain," a power supply, and an array of eight multidirectional thrusters.

On April 15, Ocean One recovered a grapefruit-size vase and returned it to the ship deck to the excitement of the archaeologists, engineers, and scientists who crowded around him. The expedition to La Lune was OceanOne's maiden voyage, and based on its astonishing success, it's hoped that the robot will one day take on highly-skilled underwater tasks.

Guided by a computer scientist from a boat, using a set of joysticks, OceanOne combines artificial intelligence, sensory feedback and dexterous mechanical construction to perform delicate tasks underwater, such as retrieving a fragile artifact from the wreckage and placing it in a box so it could be brought to the surface.

Remotely operated vehicles (ROV) are commonly used in ocean exploration. But OceanOne's creators designed a new kind of diving robot that can not only investigate parts of the ocean that are less accessible to people, but can do so with the flexibility and dexterity of a human diver.

The engineers also created an interface that allows a person to not only control the robot, but to actually "feel" what the robot is touching, using force sensors and haptic feedback in OceanOne's articulated hands.

"The intent here is to have a human diving virtually," said Oussama Khatib, who piloted OceanOne on its La Lune visit. Khatib, a professor of computer science at Stanford University in California, explained in a statement that the experience of guiding the robot is almost like being the diver. “You can feel exactly what the robot is doing,” Khatib said.

OceanOne is also capable of interpreting and responding to its environment autonomously, detecting whether its hands-on work requires a lighter touch and when it needs to adjust its momentum to stay in place or change direction.

The team behind OceanOne conceived of the robot as a means for studying Red Sea coral reefs at depths that were inaccessible to a human diver. OceanOne's flexible digits would allow it to conduct underwater research without damaging the reef or its inhabitants.

"The two bring together an amazing synergy," Khatib said in a statement. "The human and robot can do things in areas too dangerous for a human, while the human is still there."

Source: Stanford Robotics Lab


Customizable wheelchairs designed for mass production with the aim to improve the quality of life of wheelchair users. It uses 3D-printing technology to solve significant and meaningful problems.


Featuring special touch sensors, nightlight LeeLuu is part-nightlight, part toy. The team developed a few different physical prototypes in the form of soft, white balls wrapped in their sensors that would light up in different ways upon touch. All LeeLuu's have a removable, washable linen skin, embedded with haptic touch sensors. Beneath that, LeeLuu's have a foam piece that firmly secures the base for a pat textile sensor, electronics and lights.


Organic recycling in your own home. Bono allows you to recycle organic waste with the help of earthworm compost species Eisenia fetida. The result from the processing of waste fertilizer is an excellent source of nutrients for herbs, vegetables and seasonal fruit.

watch the video


Klemens Torggler's doors are kinetic art objects based on rotating squares. The special invention makes it possible to move the object sideways without the use of tracks.

watch the video

Living and Self-healing concrete

We build things out of concrete when we want them to last, and that's why it's the most commonly-used building material in the world. As solid and reliable as concrete structures may seem, they share one common enemy: tension. Over time, concrete will crack and deteriorate.

An invention by Delft University microbiologist Hendrik Jonkers offers an innovative approach to creating more stable concrete by adding limestone-producing bacteria to the mix. This self-healing bioconcrete aims to provide a cheap and sustainable solution, markedly improving the lifespan of buildings, bridges and roads.

watch the video

Sewing Tape

If you’re a novice sewer or simply want to make your life easier, Sewing Tape is for you! No more removing thread and restarting when you make a mistake and no more unsightly holes in the clothes made by the sewing needles.


The Portal Telemedicine Headset is a state-of-the-art diagnostic tool that allows you to diagnose yourself with the help of a doctor on a video-conference. This system is perfect for people who are in remote locations but in need of healthcare.

Sticky car

Google patented a 'sticky' layer to protect pedestrians in self-driving car accidents. Adhesive technology on the front of a vehicle would aim to reduce the damage caused when a pedestrian hit by a car is flung into other vehicles or objects.

Wearable Planter

With an easy clip or band, your bike can finally feature the flowery centerpiece it deserves.


Knocki is a smart device that gives you control of your favorite functions through the surfaces around you.

see the Kickstarter project

Keep updated with our free monthly Design Magazine.

Receive our monthly Design Magazine in your email box.

Our Design Magazine offers you inspiring new concepts from designers worldwide, new materials, scientific breakthroughs and much more.

No obligations, no other emails, one-click unsubscribe.

Sustainable growth starts with product innovation

Your business needs design and pro-active product innovation to grow. Uncovering opportunities, good product design and initiating smart strategies are the building blocks that will help you.

We'd love to come on board early to help you with product development from idea to manufacturing. Our industrial design firm works with your team through unique look-in-the-kitchen sessions, our effective single-developed-concept strategy, helping you to manage risk and keep focus.

Make a difference, get started with meaningful innovation with the Designguide.