2017/3 design magazine

Get inspired by the latest innovations, such as the ecopro, plus minus, thubber, orion navigation.

Revolutionizing energy storage

Image: Fastned

Potential major breakthrough for electric mobility: a solid state battery with 3 times the energy density, super fast charging and no capacity decrease up to -20 degrees Celsius.

A team of engineers led by 94-year-old John Goodenough, professor at the University of Texas at Austin and co-inventor of the lithium-ion battery, has developed the next major battery-related breakthrough: a tiny all-glass design. Goodenough worked together with senior fellow Maria Helena Braga, who began developing solid-glass electrolytes with colleagues at the University of Porto in Portugal.

The new design is both safer and more efficient than its predecessor, thanks to its use of a sodium- or lithium-coated glass electrolyte, one that can store three times as much power as the present lithium-ion alternative.

“Cost, safety, energy density, rates of charge and discharge and cycle life are critical for battery-driven cars. We believe our discovery solves many of the problems that are inherent in today’s batteries,” Goodenough said.

The battery can withstand extreme temperatures, charge in just minutes, and offers more than 1,200 charge-discharge cycles, meaning it will last significantly longer than a lithium-ion battery. And the glass design isn’t only cheaper and more efficient, it’s safer, too.

Image: greenoptimistic.com

Today’s lithium-ion batteries use liquid electrolytes to transport the lithium ions between the anode (the negative side of the battery) and the cathode (the positive side of the battery). If a battery cell is charged too quickly, it can cause dendrites or “metal whiskers” to form and cross through the liquid electrolytes, causing a short circuit that can lead to explosions and fires. Instead of liquid electrolytes, the researchers rely on glass electrolytes that enable the use of an alkali-metal anode without the formation of dendrites.

Additionally, because the solid-glass electrolytes can operate at -20 degrees Celsius, this type of battery in a car could perform well in subzero degree weather. This is the first all-solid-state battery cell that can operate under 60 degree Celsius.

Image: bmwblog.com

Another advantage is that the battery cells can be made from earth-friendly materials. “The glass electrolytes allow for the substitution of low-cost sodium for lithium. Sodium is extracted from seawater that is widely available,” Braga said.

Goodenough and Braga are continuing to advance their battery-related research. In the short term, they hope to work with battery makers to develop and test their new materials in electric vehicles and energy storage devices.

bron: utexas.edu


A functional deck which consists almost entirely of natural materials.


uArm is not only a robotic arm that you can own but also a chance to decide how you want to involve robot technology in your life. From giving you hi five and a cup of coffee up to 3D printing, laser engraving, writing, painting and more.

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LEGO tape

It is flexible, cuttable and features re-useable adhesive backing, creating plenty of potential for play. Users can build around wall corners, on curved surfaces, kitchen counters, or even onto the ends of other LEGO objects. The possibilities are endless.


The creature’s lightweight design is capable of completely flattening itself, tucking in its wheels, and crawling into corners where other larger robots cannot fit. Puffer was inspired by origami, and mimics the movement of small animals or insects.

Xperia Touch

A groundbreaking projector that transforms any flat surface into a 23” high definition touchscreen. The interface is fast, fluid and responsive to physical touch, build using Sony’s SXRD projection display technology. The projection is made touch sensitive by a combination of infrared light and real-time detection via its built-in camera.

Orion Navigation

Industrial product designer Clement Dauchy has designed the ORION cycling navigation to provide cyclists with useful information at a glance. The device details statistics such as current incline and speed, along with providing satellite navigation for chosen routes.

Mendoza’s rock band

Mendoza’s instruments are made up of ‘pingers’ which fire small rocks at aluminium keys using solenoids and ‘spinners’ which launches pieces of magnetic rock at pieces of marble using spinning magnetics. The whole project is controlled by a computer running a MIDI player that talks to a teensy USB development board.


A thermally conductive rubber material that represents a breakthrough for creating soft, stretchable machines and electronics, developed by the team of Carnegie Mellon University. The new material, nicknamed “thubber,” is an electrically insulating composite that exhibits an unprecedented combination of metal-like thermal conductivity, elasticity similar to soft, biological tissue, and can stretch over six times its initial length.

Plus Minus

The PlusMinus screwdriver designed by the Turkish product designer Erdem Selek reinterprets this homeware tool into polished items that intuitively and visually tune with our living spaces. The design is a fine example of a pure use of material which makes the product a precious tool that could be kept for generations.

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