2017/6 design magazine

Get inspired by the latest innovations, such as upsee, the Čezeta scooter, circular product development, nakefit, kardia.

New way of thinking, that will pay back

More and more experiments are done in the field of circular design of products. Although it is quite complex – touching almost every aspect of businesses and the economy – it’s good to start making small steps forward.

Switching to abundant natural energy resources like wind and sun, using only non-toxic materials in products, designing products for long term use and creating closed circles of material use is a huge task. Product design has partly influence on these aspects. A new way of thinking is required on marketing and corporate levels as well, new business models need to be explored. We believe that the following three points are at the core of the thinking about sustainability.

Do more good
Is it actually a good idea to develop that product? Is it useful and beneficial for people? Practically this question means that you sometimes might need to turn down a project, although it seems profitable. On the other side it helps to focus and put your resources on potentially good products: products that are meaningful to people, that create diversity and do not harm nature, but can co-exist sustainably next to nature.

Long term use
Products that last long are potentially more sustainable. Who will through away an old violin? People tend to repair it, maybe sell it or use it. This point might be in conflict with your marketing and sales targets. It might require a re-design of your business model, maybe switching to a service based business, maybe switching towards high value products with good margins, but it is a great step forward.

Take more time to think about what will happen to the product when it is not used anymore. Can it be send back to the manufacturer? Can waste be eliminated and can all or most of the parts and materials be re-used? How can we rely on natural energy? Can we eliminate toxic materials and substances that might enter the products in base materials, coatings, glues? Can we design the product such that it comes back, so that we can reuse valuable components?

Developing a sustainable single-material product from a bio-plastic is quite easy. More complex products, with more materials, complex structures, with integrated electronics are a real challenge to develop from a sustainability point of view. Yet we challenge you to make a start to do more good, take more time to rethink and consider new approaches.

In practice it is easier to create unsustainable toxic products. Some technical plastics and rubbers like neoprene contain toxic substances, yet they are well known and perform well. Creating new business models, research into non-toxic glue or coating solutions, concept development into return-stream clues and logistics takes more creativity, effort and time.

On the long run it will pay back. It might help to attract better people that want to work for your organisation because you made a start to do more good. It might create a return stream of material that cuts costs on material purchase. It can improve your cash flow when switching to a service based business model.

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The Čezeta Type 506 electric scooter combines timeless design with sophisticated technology, it’s a retro-modern scooter that connects with you. It’s an iconic Czech scooter, the Čezeta offers a simple ride with advanced technologies, is easy to maintain as well as to ride.


The Upsee allows infants and small children to stand and achieve repetitive walking training with the support of an adult. It includes a harness for the child, which attaches to a belt worn by an adult, and specially-engineered sandals that allow the parent and child to step simultaneously. Debby Elnatan, a music therapist whose son Rotem has cerebral palsy, said the idea for a support harness came from her own “pain and desperation”, but will go on to make lives easier for countless families across the world struggling with disability.


Hypoallergenic adhesive pad for walking freely wherever you want.


A tiny ECG reader that works in conjunction with your phone to give you heart-rate readings. Simple in its design, with just two textured sensor-pads for your fingers, the device takes readings of your heartbeat. Place your fingers on the sensors and in about 30 seconds, you have a medical grade EKG reading, to be monitored for irregularities, or shared with your doctor.


Skorkl is a game changer in underwater breathing device. Designed by scuba diving enthusiasts, this device is like a dream come true where you can breathe underwater for 10 minutes without having to carry heavy diving equipment. It is lightweight and refillable using hand pump or from a scuba tank.


This aircraft focuses on maximizing flight efficiency, and reducing energy consumption. With a philosophy of “electric from conception” e-viation has rethought the design of the plane’s airframe, propeller and motor to conserve more energy. Made entirely from composites, the whole craft is designed to be ultra light, making it 300 times more energy efficient than other planes of the same size.


A simple series of toys: wooden blocks of different shapes and colours with built-in magnets. The blocks can be arranged in different ways, changing into all kinds of spacecraft, satellites, stations and telescopes.

Aer asthma

People with asthma are often reluctant to take their asthma inhalers, this could result in unhealthy situations for not taking their medication properly. Aer asthma management system offers modern design that encourages people to be more compliant with their medication.

Ultra-thin camera creates images without lenses

At Caltech, engineers have developed a new camera design that replaces the lenses with an ultra-thin optical phased array (OPA). The OPA does computationally what lenses do using large pieces of glass: it manipulates incoming light to capture an image.

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