2018/7 design magazine

Get inspired by the latest innovations, like adaptive dynamics in shoes, social robot Pal, wood wool, chainless bike drivetrain.

Biodesign. Adaptive Dynamics

“We are imagining products that can adapt to users and the environment in real time, without the user having to do anything, to optimise their movement, body and their performance. Products will behave on behalf of the athlete, in real time and effortlessly.”

Puma and MIT Design Lab have been collaborating on an exciting research project that looks at how bacteria can be used within sportswear design to improve performance and sustainability.

Deep Learning Insoles are silicone based disposable insoles that contain microbial cultures to monitor biochemical vitals that change during running or workout routines. The microorganisms respond to the skin and sweat and measure long and short-term chemical indicators that indicate fatigue and well-being. The insoles digitise the biochemical signals and provide the user with benchmarks to optimise their performance.

The Breathing Shoe is made of a biodegradable material that is patterned with microorganisms. The organisms respond to the heat generated by the feet and proliferate by consuming the media in the cavities. As media gets consumed, the surface of the shoe begins to create ventilation points allowing more air to flow through. Over time, each shoe begins to take a custom look based on the activity profile of their users.

Carbon Eaters are microbially-activated stickers that respond to the CO2 in the environment by changing color to inform their users about the quality of air around them. As the user performs their daily run, the organisms begin to change color from dark yellow-brown to bright purple. More carbon dioxide absorption causes more purple, indicating poorer air quality.

Adaptive Packaging is inflate-on-demand flexible packaging that is programmed to biodegrade after its use. The package is made from biodegradable elastomer and contains two types of microorganisms; one which produces CO2 to inflate the air sacks and the other to deflate them over time by degrading the material. The packaging can be designed for short or long-term usage by timing the degradation process using chemical inhibitors that are printed onto the material.

Not just a cup

“Even the smallest and seemingly boring things in our daily routine can enrich our lives and excite us when given a bit more attention”.

Oki Sato reveals a picture book that celebrates the essence of design with an ‘ordinary’ cup as its main character. The book tells the story of how the cup notices a spoon is missing to stir the coffee, and tries to solve the problem by transforming itself into different forms. Oki Sato showcases how design is not only about creating beautiful shapes, but it is also about recognising the small inconveniences in our everyday lives, and inventing ways to solve them.

Project Pal

Project Pal is a project from the Technical University Delft which focuses on developing a social robot: a companion for children with diabetes. Diabetes is difficult to understand for children: although they can be helped by their parents, they must learn how to do it themselves as well. This is where Pal comes in. Together with the robot the children play engaging and interesting educational games, about for example food. The robot makes mistakes and learns as well while playing these games, so it truly becomes a peer for the child. Step by step the child and the robot grow together and share the experience.

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Wood Wool

This soft wood shavings that are bound together by water and cement, creating a material that can be found in packaging, cushioning, insulation, and even stuffing teddy bears. An entirely natural product with both environmental and acoustic benefits.

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Seetroën Glasses

Citroën introduced the first glasses that eliminate motion sickness. How do they work? Put on the glasses as soon as you experience the initial symptoms. After 10 to 12 minutes, the glasses enable the mind to resynchronise with the movement perceived by the inner ear while the eyes were focused on an immobile object such as a smartphone or a book.


Care-E, developed by KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, helps people to find the way through the airport, carries luggage and communicates with it’s eyes! On it’s back there is a space for a bag or trolley, so you do not have to carry it yourself.

The robot is linked to the information system of the airport and therefore always drives to the right gate, even if it changes. Care-E is actually almost a small self-driving car: the robot has a lidar sensor, a laser that works like a radar, to be able to see its surroundings independently. He also has eight ultrasonic distance meters to dodge obstacles and people.

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Keith Haring’s mural

Originally gifted to Amsterdam, the largest in Europe Haring’s mural was covered by weatherboarding a few years later when the building, then the stedelijk museum’s art storage depot, chose to improve its climate controls. The single-white line features a mythical dog-headed creature being ridden by one of Haring’s X-marked figures.

Chainless Drive

Developed by CeramicSpeed and dubbed ‘driven’, the system is still a prototype and currently requires a special frame. This revolutionary drivetrain concept aims to set a new standard in efficiency by eliminating the need for derailleurs and chains, replacing them with a pinion-style driveshaft system.

Energy Observer expedition

The first autonomous hydrogen ship to sail the sea has arrived in Venice after being sent on a six year voyage around the world. The vessel, which utilises solar powered energy as well as producing its own hydrogen from seawater, emits no greenhouse gasses.

First launched in 2017 in Saint-Malo, France, The Energy Observer embarked on its voyage in an attempt to demonstrate green energy networks on a large scale. So far its tour has make its away around France for the most part of last year before now reaching the mediterranean. in 2019 it will move on to Northern Europe aiming to reach Tokyo in time for the olympic games in 2020.

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