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5 Improbable Machines for quarantine living

How do you not touch your face during the pandemic?

 

There’s panic, and a lot more Don’t’s than we are usually used to. However, when we looked at this critically, through multiple lenses, taking into consideration a diversity of personas the answer to the question ‘how not to touch your face’ was simple. After deep thought and a bottom-up design process, we closed in on a few winners.  Here is the series of 5 such fully-thought through machinations that relook at our relationship with technology, our hands, our face and our hearts during #covid19

 

Introducing machine 1: THE Facecupboard

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The next logical prototype after THE Facecupboard…

 Improbable Machine 2: THE Handsmacker, aka the high-fiver, aka the gobsmacker.

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Is it a falcon? is it a drone? presenting Drone Falcons – Machine 3 in the series.

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Nothing keeps your face safe like the Rotating Cactus Glass Helmet, the fourth machine in our series of Improbable Machines that can help you not touch your face.

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For the finale, its a pant drop. Literally Self-Dropping Pants. Our least intrusive, most offensive idea so far. 🙂

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Maybe someday soon we will probably try to make these improbable machines. Till then, stay safe and think happy everyday.

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THE grass is greener on World Environment Day

2 Locations. 5 Mentors. 1 Day. All things green. 40 cardboard boxes were packed, stamped and ready to be reimagined. This June 6, World Environment Day, THE Workshop conceptualised a hands-on experience for two of Embassy group’s tech parks in the Bangalore in association with The Fuller Life. Big ups to them.

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Manyata Embassy Business park, Nagavara and Embassy Tech Village, Devarabisanahalli. Nice to know that the people there were celebrating a day of environmental awareness, and making. 

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Each box has in it some old newspapers, a couple of plastic bottles, plastic bags and old electrical wire.

The challenge: No glue, no stapler. 20 minutes to ideate and build a sustainable product or concept design representative of the day’s theme. using all the items in the kit, including the box itself. All this with just a pair of scissors, a paper cutter and their imagination.

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Groups of 3 and 4 got together to get making. While some teams were swift to build out their ideas, others took things a level up, attempting more challenging builds making as many products as possible.IMG_20160603_133923.jpg

 What they made? Plant holders, stationery holders, a couple of funky wearable concepts, mobile cases, bookshelves, windmill, and  a compost kit.  Happy to see what some productive thinking under trees could conjure.

Guess we need a lot more of them apple trees. 

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How a cardboard chair travelled from Spain to Nagapattinam Tamil Nadu.

It all started with a innovatively designed chair. Not your regular plastic, factory made portable. This one could be folded up, picked up and carried anywhere. And it was made of a material we usually packed stuff in: cardboard.

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The folks from Multihabitar, Spain left us with this gem of knowledge when they visited India in February 2014. It seemed a shame to let this useful repurposing of material concept go to waste. Jose Milara saying, “architecture and design should evolve to be more social and closer to people” made absolute sense as Multihabitar  graciously agreed to shared the design and the data. Open source, that’s the future. 

Here’s where it begins: a design thinking and cardboard furniture at PRIME College of Architecture & Planning, Nagapattinam, TN. This would be the cardboard sofa’s first journey since it reached India.

We got cracking. Hired a car and hit the Tamil Nadu tarmac,DSC_0238smooth running all the 506 km we covered.   Far from the bustle of Bangalore, our destination was on the scenic but yet to develop eastern coast of India. Day 1 was a talk and introductions so we could hit the ground running on day two.

Our workshop was structured to be completely hands-on where the learning module based on engagement, experience and experimentation –– we started  with 30 students demonstrating how waste cardboard boxes don’t have to be disposed but instead can serve as useful material to create an array of items and furniture.

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The enthusiasm was infectious right from the start. Students wasted no time in procuring the exact dimensions of cardboard needed. In a matter of a few hours the students, working in groups managed to prepare the pieces that would come together to form the sofa.

It was nearing college closing time but the students determined to finish the sofa, refused to leave. We began assembling the sofa around sunset.

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With a  lot of hands and a few people yelling  ‘no that’s not how you do it!”,  we had finally assembled the sofa in two hours flat.

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The cardboard sofa could be extended upto 2.6 M when fully stretched.

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The students were overjoyed: a bout of selfies followed by the students stretching out on the sofa, slightly apprehensive of it giving way under their weight. As predicted the cardboard stood true to its structural strength when combined.

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In the meanwhile, the creative thinking workshops had students debating ideas, questioning smart cities, converging on idea, diverging on perspectives. Good stuff.

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The next day students returned with a renewed sense of eagerness, ready to build their very own sofa or cupboard or shelf. They applied the methodology from the sofa to create their own design and then build it.  A few hours of brainstorming, cutting and we had a single chair, a scaled down shelf, a stationery holder, an abstract garden seater and a ‘couple’ chair.

Their input to design and grasp of new ideas was impressive. In a matter of a few hours they were able to apply their learning to create innovative and new items using cardboard. And that’s what defines design, the localised context of a globally evolving movement. 

A big Thank You to all the faculty and students from Prime and all the wonderful architects from Multihabitar. Happy times.

Text by Reuben Jacob, Bangalore 2015.

THE Workshop: Anabelle Viegas, Craig D’mello, Reuben Jacob.

Design Collaborators: Multihaitar, Spain

Videos will be up soon 🙂

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Why giant monster cars are a smart idea for cities

Big city cars have finally gone carzilla. And it’s all thanks to ‘Smart’. Which is a kind of a dumbesque name for any brand.

That said, the brand compensates with its brilliant sense of humour. Eco-Empathy, who would have thought of it?

Here’s the video.

These Germans be funny…

Here’s The Prototype Prank

Executed by BBDO Berlin. This is one happy road disruptor 🙂

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The world’s most ingeniously useful billboards

Every once in a while advertisers have the sense to invest in ideas that impact the world. And UTEC a university in Peru has been cranking out some ideas that would top a Billboard chart.

The first: A billboard that converts moisture in the air into safe drinking water. Showing big players everywhere how to truly ‘tap’ the potential of an idea.

The second: Why stop at pure water when there’s air that needs purifying. UTEC’s billboard version 2.0 takes it to the skies.

And not to be left behind are the People for a Smarter Planet. IBM ups the anti with 3 unbelievably simple innovations to their billboards. And simple does better than sell––it wins.

This campaign swept up the Cannes Grand Prix for 2013.

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If only more tech companies started to think this way…