Late last month I came across Adrianne Jeffries’s piece on The Verge “Nearly half of Americans live with dangerous levels of air pollution…” (hint: the title kind of gives it all away). Given all the dramatic coverage of pollution in China and, to a lesser extent, India, I thought the article was surprising. While the worst cities in America are likely to be much less worse off than Beijing or India, I had always assumed that we had a pretty good handle on pollution since what I remember as being a big anti-pollution push in the 1970s. All of this in mind, Ben Schiller’s piece on Purdue University’s Biowall caught my eye and sparked my imagination. Continue reading
I was watching a video (below) of Carnegie Mellon University’s Autonomous Cadillac SRX taking a 33-mile drive from Cranberry to Pittsburgh. More than any video of Google’s driverless car, this one had me wondering, “Why would we maintain the current configuration of a car’s interior with forward-facing seats? Is the technological innovation of driverless cars outpacing the design innovation that could make them more productive or functional spaces?”
One of the more exciting bits of news this month was reading that Aeroscraft was about to start the FAA certification process with its zeppelin. Why is this exciting? Let’s start with the fact that air travel as it currently exists is not exactly the most glamorous of experiences (barring the fact that you score a first-class seat or demi-cabin on one of the top carriers). While the near-term future of the modern zeppelin is going to be utilitarian, the future (given some of the concepts out there) is much more interesting and, in some cases, more than a little weird…
I am not a camper. At all. It traces back to my first and only weekend camping trip, the most memorable feature of which was a plague of ever-present gypsy moth caterpillars. Over the past couple years, however, I have seen a couple renovated school buses that have me seriously reconsidering my attitude toward venturing into the woods. The most appealing facts about these conversions: a used Bluebird or International school bus seems to cost less than $5,000 on eBay Motors and the cost of conversion does not seem to be prohibitive.
When I think of the Harry Potter series, and specifically how the books were brought to life in the movies, I was struck by the spaces were magical enough to inspire delight and awe. While I am a fan of the open spaces and clean lines of modern design, there is something to be said for closed floor plans of old homes and the magic, delight, and awe that they sometimes create. There are plenty of examples of how people are creating cool and magical spaces today but the question I find myself kicking around is, “how might technology be woven into space design to create amazing experiences for the rest of us? ”
I am fascinated with the idea of repurposing used shipping containers into cool living, working, and recreational spaces. The Stankey brothers’ Holyoke Cabin sparked my interest and, since reading about their ideas and experiences, I have been amazed at the diversity of designs and uses for shipping containers. Among the more interesting, in my opinion, are things like Castor Design’s Sauna Box. The appeal of the Sauna Box is the idea that what many of us consider to be a taste of luxury lies is not as far out of reach as we might think. OK, so the $41,000 price tag for the Sauna Box is a bit beyond the reach of my credit card…but I think the underlying idea has incredible appeal and merit. Continue reading