less by design

Tesla: Open sourcing sustainability


The ‘Patent Wall’ at Tesla headquarters, June 11th and 12th. (Images courtesy of Tesla)

By Nat Hunt.

On June 12th 2014 Tesla Motors released all of their patents claiming that they would not sue anyone for using their technology in ‘good will’. But why?

I was once privileged to ride along in a prototype E.V. Engineering Commodore, and on that drive I learned the following:

  • Driving along at 60kph in a silent car is eerie, but very cool.
  • This silence has led to many humorous, but nonetheless prevalent safety problems (many people use hearing before sight to determine when a car is approaching).
  • And, from talking to one of their engineers, the electric car industry is (or was until recently) fatally flawed.

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SlackPro – extreme product design


By Andrew Fanning.

As a highliner and industrial designer, my interests align when it comes to sophisticated, heavy duty gear and equipment. Especially when the designers of the gear have been led by a desire to optimise the product and improve on previous iterations, even if they are already the market leaders. Such is the case with Slackpro, whose latest product, the Linecoil, minimises weight whilst improving function, is designed for disassembly and further streamlines their manufacturing process.

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decafé – grinding a halt to ground coffee waste


By Lorrin Windahl.

It’s no secret that Melbourne is (well ok, maybe we just think we are) the coffee capital of the world. So we certainly have lots of ground coffee waste. And you can only put so much in your compost bin, right? Well, a young Brazilian designer has developed another sustainable way of using ground coffee waste. He mixes it with a natural binding agent and produces an earthy, tactile material that can be formed into different shapes.

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Olduvai Gorge Stone: 2 million year old product design

Sir David Attenborough holding the Olduvai Gorge cutting stone.

By Steve Martinuzzo.

It’s hard to fathom that our early ancestors date back millions of years. And even harder to comprehend the rudimentary nature of their existence. But these facts are highlighted when we discover primitive artefacts. Artefacts, that although quite crude, are great examples of early product design.

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Warming the littlest hearts


By Lorrin Windahl

I love hearing about stories like this. Something that started with an idea in a classroom but developed into a realised product that is helping the most vulnerable be less vulnerable. That’s the story behind the Embrace Warmer developed by a group of Stanford University graduates.
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Heartfelt for felt


By Lorrin Windahl.

Let me introduce you to a little material that has been around for years, is made from renewable resources, is soft to touch and can provide shelter from the rain. Is there really such a wonder material? Indeed there is. Meet my new friend – felt. It’s up there with my other good friend, cork.

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Google develops modular phone


By Lorrin Windahl.

I wrote a while ago about the current trend of design for obsolescence. This is the design of products that are specifically designed to fail or become obsolete after a short period of time. A great example of this are mobile phones. Often people ‘update’ their mobile phones when the new model comes out. Even though their current phone still works, it just doesn’t have the latest features. Well, the good news is that Google are trying to change this with the development of a new modular phone.

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