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

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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Organoid: freeform moulding of natural fibres

By Lorrin Windahl.

The guys at Organoid Technologies have developed an interesting material process. They have worked out how to turn wood chips into freeform mouldings. And the wood chips that they source are residue from logging so they are giving new life to a waste material.

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Vinylize: records into eyewear

By Lorrin Windahl.

I’m all for the re-purposing of materials and products that would otherwise spend a long time breaking down in landfill.  Sometimes though, the quality of these ‘re-purposes’ is a little questionable. But not with the guys who created Vinylize Eyewear. Their product’s scream quality and durability too.

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Foldscope – an inexpensive paper microscope

By Lorrin Windahl.

Every now and again a product comes along that can change the lives of thousands. Foldscope is just such a product. This low cost microscope could enable health centres, in impoverished regions around the world, to analyse samples themselves rather than have to send them away for testing. Thus reducing the waiting time for patients to receive results and begin treatment.

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