Now that 2015 is here, it’s time for some self-reflection. What have you done in the past year that mattered? What lessons did you learn form your mistakes over the last 12 months? The world of design is no exception when it comes to “contemplating one’s navel”. We at Bored Bug have kept a watchful eye over the past year’s designs – monitoring the good, the bad and the ugly. Don’t worry, we’ll spare you all the ugly stuff (you’re welcome) and leave you with some of our favorite designs from 2014.
1. Robotic Hawks
Nico Nijenhuis of Netherlands has found a way to keep birds away from places where they are a nuisance like landfills and airports. He’s building robot hawks that trick nuisance birds into thinking they’re about to get snacked on. These modern flying scarecrows have reduced bird visits to one landfill by 75 percent.
Anybody who’s fumbled with their touchscreen phone while driving will know that sometimes the best way to get something done is by a push of a button. Flic is a programmable button the size of a quarter and by using an app, you can assign it to a number of functions and apps like playing music, snoozing alarm and sharing your location with friends. It’s really dead simple as that but more useful than you think.
3. Lytro Illum
The Lytro Illum is a ‘light field camera’ that lets you pick the point of focus in your photos after you’ve taken them. The Illum’s design is a perfect microcosm of what this device is supposed to be: the marriage of present and future, emphasis on the future. The camera is designed to create “Living Pictures” photos that you can interact with. Ultimately, the images are designed to be viewed on an electronic screen, either on a computer, smartphone, or tablet. Welcome to the future of photography, ladies and gentlemen.
Durr is a watch without a face. It doesn’t have any hands or numbers on it. It’s just a solid colorful disk that vibrates every five minutes. That’s it. So how can a faceless, vibrating watch do you any good you might ask. According to the two designers of this watch known collectively as Skrekkøgle, they created the watch as an experiment to draw attention to the difference between time as it passes and how we perceive it passing. By feeling the vibration on your wrist every 5 minutes without fail, you begin to get a much deeper sense of time and how quickly it passes.
5. Leeo Smart Alert Nightlight
This gadget is pretty straightforward. It’s a night-light that lets you know if your house is burning down when you’re not around. A smoke detector can save your life and property if a fire breaks out, and a carbon monoxide detector can save your life. But if you’re not home to hear those alarms go off, they’re not very useful. The Leeo Smart Alert Nightlight detects your smoke or CO detector going off, send you a message via the app, complete with a recording of the alarm sounding off. Touch one button to call your local 911 (local to your home, not to where you are at the time), or touch another to indicate a false alarm.
Kano is a computer and coding kit with a system that promises to help get kids into real computing and allow them to start down a path of programming and coding. It’s designed to “to give young people – and the young at heart – a simple, fun way to make and play with technology, and take control of the world around them.” But Kano’s real benefit isn’t just about building skills—it’s about instilling a sense of curiosity in children about the technology they’re constantly surrounded by.
7. New Deal Design’s UnderSkin
An implanted gadget in your hand isn’t as freaky as you would think. The next wave of wearable gadgets won’t be worn on your wrist or in your ear. New Deal Design’s UnderSkin are tiny digital tattoos decked out with even tinier sensors that would be implanted just beneath the skin of your hand and will charge off your body’s energy. This digital tattoo gives you the ability to unlock your door, track your health or exchange information with a handshake.
8. Dyson Eye 360
After 16 years, Dyson is finally releasing its robotic vacuum cleaner, the Dyson 360 Eye. As the name suggests, the 360 Eye has a 360-degree camera that can capture up to 30 frames per second. This lets the robot know exactly where it is, where it has been, and where it needs to go. This robotic vacuum cleaner can also figure out what areas need vacuuming and what’s already clean, making for better battery life.
9. Pentagram, MIT Media Lab
MIT Media Lab’s new logo is simple yet complex, uniform but totally individualistic. Pentagram’s Michael Beirut and Aron Fay was able to unify the Media Lab’s disparate research groups by making each group’s logo completely different.
10. John Pound’s Code Artwork
John Pound invented the Garbage Pail Kids, but for the past 20 years has been cartooning with code. Pound guides the overall aesthetic of his piece, but the computer program determines details like where the eyes and arms are. He’s not the only artist using code to create artwork, but Pound’s pieces feel utterly different from much of the other code-based art we see today.
11. Signet by Ziba
Mailing can be a pain in the bum. Which is why Zeba, a Portland based design studio created Signet, a system that could radically overhaul how we use the US Postal Service. It all starts with a unique laser-engraved pattern. Within it are the details on who the package was being mailed to and other information. The recipient would then receive a notification and have the opportunity to input the destination address of the package as well as the time frame of its journey.