Robotic fabric flowers react to people

January 1, 2019

The natural world is constantly changing. Take a walk through a meadow and the view is different from one moment to the next. That’s the idea behind the kinetic sculpture called “Meadow,” on display at Dutch Design Week 2018 last October. Studio Drift, an Amsterdam-based design firm, created the sculpture to explore the way in …

Safety in style: the foldable bike helmet

Let’s face it, even though a bike helmet is essential for protection, many people won’t wear one because it’s uncomfortable, inconvenient or not particularly attractive. Two former SpaceX engineers hope to change that. Co-founders David Hall and Jordan Klein have introduced Park & Diamond™, a helmet that looks and feels like a traditional baseball cap—yet …

Reversible all-weather tent

Cool in the summer, warm in the winter and waterproof in a rainstorm, the weatherHYDE tent is built for people who like to enjoy the great outdoors all year long. In fact, maker Billion Bricks Ltd., a Singapore-based nonprofit design and technology studio, also envisions the tent as a humanitarian response to a serious problem—global …

Sports bags double as life rafts

Tough, waterproof, multi-purpose—that’s the standard for outdoor bags these days. Design company Subtech Sports has taken things to a new level with version 2.0 of its rugged Pro Drybags. Subtech Sports was founded by Eric Lyth after an experience with kayaking in Australia’s Sydney harbor. He witnessed an eight-foot shark break the surface of the …

Motorized shades for customer comfort

December 1, 2018

People often agree that a meal tastes better outdoors. That’s why restaurant patios never go out of style. Not only is it enjoyable for patrons, the restaurant benefits from a larger service area with more tables. Princi Italia, a casual dining spot in West Plano, Texas, is one of three locations owned and operated by …

Washing bag fights plastic pollution

The millions of tons of plastic pollution that end up in the oceans and other waterways each year is quickly becoming a global crisis. One of the culprits is clothing made from synthetic textiles. With each laundering, numerous small plastic fibers make their way from the washing machine down the drain and into oceans, lakes …

Tuft love for natural carpets

Industrial textile designer Liset van der Scheer enjoys the challenge of taking traditional materials and using them in an innovative way. For a recent collection of carpet and poufs for Casalis, a Belgian designer and producer of contemporary interior textiles, van der Sheer explored the idea of bringing the outdoors inside. As she imagined the …

Heat-conducting graphene jacket

Part jacket. Part science experiment. That’s how the makers of a new graphene-coated jacket describe their garment. Only a single atom thick, graphene is invisible to the naked eye. It’s lightweight, highly conductive, and is the strongest material known to humankind. But graphene also comes with challenges. It’s hard to work with and very expensive …

Parachute system ensures safe landings for astronauts

What does it take to get astronauts home safely from a deep-space mission as their crew module hits the earth’s atmosphere and slows from 20,000 mph to a mere 325 mph? A strong, agile parachute system. NASA has been testing such a system for the Orion spacecraft. It consists of 11 parachutes, including three main …

Soft and flexible fabric generates electricity

November 1, 2018

What if your favorite shirt could also power your digital watch? Researchers at Sweden’s Chalmers University of Technology have created a woven fabric that generates electricity when stretched or exposed to pressure. Working in cooperation with the Swedish School of Textiles in Borås and the research institute Swerea IVF, researchers Anja Lund and Christian Müller …