Smart Way of Living

My uni project, mentioned in the previous post, is proving to be a bit of a challenge and getting to grips with the whole active forms situation, is puzzling.

One thing that triggered my mind when this project came about was SMART MATERIALS. A bit of boring technical stuff, a smart material is a material that changes it’s appearance when an external stimuli is inputed.

For example, the stimulus can be: heat, light or pressure and the change could be colour, electric power or even shape.

Developed around 50 years ago, smart materials have found their way into some innovative designs and it triggered in my mind because they change form as do active form products (loosely) so hopefully a bit of research into this can trigger some ideas into my current project.

Popular Smart Material Products


1) Photochromic Lenses. Photo =  ancient Greek for light. Chromic = ancient Greek for colour. The glasses changes colour when the stimulus, sunlight is shined on it

2) Thermochromic Mood Ring. Thermo = ancient Greek for heat. Chromic = ancient Greek for colour. The ring changes colour when the stimulus, heat changes due to the mood changing (e.g agressive mood = higher temperature)

3) Another application for thermochromic materials can be a thermometer. Used to find if the child/ adult has a high fever when the colour changes to match a high temperature.



This type of smart material turns a mechanical stress/ force into electricity or electricity into a force. The mechanical stress can be just a footstep can generate electricity.

This idea has lead to multiple designs that have tried to make renewable energy.

One designer, created his own Eco-Energy Floor. A couple pictures taken from this industrial design website (which I’ll be reviewing shortly) show the idea briefly but have a look at the whole concept.



Another concept with piezoelectric materials

I personally believe that there is a lack of products on the market that include smart materials. This might be because they are fairly new (50 years doesn’t seem it but compared to basic materials like metals and woods, its a baby!) and the materials are continually being developed. I think they are an impressive development in engineered materials and they also provide an aesthetic quality that many basic materials lack.

If you have any more innovative products using SMART MATERIALS please let me know. I love discovering cool new things/ products/ materials/ designs so please share them with me.


Active Forms – Designing The Future

At university I’ve been given a project of designing an Active Form product. In terms of quickly summarising what that is without putting you to sleep, it’s a representation of a system or routine due to the similar shape of a¬†recognisable¬†interaction.

WHAT?! Exactly my thoughts when I first heard it.

ASLEEP YET? ¬†It’s a fairly new area in design so I’ll give you a couple of examples of what I mean rather than a fairly adequate description. But before, some ¬†key words popped in my head in this introduction lecture that I think need considering.




My lecturer, Ben Salem, has helped these Active Form products come to life. Here’s the link to his quick overview into Active Forms and pictures/ descriptions of the projects he supervised whilst at the Eindhoven University of Technology


Screen Shot 2013-01-26 at 16.10.59(all picture and video rights are reserved by Ben Salem)



This active form represents a petal and a flower. The colour of the device changes due to heat and is ergonomically interacted with like a flower. The petal is opened and closed semi-automatically and reflects the atmosphere of the room whilst the core can be blown on or rubbed to change the temperature of the room. The video briefly shows the working prototype.

The link has and shows all:


Screen Shot 2013-01-26 at 18.46.43(again, all rights are reserved by Ben Salem)

This is another form of tangible interaction of an active form. This time it involves making TEA. This follows the routine of making tea and involves the metaphor of flowers in a vase, the vase holding the boiling water and the petals hold different types of tea.

How It Works? As mentioned before, it works by placing different brand/ type of tea leaves into the bulb type petal. Once the stem is pushed down it triggers the water to start boiling (like switching the kettle switch), the stem will rise vertically again when the water is boiled (similar to when the switch is released in a kettle). Then the stem is pushed back down with the cap on the bulb being opened releasing the ready made tea.

On a personal note, I prefer the second active form as a whole. The reasons being the simplicity and the idea of the design is something I highly praise. The other design is simple and clever but I think it fails to beat the tea maker with the 3 words I associate with Active Form. I like how both designs encompass nature and human rituals in one design




iPhone Accessory? No, iPhone Necessity

I’ve already reviewed this website earlier but¬†¬†is an incredible way to get ideas on to the market. It’s great to see a website that doesn’t let an idea go missed. Like I said before, once an idea is set and is then advertised on the website, funding for the project needs to be made with a set target given. Backers then pledge a set amount and depending on the size of contribution the inventor will reward you with prizes.

This particular project managed to reach over 7x it’s projected target and rightly so. The design is so simple yet the idea is so brilliant.

Galileo, the product, is a device by where you can control the movement of an iPhone, hands free, and it’s useful for video chatting so the person on the other side can control what he/she is looking at. My explanation of it is far inferior to the video made so I recommend you watch it.

This is the video of it but look at the kickstarter website below (and above) and have a look at it’s design specs and other projects on the website and maybe you’ll be willing to back some.

2phonesbabyandlanscape(picture taken from kickstarter)

Music for your mood.

Recently I’ve been recommending a few websites, so I thought i’d make a ‘websites’ category so you can see what websites I’ve recommended.

The website is The idea is to type or select your mood or what type of music you want to listen to. For example I put in Study + Motivation and got this playlist.

Most of the songs are songs I haven’t heard of but it’s a clever website with the playlists posted by members (free to join!) and you can post playlists as well. A great way to broaden your music library and to satisfy your mood.

I discovered this band (mentioned below) with this website and I believe they are seriously under-recognised.

The Good Husbands, a Hip Hop group (not usually my type of music but they’re different) that have a good set of music videos on youtube you can watch here. I recommend a subscription¬†


Will Smith

Needed a bit of motivation with resolutions and uni work and so on, so I just looked around youtube and found this collection of Will Smith’s words of wisdom.

Aside being my favourite actor, he has a bit of a knack for words too. My favourite part is around 3:30 with the wall metaphor but the whole thing is a brilliant viewing so let me know what you think.

Bored? I’ve got just the thing

Found this website a couple years ago and got hooked to the point where I was on it for hours at a time.

I’m not sure whether this is a UK/ American or any english thing for that matter but I would suggest this website because it’s the perfect I’m-bored-and-i-wanna-waste-time website. It sends you to websites with cool/ interesting videos, pictures, games, facts and even tutorials. If you don’t like the page click ‘stumble’ and move on. It’s called Stumble Upon and here’s the link¬†

Step 1. Set up a free account and with your interests

Step 2. Enjoy

Heres’s a few sites I found through stumble upon that I found pretty cool:

if the links don’t work copy and paste them into your address page

Happy New Year!

Happy new year all! Making it my new years resolution, I will try to post more blogs as I’ve not been doing as much as I hoped. Not everyday, but minimum once a week. This post is about the new and future stadiums that most are to be predicted to be finished in 2013.2013 stadiums

(put together in adobe illustrator cs6)

From Top left to Top right

Perth Arena, Australia (+15,000) Estádio Nacional de Brasília, Brazil (+71,000) BMW International Stadium, Indonesia (+40,000)

From Middle left to Middle right

Florida International University Stadium, USA (+45,000) Estádio Vivaldo Lima, Brazil (+60,000) Sochi Olympic Stadium, Russia (+40,000)

From Bottom left to Bottom right

Grand Arena Bordeaux, France (+14,000) Hangzhou Sports Park Stadium, China (+80,000) Stade des Lumières, France (+60,000)