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Multi-sensory materials

color changing tile
Multi-sensory materials

As a designer, the first thing you are likely to notice about a material is its surface. But scratch the surface and you will find all kinds of interesting material properties underneath. Here we take a look at some interesting ‘multi-sensory’ materials that have caught our eye lately.
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Materials for impact protection

Lightweight foam
The traditional approach to impact protection was to add more and more layers of heavy armour – just take a walk around the arms and armour collection in London’s V&A Museum for a display of backbreaking panoplies. But as materials evolve, so have impact protection. In Ingredients 3 (download it from we featured some of the best materials-related clips we could find on the net.
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Dynamic materials

Animo chair
Animo Chair

Materials that can adapt to changing circumstances, such as shape-memory alloys, were once the reserve of space agencies and science fiction writers. But as these materials are becoming cheaper and easier to process, they are quickly finding new applications in everything from furniture to consumer electronics. Here we take a look at some exciting examples that have caught our eye lately.
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Karim Rashid @ “Smart-ologic Corian® Living” A smart sustainable home with DuPont™ Corian® by Karim Rashid

image001 (3) image002 (1)
Soft organic shapes realised through a morphic material to create a sensual living environment…a space that echoes the digital techno-organic world we live in, evoking an alternative way of experiencing the home environment…and one of the most creative, colourful and inspiring installations of the Milan design week 2010.
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Smart Energy Glass Turns On And Off, Generates Electricity

Dutch entrepreneurs Casper van Oosten and Teun Wagenaar have created a special glass panel which collects solar energy and generates its own power.
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The Disposable Pen That’s Made From Potatoes

The DBA Pen is a truly innovative product that’s 98% biodegradable.
Made out of a bio-plastic derived from non-GMO potatoes, the pen is fitted with an ink reservoir made from a renewable fiber, and a custom ink is exceptionally safe for humans and the environment.
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We Like: Gentemstick Boards

Japanese designer and inveterate snowboarder Taro Tamai has been hand-shaping his eye-catching Gentemstick boards for over a decade. An answer to the homogenization of board shapes that happened as snowboarding gained mainstream appeal, Tamai’s goal is no less than to “perfectly blend into the terrain miraculously made of snow and wind, just as if birds flying in the sky or fish flowing in the stream.” The upshot of his philosophical approach to the sport (he calls it snow-surfing) is a line of boards renowned for their flexible fins, oversized sized fish tails and rideability in almost any snow condition. Via:[CoolHunting]
Website:Taro Tamai

Loxolop: An Eco-friendly Lamp Made From Recycled Juice Boxes

Dutch artist, Ebére Groenouwe has created a sculptural hanging lamp made from the waste paper of recycled juice cartons. Ebére drew inspiration from Origami and Biomorphism in designing this lamp.
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Skinput: Touch-Sensitive Skin

Researchers at Carnegie Mellon and Microsoft have joined forces to create Skinput, a bio-acoustic sensing device that allows your skin to be used as a touch-screen interface. An armband is equipped with a projector to display a menu or phone keys, as well as an acoustic sensor that analyzes distinct sounds made on the surface of skin related to specific bone density, joints and tissue. That information is delivered through a Bluetooth device back to the phone to determine what button has been pressed.
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Mix Magazine embraces a spring like Spirit

The move away from homogenised, global products to ones that embrace local crafts and vernacular design is gathering pace. Referencing the growth of the idea of authenticity and hand-crafted objects is Spirit, one of our trends for Spring/Summer 2011. This trend story is also featured in the current issue of Mix magazine and Mix Trends Irish design studio Superfolk perfectly captures this ethos with its economical collection of low-key but beautifully executed furniture that uses locally sourced materials and techniques including basket weaving and craft.

Moonbasket Lighting by Dani Le Roy and Laura Summs

Spotted at Design Indaba Expo 2010 a beautiful collection of suspension lighting by designers Dani Le Roy and Laura Summs. Produced under the label Moonbasket, the duo combine their passion for knitting with a desire to aid impoverished communities in surrounding townships.
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David De Rothschild and Crew Unveil the Finished Plastiki

We’ve been following the progress of the Plastiki for over a year now. In case you’ve forgotten, it’s the pet project of eco-adventurer David de Rothschild and it’s a huge boat made from recycled plastic bottles. The vessel has been under construction and late last week, the crew finally unveiled it in the San Francisco Bay. This is the start point for what will be an 11,000 mile trek to Sydney, highlighting the problem of plastic as both a pollutant and design issue.
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One Block of Wood 15 Projects to Make by Nina Tolstrup

Discover the versatility of a basic material: wood. Take, as a starting point, one block of wood. Cut it into pieces, and you can transform it into some great-looking items to grace your home.
In One Block of Wood Nina Tolstrup presents 15 stylish, straight-forward projects that can be made with a minimum of fuss, even if you are new to woodworking.
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Save Energy with Glow in the Dark Toilet Paper

This glow-in-the-dark toilet paper charges up during the day with natural light or ambient artificial light.

In a world where scientific discovery and exploration is slowly but surely unravelling the myriad mysteries of the universe, it’s gratifying to know that some idiot can still find time to come up with such a ludicrous invention as Glow In The Dark Loo Roll.
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Gestaltkunstwerk Vases German artist Markus Linnenbrink’s edition of lacquer-coated plastic recyclables

German artist Markus Linnenbrink recently crafted a set of vases from recyclables, reinventing their surfaces using colorful resins.

The Dortmund-based sculptor calls his latest work Gestaltkunstwerk; roughly translated, it means “formed artwork” and is a play-on-words of Gesamtkunstwerk “consummate art.”.
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