Space is cool. Space is infinitely vast. But we’ve barely stuck a pinky into the vastness of space, visually. The Hubble space telescope was a major step forward for humanity, allowing for some incredible peering into the past, at galaxies and nebulas and quasars and all manner of amazingness. Now comes the next giant in space telescope exploration, the Thirty Meter Telescope, also known as the TMT. To be built on Hawaii’s Mauna Kea volcano, deep in the Pacific, the TMT is, as titled, thirty meters across, 14 stories tall, creating by far the largest mirror on the planet. This giant contraption will allow for up to six times the optical power of Hubble, even though its on earth, and not in the blackness of space. It should be astounding what the Thirty Meter Telescope can see, when it is operational in 2020.
The first shot fired in the smart watch war was either the Pebble or the pseudo-smart iPod Nano in a watch band. Since then, a number of companies have attempted some very interesting and lame entrants, few of which have caught on with any kind of vigor. Lately though, as rumors of a fully-fledged Apple iWatch heat up, the biggies of the tech world are starting to invest in their own ‘watches of the future.’ The latest, announced this week, is the Moto 360, utilizing the just-released Google Wear software. Unlike nearly all of the competition, the Moto 360 is elegant, thoughtful, and actually looks like a watch you want to strap on.
As a designer, I immediately gravitate toward the Moto 360’s form factor, which has been around for centuries, and looks classic on the wrist. Indeed, I imagine there are some designers at Apple this week that are pretty pissed that Motorola got here first. Understated, versus the chunky, often ghastly industrial design of those other smart watches, the Moto 360 eschews things like cameras and visible sensors, which in 2014, takes some real restraint.
The watch is too new to be reviewed, but it relies heavily on Google Now, which is entirely voice-driven, similar to Siri. Part of me hates the idea of always barking commands at my wrist, but we’ll see how the watch operates, and how intuitive the software really is. I’m also very curious to know how a circular LCD is created. Nice work, Motorola. You deserve a slap on the wrist…
A new and completely original design for a high-rise in Montpellier, France. The 17-story building, known as The White Tree, has balconies and decks sprouting out of it like branches. Via Gizmodo:
Ben Foster is a sculptor from New Zealand, making geometric animals that are larger than life. Via MyModernMet:
From Foster: “My works are a culmination of the natural and the manmade – a careful balance of form and motion.”
Artist Josh Lewandowski really likes drawing diagrams. Even if they have no real meaning or context. His work is both humorous and begs the question, what is art? Do “work drawings” become art if they don’t actually represent something work-like? Either way, his drawings are fun and thought-provoking.
Rinspeed is a Swiss company that tunes cars to make them faster and sexier. They call themselves a creative think tank for the automotive industry. Now they’ve taken a Tesla Model S and turned it into a driverless car of the future. The XchangE is only a concept, but it gives us a glimpse into what may be a realistic vision just a handful of years from now.
Matching sweaters aside, what do you make of the legs-up approach to your commute? Via Jalopnik
Read more about the Rinspeed concept over at Green Car Reports
This simple black door just looks like an industrial slab, something you might see in a modern loft apartment. It simply slides, right? Nope.
Called the Evolution Door, Austrian designer Klemens Torggler has a totally new approach to opening and closing a door. Via Colossal:
Consider it geography study for the Tolkien hardcore. The Middle Earth Project is a scale 3D model of the entire Lord of the Rings world, including the Shire, Gondor, Carn Dum, and so much more it’ll make your head spin. And while Peter Jackson did a phenomenal job bringing Tolkien’s work to life, this takes it a step further, from a purely spacial point of view. Via FastCo Design:
I’ve been a huge fan of wind energy for years. I have family in the wind business, and have been up close and personal with the huge commercial wind turbines that bring clean energy to thousands of homes. But the turbines of the future might be getting a significant shrink if these micro windmills come into being. Scientists and engineers at the University of Texas have created windmills so small that you nearly need a microscope to see them. Individually they produce a minuscule amount of energy. But multiply their effect by 1000x, and you start to see real return. Pretty amazing.
An iPhone could fit about 2,040 of the micro-windmills on its surface, each one generating electricity from ambient wind currents.
You’d theoretically be able to hold the phone in a breeze for a few minutes and get charged up.