Imagine being an 18 year old with a smartphone, a lot of free time after school and on weekends, and an almost $600 stipend from the federal government. About 10,000 French teenagers found themselves in just such a situation when the French government's Culture Pass app went live in September. Designed like a "Tinder for the arts", users can swipe left or right on cultural activities happening in their immediate surroundings, which the government hopes will result in more fluid and accepting definition of culture for the French. The Culture Pass project will cost France's government approximately $490 million a year and is heavily subsidized by contributions from Apple, Google, Facebook, and Amazon.
The Fuzz Takes Flight
First it was predictive crime artificial intelligence. Now, police are taking to the sky, at least in Dubai. A California-based hover vehicle company called Hoversurf has gifted the Middle Eastern city's police force one unit for the time being, but if the officers prove capable of flying it more could be on the way.
Bad Acoustics Are A Killer. Here's What Designers Can Do About It.
Noise is all around us, whether we like it or not. We're only now beginning to understand the detrimental effects loud sounds can have on our health. Luckily, we can mitigate those effects with design thinking.
The holidays are almost upon us, so it's time to start thinking of passive-aggressive gag gifts for your favorite studio frenemy. Type designers Hoefler & Co. have the perfect present to gift pedantic colleagues and design snobs: the Typographic Ticket Book. Modeled after the much-maligned traffic cops' ticket book, everything from improper font choice, to egregious colors, to unironic use of novelty typeface is included on the surprisingly authentic-looking ticket.
You Can Feel A Little Less Guilty About Eating French Fries Now
Tomorrow's french fries may be just as fattening and delicious as they are today, but their packaging may feel very different. A trio of Italian designers devised a form of packaging, called Peel Saver, made from recycled potato skins. Aimed at reducing waste from food truck and other cheap eats places, Peel Saver is cheap to produce and fully biodegradable.
Coming to a Night Sky Near You: The Moon 2.0!
Chinese scientists announced plans to launch a "second moon" into the night sky over the city of Chengdu in 2020, resulting in a worldwide eyebrow raising. The artificial moon would reflect sunlight back to Earth through reflective coating, and could be eight times brighter than the OG moon. If successful, the team says three more moons could rise by 2022.
The legalization of marijuana is taking North America by storm. What started in Colorado has expanded to nine U.S. states and the entirety of Canada, meaning that a whole host of new means and methods for enjoying a legal high will start to hit the mainstream market. The Otto by banana bros., a minimalist-looking machine that literally rolls joints for the user, is one such option. What a time to be alive!
Poured Concrete Flooring Eliminates Disease in Bangladeshi Homes
An acronym for architecture for health in vulnerable environments, ARCHIVE Global believes design can help combat disease. A recent pilot project confirms the belief. In 2014, the nonprofit launched Health From the Ground Up, an initiative to improve conditions for the disadvantaged in Southeast Asia. Upon learning that thousands of Bangladeshi children die due to parasites harbored in the dirt floors often used in their homes, the team focused on a single basic element: new flooring material. They chose poured concrete, not only easy to maintain and less likely to transmit disease but also able to be installed by local masons. A month after installation in 10 homes, post-construction surveys revealed no new infections in the children living there.
Decapitated Humanoid Pillow Aims to Comfort Sad Urban Millennials
You've heard of professional cuddlers, you've heard of waifu pillows, now get ready for the Mannequin! This stunted (or is it dismembered?) humanoid cushion features extra-long arms, a plush torso, and what looks like a cauterized neck that somehow combine into a comforting presence for millennials caught in the spiral of urban loneliness. Designed by Aseptic Studios, the Mannequin's neck can be used to correct posture and its arms can guard against heat expelled by laptops. With those perks, why even bother going on Tinder?
Leather has been the quintessential material of good taste and class for centuries, but its throne as status symbol is increasingly being usurped by high-tech consumer goods. In a bid to create the ultimate semiotic expression of the aspirational lifestyle, HP rolled out the Spectre Folio, a leather-bound convertible laptop. It remains to be seen how many people who don't resemble Patrick Bateman will actually purchase this $1,300 computer.
In the Future, Couples Will Break Up Over Everything Except Assembling Ikea Furniture
Ikea furniture may look innocuous, but it has a well-documented history of destroying new couples before they even leave the store. And when lovebirds do escape the commercial behemoth's clutches, they inevitably fall apart when it comes time to assemble the pieces. Two researchers from Nanyang Technological University in Singapore may have finally given couples everywhere a solution to the latter problem with a robot that can (partially) put together Ikea products in under a half-hour.
Boeri, Diller, and Sejima Make Their Milan Fashion Week Debut
Fashion and architecture don't often intermingle, which is strange considering that both fields make functional art for distinctly human use. So when Prada featured three handbags by female architects Cini Boeri, Elizabeth Diller, and Kazuyo Sejima at this year's Milan Fashion Week, the evidence that these two industries had more to offer each other only mounted. Each of the bags expertly riffed on Prada's iconic nylon bag, offering new possibilities for an accessory that set the precedent for a new idea in women's fashion: functionality can be luxurious, too.
As Hurricane Florence barreled closer to North Carolina, warnings about the potential dangers came from the usual sources: meteorologists and doppler radar maps. In order to truly illustrate the danger this storm could bring to the region, the Weather Channel created a terrifying new animation that depicts how a three, six, or nine-foot storm surge would actually appear. The animation was produced using the Unreal Engine, the same system that makes countless video games look and feel lifelike.
Kaffeeform Makes Coffee Ground Cups
A new material has emerged to tackle the problem of non-recyclable disposable coffee cups: coffee grounds. A Berlin-based backyard startup called Kaffeeform has found a way to combine used coffee grounds and natural adhesives to make sustainable cups, saucers, and to-go mugs. The products lightly smell of coffee and come in a deep brown color, in addition to being dishwasher-safe and biodegradable.
Coca-Cola Bets On A New Drug
What do these three things have in common: cocaine, caffeine, and cannabis? For starters, they all start with "c" and they're all considered drugs by the United States government. They also share a relationship with the Coca-Cola company, who infused their beverages with trace amounts of cocaine until 1929 and continues to caffeinate many of their products today. The soda company purportedly is in talks with Canadian marijuana producer Aurora Cannabis to create a CBD-infused soft drink.