Pensa’s Street Charge concept lets you charge your phone and have a nice place to set your coffee while you wait for the bus.
LOS ANGELES —Every time I travel, whether that be the airplane, a train or even a bus, I see them: kiosks where you can charge your phone or laptop while you wait for your departure. It’s a brilliant idea for travelers, who might find themselves between flights in need of some juice.
I’d always wondered why chargers aren’t more common outside travel contexts. Indeed, in the developing world, I often see them posted in kiosks and markets. But in the US, there seems to be an underlying assumption that you’ll find a way to get more juice.
With smartphones demanding more and more power, we need a solution. Why not charge up while waiting for the bus?
Design consultancy Pensa’s new video concept has gone viral for showing how a getting a charge and waiting for the bus might be compatible. With a simple stand to hold your phone and solar energy cells overhead, the Street Charge concept would help make productive use of all that time spent waiting for the bus — time we usually spend swiping and tapping on our phones anyway.
The biggest problem is highlighted by Night Eagle’s comment on their video:
“It looks fantastic but, seems like it would need to be designed a bit more vandal resistant for and urban environment.”
The thin stand reads very much like a concept video, just waiting to be torn apart in real life (not to mention that setting your phone down in an open space is just asking to have it stolen). But sturdy it up a bit, make it street proof and they might just have a winning idea.
LOS ANGELES — I see them everywhere these days. QR Codes have become a staple the world over, in large advertisements and small handouts in multiple countries. They don’t always make sense, but it’s impossible to deny their ubiquity.
The one place I rarely see them is on street art and murals. The new QR_Stenciler, a Processing-based application developed by F.A.T. Labs, now makes it easy. The downloadable software takes a standard QR code and turns it into a PDF that can then be manipulated and edited for a laser cutter.
Why not just fire up Illustrator and make your own QR codes? F.A.T. Labs pointed to a post by Fred Trotteridentifying part of the issue:
But what is the problem with a QR code stencil? In a word, islands. In order to make a stencil with, say, photo paper (which would otherwise be a great technique), you need a way to address bits that the stencil needs to block, that are not physically connected to the rest of the stencil. Its easier to show than explain.
The QR_Stenciler side steps this with hair-thin cuts that hold the islands in place while allowing you to easily spray paint the entire area.
It’s not clear yet whether QR codes are here to stay, or if they’re a growing trend of that will be replaced one day by near field communications or RFID. But unlike the latter, QR codes remain very much physical, and therefore a great tool for artists.
LOS ANGELES — The Polaroid is dead. Long live the Polaroid. They used to be a staple at any gathering, and then one day, they weren’t. Those tangible remembrances of fine times had soon turned into cell phone camera snaps and then Facebook and Flickr albums. And now they’re Instagram pictures.
Enter Instaprint, a new Kickstarter project which aims to bring back something like the Polaroid, with a physical document of your photos.
Instaprint is a location based photo booth that can transform parties and events by putting a camera in everyone’s hand. By setting Instaprint to look out for specific locations or hashtags, any Instagram tagged appropriately will automatically be printed out on inkless paper. Get one for your next party, event, wedding, fiesta or anything you like.
Unlike Instagram, which is free, Instaprint has a hefty starting price of $399. Which is why Breakfast studio is aiming to raise $500,000 on Kickstarter to launch the product. They also have a live feed of an actual Instaprint that will take your photos and print them, showing just how easy it is once it’s set up.
I could see this being most fun when implemented at a gallery opening or afterparty. On weekends, I’m already transported to a half dozen parties around the world thanks to Instagram. It’s great to see a product that makes photos local again and gives us something tangible to take away.
So far, the Instaprint Kickstarter project has raised $155,000 of its $500,000 goal with 39 days to go. You can see this project, along with others on Hyperallergic’s Kickstarter page.
LOS ANGELES — It was a classic then and it’s a classic now. In 1976, The New Yorker published a New Yorker’s view of the United States (and a bit of the Asian continent). The map starts at Ninth Avenue then shifts west to the Hudson River, skips past Jersey, hits the flat lands of America, and then oops, there’s the Pacific Ocean and China.
Satirical maps have a powerful way of stereotyping the stereotypes people have. Which is why Bulgarian graphic designer Yank Tsvetkov’s map designs have a particular bite. His Mapping Stereotypes series claims to be “The Ultimate Bigot’s Calendar,” with perspectives of Europe and the world as seen by such varied entities as the Vatican and the United States.
Take, for instance, Europe as seen by the Germans, where Italy is simply “Pizza & Museums” and Finland is the land of “Cell Phone Makers.” The United States, “according to common sense” labels Washington as “Geeks” and New Mexico as “Flying Saucers.” Some cut uncomfortably close to sources of geopolitical conflict. Greece sees Turkey as “Eastern Greece” and Turkey sees Greece as “Rascals.”
The maps can be ordered as calendars — they’ll certainly be a conversation starter, but just be ready for the conversations they’ll inevitably provoke.