Designs for the Better World

technology

Animation Video Chat

Now that we have Google’s automatic captioning on videos on YouTube, which I like very much, what about speech balloons around the captions? It’d be more helpful if the location of the voice source could be indicated by an arrow from the balloon and the voice tone could be expressed with different balloon shapes.

If your gestures could bring motion characters that can be manipulated on both sides, video chatting would become like a fun video game.

When your girlfriend throws a kiss when video-chatting, many hearts appear moving towards the thrown direction. You can touch and move the characters on your side.

Wink and get stars. (Can characters go beyond the chat window like this?)
You might think of lots of other gestures and fun characters.

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World Cleanest Graffiti— iPhone App Concept

There are a number of drawing iPhone apps available, but I think it would be fun if you could paste the picture you draw on a real wall, but virtually.


Draw a picture with your iPhone.


Choose the wall you want to paste the picture on.


Point and paste the picture. Resizing possible.


Share it with people on an online map.


Or share with only the person you choose. And if you want someone to go to a place (physically) to see the picture, just choose “local share” only.
This is just like an old bulletin board outside and might work well if you want to convey your feeling to someone.


The images can be seen through your iPhone just like usual graffiti from any angle.

Thank you again for the great photos, *momoc.
http://www.flickr.com/photos/wtkn/

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Funny USB Memory Stick #6 Final

This transparent USB memory stick covers all the convenient functions of the memory sticks I’ve introduced so far. The light inside the glass represents the data saved in it: No lights means no data, lights filling the glass means there’s no more space. The kind of data is recognized with colors. For example pink is for images, blue is for documents and green for movies, etc. It would be more fun if the lights can move in the glass when you shake it.

Synced with the icon on your desktop of course.

Inspired by Japanese Soma-Toh or a revolving lantern, which beautifully shows colored silhouette.

Also visit the other series of this gadget.


Part1


Part2


Part3


Part4


Part5

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Mobile Phone Concepts “Floater”

About 80% of the day time, my mobile phone sits on my desk. I have it in my hand or in my pocket for the other 20%. I was just wondering why not make it look better on a table if it’s in the idling mode most of the time. Just sitting flat on the desk is not fun to look at.

Floater A
Wouldn’t it be fun if your cell phone sits up by itself (or tilt up a little) when put on the desk and starts moving when there’s a phone call or an incoming message? The curved bottom allows itself to tilt up a little bit when put on a flat surface and left idle for some time. It starts nodding or rotating when it receives a phone call or an email etc.








Floater B
This one doesn’t move by itself, but it has a supporter on its back to make the round body stand on a flat surface. You slide the supporter the other way and you can use it as a physical keypad.







“Floater” comes from a surfing technique. Both look like a surfboard, don’t they?

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Cobalto & Zafiro

This is something a little different from my usual posts. This time I tried to design gadgets that I want to see in a Sci-Fi movie like “Minority Report”. I love the futuristic computer and the UX in the movie, but I was wondering what it would be like if I designed those stuff. So this time I just focused on look and feel of the devices.

“Cobalto”
I don’t remember what the mobile phone is like that is used in the movie, but the glass computer screen remains vividly in my mind and I tried to use as much lucent stuff as possible.




With this deformable metal, you can have either the usual number buttons or an iPod like dial.



LIke one of my previous posts “3D Desktop PC Concept“, it would be fun if this could create 3D objects in the air. With this device, you could see 3D holography on top of a 2D screen, so it would be really exciting.





I happened to be talked to by a Russian TV program, who wanted to feature my 3D desktop concept, so I also gave them this mobile phone concept images and 3D animation. Check out the animation too!

“Zafiro”


The desktop is also made of a glass screen and a round rim. This is not the one that Tom Cruise makes that hand (or body) gesture to use. This is a desktop PC.



Remember that transparent disk used in Minority Report? It can be also inserted on the screen.

The keyboard has the deformable metal and the keys get flattened when not in use.



I mentioned that I wanted to try a new career on Twitter and I’ve been thinking of becoming a concept designer for movies. I’m finding a way to be one. Do you think I can be a Hollywood concept artist?

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By the way, I’ll be out of Japan next week to attend the red dot award ceremony in Singapore, so I won’t be able to post for FFFFOUND! during the week. But I’ll upload some Singapore photos in my Flickr. Oh of course I’ll be tweeting while I’m in Singapore, too.


iPetals

I like Fandi Meng‘s great “Sunny Flower” concept very much and was inspired a lot by the design.

iPetals_a

It’s a solar charger for an iPhone. Based on Fandi’s design, I made it work also as an iPhone stand.

iPetals_b

iPetals_c
petals colored with different lightness

iPetals_d


See animation at Vimeo.

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Quackie

This is a very weird looking CD player. It looks like a head of a duck when a CD is set. (Why a CD player now you ask? I’ll write a post in Johnnyholland.)

quackie_1

quackie_2

quackie_4

There’s a round body that rolls and a black speaker. the speaker is attached to the body at its axis and it rolls around the body.

The functions are just play/pause/next/previous and volume up/down. To turn up the volume, you roll the body so that the “beak” opens up. When you turn it off, just let it stop quacking.

circles3_image

description

That’s it. I wouldn’t stop rolling it for a while I had it on my desk. And my kids would never leave there.

quackie_5

quackie_6

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Post-It on Desktop Icons

This is simple and it might have been used already, but I really want to paste a post-it on a desktop icon so that I won’t forget what I should do with it. So if anybody knows a plugin like this, please let me know!!

post-it on desktop icon1

post-it on desktop icon4

Post-it colors, font size should be customizable just like “Stickies” (a default mac application).

post-it on desktop icon2

Quick Look (a quick preview feature) or hover the cursor to see the enlarged image of the post-it.

post-it on desktop icon3

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iPhone Dock Sketches

iHammock

I use my iPhone at work and at home. When I’m at work in the office, I can’t make it ring loud when there’s an incoming phone call or an email, so I change the setting to the silent (vibration) mode. But when it vibrates on my desk, it makes even louder noise than a beep, so I was thinking if I could make something soft to put my iPhone on so that it doesn’t rattle when vibrating, and thought that a hammock style would be fun. It looks like your iPhone is relaxing on a hammock, so I added a parasol that works as a solar power battery charger. You open and flip the parasol in the sun to get electricity and close and fix it on the hammock to charge your iPhone.
“iHammock”?

Just for fun again.

hammock_image1

hammock1_image

hammock2_image2

hammock4_image

hammock5_image

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hammock3_imagec

iAcqua2

Wouldn’t it be nice if you had a 3D screen that displays stereoscopic images of music visualizer and stocked photos when your iPhone is docked? It’s like a combination of my old ideas (snow globe screen and iAcqua).

iAcua2-1
3D screen and a speaker

iAcua2-2

iAcua2-3

iAcua2-4

iAcua2-5

iAcua2-6

iAcua2-7
Cover flow in the water flow?

iAcua2-8

OC

This one tilts a bit when your iPhone is docked, making the speakers and the transparent screen float.
It tells you when there’s a phone call and an email by rocking from side to side.

OC-1

OC-2

OC-3

OC-4

OC-5

OC-6

OC-7

OC-8


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red dot design concept award 2009

red dot design concept award 2009 winner

I can’t believe I won the red dot design concept award for the Looking Glass concept!! (I added some photos of the awarding ceremony on my Flickr.)

First of all, let me thank Radhika Seth (for everything), Mika Ueno and *momoc (for beautiful photos), Takashi Yamada (for first picking up and naming this gadget), Regina Teh (for inviting me for the competition) and my family (for letting me keep doing this crazy hobby).
This is really exciting for me because it’s the first award I won since I became a designer.

I added some new images and fixed a few old ones.

future of internet search augmented reality

future of internet search augmented reality

future of internet search augmented reality

future of internet search augmented reality
Dragging stuff like a building floor to see its floor map would be useful and fun.

future of internet search augmented reality

future of internet search augmented reality

future of internet search augmented reality

future of internet search augmented reality

future of internet search augmented reality

And here’s the presentation sheet I submitted to the red dot.

future of internet search augmented reality presentation

future of internet search augmented reality presentation

future of internet search augmented reality presentation

I also appreciate all the support I’ve got from the readers and magazine/newspaper editors who wrote articles of this gadget.
I’m planning to attend the award ceremony on November 24th in Singapore, so anyone who happens to be there, please talk to me. I’ll post some photos on my Flickr if I can shoot good ones there. And of course I’ll keep twitting in Singapore, too.


3D Desktop Concept

I’m back! Thank you so much for all the get-well messages and comments. As I wrote on Twitter, the operation went OK and I’m 90% back to normal. I drew some sketches in my Moleskine while I was in the hospital, and this is one of them.

This 3D hologram video just makes me want to have a desktop like this.

When you’re not using it, it works as a desk lamp.

3D_Desktop4-1_image2

Bring the black curtain down so that the hologram can be seen more clearly in front of you.
There are tiny projectors installed, giving off 3D hologram in front of the curtain.

3D_Desktop4-1b_image2

3D_Desktop4-3_image2

3D_Desktop4-2b_image

A browser window can be resized by actually “pinching” and dragging the tab at bottom right.

3D_Desktop4-7_image

It would be fun if a document could be made as if you were using a typewriter. The curled paper hologram comes out of the keyboard.

3D_Desktop4-6_image

Touching the 3D objects would be really fun. Dragging, throwing, resizing, etc., but crushing paper to dispose it would be the most interesting.

3D_Desktop4-10b_image

You have to adjust the “depth” of the cursor on screen, so how about a mouse like this? By pressing the mouse body downwards, the cursor sinks (goes deeper) on screen. When you release it, it goes back to the default position (front).

3D_Desktop4-4_image
3D_Desktop4-5b_image

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See also a related post.


Trou – Hologram Projecting Flexible Mobile Phone Concept

This is the second idea I submitted for a future mobile design competition held last month. The theme was “Design the mobile phone of 2020″.

trou2_image2

trou_image1

The technology of holography is progressing day by day. In 10 years, I hope it will have already been developed for mass production and will of course used in our mobile phones. The area conventionally used for a display in a mobile phone will no longer need to be a screen with 3D projecters. Instead, it could be a hole, which allows another useful purposes.

trou_human_image1-2

At the same time, the materials used for the outer body of a mobile phone will become softer and softer. By successfully combine those attributes, there could be a mobile phone with a flexible vacant frame, which projects hologram in the vacant area.

When you have it in your hand, you can use it just as a conventional mobile phone except for the fact that what you see is 3D holography!

trou_human3_image
Because its frame area is flexible enough to let your wrist go through the hole, you can wear it around your wrist. A quick phone answering can be done while you are wearing it.

trou_human3-2_image

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3D projectors are located inside the flexible frame, which project dramatic holography.

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PHYDI – Physical and Digital Message

This is one of two ideas I submitted for a future mobile design competition held last month. The theme was “Design the mobile phone of 2020”.

We all know how great a touch screen is and the reason doesn’t have to be mentioned. But have you ever thought that a touch screen is a nightmare for the blind? You never know what you’re touching because everything is flat. All the information and status are on the screen, so a user has to take the device up from a pocket, touch the necessary buttons and see with his eyes even when he just wants to know if he’s got a single email or not. In the future, information is told in 3D or with something that a user can FEEL by touching or just seeing so that the above problems can be solved.

This PHYDI mobile phone is just that. The front face and the sides of a PHYDI transforms the shapes according to what information or status is expressed. It makes concavity and convexity on the surface. For example, the face can be customized with contoured graphics. It could be dressed up with a kimono-like graphic or it could have a concave clock so that a blind user can know the time.

The status is shown on its sides.
A convexity means a “+” notice, for example there’s an unread email message and unanswered phone call. For a negative status, for example, the battery running out soon or having a bad reception, a concavity appears at a certain location. With this function, you can know without even touching or looking at the phone if your current location has a good reception to talk on the phone, if the battery has to be charged and if you have unread emails or unanswered calls. You wouldn’t have to travel around a place to find a good spot to talk on the phone, taking a look at the small icon on the screen many times.

phydi_1
PHYDI’s front face (left) and back (right)

phydi_4
customized front look

phydi_2
an email notice

phydi_5
poor reception status (top) and running out battery status (below)

phydi_6
unread email message (top) and unanswered phone calls (below)

When a PHYDI is making a continuous movement, it means you have an imminent status to take action. For instance, when its surface is moving like a wave, you’re getting a phone call. The movement can be customized freely.

phydi_7
wave movement on the face for an incoming phone call

With its flexible surface, the information on the screen could be dramatically expressed. Even an email message could be on a protruded paper.
Your file management could be done in 3D. Open a folder to take out movies and photos in it just like you do in the physical world.

phydi_12
an email message

phydi_9
file management control in 3D

The biggest merit with this feature could be a 3D map. you can get a much greater feeling of locations with “heights” because in most cases, a landmark is something very high, which can be difficult to be expressed in 2D. Can you imagine how easy it would become to search where you are and which way to go with this function?

phydi_11
3D map

When you want to make your email message stand out, you can put an embossed present box on the screen. A calculator will be much easier to use if you can feel the keys. An RSS feed could be read on a book-like shaped surface. The curl on the bottom right corner means you have a next page to read, A flipping gesture takes you to the next page. A physical keyboard of course makes your texting faster!

phydi_16
email with a graphic image

phydi_17
calculator with embossed keys

phydi_10
RSS feed on a book-like surface

phydi_3
of course, keyboard

For advanced functions, there are limitless ideas to be realized that could never have been done with a conventional flat screen. For example, you can leave a hickey mark and handwritten message to send your love to someone! Text information could be rendered in braille for the blind. This might make even copy-and-paste possible for the blind people.

phydi_14
hickey mark with a handwritten message

phydi_13
text in braille

Touch&feel Tetris you want try? The control would be much more instinctively done.
An idle screen could be customized in dramatic ways. If you like gentle ripples on the water, just put it with heights. Try other textures such as fur, chocolate or even tatami mat!

phydi_15
tetris with embossed blocks to turn and move with your fingers directly

phydi2-12_image2
various customized idle screens

I’ll make a post of the other mobile phone design later.

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Funny USB Memory Sticks #5

Funny USB Memory Sticks #5
How about a USB memory stick that looks hungry when there’s no data in it?

Funny USB Memory Sticks #5
The inflated belly means the memory is full.

Funny USB Memory Sticks #5

Funny USB Memory Sticks #5
This one is different from the other previous ones.

Funny USB Memory Sticks #5
Plug it in a USB port and start pumping it, then on the screen, the icon scatters what’s in it.

Funny USB Memory Sticks #5
The harder you pump, the farther the icons travel.


Also visit the other series of this gadget.


Part1


Part2


Part3


Part4

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iAcqua

Maybe I’m into projector concepts.

It’s an iPhone stand with a transparent touch screen, speaker and projector.
Dock your iPhone at the top.

iAcqua- iPhone speaker, visualizer, projector

Tilt it slowly to either side and your photos, songs or movies start running one after another at random like water coming out from a fountain. Each image will disappear in a few seconds. You can touch a photo to see it, a movie to play and a music icon to play the song.

iAcqua- iPhone speaker, visualizer, projector

iAcqua- iPhone speaker, visualizer, projector

Now turn up the faucet and when the dish is full, the images will be spilled on the floor, which are actually projection from the stand. You can also tilt the stand to spill images little by little to a certain direction.
And now you can play with larger images.

iAcqua- iPhone speaker, visualizer, projector

When you play music, you can see the visualizer working. Spill the visualizer on the floor and you see “full-screen” projected visualizer!

iAcqua- iPhone speaker, visualizer, projector

iAcqua- iPhone speaker, visualizer, projector

behind the scenes
Behind the scenes on my Flickr
.

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Snowcorn: Another Sixth Sense Device Concept

It took a few days to render these images and while I was rendering them, I was surprised to see this demo at TED. The concept is almost identical! How nice!

bracelet with camera, projector and wifi

Mine’s a bracelet like flexible device with a camera, a projector and Wifi installed. You can also put it on anywhere on your cloth around your chest or neck.

bracelet with camera, projector and wifi

The transparent part is a screen to show basic function or the time. Customize it with the colors and style you like.
Complicated controls can be done in the projected UI.

bracelet with camera, projector and wifi
Scan a business card to add the person’s name and other information to your address book through wifi.

bracelet with camera, projector and wifi
Translate a word/phrase you’re not familiar with in a book.

bracelet with camera, projector and wifi
Look for a way to get to a station on a train map.

There could be a lot more ways to use this device, so I’ll make the posts later.

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Train Ceiling as Info Screen?

I want a navigation screen on a train that shows the exact location where the train is, not just “It’s now between station A and station B”.
It should also be seen clearly from almost everywhere even if the train is crowded. (In Tokyo it’s almost impossible for a stranger to know where she is on a crowded train if she misses one announcement.)
Is it the ceiling that is the most visible?

train info on the ceiling?

train info on the ceiling?

train info on the ceiling?

By the way, I’m now designing the calendar wallpaper for this month. Sorry for being late!

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Sign Language Interpreter

sign language interpreter
The camera captures the motion image of the speaker’s hand gesture. It translates it into an oral language and gives out the translated words.

sign language interpreter

sign language interpreter
(the camera capturing the image)

sign language interpreter

You can pre-choose what kind of voice you’d like it to speak in. I’ll pick up tat of George Clooney’s. 🙂

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Sketches

Before going to a new item, I dug a few sketches from my Moleskine.

single plate bookshelf
a bookshelf made of a single wooden board

single plate bookshelf
a desk made of a single wooden board

single plate bookshelf

green green
Mitsubishi and two other Japanese firms invented this foliage plant-like solar cell module by using organic thin-film solar cells. I thought it would be nice if there’s something good to look at and environmentally friendly in your room like this.

green green

green green

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Horizon

If we can build flexible OLED like this, we won’t have to worry about what size of a monitor you’ll buy any more.

future desktop concept

future desktop computer concept

future desktop computer concept

future desktop computer concept

Future Desktop Computer Concept

horizon

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Lifenote Personal Tablet

Lifenote Personal Tablet (PT)

Now I can tell one of the announcements I mentioned at the end of 2008.

Lifenote is an innovative technology development company based in Los Angeles, California. The company was founded in 2008 by two UCLA graduates who dreamed of a world free from paper clutter, and a learning environment that is more intuitive, productive, and collaborative.
They approached me for help in 3D molding last year, and I helped out mainly with the 3D mock designs, initial modeling and rendering of the Lifenote Personal Tablet, which is specialized for digital writing and viewing electronic documents. They were in CES 2009 to introduce this tablet as well as other great products, so some of you who visited CES might have known it already.

Anyway, it was a lot of fun creating mock designs of a REAL gadget. I hope I can do it again.

Lifenote Personal Tablet (PT)

Lifenote Personal Tablet (PT)

Please note that the copyright belongs to Lifenote, not me. So if you want to use the above image/s, please contact Lifenote.


Future Mobile Music Concept

Connect yourself with the outside world
Perfect music on the perfect spot at the perfect time

Future Mobile Music Concept

Body
Wear it around your wrist, just like a watch. It also works as a watch.
By default, it’s transparent, but when you want to make it stand out, just change the colors/patterns or use your favorite photo on the background.

Future Mobile Music Concept
The lucent screens are flexible to be transformed to a device you can put in your pocket.

Future Mobile Music Concept

Future Mobile Music Concept

Future Mobile Music Concept

Earphones
It changes your ears a concert hall.

Future Mobile Music Concept

Future Mobile Music Concept

Built-in microphone detects your voice (and humming).
Hear beat can also be detected with the built-in censor.
Sync with your mobile phone when you talk to someone on the phone

Future Mobile Music Concept

Future Mobile Music Concept
(Humming search technology is already available, I guess.)

Future Mobile Music Concept

Future Mobile Music Concept

Future Mobile Music Concept

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Lupa

Lupa
Lupa
Lupa
Lupa
Lupa
Lupa
lupa

“Lupa” is loupe in Spanish, Czech, etc.
It’s fun to design a mobile phone based on a certain concept.

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Wild Fold

With Samsung Flexible OLED, how we fold a mobile phone could be limitless especially if it could work as a touch screen.

pen-like folded phone?

pen-like folded phone?

pen-like folded phone?

pen-like folded phone?

slanted fold phone?

slanted fold phone?

slanted fold phone?

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