Maker Faire Africa is on!

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After several months of anticipation, the first ever African installment of the Maker Faire technology conference is underway, in Accra, Ghana.

Coverage so far is a bit scattershot (the Maker Faire Africa website was down as of the writing of this post update: the site is up again, and sports some profile of participating makers, a frequently updated blog, photos, and a feed from the event’s Twitter stream), but there are some tantalizing early posts on Afrigadget , including the results of a 30 minute design challenge using repurposed plastic water bags, and a solar-powered food dryer of Kenyan design. A MFA photostream has been set up on Flickr as well, and should be filling up as the conference progresses.

Ghana’s been playing host to some other locally-sourced design events as well. The 2009 International Development Design Summit just wrapped up in the inland city of Kumasi, a five week conference and workshop, developing projects ranging from low-cost batteries to more efficient rice threshers:

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At the high end of the gee-whiz spectrum, MFA will also see some of the first field-testing of the FLAP bag project, a collaboration between SF-based bagmaker Timbuk2, and the non-profit Portable Light. Introduced at last year’s Pop!Tech conference, FLAP (Flexible Light And Power) is an experiment incorporating solar panels into a typically sized messenger bag, allowing it to charge electronics via an integrated USB cable.

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There’s a long history of well-intentioned high-tech failing in the developing world due to lack of infrastructure, but FLAP seems to be proceeding in a cautious and well thought-out way, seeking feedback on their products among early adopters in potential target markets before undertaking wider distribution. We’re curious to see what the tech-savvy Ghanaian makers make of it.

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Harry Allen x Johnson Johnson: First Aid Kit and Panel

by Tisha Leung

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Winner of I.D. magazine’s best packaging design in their
Annual Design Review
, industrial designer Harry Allen’s take on Johnson & Johnson’s ubiquitous first aid kit reshapes it into a modern figure-eight form. The design stands on end for easy storage, has a built-in handle for quick grab-and-go, and makes for the slimmest profile possible, with the recognizable red cross front and center.

To learn more about the collaboration, an upcoming panel discussion at Material Connexion brings the NYC-based Allen, Chris Hacker, chief design officer at Johnson & Johnson, and I.D. editor-in-chief Jesse Ashlock together. Other topics include material innovation and the business of design, followed by a Q & A session. Attendees will also have the chance to check out the First Aid kit in person at the I.D.’s Design Review exhibit, which is showing at Material Connexion’s gallery and has been extended through 8 September 2009.

Pick up the kit online from Drugstore.com,
Target
and Diapers.com. (Prices range from around $18-26.)

Harry Allen, Johnson & Johnson and I.D. Magazine in Conversation
8 September 2009, 6-8:30pm

Material Connexion Showroom

60 Madison Avenue, 2nd floor

New York, New York 10010
map

tel. +1 212 842 1509
RSVP: rsvp [at] materialconnexion [dot] com

Katz’s clock: I’m a fan

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Latvian designer Stanislav Katz’s brilliant Fan Clock says “Coming Soon” on his website, and we hope that’s true.

Katz is the principal of his eponymous interior/industrial design firm based in Riga, Latvia. Their mission:

…To deliver creative and provocative ideas in form of attractive objects that could make our life a bit more colorful and less boring. We consider the main problem of today’s society to be patterned thinking which holds people from broadening their horizons and leads to all sorts of oppression–therefore we try to change the situation by creating objects and interiors that are able to inspire people making them see the usual imagery in some new perspectives. We believe that good design apart from everything else should not leave one unconcerned.

I’m definitely concerned about when that clock is coming out because I want one!

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Amsterdam International Fashion Week Spring/Summer 2010: Ontfront

image Initially started in 2005 as a platform for young designers and artists, Ontfront didn’t take long to get swept up by the fashion scene. The line found its niche in a creative and functional fusion of urban streetwear and professionalism known as Sidewalk Tailoring. Nowadays, Ontfront is a statement and huge success within the Amsterdam fashion and club scene. National and international fashion-forward celebrities like Emmy Award nominated DJ Diplo and Musiq Soulchild are dressed in some of their designs. For the Spring/Summer 2010 collection that Ontfront showed at the Amsterdam International Fashion Week, they continued to impress with the theme “Tonight is the Knight,” which was evident by their brawny statures and iron gloves. The diverse collection was said to be inspired by the brave medieval knight, with the sophistication of comfortable heroism for the modern-day cavalier. With a collection of fitted tees and polos, button-down shirts and tailored suits, the designs certainly broke the mold of modern menswear with its fresh and edgy details. Check the slideshow for pictures of Ontfront’s stylish knight parade!

view slideshow

Leica brings camera customization to an extreme level

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Camera manufacturer Leica’s new “a la carte” ordering system means you can trick your Leica out in the manner of a car, albeit with slightly more options–around 4,000 different configurations.

CLDFX tested the possibilities:

Choose your type of camera, you can either choose the Leica M7 or the Leica MP which is completely manual and independent of battery power.

From here everything is possible, one can choose between 3 different surface finishes, whether one likes the classic vintage engraved top cover or not, if the controls should be chrome or black.

The 6th step probably has the most eye catching result, here you pick the leather cladding, Leica offers 13 different materials and colors from red over to an awesome black lizard look.

After having chosen the body it’s time for the viewfinder magnification, most interesting for people wearing glasses and the bright-line frame sets. The last part deals with the personal engraving.

via design you trust

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Etch-a-Sketch 3D

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o2 Creative Solutions is an “experience design firm” that seeks to combine design, communications and technology. Up above is their Etch-a-Sketch-inspired Sketch-3D tool:

Sketch-3D is an interactive, integrated software/hardware system that enables users to create their own anaglyphic 3D drawings. By using a ubiquitous interface metaphor (the “Etch-a-Sketch”), Sketch-3D allows anyone to participate in generating stereoscopic imagery in a way that is simple and engaging. In addition to the personal experience, Sketch-3D can be scaled to work with any output device from large scale projection to plasma displays to an integrated LCD. This versatility allows for Sketch-3D to be tailored to fit a wide array of installation environments.

No word on how to erase it, but we’re guessing you have to get two people to rip it off the wall and shake it vigorously.

via diskurdisko

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Starbucks Barista machine teardown

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To those of you who’ve worked on consumer products before, this will be old hat; but to the rest of you, have you ever wondered what goes inside, say, an espresso machine?

iFixit goes outside the box by getting inside a Starbucks Barista machine, which contains a surprising amount of wires all vying to bring you the perfect cup of espresso.

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No Days Off

No Days Off est un collectif de designers installé à Londres et dont les activités sont variées. Du print au web, le studio a travaillé aussi bien pour des labels indépendants que pour des institutions culturelles avec toujours un point commun : répondre au mieux à la demande du client.



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Previously on Fubiz

The PaperVillain by The Functionality

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Designers The Functionality have built a canopy constructed from 2,452 newspaper hats. (more…)

Peter Belangers Magazine Cover Walkthrough

It has been a long week for this writer, so let’s make this a two movie day, okay? We turn to this fun video by freelance photographer Peter Belanger about shooting the cover for the most recent issue of Macworld. He takes us, thankfully in time-lapse, through all the interesting parts of creating a cover image that features a couple of new iPhones resting peacefully (he mentions that he, again thankfully, decided to leave out things like “the cover meetings and rounds of layout options”). It’s a quick bit of fun, but also a nice look into how much effort goes into this stuff:

New Career Opportunities Daily: The best jobs in media.