Wednesday, October 26, 2005

One day at the races

The problem with not having internet at home, is that I can't post as often as I have something to say, so I'll use this message to get my head free from some ideas. For months I've been trying to write about the fashion trend of the cube cars (as reported to me by Hooper). The cubic-cube is just horrible, maybe not as ugly as the "aztec" or the worst retro-try-out: the PT cruiser. Those cars are proof that there will always be customers for any kind of garbage. Those are the things that DON'T make me proud of being a designer, because many people think of them as "designer" cars.

Speaking of retro-garbage... Me and my big mouth! I was explaining about the cardboard races to the students, and showed them pictures of previous races. Well, one of the cars was a mustang, not the retro-mustang. I couldn't help to comment that I don't understand why Ford brought back one of the worst, most horrible models of mustang. I really hated those 70's cars when I was young. My dad had a red '67 or '69... I am not sure. Anyway, more or less from 75 on, all mustangs were just horrible. Typical american "lanchones" (big boats). They looked like a batmobile, they even had kind of fake fire launchers behind! Anyway, after my comment some of the students started to tease one guy because he's the "proud" owner of one of those new mustangs.

Last week I heard that many japanese manufacturers presented some alternative cars at AICHI. All those cars use alternative energies, not just hybrid cars. I have to check on that later to write some more about it. Or I could ask Jaimesan to send us some pictures of the show! Jaime just got a scholarship for a Ph.D. on automotive design in Japan. Congrats!

Last friday was the grand-prix "serie carton" 2005. I was worried about the weather, (with the hurricane*) but it was a fine sunny day. I managed to get some flags at abastos, and made some cardboard trophies the day before. We used the plaza in front of Tech's highschool (college) and all teams were there right on time. Look at the pictures on my yahoo albums... or read the story on the campus newspaper. *PS I still can't talk with my sister in law Gudrun who lives in CanCun... I hope they are OK.

First, a quick inspection at all cars. Not all of them met the exact specifications... some failed by a couple of cm... but with let them get away with that. Some of the teams came dressed according to their cars... like the baby stroller, they wore nappies... there was also a goth team, which was the winner of the best team, some fire-girls, etc.

This time there were 16 cars. So we made 3 hits, and selected 1st and second for the final race. But... we had a picture finish (we had the evidence on camera) on the second race... so we had two first places. Ramiro was the presenter, line judge, noise (trumpet sounds) maker, start/finish flag bearer, etc. Thanks! That gave me chance to be just camera-man.

The final race was exciting! The driver of "Caty monster" fell to the ground just in front of the finish line! They won the "si se pudo" (yet, we made it) award. The best design which was an old thunderbird was also 2nd place. It was all damaged from the elimination race, and yet they came 2nd. A VW won 1st place, but there was not one award for any of my students! I guess we will ask for a re-match next time. Mario-bros and Torito looked very well in design terms, but they didn't make it to the finals, I guess the drivers were hungry and weak! I'have to make sure they eat some chilaquiles next time.

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Thursday, October 20, 2005

Need 4 speed

This is the invitation to this year's grand prix. We'll be glad to see you there!

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Sunday, October 16, 2005


Next week will be the 3rd Grandprix "serie cart-on"... but I'll comment on that kind of competition later. Our friends from designtaxi just sent me their newsletter with loads of design competitions... check them out!

A highlight is the Charmant International Glass Competition from Designtope (Japan) I guess, I'll put that on my bookmarks because it seems they have constantly very nice challenges... and recognized jurors! (tip: use google language tools to translate from japanese).


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Saturday, October 15, 2005


Alejandro Limon suggested some of the students to explore the possibilities of manufacturing some of the cardboard chairs. I agree that at least two of them may be feasible to build and sell. So, Mariana approached me to ask about copyright, how to put a watermark on their pictures and in general about how to protect intellectual property without being sacked by the manufacturer or reseller. This issue is complicated and might take several posts, but I'll try to give you some tips.

Start by looking at the web site of the relevant intellectual property office in your country: IMPI , IPONZ, etc. They all have information about patents, trade marks, etc. Look in which category falls what you want to register... and think if you really need (or are rightfully accredited to get) a patent or if you only need to register your design. Some works do not even require registration to be protected, some others have limited protection, etc. This varies from country to country due to local legislation... but the main licensing is almost the same everywhere.

To show your design ideas to prospective manufacturers, clients, etc with some peace of mind, you might want to ask the other party to sign a "confidentiality agreement" or "non disclosure agreement" ... there are some templates available at , at patent cafe, or you can write your own, or google'it.

I recommend also to have a look at the intellectual property notices by creative commons... you can use those to protect specific parts of your work, and leave others to public use such as reproduction or modifications. You can choose the kind of restrictions or rights you wish to keep and give. Many authors are using such licences and there's also a search engine to look after work under each class for others to use and share. Great idea!

More on this subject later.

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Saturday, October 08, 2005


During our exhausting wednesday tour through the city, trying to get quotes from manufacturers. Raul and I found some clever company names... like this one I made up: Funny corporations -> fun-corpse. Japanese are clever making names like: Papero (parent personal robot)... what about : dormileon... or chilakillers! Runner up was "roto-cristales" If you know some clever name, throw me a line.

Speaking of clever names for stuff, Solidworks will be launching this month their 2006 version in Mexico. More info on their site.

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La silla

Finally! The cardboard chairs were ready last tuesday... here the pics. I hope that the animation works, because I tried several times to upload two of the motion models, and they still don't work. Anyway, I think that my students did a great job. It's not easy to combine structure, design and a bit of ergonomics into something nice.

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Wednesday, October 05, 2005


I received this invitation from designtaxi for a street exhibition and some workshops in Singapore next month.

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