Tuesday, June 27, 2006

A terrifying message

It's ironic that we are freezing here because of global warming. Trust me, our kitchen is all day at 10 deg celsius. That is one of the reasons I do not like chindogus or kitsch products... I see them as a waste of resources, energy, materials... and they not only pollute when thrown away, think about the pollution caused in vain to move the machinery to make them or transport them to the stores. I believe that as designers we do have a responsibility to create products to enhance the quality of life, by making useless inventions we are only creating more problems. Here the trailer for the movie: an incovinient truth.

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Thursday, June 22, 2006

World c.u.p.

Some time ago I wrote about the "pee goal". Now with all the futballmania these days, they became a trendy gadget. Even ponchito virtual talked about them! But how about an electronic pee-goal? Well, they feature those at the game show "distraction". Everytime a contestant wants to ring the buzzer to answer a question, they have... well, do a little wee to activate the buzzer. Problem is, to control it for next question. Can you say "parangaricutirimicuaro" backwards?

If we combine both technologies, maybe we'll get a patentable interactive soccer game. Imagine playing penalty shots against pee-soccer-players all over the world, at distant bars and stadiums. Online-pee-goals could be interconnected through the internet. Who knows, maybe even use web cams to re-play the best shots. That would make a great innovation idea for the goober brothers. By the way, I don't know if I should congratulate the mexican soccer team for making it to the next round when they passed by loosing. Maybe Omar Bravo needs to train his aim on a pee-goal.

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Monday, June 19, 2006


Metropolis is a quite interesting game by drakon.com.ar Basically, you have to build a city using the colour blocks. The catch, is that all buildings have to match the elevation views: north, east, west, south. So, it's a good excercise to practice your basic ortographic view skils. Enjoy.

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Sunday, June 18, 2006

A do belive

I don't get paid for adversting, but I do believe, there may be readers interested in this:

Adobe Live it's a free two-day conference and exhibition packed with tips and techniques, as well as industry experts you can learn from and people just like you showcasing their latest work.

Join your creative comrades in arms and see how together we are revolutionising the creative industry.

Register now for Auckland or Sydney at

Exhibition times:
Day one: 9am-7pm
Day two: 8am-6pm
Conference times:
Day one: 10am-7pm
Day two: 9am-5.30pm
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Friday, June 16, 2006

Reality designers

Of course you all know reality TV shows like big brother, survivor, beauty and the geek, etc. There are also "reality fashion design shows" like top-models and project runnway. But, have you heard about a "reality industrial design show"? Actually, I would call it "reality chindogu design"... in fact, I use examples from that show to show my students exactly what they ARE NOT suposed to do. The show it's called " let's get inventin' " and of course it's totally about kiwi ingenuity (in other words: Rednecks in other countries solve their problems with duct tape, kiwis solve theirs with No.8 wire).

The idea of encouraging youngsters to invent something is a very good one. I have nothing against encouraging creativity... but not at the expense of causing a false impression of how design should be done. If children start to believe that a lazy-boy couch with a rocket, glasses (spectacles) with fake x-ray vision, an in-car coffee machine, a gadget that stops kids being scared of that horrible noise the bath makes when you let the water out, and a crayfish pot designed to stop people pinching your catch, are patentable ideas... we are soooooo doomed!

Again, there is a cultural problem with all that. In Mexico we all have seen the "inventions" of Dr. Chunga, and everyone knows, that those inventions are just chindogus... nobody would expect to find those products in any store, despite their ingenuity, we all know those are not serious products. However, kiwis do not have a Dr. Chunga or Professor Gesundheit to teach them about German design. We have the Goober Brothers showing kids how to build kitsch, chindugu and other products to fill the design garbage taxonomy.

A couple of weeks back, Better by Design (a kiwi organization to promote design led business) featured an article about furnware's Bodyfurn chair which won a design innovation award. It's really sad to see that design awards are like the Oscars... the best movie is not actually the best movie, but the blockbuster that sells more millions. I mean, just look at the chair! in terms of aesthetic composition is just terrible! and what is with those plastic things to make the legs square? That is a technical contradiction that was solved in a bad manner. I know that it compromises the stability of the chair, but Hellouuu! that is why it is called a technical contradiction. And don't get me started on formal language... and those are the grown-ups designers.

Solving design problems and techinical contradictions cannot be done by "ingenuity" or "intuition" or be solved using nr. 8 wire or duct tape. It requires advanced techniques like triz, qfd, morphological matrix, etc... Objects as simple (or as complicated) as a chair, cannot be designed like it used to be, just by sketching and prototyping. They require in depth user centered design and consistent systematic design methods to develop real innovations.

Products in our modern life are not just objects to satisfy one need. They have to be "state of the art" objects. That means, the way they are developed has to be state of the art too. The design process is not just putting parts together using duct tape (or silicone guns) to build a motorised picnic table or a hover board. Summarising, it is a good idea to introduce kids to design and innovation using a TV program. But there's also the responsibility to show them how to do things right: 1 -starting by getting materials from real industry suppliers, not from the warehouse! 2- Chindogus like those from Goober Brothers or Dr. Chunga are not acceptable or patentable products, and 3 - children learn from what they see... if you give them the wrongful idea that chidogus are OK, they will grow believing that those kind of objects are "world class innovations and good examples of kiwi ingenuity". Just like Jaime used to say "trash comes in, trash comes out". Great idea to make a reality show about design... but please, people from TVNZ and the Minister of Economic Development, please choose carefuly the projects featured on that show to give good examples, not bad examples.

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Thursday, June 15, 2006

competitive edge

Here are some interesting competitions. Of course you all know the Peugeot concept cars competition. I didn't like so much the last winner, but hey! those cars are not going to be in the market for a while. Then, there's this international bycicle design competition (endorsed by ICSID) beware, it's open until mid august! Have a look at the past winners, I've seen the last one for sale on some malls, maybe your ideas could become a "seller" too.

Here are some "long gone" competitions... it's a good idea to look at the winners of competitions. For example, what do you think about this city lights poles for the city of New York? or this train station? However, there's still time to enter this bamboo living competition. Sounds like a project for sustainable practices.

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Saturday, June 10, 2006

A maze ing

Hopper recommended this japanese flash games by eyezmaze... and I can only endorse them aswell. By the way, if you find a nice (free to re-use) game in spanish, let me know. I want to replace 2 or 3 of the games we feature at our mexican site. Meanwhile, enjoy the Fussball WM! The "cuerpo tecnico" girl, reminded me one of the promotional videos that my students at Monterrey did for their design of fitness equipment.

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Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Lola rennt

Thanks to Aguazumaki, a tec student and usual reader of this blog, for these 4 videos of the "serie cart-on 2006" cardboard cars race. Just click on each picture to open a you-tube video. This time there were reporters from a couple of local newspapers, maybe next time it will be featured on local TV! By the way, Alejandro: if you like, I can send you a pdf with a layout for next year's trophies, he, he.

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Sunday, June 04, 2006

Serie Cart-on 2006

Alejandro Limon sent me (a little bit late) some pictures of this year's cardboard cars race at ITESM campus Guadalajara. I am glad that they kept doing this activity. This year there were only 10 teams, but I was impressed by the quality of their cars. My favourite is of course the John Deere tractor for obvious reasons.
Congratulations to all LDI!

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