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Design Entrepreneurship

Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 26 oct 2018

Sustainability is evolving into an essential component of fashion and design industry due to environmental concerns. The Brooklyn Fashion + Design Accelerator (BF+DA), a Pratt Institute (US) initiative, is a hub of ethical fashion and design, providing resources to design entrepreneurs, creative technologists and professionals to turn ideas into businesses. Debera Johnson, founder and ED of BF+DA, also established the Center for Sustainable Design Strategies at Pratt Institute and has been integrating sustainability into art, design and architecture programs. She says, 'There are really three things that we're focused on doing. First - redefining the fashion industry around the environment and society...Second - we have production facilities open to designers. Our goal there is to be a local resource for sustainable production and to help educate designers about how to implement strategies around efficiencies and sustainable supply chain...The third and probably the newest part of what we're doing is becoming a research and design center for the integration of technology into smart garments and functional textiles - and, most importantly, with the idea of sustainability alongside it.' Regarding consumer perceptions, she says, 'Consumers need to decide whether they're more interested in saving pennies or saving the environment. Products that are quality are going to cost more. We just have to decide where we stand...At BF+DA, transparency is a big piece of how we do storytelling...' Regarding coming together of technology and sustainability, she says, 'The digitalization is one of them. I also think that biotech is creating really interesting materials in laboratories and not farms...Then you also have things like blockchain to help with traceability...And there's also nanofibers.' Read on...

GreenBiz: Moving the needle: Toward a more holistic and ethical fashion industry
Authors: Lindsey Strange, Katie Ellman


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 28 apr 2018

For the betterment and growth of any local industry, it is imperative that global best practices should be emulated and, modified and customized based on the local needs. Pratyush Sarup, interior designer based in Dubai (UAE), provides key insights from Milan Design Week 2018 for Middle East region - (1) The Power Of Simplicity: Prefer clean lines and minimal materiality in design. An installation by American artist Phillip K. Smith III portrays simplicity principle with use of only one material - glass. Applied along clean angles and a humble curve, the reflective surface offered a kaleidoscopic play on light, form and structure. (2) Divine Expression: History, culture, folk tales, nature etc can be inspiration for design. A collection of chairs by designer Lara Bohinc sought inspiration from the skies above. Aptly titled 'Since the World is Round', the spherical form that characterises the collection is derived from gravitationally curved trajectories of planetary and lunar orbits. Dubai-based designer Talin Hazbar has previously turned to 'Kahf al Baba', a folk tale that originates from villages between Khor Fakan and Fujairah for a lighting collection. (3) The Circular Life Of Design: Understanding sustainability is necesssary for the continued growth of design market. Innovative waste management solutions to waste generated by the textile design industry is at the heart of 'Really', a Danish company. They debuted their latest invention, the 'Solid' textile board. Developed from upcycled end-of-life fabrics from the fashion and textile industries, it's potential was showcased via a range of products created by top designers such as Benjamin Hubert, Christien Meindertsma, Front (Sofia Lagerkvist and Anna Lindgren) and Raw-Edges (Yael Mer and Shay Alkalay). Designers can think about finding ways to repurpose waste into contemporary living solutions. (4) Join Forces: Collaboration is key to better outcomes. New York designer Lindsey Adelman and wallpaper maestro Calico (Rachel Cope and Nick Cope), as they were both working with similar surface techniques, decided to work together and presented a joint show 'Beyond the Deep' that explored the corrosive natural chemicals, like salt, to alter the appearance of surfaces. Coming together of diverse thought processes and creative expressions can fast-track creative economies. (5) Have Some Fun: Many top tier brands stepped away from their typical business-oriented presentations to explore alternative out-of-the-box ideas. Czech glass brand Lasvit took over Teatro Gerolamo, a 19th-century puppet theatre to present Monster Cabaret, its latest collection of accessories centred on mythical beasts, fantastical creatures and outcasts. Read on...

Gulf News: Milan Design Week - 5 takeaways for the region
Author: Pratyush Sarup


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 27 nov 2017

EDIT (The Expo for Design, Innovation & Technology), the 10 day event held in Toronto (Canada) showcased art, installations and projects, focused on innovation and design to build a sustainable future for the world. It included talks from David Suzuki, Ian Campeau (A Tribe Called Red), among others. Here are 5 selected ideas and innovations - (1) Prosperity For All: Curated by Canadian designer Bruce Mau, the main exhibit juxtaposed Paolo Pellegrin's photos of devastation throughout world, with people and inventions that are helping to combat issues such as famine, refugee crisis, smog and more. It highlighted Smog Free Project (Dutch artist and innovator Daan Roosegaarde's smog free bike that works to purify the air around you while you ride), The Ocean Cleanup (Boyan Slat's creation that intend to remove 50% of the trash found in Great Pacific Garbage patch in just 5 years) and many more. (2) Art With Purpose: Dennis Kavelman, an artist and tech investor, collaborated with the Digital Futures team at OCAD University (Canada) to create a piece of work inspired by Andy Warhol. Expiry Dates works in two phases - It compiles answers from an online questionnaire, measuring your life expectancy against a myriad of points such as your fitness level, whether you smoke, if you're married and more. Then you sit for a self-portrait, which you attach to a QR Code with all your data. In a few minutes your heartbeat appears on the big screen, taken from a reading from your eye, and then your portrait appears along with your predicted date of expiry. Another piece of the installation, titled That's Not Very Many, uses a magnetized digital board to break down those days in months. (3) The New Housing: Living sustainably means looking at where we live and providing affordable housing for all. Exhibit included Mickey Mouse's Home of the Future that was a fully functional shipping container created by students at OCAD. The One House Many Nations home was created by grassroots organization Idle No More, that seeks to provide affordable housing based on traditional indigenous ideas, and consists of two modules that link together, one dubbed shelter and the other service, that can be pieced together based on the family or individual's needs as well as the landscape in which they live. (4) The Future Of Fashion: Fashion Takes Action's Design Forward award was given to a sustainable fashion label Peggy Sue Collection (founded by Peggy Sue Deaven-Smiltnieks), a line of eco-friendly cotton and denim. (5) Waste No More: Keeping in mind the concept of feeding many with minimal impact, Waterfarmers created an on-site aquaponics exhibit to show how fish waste can be used to fertilizer food. The idea is to utilize water that is housing fish to then fertilize plants, providing protein and vegetables in a sustainable manner. Read on...

CBC.ca: 5 design innovations that just might change the world
Author: Michelle Bilodeau


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 27 oct 2017

India's future success will be defined on the basis of how its positive elements like demographic dividend, IT and software, manufacturing, agriculture, government initiatives (Make in India, Digital India, Skill India, Startup India) etc, gel together effectively and grow. Adding to all these, focus on research, design and innovation, will further propel creation and development of new and emerging technologies and concepts. Specifically, Indian auto industry does have R&D capabilities, but it is mostly driven by foreign collaborations and partnerships. Moreover, Indian operations of most foreign auto makers rely on their global development centers when it comes to technological innovations. But the dynamics of the industry are shifting, and companies are mobilizing resources and assets towards design and development also, in addition to manufacturing. The change is also visible in the electric vehicle segment with a strong policy focus. Recent conference organized by NASSCOM and Autocar Professional was directed towards discussing the design, R&D and technology based future of the industry. Sameer Yajnik, COO-APAC of Tata Technologies, says, 'Indian engineers, thus far, have brought together just a few parts of the jigsaw puzzle in terms of vehicle development, but this is set to be transformed. With EVs, ADAS, autonomous, connected cars, et al, there are a slew of technology-driven changes that need to be responded to and India is an excellent place.' Patrick Newbery, Chief Digital Officer of Global Logic, says, 'Design and engineering work best when coupled together, and the Indian start-up ecosystem has displayed a good show of that already...Amalgamating design and engineering, as well as with its ability to innovate and create as a response-stimulus to change, India holds a strong place in developing new future technologies, where even the US would be looking outside to outsource these innovative solutions. There is more likelihood of innovation coming out of such environment.' Current spend in automotive engineering and R&D of Europe is 35%, that of US is 25% and, India's is at 10%. This is expected to triple in next 3 years. Sanjeev Verma, CEO of Altran India, says, 'India holds a very important place in the whole jigsaw and especially can play a great role in designing passive safety and IoT systems...With the whole ecosystem springing up now, the next three to four years are going to be extremely transformational for the development vertical in the Indian automotive sector.' Commenting on design in India, Raman Vaidyanathan of Tech Mahindra says, 'Indian engineering is bound to be more frugal, compared to the rest of the world because of the country’s legacy in being cost conscious. This is very positive as it implies that a good quality product, designed and developed to a cost in India could be produced in the emerged markets, while the reverse is going to prove rather expensive.' The challenge of skilled human resources in design and engineering in India remains. NASSCOM has started a foundation course in integrated product development that has reached 1000 colleges since CY2015. Government, academica and industry has to come up with integrated strategies that need to be applied to upgrade the knowledge and skills of graduates coming out of technology institutes and ensure success of design, research and development in India. Read on...

Autocar Professional: Beyond Make in India - Design and develop in India now imperative
Authors: Sumantra B. Barooah, Mayank Dhingra


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 25 jul 2017

Technology is taking away traditional jobs from many industries. Even the workers in technology intensive graphic design sector face challenges from online artifical intelligence (AI) platforms that provide graphic design services. Canada-based Logojoy is one such platform providing personalized graphic services for small businesses, startups and entrepreneurs. It's AI platform is intuitive and mimics the process of working with human graphic designer. Dawson Whitfield, founder of Logojoy, says, 'The magic of Logojoy is the groundbreaking algorithm, user-friendly interface, and premium design ingredients. Logojoy has close to 1000 design rules built into its algorithm.' According to EY's recent 'Millennial Economy Report', 72% of new businesses do not have the funding for graphic design services. Mr. Whitfield adds, 'As a graphic designer, many of my clients were looking for budget solutions for their businesses, so this is when I realized I could help a lot of people in the start-up and SMB spaces with this software.' Read on...

ITBusiness.ca: The next job being eaten by AI: Graphic Design
Author: Mandy Kovacs


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 17 jun 2017

Innovation Showcase (ISHOW) by American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) is a hardware competition for socially minded projects. The purpose is to create awareness that hardware engineers too play a role in social innovation. K. Keith Roe, President of ASME, says, 'Our research showed a tremendous lack of support for hardware innovators seeking to enter global markets and make a societal impact.' Paul Scott, ASME ISHOW Director, says, 'From South America to West Africa to Southeast Asia, there are many talented folks that are changing paradigms with their work.' Currently, ASME ISHOW is held in US, Kenya and India. This year's American competition will be held on 22 June 2017. According to ISHOW website (thisishardware.org), 10 American finalists alongwith their projects are - (1) Hahna Alexander (SmartBoots: Self-charging work boots that collect status and location data and provide workforces in hazardous environments with actionable insights); (2) Jonathan Cedar (BioLite HomeStove: An ultra-clean cookstove that reduces smoke emissions by 90% and biomass fuel consumption by 50% compared to traditional open fire cooking, while also co-generating electricity from the flame to charge mobile phones and lights); (3) Matthew Chun (RevX: A transfemoral rotator that restores dignity to low-income amputees by enabling them to sit cross legged, dress themselves, get back to work, and more); (4) Shivang Dave (QuickSee: PlenOptika developed the QuickSee to disrupt the barriers to eyeglass prescriptions for billions of people worldwide so that they can get the eyeglasses they need); (5) Alexandra Grigore (Simprints: With a novel fingerprinting system, Simprints aims to create a world where lack of identity is never the reason why anyone is denied basic services in healthcare, education and finance); (6) Mary McCulloch (Voz Box: Millions of people, right now, are nonverbal. Current devices are too expensive and uncustomizable. The Voz Box is an innovative speech generation device that has customizable sensors and is affordable); (7) Erica Schwarz (Kaleyedos Imaging Device (KID): A revolutionary infant retinal imager that will empower neonatal intensive care units (NICUs) worldwide to decrease the incidence of visual impairment and blindness due to infant retinal disease); (8) Kenji Tabery (VeggieNest: Smart home gardening systems, and aims to address the growing market need for access to organic, affordable, and nutritious produce that enable global consumers to be food secure); (9) Team Sixth Sense (Team Sixth Sense: We have designed a system of sensor to attach to lower-limb prosthetics that works with NeoSensory's current technology to provide realtime vibrotactile feedback); (10) Quang Truong (EV 8 Cooler: Evaptainers creates low-cost mobile refrigerators that run on water. These are perfect for low income families who live off grid or cannot afford a conventional refrigerator). Read on...

Technical.ly DC: 10 engineers will showcase hardware's role in social innovation
Author: Nia Dickens


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 19 may 2017

According to design experts at 'ASEAN Creative Cities Forum and Exhibition' (Philippines), creative industry plays an important role in a country's economic growth. Some of the experts that participated include Prof. John Howkins (Author of the book 'The Creative Economy'), Nora K. Terrado (Chairperson, ASEAN 2017 Committee on Business and Investment Promotion-CBIP), Paolo Mercado (Nestle Philippines), Andrew Erskine (Tom Fleming Creative Consultancy), Katelijn Verstraete (British Council East Asia), Kenneth Cobonpue (Philippines), Anon Pairot (Thailand) and Colin Sean (Singapore). Ramon Lopez, Secretary of Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), says, 'The goal of the event is to channel these (creative) assets into innovation , employment, trade opportunities, and mobilizing it to drive each of the economies in the whole Southeast Asian region.' Rhea Matute, executive director of Design Center of the Philippines, says, 'We really are committed to develop the creative quotient of the Philippines...This is really an important opportunity by which our designers, our creatives, can branch out beyond our borders to have a more open system of having dialogue with our ASEAN partners in view also of the ASEAN integration.' Moreover, the event was also intended to initiate a movement to have at least one Philippine city to be a member of the UNESCO Creative Cities Network (UCCN). UCCN currently have 116 cities from 54 countries covering seven creative fields: Crafts and Folk Art, Design, Film, Gastronomy, Literature, Music and Media Arts. It's goal is 'to promote cooperation with and among cities that have identified creativity as a strategic factor for sustainable urban development.' Following are some takeaways from the forum: (1) Working in the creative industry is a lucrative career. (2) The road to success is challenging yet fulfilling. (3) Always look around you, and be original. (4) Standing up with your decisions. (5) Government plays a big role in developing the creative industry. (6) School plays an important role, too. According to Colin Seah, Singapore-based architect and Ministry of Design's Founder and Director, 'At the school level, I'm not saying you need to train everyone to be a creative but if you introduce design education at an early stage, then what you do is two fold - you unlock any potential for people who may be seeking these professions. Secondly, you train and educate people who will eventually become patrons and consumers...then it becomes a cycle. You have good creatives, and you get people who can pay for creatives.' Read on...

InterAksyon: ASEAN Forum - Creativity is the driving force in economic growth
Author: Romsanne Ortiguero


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 24 apr 2017

Among the many challenges that startups face during their early stage is that of hiring a first employee. With unspecific and variable requirements, and limited financial resouces, hiring a full-time employee could be a costly option. Autumn Adeigbo, ethical fashion advocate and founder of a fashion label, explains how first hiring or working with freelancers can be an optimum alternative for startups. It not only saves on costs associated with full-time employee, but also prepares the entrepreneur to select the best candidate in future based on specific needs. She shares 7 steps to successfully hire a freelancer - (1) Create A Job Description, Experience & Education Requirement: Be specific in creating a human resource document for every freelancer, advisor and intern needed during the first year of company's operation. (2) Work with an HR Mentor/Advisor: To obtain right guidance, get a mentor. Moreover, obtain information through articles and high quality content. (3) Source Your Talent: Use a combination of offline and online processes to reach out for the talent. Post requirements on focused websites and job boards, in addition to approaching your own network. (4) Interview The Candidates: Take time to prepare the questions to be asked. Browse their profiles diligently. Discuss specific requirements with the candidate. Seek for the right fit with balanced expectations. (5) Alert The Chosen Candidate & Sign Paperwork: Communicate to the selected candidate the period for which they would be needed initially and do the necessary paperwork. (6) Train The Candidate With Company Culture, Background, Rules & Expectations: Create a brand/company culture document to avoid ambiguity. Share brand's evolution. (7) Start Work & Review Their Early Performance: Observe and review the work and communication style for better understanding and working partnership. Read on...

Forbes: 7 Steps To Successfully Hiring Your First Freelancer
Author: Autumn Adeigbo


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 02 dec 2016

The rising tide of mobile devices brought with it the deluge of apps. As of June 2016, there were an overwhelming 4.2 million apps available on both the Google Play Store and Apple App Store. For an app to stand out among such a crowded app-place is not an easy task. Dima Rakovitsky, Founder and CEO of ROKO Labs, shares the following best practices for an aspiring app inventor - (1) Know Your Audience: Diligently figure out who will use the app and what problem will it solve; Focus on customer aesthetics based on the platform (iOS or Android) they use and design accordingly. (2) Validate Before You Build: Research the competitive market; Do customer surveys; Draw user flows; Professionally design the app and make a clickable prototype; Share it with potential users and seek suggestions and feedback. (3) Marketing And User Acquisition Plans: Make sure app has viral components; Create a marketing strategy supported with strong tactics; Have a marketing and advertising budget. (4) Make a Positive First Impression: It is key to acquiring and retaining users; Have a well-designed and memobrable app icon with short engaging description; To reduce churn rates, make sure your app is fast, intuitive and allows anonymous usage. (5) Easier is Always Better: Keep your app simple and accessible to everyone; Have understanding of UI (User Interface) and UX (User Experience). (6) Consistency Is Key: The app should look and feel cohesive; Have unified color scheme and consistent typography; Make sure your app takes advantage of the unique features and norms of each mobile platform, but still coordinates with your website. Read on...

Alley Watch: 6 Tips for Aspiring App Inventors
Author: Dima Rakovitsky


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 17 sep 2016

Researchers from Stanford University [Po-Chun Hsu, Alex Y. Song, Peter B. Catrysse, Chong Liu, Yucan Peng, Jin Xie, Shanhui Fan, Yi Cui] have developed a low-cost, plastic-based textile that, when woven into clothing, has the ability to keep the body cool more efficiently as compared to the natural or synthetic fabrics that are used today. The research was published in journal 'Science' titled, 'Radiative human body cooling by nanoporous polyethylene textile'. According to Prof. Yi Cui of Materials Science and Engineering, 'If you can cool the person rather than the building where they work or live, that will save energy.' The new material cools by letting perspiration evaporate through it, as fabrics normally do. But the other most innovative characteristic of the material's cooling mechanism is that it allows heat that the body emits as infrared radiation to pass through the plastic textile. Prof. Shanhui Fan of Electrical Engineering says, '40-60% of our body heat is dissipated as infrared radiation when we are sitting in an office. But until now there has been little or no research on designing the thermal radiation characteristics of textiles.' Researchers engineered the cooling material by blending nanotechnology photonics and chemistry to give polyethylene, the material used as kitchen wrap, a number of characteristics desirable in clothing material. It allows thermal radiation, air and water vapor to pass right through, and it is opaque to visible light. Prof. Cui says, 'If you want to make a textile, you have to be able to make huge volumes inexpensively.' According to Prof. Fan, 'This research opens up new avenues of inquiry to cool or heat things, passively, without the use of outside energy, by tuning materials to dissipate or trap infrared radiation.' Read on...

Stanford News: Stanford engineers develop a plastic clothing material that cools the skin
Author: Tom Abate


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 27 jun 2016

Women are more prominently visible in some professions, but not in all. According to the International Interior Design Association, 69% of the 87,000 design practitioners in the United States are women. But the dismal stat is that, only 25% of firm leaders are female. Although Zaha Hadid, Odile Decq and Jennifer Siegal have reached the top and inspired other women to walk in their footsteps, but there are challenges that women face to get there. Here are views of the four creatives that have worked hard to be leaders in design and architecture - (1) Nicole Hollis, Principal and Creative Director of NICOLEHOLLIS: CHALLENGES - 'Working on construction sites can occasionally be challenging...Also, getting out of my office and working together on site, rather than via email or phone, generates a lot of mutual respect.' OPPORTUNITIES - 'I believe that women have the same opportunities as men. Often having quiet determination and hanging in there during the tough times can be more of a factor than gender.' (2) Lisa Bottom, Design Principal at Gensler San Francisco: CHALLENGES - 'I learned early on that my proclivity for hard work would serve me well. I had to work harder than most of the men and ensure that all my delivered product was the best I could produce.' OPPORTUNITIES - 'The Co-CEO of Gensler, Diane Hoskins, is a woman. Our most recent Chairperson of the Board of Directors of Gensler, Robin Klehr-Avia, is a woman, and the Managing Directors of many of the Gensler offices are women. Gender is no longer the determining factor for success in a design career.' (3) Anne Fougeron, Principal of Fougeron Architecture: CHALLENGES - The challenge is to convince people that you are as capable as your male colleagues. There seems to be an underlying assumption that men understand and know more about construction than women!' OPPORTUNITIES - 'I think women are primed to take over and be the new emerging voice in the field of architecture...We must remember to always ask for what is rightfully ours.' (4) Kendall Wilkinson, Principal of Kendall Wilkinson Design: CHALLENGES - I never thought about being less or more because of my gender, I always knew that I had something to bring to any table, regardless of the audience.' OPPORTUNITIES - 'Doors are opening in so many areas related to design now. More and more, you are seeing women in construction be it electricians, project managers, or even general contractors...our industry is undergoing disruption which I think will lead to interesting new paths for both women and men.' Read on...

7x7: 4 Creative Women Taking the Lead in Design & Architecture
Author: Anna Volpicelli


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 30 may 2016

As the need for intensive and intermediate care increases, the hospitals must have spaces that can fulfil the requirement. The multi-organizational collaborative EVICURES project at Seinäjoki Central Hospital in Finland was undertaken to develop a new design model for future intensive and intermediate care needs. The result of research conducted by VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland on evidence-based design (EBD) and user orientation were applied to design work. Currently, there are no ICUs with single patient rooms in Finland. According to Kari Saarinen, Project Manager of the EVICURES project and Chief Physician at ICU of Hospital District of South Ostrobothnia, 'The international trend is that the need for intermediate care in particular is increasing. More and more demanding methods are being used for treating patients, and the share of elderly patients is increasing.' Regarding the project, he adds, 'The operations will be more cost-efficient and of higher quality, when the equipment and nursing staff are concentrated into one place. We also expect the solution to have remarkable effects on patient healing.' The hospital staff, management, patients and their families, the hospital district, and other cooperation partners participated in the design work. Tiina Yli-Karhu, Design Coordinator at Hospital District of South Ostrobothnia, says, 'A user-oriented approach was an essential foundation for the whole project. This way we can all together make the major change about to happen easier, when the nursing staff is moving from facilities for multiple patients to working alone in single rooms.' Using the Human Thermal Model tool, VTT performed questionnaire studies and measurements to evaluate the individual thermal sensation and comfort of both the staff and patients, that were utilized in HVAC design. Seinäjoki University of Applied Sciences used CAD methods to model a virtual space in accordance with the architectural drawing, which VTT utilised for improving user-friendliness. From this 3D model, VTT developed a Unity3D game for computer and tablet, allowing the staff to move around in the ICU facilities virtually and to experience realistic interactive care situations in the new working area in advance. Finland's first single-patient intensive and intermediate care and cardiac unit designed in accordance with this model will become operational in 2018. Read on...

VTT Research News: A new treatment room design model for future hospitals
Author: Nykänen Esa


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 22 apr 2016

To build human-like machines that can demonstrate ingenuity and creativity, the race is on to develop next generation of advanced AI (Artifical Intelligence). AI is already tackling complex tasks like stock market predictions, research synthesis etc, and 'smart manufacturing' is becoming a reality where deep learning is paired with new robotics and digital manufacturing tools. Prof. Hod Lipson, director of Creative Machines Lab at Columbia University, has embarked upon exploring a higher level of AI and develop biology-inspired machines that can evolve, self-model, and self-reflect - where machines will generate new ideas, and then build them. To build self-aware robots is the ultimate goal. Prof. Lipson explains, 'Biology-inspired engineering is about learning from nature, and then using it to try to solve the hardest problems. It happens at all scales. It's not just copying nature at the surface level. It could be copying the learning at a deeper level, such as learning how nature uses materials or learning about the adaptation processes that evolution uses...We are looking at what I think is the ultimate challenge in artificial intelligence and robotics-creating machines that are creative; machines that can invent new things; machines that can come up with new ideas and then make those very things. Creativity is one of these last frontiers of AI. People still think that humans are superior to machines in their ability to create things, and we are looking at that challenge.' He is working on a new AI termed as 'divergent AI', that is exploratory and involves creating many new ideas from original idea, and is different from 'convergent AI' that involves taking data and distilling it into a decision. ON SELF-AWARENESS IN AI: He says, 'Creativity is a big challenge, but even greater than that is self-awareness. For a long time, in robotics and AI, we sometimes called it the "C" word-consciousness.' ON AI IN MANUFACTURING: He comments, 'When it comes to manufacturing, there are two angles. One is the simple automation, where we're seeing robots that can work side-by-side with humans...The other side of manufacturing, which is disrupted by AI, is the side of design. Manufacturing and design always go hand-in-hand...When AI creeps into the design world through these new types of creative AI, you suddenly expand what you can manufacture because the AI on the design side can take advantage of your manufacturing tools in new ways.' ON TWO COMPETING SCHOOLS OF THOUGHTS IN AI: He explains, 'There's the school of thought that is top-down, logic, programming, and search approach, and then there is the machine learning approach. The machine learning approach says, "Forget about programming robots, forget about programming AI, you just make it learn, and it will figure out everything on its own from data"...I think the machine learning approach has played out perfectly, and we're just at the beginning. It's going to accelerate.' Read on...

Singularity Hub: The Last Frontiers of AI - Can Scientists Design Creativity and Self-Awareness?
Author: Alison E. Berman


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 29 feb 2016

According to World Health Organization (WHO), air pollution has become the world's biggest environmental risk, linked to over 7 million deaths a year. A global team of scientists (Farid Touati, Claudio Legena, Alessio Galli, Damiano Crescini, Paolo Crescini, Adel Ben Mnaouer) from Canadian University Dubai, Qatar University, and the University of Brescia (Italy), have developed a technology, known as SENNO (Sensor Node), that enables high-efficiency air quality monitoring, to help promote a cleaner environment and reduce the health risks associated with poor atmospheric quality. The technology promises to make air quality monitoring cost-effective. The research paper, 'Environmentally Powered Multiparametric Wireless Sensor Node for Air Quality Diagnostic', was published in Sensors and Materials journal. Prof. Adel Ben Mnaouer of Canadian University Dubai (CUD), says, 'Sensor networks dedicated to atmospheric monitoring can provide an early warning of environmental hazards. However, remote systems need robust and reliable sensor nodes, which require high levels of power efficiency for autonomous, continuous and long-term use...Our technology harvests environmental energy...it optimises energy use by the sensory equipment, so as to function only for the time needed to achieve the operations of sensor warm-up, sampling, data processing and wireless data transmission, thereby creating an air quality monitoring system that measures pollutants in a sustainable and efficient way.' Read on...

The Gulf Today: Dubai professor develops innovation to combat increasing air pollution
Author: NA


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 14 feb 2016

Make in India Week has now started in Mumbai and along with it India Design Forum (IDF) 2016 is developing strategies and advocating how a facilitating design environment and culture can be nurtured to enable growth of manufacturing. IDF is integrated into Make in India campaign's plan to demonstrate the potential of design, innovation and sustainability across India's manufacturing sector. Rajshree Pathy, founder of IDF, explains, 'Design is not merely about clothes, shoes, handbags and jewellery, as is commonly believed. Those are incidental. Design is, in fact, at the heart of the manufacturing process. It is not a 'thing', it is a way of thinking.' Satyendra Pakhale, an Amsterdam-based designer, citing Tata Nano's example says, 'It is a good example of Indian design, which combined engineering innovations with a careful consideration for the demands of the domestic market. In fact, one of India's most famous qualities - jugaad - is indicative of an innovative mindset.' According to Simran Lal, CEO of Good Earth, 'It's important that we bring rural design and India's rural design communities along on this journey.' Time is now ripe for India to upgrade to a design-driven manufacturing ecosystem, attract global investments, partner with global corporations and manufacture for the world, but without losing the focus on serving the needs of the large local market. Read on...

The Indian Express: Make in India Week - Putting design at the heart of manufacturing
Author: Pooja Pillai


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 31 jan 2016

Good designers often seek a balance between comfort and fashion while designing their clothes. They design to improve human lives. For most people jeans provide comfort and also fulfil their fashion quotient. Professor Elazer Edelman, a cardiologist and director of Harvard-MIT Biomedical Engineering Center, is going a step further and utilizing scientific approach to create 'FYT Jeans', that are designed for health and comfort. These jeans, developed in collaboration with designers from Portugal, are particularly suited for people who sit for long hours, like office workers. Initially the project was targeted for wheelchair dependent people, to provide them safe clothes. According to Prof. Edelman, 'There are a variety of modifications to the design around the knee...The zipper on the back is a very important and innovative design.' FYT Jeans don't bunch up behind the knee. He further adds, 'It's extra material, extra pressure. It's uncomfortable and it can actually be unsafe. It's everything from a little irritation to when people have diabetes or poor circulation, developing sores that never heal.' While explaining the future of healthy clothings, he says, 'You could certainly embed all kinds of sensors in them, and you could even give something, or embed something that was itself therapeutic.' Read on...

CBS Local: MIT Professor Designing Jeans Made For Sitting
Author: Kathryn Hauser


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 29 dec 2015

Although Business Intelligence (BI) and Big Data Analytics (BDA) are being successfully utilized for incremental innovation, but they are insufficient to provide breakthrough innovation, which is more challenging and requires uncovering latent needs, or even creating needs and meaning. Soren Petersen, author of the book 'Profit from Design', and Finn Birger Lie (Co-founder and Chairman of Northern Analytics AS), explains how combination of BDA and Small Data (SD) when integrated at the early stages of new product development process can create breakthrough innovation. The conventional design process includes steps that combine analysis and synthesis, prototyping, testing and learning to create unique and valuable insights. While more advanced design processes, like Design Thinking, include an element of design research or Design Science Research, to enable design teams gain better understanding of the current and future market, and technologies, leverage this knowledge, and then create roadmap that includes the concurrent building of new capabilities that assist them to design future offerings. Mr. Petersen says, 'Innovation is often ambiguous. The 'Market-Technology Risk Matrix' provides a useful mapping of new ventures and offerings according to their position in the market (Recognized Needs, Clarifying Needs and Realizing Needs) and their technology level (Current Technology, Applied New Technology and Development of New Technology). Different combinations of Big Data Analytics (BDA) and Small Data Analytics (SDA) may prove more productive, depending on where design identifies insights within the Market-Technology Risk Matrix.' With grounded research and vertical thinking, BDA can support incremental innovation, while through lateral thinking, SDA can utilize a combination of hypothesis and grounded research to support breakthrough innovation. Read on...

Huffington Post: Creating Breakthrough Innovations Through Design With Big and Small Data Analysis
Authors: Soren Petersen, Finn Birger Lie


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 18 dec 2015

Although government of UK states that the creative industries in the country now equal £76.9 billion per year, and the design sector seeing the biggest growth. But there is another debate brewing in UK regarding the condition of design and creative education. According to John Sorrell, founder of London Design Festival and Creative Industries Federation, 'Schools in UK saw a 50% decrease in students taking design and technology GSEC (General Certificate of Secondary Education) subjects in the 10 years leading upto 2013, and 25% drop in other craft-related GCSEs between 2007 and 2013.' He says that the government is reducing investments in creative education that would eventually lead to inadequate development of the next generation of creative talent. He explains, 'It is the government's calling card everywhere in the world...it's this amazing work we're part of which makes Britain so loved by the rest of the world - our creativity.' He further adds, 'If we can get our act together and work together we can take advantage of the opportunities in international development that certainly China is going to be doing in the next 20 years.' Similar sentiments were recently voiced by this year's London Design Medal winners, Edward Barber and Jay Osgerby, who said 'UK government doesn't value the role of creativity.' Another angle to this debate was provided by inventor James Dyson, who criticized the UK government's steps regarding the foreign students to return home after completing their education. This immigration plan will threaten UK's status as a global design and architecture center. Read on...

dezeen: Design education in the UK is being "marginalised" says John Sorrell
Author: Dan Howarth


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 13 dec 2015

It has been observed in many cases that science fiction writers have talked about products that became reality later on. For example earbud headphones were first mentioned by Ray Bradbury in his classic novel 'Fahrenheit 451'. Emphasis on technological development and advancement is also part of economic agendas of many nations. Japan is one country that gives siginificant importance to merging technology with social and economic development. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his economic roadmap, often termed as 'Abenomics', puts technologies like Internet of Things (IoT), big data, robotics and artificial intelligence (AI) at the core of his revitilization strategy. Japan leads the world with its strength in robotics by bringing out the first personal robot 'Pepper'. But the robot lacks the expected intelligence as it couldn't pass the Turing Test which is a benchmark in AI to determine how close the machine thinks like humans. Although Japan's strength in industrial robotics is visible but it lags the advancements in IoT, big data and AI. According to Prof. Mitsuru Ishizuka of Waseda University and University of Tokyo, 'Japan is considerably behind the United States in 'deep learning', a central technology in AI, although the country is working hard to catch up...These companies (Google, Facebook, IBM etc) can invest big money in AI and add the resulting new values to their services. In Japan, there are much smaller companies with specific AI technologies.' IBM developed Watson, an AI computer, and over the years it has evolved into multiple applications. The computer's core framework reflects human decision-making (observe, interpret, evaluate, decide) but its data crunching abilities are incomparable. William Saito, Japanese entrepreneur and professional cook, utilized Watson to prepare some unique recipes. Citing Watson's strengths in IoT, big data and AI, Mr. Saito comments, 'Combine Watson with a refrigerator, for instance. You go to your refrigerator and it gives you a recipe based on the food in the fridge prioritized by expiration date.' Japan's focus on creating cyborgs (humans with mechanical parts) is also understandable considering its ageing population and growing need for assisted living. Toyota is collaborating with Stanford and MIT on technologies with emphasis on creating automobiles that assist the driver for safer travel, contrary to the approaches of Google and Tesla Motors that are working on driverless cars. Mr. Saito believes that Japan has to come out of its 'Galápagos Syndrome' and strike a balance between logic and creative thinking and move from electro-mechanical robotics to thinking and self-learning machines. Prof. Masakazu Hirokawa, AI researcher at University of Tsukuba, expresses similar views on Japanese model that focuses more on technology that addresses social issues and is less about creating global solutions. He comments, 'We have the hardware to be able to do it, but the important thing is developing the software...I'm trying to create algorithms that help robots learn and predictively determine what and how humans want them to act through experience-based inferences.' Read on...

JapanToday: Artificial Intelligence - Can Japan lead the way?
Author: Richard Jolley


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 29 nov 2015

The fast-paced world of fashion and related consumption leads to generation of large amount of waste that leaves a substantial ecological footprint. According to the nonprofit GrowNYC, in the city of New York the average person throws out 46 pounds of clothings and textiles every year (totals 193000 tons for NY). While Council for Textile Recycling found that US generates 25 billion pounds of textile waste per year (82 pounds per person) and estimates that it will increase to 35.4 billion pounds by 2019. But only about 4 billion pounds (15%) gets donated and recycled and the remaining reaches landfills, contributing 5.2% to all trash generated in US. Elizabeth Cline, author of the book "Overdressed: The Shockingly High Price of Cheap Fashion", says 'There is so much waste being created and that has changed really dramatically in the last 15 years with the rise of fast fashion and disposable consumption.' Adam Baruchowitz, CEO of Wearable Collections, which coordinates textile recycling in partnership with GrowNYC, acknowledges the increasing rise in textile waste. While Nate Herman, VP of international trade at American Apparel and Footwear Association, have a contrarian view and explains 'People are actually buying less than they did 10 years. While there has been a lot of press about [wastefulness], the numbers don't bear that out.' But he acknowledges that the industry is trying to effectively handle the clothing's end-of-life issues. Some companies provide small credit to consumers who trade-in used garments, while others donate used clothings to charities. Some companies provide support and contribute to the recycle programs where used textiles end up in producing materials used in other industries like insulation in buildings. Moreover, there are a number of startups that are working to give a second life to used clothings. A small number of fashion companies are also incorporating recycled materials in their new line of clothings. Eco-friendly strategies are considered costly by the industry. According to Jill Dumain, director of environmental strategy at Patagonia, 'It's an industry-wide dilemma, for sure, on how do we do something at scale that the industry can participate in...The end result is that you have smaller-scale production that ends up to be more expensive.' She suggests that awareness about recycling is necessary and at the same time there need to be a thinking among consumers not to treat clothes like a cheap disposable item. Slow fashion might be the way forward. She further explains, 'I do think consumption is a big part. People need to learn how to buy less and companies need to learn how to be profitable in selling less.' Read on...

CBS News: Is the fast fashion industry ready to change its wasteful ways?
Author: Michael Casey


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 29 oct 2015

User experience is one of the most critical factor to be considered while designing a product or service. Great designs make customers feel good, enjoy and above all fully utilize the desired functionality of the product or service for their benefit. Scott Sundvor, co-founder of 6SensorLabs, explains that there are generally two schools of thought in the product design process - 'Design-First' approach, that promotes the process of initially designing look and feel of the product and then make engineering fit that design, and the other is 'Engineering-First' approach, in which the engineering aspects of the product are considered first while the industrial design works under constraints of the engineering specifications e.g. hardware, components etc. Apple generally applies the design-first approach and gives substantial importance to the aesthetics of the product, and of course without compromising on the engineering. Mr. Sundvor suggests that startups and companies with relevantly less funds as compared to Apple can find success by following the engineering-first approach. They should focus on the utility of the product i.e. providing better usability and functionality. Hardware startups that pursue crowdfunding to generate capital often sell products with a different initial industrial design while ship something else. This generally happends due to lack of convergence of engineering and hardware aspects with the industrial design. In other cases it might happen that original industrial design was not manufacturable or the cost to manufacture it was too high. Startups and companies on low budget can avoid such problems by focusing first on making the product work and then create aesthetic aspects of industrial design around it. Engineering team and industrial design firm should work together closely. Product leader should be created within the product/engineering team to coordinate collaboration between the two and should gather feedback from all sources including user's perspective and engineering constraints. The selection of the right industrial firm could be a challenge and should be done by doing thorough research based on budgetary constraints, product requirements and the design firm's capabilities. Once the selection is made product/engineering team should pitch their product vision and specifications to the industrial design firm. The design firm should be convinced regarding the long-term viability of the product. To raise funds after this would depend on the high-quality prototype design that comes through a partnership with the design firm. Startups should be prepared to spend right amount of money to create this prototype and if they don't have much funds they should consider giving equity to the design firm. This is the critical stage of product development and startups shouldn't shy away from pulling all the strings to get a good design firm to work on their product vision and specifications. Read on...

ReadWrite: Which Came First - Product Utility Or Design?
Author: Scott Sundvor


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 19 jul 2015

Wikipedia article on 'Emotional Intelligence' explains it as, 'The ability to recognize one's own and other people's emotions, to discriminate between different feelings and label them appropriately, and to use emotional information to guide thinking and behavior'. The article further categorizes EI into three models - (1) Ability Model (by Peter Salovey and John Mayer): Focuses on the individual's ability to process emotional information and use it to navigate the social environment. (2) Trait Model (by Konstantin Vasily Petrides): Encompasses behavioral dispositions and self perceived abilities and is measured through self report. (3) Mixed Model (by Daniel Goleman): A combination of both ability and trait EI. It defines EI as an array of skills and characteristics that drive leadership performance. While most people may believe that innovation and creativity are born traits and might not have any connection with EI, but Harvey Deutschendorf, author and EI expert, explains that EI plays an important role in innovative and creative thinking. He outlines 7 common EI-related traits that innovators have - (1) Innovators have their ego in check. (2) Emotionally intelligent people are confident, not arrogant. (3) They are continually curious. (4) They are good listeners. (5) They don't let their emotions affect their innovation efforts. (6) They can take direction. (7) They empathize with co-workers and customers. Read on...

Fast Company: 7 HABITS OF INNOVATIVE THINKERS
Author: Harvey Deutschendorf

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