Category Archives: Design

Urban Life Special: Small Homes and Smart Transit

On today's podcast, Nora Young talks about Ordine, from Italian design studio, Adriano (via Core77). It's a smart solution for people who don't need an oven, and don't want to dedicate full time real estate to a stove top. The Ordine burners hang on the wall when not in use. Simply put them on the counter when you're ready to go. They use induction heating, (they refer to it as an "induction hub") so you don't have to worry about blazing hot burners sitting out on your counter. See pics and other smart home designs here. So, you have your small urban space, how are you going to get around in our increasingly crowded cities? Romanian company, Carpii has the 4ciclet, a four-wheeled bike/Segway sort of thing designed for covering relatively small distances (via New Atlas). You 'pedal' the 4ciclet using a couple of treadles with your feet while standing, so it doesn't require the same effort as conventional cycling, suggesting its use for older people. See videos here. [iframe style="border:none" src="//html5-player.libsyn.com/embed/episode/id/8855918/height/100/width/480/thumbnail/no/render-playlist/no/theme/standard/tdest_id/237069" height="100" width="480" scrolling="no" allowfullscreen webkitallowfullscreen mozallowfullscreen oallowfullscreen msallowfullscreen] Download MP3

Next Gen Hydroponics and Brand Mascot Hotels

Hey there! We are back! This time, Nora Young talks about "aeroponics": a sort of next gen hydroponics where the plant roots are just dangling out in the air, nourished by nutrient-rich misters (via Modern Farmer). You can even "plant" them vertically. Whole new potential for a plant wall! Nora also mentions the fine folks at Normative Design in Toronto, and their smart and engaging series on Design + AI. Cathi Bond talks about this PSFK article exploring how brands are starting to use cartoon characters and mascots in real world physical experiences, such as hotels and cafes; examples include a Toy Story hotel, and a Hello Kitty cafe. The aesthetic is colourful, childlike and plastic-y. What's up with that? We have some theories!   [iframe style="border:none" src="//html5-player.libsyn.com/embed/episode/id/8534909/height/100/width/480/thumbnail/no/render-playlist/no/theme/standard/tdest_id/237069" height="100" width="480" scrolling="no" allowfullscreen webkitallowfullscreen mozallowfullscreen oallowfullscreen msallowfullscreen] Download MP3

Super Cool Treehouse and Mushroom Leather

We've both been very busy, so had to take a Sniffer break for a bit, but we're back with two fun, eco-friendly design stories for ya. Cathi Bond loves outdoor living, tree houses, and mini-homes, so she was in heaven when she found Sky-Pod, a gorgeous, teardrop shaped tree house inspired by Victorian crinolines (via New Atlas. Check out the images). Nora Young talks about Mylo, a leather-like material made from mycelium, which is the underground network underneath mushrooms (via Core 77, complete with images). She also mentions high end sneakers made from tree fungus. Cathi and Nora both mention Matt and Nat.   [iframe style="border:none" src="//html5-player.libsyn.com/embed/episode/id/6711425/height/100/width/480/thumbnail/no/render-playlist/no/theme/standard/tdest_id/237069" height="100" width="480" scrolling="no" allowfullscreen webkitallowfullscreen mozallowfullscreen oallowfullscreen msallowfullscreen] Download MP3

New Ideas for Mass Customization: Houses and Shoes

This time, Cathi Bond talks about Cover, an architectural startup that aims to give people customized, small houses - based on their preferences - at a lower cost than hiring an architect to design a home, but with more options than just buying a regular prefab (via PSFK) Meanwhile, Nora Young talks about Adidas' plan to partner with innovative 3D printing company, Carbon, to produce customized midsoles for sneakers (via Technology Review) [iframe style="border:none" src="//html5-player.libsyn.com/embed/episode/id/5383886/height/100/width/480/thumbnail/no/render-playlist/no/theme/standard/tdest_id/237069" height="100" width="480" scrolling="no" allowfullscreen webkitallowfullscreen mozallowfullscreen oallowfullscreen msallowfullscreen] Download MP3

Next Generation Personal Assistants and Cheap, Waterless Toilets

In today's podcast, Cathi Bond talks about the Nano Membrane toilet, designed for use in situations where there are currently no toilets. It's an inexpensive solution that doesn't require water, and yet produces (grey) water and power (via Gizmag). Meanwhile, Nora Young mentions the MyMe camera and personal digital assistant, a sort of Siri-meets-Google-Glass device that you wear unobtrusively around your neck or on your belt (via New York Times). Would you wear something like this? Leave us a comment!   [iframe style="border:none" src="http://html5-player.libsyn.com/embed/episode/id/4099348/height/100/width/480/thumbnail/no/render-playlist/no/theme/standard" height="100" width="480" scrolling="no" allowfullscreen webkitallowfullscreen mozallowfullscreen oallowfullscreen msallowfullscreen] Download MP3

New in New York and Zuckerberg’s New Year’s Resolutions

Happy New Year! This time, Nora Young talks about what she observed on a holiday trip to New York, including bathrobe chic (hello Julian Schnabel!), visiting the new Whitney at the foot of the High Line. She also mentions the current obsession with Marie Kondo's The Life Changing Magic of Tidying-Up. Cathi Bond discusses Mark Zuckerberg's New Year's Resolution to build an intelligent personal assistant to run his home. What intrigues Cathi the most is Zuck's approach to setting goals. She's going to try to apply it to her life. Nora mentions this article on speech recognition tech, and design approaches to life. [iframe style="border:none" src="http://html5-player.libsyn.com/embed/episode/id/4076774/height/100/width/480/thumbnail/no/render-playlist/no/theme/standard" height="100" width="480" scrolling="no" allowfullscreen webkitallowfullscreen mozallowfullscreen oallowfullscreen msallowfullscreen] Download MP3

Holiday Special: Fab Prefab and Farm Drones

It's a holiday tradition here at The Sniffer: our picks for super cool Christmas treats we'd love to have. This year, Nora Young picks this fantastic dining pavilion by Zaha Hadid and Patrik Schumacher (via Design Boom). It's one of a series coordinated by a developer named Robbie Antonio. Check out the whole series here. Cathi Bond, meanwhile, has her eye on a special drone which can be used on the farm, in particular, for crop dusting (via PSFK). Have a wonderful holiday, and all the best for 2016. Thanks for listening! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dT6x9Aullek   [iframe style="border:none" src="http://html5-player.libsyn.com/embed/episode/id/4037215/height/100/width/480/thumbnail/no/render-playlist/no/theme/standard" height="100" width="480" scrolling="no" allowfullscreen webkitallowfullscreen mozallowfullscreen oallowfullscreen msallowfullscreen] Download MP3

Future of Travel and Cutting Edge 3D Printing

On this podcast, Cathi Bond talks about Next Future Mobility, a concept for the future of transit (via Gizmag). The idea is for a modular train-like system where individual cars would pick you up and join up with the bigger train. Nora Young talks about emcee-ing the B3Dimensional conference in October, and some of the cool stuff she saw, including a replica of the Erebus Bell. One of the speakers, Tatjana Dzambazova talked about the use of 3D scanning and printing in a museum context. Check out the scanned work The Smithsonian has here.   [iframe style="border:none" src="http://html5-player.libsyn.com/embed/episode/id/3951436/height/100/width/480/thumbnail/no/theme/standard" height="100" width="480" scrolling="no" allowfullscreen webkitallowfullscreen mozallowfullscreen oallowfullscreen msallowfullscreen] Download MP3

Virtual Reality Hangouts, Healthy Vending Machine Food, Solving Mobile Keyboards

Algramo is a Santiago based company aiming to deliver inexpensive, healthy food to low income people in Latin America via vending machines (via PSFK). As in many parts of the world, food deserts mean people in urban low income areas can't get access to healthy food at reasonable prices. A solution for lots of communities? Cathi Bond weighs in. The future of virtual reality has long promised that we'd hang out together with our friends virtually, from the comfort of our separate living rooms. Maybe now that VR headsets are nearly ready to go, the time has (nearly) come! AltspaceVR is designing social hangouts for the VR future (via Technology Review). Would you do socialize with pals virtually? Go to concerts together? Or would you miss the meatspace connection? Plus, Cathi mentions TextBlade. If you don't like tapping things out on your mobile touchpad, this may be for you! [iframe style="border:none" src="http://html5-player.libsyn.com/embed/episode/id/3534063/height/100/width/480/thumbnail/no/theme/standard" height="100" width="480" scrolling="no" allowfullscreen webkitallowfullscreen mozallowfullscreen oallowfullscreen msallowfullscreen] Download MP3

Plant Sex and Robot Operas

We are back after a bit of an absence! On this podcast, Cathi Bond talks about the Plant Sex Consultancy, a design concept for helping plants pollinate in an era of problems like bee hive collapse or changes brought about by commercial breeding (via PSFK). With a wink, the Plant Sex Consultancy aims to protect plants from STIs, give plants vibrators to shake pollen loose and more. Underneath it all, they seem to be making a point about the problems we humans create, and our anthropocentric approach to solving those problems. Meanwhile, Nora Young talks about composer Keiichi Shibuya's plans for an all-robot performance (via The Globe and Mail). It got Nora thinking about all the tech innovation happening in live performance now, such as the play Helen Lawrence, which was recently in Toronto. You can watch a sample from Shibuya's previous opera, The End, which featured the virtual pop star Hatsune Miku and computer-created music. You can watch a sample here. Nora also mentioned this post about public wifi insecurity. Hat tip to her colleague, Dan Misener.