Tag Archives: portable

The Design Flaws in This Otherwise Nifty Portable Cassette Player

Sometimes novel designs are not good ones, but have enough “wow” factor to create desirability in those who aren’t thinking it through. I’ll put this Elbow portable cassette player concept in this category. Designed to reduce a Walkman to the barest minimum, it consists of a biaxial arm and provides what initially looks to be a satisfying way to interface with and manipulate a cassette.

The first axis of the arm allows the user to clasp it shut, inserting a spindle into one of the cassette’s gears. The device is then rotated so that the magnetic head can read the tape.

Controls are provided by a single dial which regulates the volume, play, and fast forward functions.

Seems nifty, doesn’t it? But we see several problems that actually make this design a step backwards from Sony’s venerated Walkman. First off is the problem of directionality/orientation. Cassettes have two sides, and the user selects which side of the tape they’d like to listen to. With the Walkman and every other cassette player, this problem is solved in an obvious way: The desired side of the cassette faces outwards.

With the design of the Elbow, “outwards” is presumably the side with the dial on it. But the user is presented with one spindle and two cassette eyes that it could possibly be inserted into. Because the motor only rotates in one direction (there is no rewind functionality), the user must insert it into the correct hole, or risk unspooling the tape on one reel without the slack being taken up by the other reel. So right away, we’ve got the potential for operator error.

The second, more glaring problem is that the device appears to have been designed to make a neat photograph, rather than considering how the user will actually interact with it. Here’s what we mean:

Is the Elbow meant to be held in one’s hand for the entirety of the listening session? Or thrown in a bag? Either way the design, which leaves parts of the cassette exposed, presents a problem. Walkmen, while in use, were either held in the hand (while jogging, for instance), thrown into a jacket pocket, clipped to one’s belt or thrown into a bag. In all four of those scenarios, both eyes of the cassette and the exposed portion of the tape are completely enclosed by the Walkman; there is no danger that the user’s sweaty grip, or debris in a pocket or bag, will interfere with the tape or the cassette’s eyes. The relatively smooth outer shape of a Walkman also provided no sharp surfaces or undercuts which could snag on something. Those positive qualities are absent on the Elbow.

Nevertheless, we’ll probably continue to see these images being eagerly forwarded on social media, with folks proclaiming it a neat design. I suppose it is neat. It’s just not practical nor user-friendly.


Core77

How to Build a Modern Stool, Create a 3-Way Portable Bandsaw Holder, Apply a Durable Outdoor Finish & More

Porta-Bandsaw Stand

Whoa. Using a CNC plasma cutter, Jimmy DiResta designs and builds an effective 3-way portable bandsaw stand:

DIY or Pay Somebody to Do It?

Matthias Wandel answers the classic question here by inventing a series of experimental contraptions to help him refinish a floor. Some very interesting trial-and-error here:

How to Make a Simple End Table

A speedy build with humble materials: Izzy Swan taks on the “2×4 Challenge,” where you’re meant to produce something useful using only a pair of 2x4s as raw material.

Hourglass Time-Out Stool

A funny project for parents, maybe not so funny for kids: Izzy makes a time-out stool with an integrated hourglass to denote the time length of punishment.

Building a Modern Stool

April Wilkerson’s in the UK this week, building a modern-style stool designed by Rhiannon from J Smith Woodwork:

How to Make a Ravioli Rolling Pin

Like Bob Clagett, I had no idea how raviolis were made using a specialized rolling pin. Here he demonstrates:

Wood Turned Plum Bowl

An experiment three years in the making, Frank Howarth has a lot of problem-solving to do on his way to turning a rather unusual-looking object:


Core77

How to Build a Modern Stool, Create a 3-Way Portable Bandsaw Holder, Apply a Durable Outdoor Finish & More

Porta-Bandsaw Stand

Whoa. Using a CNC plasma cutter, Jimmy DiResta designs and builds an effective 3-way portable bandsaw stand:

DIY or Pay Somebody to Do It?

Matthias Wandel answers the classic question here by inventing a series of experimental contraptions to help him refinish a floor. Some very interesting trial-and-error here:

How to Make a Simple End Table

A speedy build with humble materials: Izzy Swan taks on the “2×4 Challenge,” where you’re meant to produce something useful using only a pair of 2x4s as raw material.

Hourglass Time-Out Stool

A funny project for parents, maybe not so funny for kids: Izzy makes a time-out stool with an integrated hourglass to denote the time length of punishment.

Building a Modern Stool

April Wilkerson’s in the UK this week, building a modern-style stool designed by Rhiannon from J Smith Woodwork:

How to Make a Ravioli Rolling Pin

Like Bob Clagett, I had no idea how raviolis were made using a specialized rolling pin. Here he demonstrates:

Wood Turned Plum Bowl

An experiment three years in the making, Frank Howarth has a lot of problem-solving to do on his way to turning a rather unusual-looking object:


Core77

How to Build a Modern Stool, Create a 3-Way Portable Bandsaw Holder, Apply a Durable Outdoor Finish & More

Porta-Bandsaw Stand

Whoa. Using a CNC plasma cutter, Jimmy DiResta designs and builds an effective 3-way portable bandsaw stand:

DIY or Pay Somebody to Do It?

Matthias Wandel answers the classic question here by inventing a series of experimental contraptions to help him refinish a floor. Some very interesting trial-and-error here:

How to Make a Simple End Table

A speedy build with humble materials: Izzy Swan taks on the “2×4 Challenge,” where you’re meant to produce something useful using only a pair of 2x4s as raw material.

Hourglass Time-Out Stool

A funny project for parents, maybe not so funny for kids: Izzy makes a time-out stool with an integrated hourglass to denote the time length of punishment.

Building a Modern Stool

April Wilkerson’s in the UK this week, building a modern-style stool designed by Rhiannon from J Smith Woodwork:

How to Make a Ravioli Rolling Pin

Like Bob Clagett, I had no idea how raviolis were made using a specialized rolling pin. Here he demonstrates:

Wood Turned Plum Bowl

An experiment three years in the making, Frank Howarth has a lot of problem-solving to do on his way to turning a rather unusual-looking object:


Core77

How to Build a Modern Stool, Create a 3-Way Portable Bandsaw Holder, Apply a Durable Outdoor Finish & More

Porta-Bandsaw Stand

Whoa. Using a CNC plasma cutter, Jimmy DiResta designs and builds an effective 3-way portable bandsaw stand:

DIY or Pay Somebody to Do It?

Matthias Wandel answers the classic question here by inventing a series of experimental contraptions to help him refinish a floor. Some very interesting trial-and-error here:

How to Make a Simple End Table

A speedy build with humble materials: Izzy Swan taks on the “2×4 Challenge,” where you’re meant to produce something useful using only a pair of 2x4s as raw material.

Hourglass Time-Out Stool

A funny project for parents, maybe not so funny for kids: Izzy makes a time-out stool with an integrated hourglass to denote the time length of punishment.

Building a Modern Stool

April Wilkerson’s in the UK this week, building a modern-style stool designed by Rhiannon from J Smith Woodwork:

How to Make a Ravioli Rolling Pin

Like Bob Clagett, I had no idea how raviolis were made using a specialized rolling pin. Here he demonstrates:

Wood Turned Plum Bowl

An experiment three years in the making, Frank Howarth has a lot of problem-solving to do on his way to turning a rather unusual-looking object:


Core77

Finally: A Well-Designed, Attractive, Height-Adjustable, Portable Fold-Flat Laptop Stand with Good UX

Laptop stands on the market generally come in two varieties: Fixed-height…

…and height-adjustable.

While some of the fixed-height ones are handsome, the problem with them is obvious: We’re all different heights and require eyelines at different levels. The issue with the adjustable-height models is the inelegance/fiddliness of their mechanisms.

Industrial designer Matt Cramsie set a tall order for himself: To design a good-looking, portable, height-adjustable laptop stand with good UX, i.e. an elegant adjustment mechanism. Together with business partner Anhtai Anhtuan he developed the Tiny Tower, which was a year and a half in the making:

The push-button mechanism, which “works just like the extendable handle on checked travel luggage,” is probably my favorite part of the design. 

I’m also impressed with the small footprint, though I do wonder about the stability. They mention that the part of the stand that your laptop sits on is covered in an anti-slip material made by 3M, and I assume there’s something similar on the underside of the base.

While the Tiny Tower is expected to retail for $ 168, the early bird specials are going for as low as $ 69. At press time Cramsie and Anhtuan had garnered $ 15,773 in pledges towards a $ 65,000 goal, with 28 days left to pledge.


Core77

The WorkMo Portable Workbench System

In the post on tool van organization systems, you saw how the traveling craftsperson can transport all of their equipment. But once they arrive on site, they need to set up some sort of station where they can execute the work. Once upon a time a dusty pair of beat-up sawhorses, a board and some banged-up toolboxes would do, but in modern-day Germany, appearances are as important as function. Hence Sortimo has intelligently designed a neater-looking system called WorkMo (for “work mobility”) that enables a craftsperson to efficiently set up a multifunctional workstation, one that incorporates the storage cases we looked at here.

In its folded-up mobile state it’s got a compact footprint that makes it easy to get into an elevator.

On location the worksurface, which can be something as simple as a sheet of plywood, is detached. There are only legs on one side; in the interest of minimalism, the unit holding the stack of storage containers serves as the other support.

That’s the kit in its most basic form. But for greater functionality, one can use a perforated top like what you’d see on Festool’s MFT (multi-function table).

This provides a variety of clamping options for working on pieces of various shapes.

A vise can be affixed to the side, providing the functionality of the traditional face vise you’d see on a proper workbench.

The aluminum extrusions used for the side rails are sized so that clamps can slide into them, for holding taller workpieces at the appropriate height.

The base cabinet features a powerstrip and storage on one side. On the other side is a slotted rack on which to hang tool holders.

And talk about loyalty—you’ve gotta love how the tool selection in the promo shots is all-German. In the shots above and below we see gear from Bessey, Bosch, ECE and Wera.

I can’t place the brand of the unusual handplane you see in the photo directly above, but I know the type and spotted one at the show. We’ll have an entry on that shortly.

Lastly, here’s a video look at the system:

More from Core77’s coverage of this year’s Holz-Handwerk Show!


Core77

The WorkMo Portable Workbench System

In the post on tool van organization systems, you saw how the traveling craftsperson can transport all of their equipment. But once they arrive on site, they need to set up some sort of station where they can execute the work. Once upon a time a dusty pair of beat-up sawhorses, a board and some banged-up toolboxes would do, but in modern-day Germany, appearances are as important as function. Hence Sortimo has intelligently designed a neater-looking system called WorkMo (for “work mobility”) that enables a craftsperson to efficiently set up a multifunctional workstation, one that incorporates the storage cases we looked at here.

In its folded-up mobile state it’s got a compact footprint that makes it easy to get into an elevator.

On location the worksurface, which can be something as simple as a sheet of plywood, is detached. There are only legs on one side; in the interest of minimalism, the unit holding the stack of storage containers serves as the other support.

That’s the kit in its most basic form. But for greater functionality, one can use a perforated top like what you’d see on Festool’s MFT (multi-function table).

This provides a variety of clamping options for working on pieces of various shapes.

A vise can be affixed to the side, providing the functionality of the traditional face vise you’d see on a proper workbench.

The aluminum extrusions used for the side rails are sized so that clamps can slide into them, for holding taller workpieces at the appropriate height.

The base cabinet features a powerstrip and storage on one side. On the other side is a slotted rack on which to hang tool holders.

And talk about loyalty—you’ve gotta love how the tool selection in the promo shots is all-German. In the shots above and below we see gear from Bessey, Bosch, ECE and Wera.

I can’t place the brand of the unusual handplane you see in the photo directly above, but I know the type and spotted one at the show. We’ll have an entry on that shortly.

Lastly, here’s a video look at the system:

More from Core77’s coverage of this year’s Holz-Handwerk Show!


Core77

The WorkMo Portable Workbench System

In the post on tool van organization systems, you saw how the traveling craftsperson can transport all of their equipment. But once they arrive on site, they need to set up some sort of station where they can execute the work. Once upon a time a dusty pair of beat-up sawhorses, a board and some banged-up toolboxes would do, but in modern-day Germany, appearances are as important as function. Hence Sortimo has intelligently designed a neater-looking system called WorkMo (for “work mobility”) that enables a craftsperson to efficiently set up a multifunctional workstation, one that incorporates the storage cases we looked at here.

In its folded-up mobile state it’s got a compact footprint that makes it easy to get into an elevator.

On location the worksurface, which can be something as simple as a sheet of plywood, is detached. There are only legs on one side; in the interest of minimalism, the unit holding the stack of storage containers serves as the other support.

That’s the kit in its most basic form. But for greater functionality, one can use a perforated top like what you’d see on Festool’s MFT (multi-function table).

This provides a variety of clamping options for working on pieces of various shapes.

A vise can be affixed to the side, providing the functionality of the traditional face vise you’d see on a proper workbench.

The aluminum extrusions used for the side rails are sized so that clamps can slide into them, for holding taller workpieces at the appropriate height.

The base cabinet features a powerstrip and storage on one side. On the other side is a slotted rack on which to hang tool holders.

And talk about loyalty—you’ve gotta love how the tool selection in the promo shots is all-German. In the shots above and below we see gear from Bessey, Bosch, ECE and Wera.

I can’t place the brand of the unusual handplane you see in the photo directly above, but I know the type and spotted one at the show. We’ll have an entry on that shortly.

Lastly, here’s a video look at the system:

More from Core77’s coverage of this year’s Holz-Handwerk Show!


Core77

This Cute Little Egg Is A Portable Wireless Lamp

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Vancouver-based designers, Gavin Chu & Andrew Geng, have worked together to create Eggie, a little egg shaped lamp that is wireless and water resistant.

h/t: contemporist

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The little egg sits on a platform, plugged into an outlet to charge, and when needed, you simply pick it up and take it with you. The battery lasts about 6-7 hours, and to turn it on and off you just shake it.

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“In Eggie, we strive for a beautiful and elegant product that can suit any occasion. We believe we are on the right track. However, we are calling on the support of the Kickstarter community to help with final production and manufacturing costs. If everything goes according to plan, we hope to get this light of your life into your hands and homes by June.”, says the creators.

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Design You Trust. Design, Culture & Society.

This Cute Little Egg Is A Portable Wireless Lamp

1

Vancouver-based designers, Gavin Chu & Andrew Geng, have worked together to create Eggie, a little egg shaped lamp that is wireless and water resistant.

h/t: contemporist

2

The little egg sits on a platform, plugged into an outlet to charge, and when needed, you simply pick it up and take it with you. The battery lasts about 6-7 hours, and to turn it on and off you just shake it.

3

“In Eggie, we strive for a beautiful and elegant product that can suit any occasion. We believe we are on the right track. However, we are calling on the support of the Kickstarter community to help with final production and manufacturing costs. If everything goes according to plan, we hope to get this light of your life into your hands and homes by June.”, says the creators.

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Design You Trust. Design, Culture & Society.

Lightweight, Plug-and-Play Portable Wind Turbines are Coming

This is astonishing. The guys over at sustainable product company Janulus have developed a portable, 12-inch, 1.5-pound wind turbine that can suck energy out of the air and charge your iPhone—three to four times over.

On the UI front, there isn’t a lot of fuss: You unfurl the blades (increasing the device’s height to 35 inches), set it on the ground and turn it “on.” With the wind charging the internal battery, you simply plug directly into it.

While this would be a godsend for campers or those living in developing nations, Janulus is thinking even bigger. In addition to the Trinity 50, the dimunitive unit described in the paragraph above, they’ve also developed the Trinity 400, 1000 and 2500, each getting larger and able to store more juice. 

Amazingly, the 1000 and 2500–which weigh just 17.6 and 42 pounds, respectively–can be used to help power your home, with no technological prowess required on the user’s part: One simply plugs the device into an ordinary socket, and the unit feeds the juice right into the lines! Alternatively, you can plug it right into your Tesla:

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Here’s the pitch video for their Kickstarter campaign:

Demand is apparently strong, as the Trinity line has already been funded. At press time it was at $ 83,000 on a $ 50,000 goal with 30 days left to pledge. Units are expected to begin shipping in April of next year. Click here to read the tech specs and capacities of the different units.


Core77

Unbelievably Portable Personal Transportation Device from Japan

Japanese inventor Kuniaki Sato has come up with something that beggars belief: A small aluminum platform, about the size of a laptop, that can carry a human being for a distance of 12 kilometers under its own power, and responds to Segway-like leaning for the UI. Take a look at this thing:

The small wheeled device, called the WalkCar, was created by Sato in a bid to demonstrate that Japan is still capable of innovation; it’s probably no accident that the name is similar to “Walkman,” the product that launched Sony onto the world stage and pushed Japanese electronics prowess into the global consciousness.

You’re undoubtedly wondering “How the hell can this thing be real? How can it store that much juice and develop that much torque in such a tiny package?” Details provided by the company are essentially nil, although in this Reuters video, we can see it’s charged by USB (!) and hear that it tops out at 10 kilometers per hour:

I think it’s safe to say that when the Kickstarter launches this October, the $ 800 device is going to fly off of the virtual shelves. Sato’s company, Cocoa Motors, estimates they’ll have units ready to ship by next year.


Core77