Transition Design

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New State of Matter is a design initiative here to make the world transition by redefining what matters.
It fundamentally changes the relationship between people and things.
It turns traditional business and production models on their heads.
It makes cloudy ideas materialize into solid designs.

Second-hand Stylist

What if machines could learn a sense of fashion and use this to distribute second-hand clothes through the internet? Fashion is the second most polluting industry in the world (after oil) and faces many sustainability challenges: ‘fast fashion’, ‘deadstock’, ‘sweatshops’ and ‘over irrigation’ are a few key examples. To make it worse, every year each person disposes 24 out of 40 items with non-textile items and these get incinerated. (Measuring the Dutch Clothing Mountain) Out of the other 16 that are separately collected, 11 are suited for reuse.
We are inspired by the way that some shops/stylists are able to pick out, re-market and thereby sell used clothing again. One could argue that so much fashion has already been made and, as fashion trends are cyclical, it’s a matter of knowing how to dig for the right clothes and recommend them to the right person. Our vision is to get maximum use out of all clothes and we are therefore working on algorithms that can recognize, categorize, match and recommend them to people based on their style.
Another aspect is the digitization/photographing of the clothes. We are developing an installation that allows traders of used clothes to do this at marginal cost per item and at webshop quality.

Our first app is now available for testing with the inventory of one of our partner stores in Rotterdam. This app let’s you choose the colors of the clothes and finds you matching tops and bottoms. You decide which ones you like and create training data for a matching algorithm.

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Pathfinders

Pathfinders is an investigation into how design and design processes can be used to unravel and stimulate discourse. The conversation format is being redesigned by introducing objects that learn from the people that wear them and pass on that knowledge to the next. As part of a residency in the Unstable Design Lab, several intra-active concepts have been developed that come together in a boyscout/girlscout outfit that becomes the mediator.
The outfit symbolizes how we take on certain roles within society and this roleplay helps people find out their positions. The concerns around the topic (in this case; having children) are being represented in badges that can be added to a sash. The tie records the conversations and can interject audio segments that it recorded from previous conversations. This starts and helps the conversation along by offering the couple new perspectives. In order to record, analyze and (re)actively playback audio, a combination of wearable microcontrollers and specific algorithms have to be used.
Because the topic is sensitive, people often only discuss it very privately. When they look for information online, they find statistics that might not necessarily apply to them or sources that are untrustworthy. Anecdotes from others help them to find a new way to relate to their life-changing choices.

The first set of conversations that form initial anecdotal anti-data be found on Soundcloud: Pathfinders playlist.
This project has been supported by Creative Industries Fund NL and has been presented for the first time at Dutch Design Week 2018.

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New State of Surf

New State of Surf is an exploration into how we can change the relationship between the surfer and their gear based on how the surfer moves, and the surfer’s relationship with the environment based on the materials that their gear is made of.

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The above image has been created from personal surfing videos using the OpenPose model with a Tensorflow integration by Kim Ildoo. The OpenPose model is able to estimate the position of the joints of the body based on image solely. At the same time as recording the video, GPS and accelerometer data is recorded with the Trace device (image below left corresponds with video).

Creating video datasets of surf-moves of the surfer, the movement sensor datasets and also the forecast and/or buoy data should allow to start comparing different gear setups of board and fins in a more quantified manner than had previously been done. Of course, more controlled environments like wave gardens (image below) can keep the factor of the wave constant allowing for a better comparison, but each surf spot also has its own characteristics that favor different gear.

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On the other end of the data collection is a prototype of a parametric fin design of which the parameters have to be related to the surfer’s case data input. Currently the fins are composed manually by adjusting the main characteristics: depth, base length, foil, sweep and cant. The design is based on a FCS fin design and the features area, sweep and depth are shown to compare. There is choice between a single, twin or tri fin setup and an FCS, Futures or Finbox system. Eventually, it should be questioned whether the dolphin fin design is really the best design or whether it just happened to become the industry standard.
For reference, this website provides a comprehensive overview: www.theinertia.com/surf/the-definitive-guide-to-surfboard-fins/ For selection of boards, Boardformula has created a selector tool based on weight, experience and type of wave.

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Some fin designs have been 3d-printed (with FDM) and tested but the stiffness lacks although it is questionable whether novice surfers will have a problem with this. Another approach within the project has been to create low-cost injection molded fins based on the Precious Plastic machines and using low-cost polymer/composite molds. The idea is to allow local surf communities to make these fins, adapt them to the local surf using the data and parametric design, and make them out of the plastic waste that pollutes their beaches. We have replicated this machine and shared our knowledge with the locals in Lima, Peru.

Core Relief Redesign

The world is currently seeing an enormous displacement of people, mostly from Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq and from north-west African nations. (source: UN) While the European states are struggling with policy reform and are polarized because of their own economic crisis, the UN and a multitude of NGOs are stumbling over one another to provide hospitality and care to the displaced. Amongst the care they provide are a number of so called Core Relief Items from the UNHCR. The 14 standard life‐sustaining items include plastic tarpaulins, family tents, fleece blankets, sleeping mats, kitchen sets, jerry cans, buckets and most recently a Refugee Housing Unit. The items despite being made with durable materials, due to constant exposure to the elements and over‐ use, their core functions have a low life expectancy.
CORE RELIEF will use open‐source design and additive manufacturing to improve, up‐cycle and recycle the 14 standard core relief items in efforts to improve properties, extend life‐span, or give a second chance to a depleted item. By focusing on the UNHCR specified Core Relief Items the results of a localized workshop in Lesvos are applicable in every disaster area and emergency zone around the world.

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Several adapters were 3D printed to add extra functionality to the flexible jerrycans provided by UNHCR; a.o. a tap, a water filter and a breather device. Find the designs here and read more about the project.

Core Relief is supported by a.o.

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WOOF&WOW

With WOOF&WOW we are using low-cost, open-source processing techniques for PET bottles and innovating on weaving techniques to process these bottles into material that can be used for functional products like furniture and playground products. We want to include people at the margins of society in the process of creating these kind of products because we believe that everyone has talent and regardless of their socio-demographic position should be included. With weavers in Peru we will be producing the material for the design of Icelandic designer Marta Sif.

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For playgrounds we are developing and testing designs of a.o. swings made entirely of recycled PET bottles. Our goal is to work together with local communities to collectively, young and old, make these products for their local playgrounds.


Making wire from bottles in Peru.

WOOF&WOW is supported amongst others by

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Endless Objects

Whether product obsolescence is planned or just happens, either way product lifetimes are getting shorter and shorter. (source) With Endless Objects we sought to build “The Spotify of Consumer Products”; a way to help product businesses transition to more circular, performance-based or lease models.
The rise of makerspaces and fablabs in urban areas all over the world has made digital manufacturing technology accessible to the masses. Prosumers are already making and maintaining their own products made with a.o. 3d-printing technology and programmable microprocessors like the Arduino and Raspberry Pi. Why shouldn’t other kinds of consumer products be maintainable or upgraded in these urban workshops? Companies are still afraid of being liable for bad quality products and are hesitant to share information on the design. We sought to make it both profitable and safe for companies to start sharing this information with makerspaces and fablabs so that consumers can get their products serviced locally and sustainably.

A test case was done with the company Bugaboo. Several replacement items were designed and printed by a group of interns. These parts were tested for strength and durability and assessed on their contribution to the sustainability of the Bugaboo stroller. The parts and repair guide can be found here: https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:2688454

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The video shows a repaired Bugaboo Frog brake handle which became the reason to start the project with Bugaboo and have interns do a study.

To make businesses adopt this more circular model using digitally, locally fabricated products/parts, a certification process needs to be applied/developed in order to ensure quality from the various make spaces. However, this adds extra cost to the products. When a customer decides to repair the product theirselves, then they take their own responsibility and lose the warranty of the company. Perhaps a broader call to action is needed to get companies to share more of this information so that their customers can take their own responsibility. Until that happens… In July, 2018 the project and the repair guide that the interns wrote was awarded second place in the iFixit Dare to Repair contest.

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Endless Objects was supported by

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