All posts by Lucy Ingham

In Pictures: This Week’s Most Futuristic Designs

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Mink Makeup Printer

Makeup is expensive, particularly if you are after an unusual colour or shade. But Grace Choi, the inventor of the Mink printer is set to change that. Supply the printer with a sample colour from the web and it will produce eyeshadow, lipstick, foundation or pretty much any other makeup required by combining makeup substrates and base colours. This could be an industry killer.


Via Pocket-lint.


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Opus Office Tower

The interior of Dubai’s soon-to-be-opened Opus Office Tower is as futuristic as they come. Designed by architectural megastar Zaha Hadid, who is known for incorporating organic shapes and flowing lines into her designs, the tower includes luxury hotel rooms that look like they’ve been borrowed from 2050. The outside is pretty incredible, too, resembling a glass cube with a light-filled chunk taken out of it.


Via Designboom.


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SoftWheel Wheelchair

Wheelchairs on uneven ground can result in a pretty uncomfortable ride, and no amount of conventional suspension is going to completely mask a potholed or broken pavement. This genius redesign of the wheelchair is set to change this – by completely redesigning to wheel to swap out spokes for compression cylinders, the SoftWheel team has made a wheelchair that gives the feeling of floating on air.


Via The Guardian.


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The Drinkable Book

It might not look futuristic, but the pages of this book are laced with silver nanoparticles to enable it to function as a safe and reliable water filter. Each half page can be torn of and inserted into a special tray that polluted water can be poured through. The result is water on a par with US tapwater, making it ideal for areas when clean water is a scarce resource. The book can also be read, providing tips on water safety.


Via PSFK.


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Travel Buddy, Caddy

This is an extremely cool concept design for a smart suitcase by Seoul-based Jihyun Seo. With a transparent OLED display covering the top and front panel, the suitcase can provide valuable information such as currency conversion, local time zones, weather and even the layout of the airport. With a customisable screen the suitcase is instantly recognisable, and options include a digital nametag, pattered finish or badges showing off where you’ve been.


Via Behance.


The Light Fantastic: The LED Recipes Taking Indoor Farming to the Next Level

High density, intensive indoor farming has long been seen as a major component in the fight against world hunger, particularly in areas where fertile land, or in fact any outdoor space, is at a premium.

Plants respond to different wavelengths of light than humans, so indoor farming typically involves the use of specialist light systems . However, until recently the lights used have been the same for different types of plants, despite the fact that it has been long known that different species respond better to different wavelengths.

However, now that LED technology has become cheap and widespread, this has changed, allowing custom “light recipies” to be developed for specific crops based on their optimum growing conditions. The result is a system that allows for rapid harvesting cycles – between 20 and 25 each year – providing a dramatic boost in overall output.

LEDs also have another benefit for effective growing; their low temperature enables them to be placed far closer to the plant than traditional lighting, which gives better light coverage, avoiding under-nourished patches.

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The light recipe system has been developed by lighting heavyweights Philips, and the company is currently testing the system with Indiana-based vertical indoor growing company Green Sense Farms.

“Different plant types have different light needs and working with forward-thinking growers like GSF, Philips is building up a database of ‘light recipes’ for different plant varieties,” said Udo van Slooten, Director of horticultural lighting at Philips.

“GSF is using vertical hydroponic technology with Phillips LED growing lights, enabling them to do what no other grower can do: provide a consistent amount of high quality produce, year round.”

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GSF grows its plants in fourteen growing towers measuring a whopping 25ft (7.6m) each in height.

“By growing our crops vertically, we are able to pack more plants per acre than we would have in a field farm, which results in more harvests per year,” said Robert Colangelo, founding farmer and president of Green Sense Farms. “We produce little waste, no agricultural runoff and minimal greenhouse gasses because the food is grown where it is consumed.”

Such vertical farms are being hailed as the solution to feeding ever-growing urban populations, a key concern given that the United Nations is predicting that 80% of the global population will live in cities by 2050, equivalent to roughly 7.6 billion people.

Given that far more space is likely to be taken up with buildings to accommodate these people, farms will need to operate in areas that cannot be used for housing, such as underground. A vertical farming system that can actually keep up with food demands is going to vital is we are to feed everyone, and this system could well play a vital role.


Images courtesy of Philips.