Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Digital: Augmented Reality

Last month, I found myself wandering around the streets of Manhattan and what struck me about my surroundings was how surreal it all felt: the characters, the imposing buildings…the larger than life electronic billboards. So when I read this post, I couldn’t help but wonder what it might have felt like to appear onscreen in Time Square.

Times Square Billboard by Space150 from Cliff Kuang on Vimeo.

Augmented Reality has always struck me as a Back To The Future type of invention: a seamless combination of the digital and real world. What’s more is that it is an application that can be adopted for many uses. Some cool examples are:

A public service announcement in Amsterdam that drew attention to the aggression and violence faced by public service employees. In the video (much like the Forever 21 one featured above) a previously shot footage of paramedics being beat up is played on the screen while a camera records the audience watching the video. What makes this application ingenious is the way it addresses the problem. Onlookers are notorious for watching and not doing anything. This video reenacts the scene in real time, causing people to think....or take pictures *nods head*

This online augmented shopping video by Zugara points to the future of online shopping. Nothing like trying your new clothes in the comfort of your bedroom.

If it were up to me I’d create augmented reality apps that enabled users to relive their memories.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Break, Vacation, whatever you want to call it

Hi people!

I'm taking a mini-break from blogging as I have other commitments to attend to. Hope to be back soon!

Daisy (:

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Design: Humanitarian Design

Last week, I wrote about menu design. How many of you laughed and thought to yourself "really? menus?" I almost did the same but after I read the published the post, I felt happy. The kind of happiness that makes you think you have given something back to the community. This week's design post is just about that -- design for humanity. Humanitarian Design might sound like a complex issue but it's pretty self-explanatory. It happens when good-willed designers/architects/engineers pair up in order to work with communities with the goal of designing products that meet the need(s) of the said community. Or in the words of projecthdesign.com, it "connects the power of design to the people that need it most, and the places where it can make a real lasting difference."A popular example is one of the hippo roller, a product created to improve water transportation. The hippo roller was made 15 years ago by two South Africans and redesigned by projecthdesign.com.

Today's post is a little different, it's different in the sense that I'd like to add my two cents to the humanitarian design debate sparked by Bruce Nassbaum's article on whether humanitarian design is the new form of imperialism. I'm not going to write a dissertation so don't close your browser just yet. Bruce voices his concern about the"western" designers who might be missing the mark in their quest to do good for the underprivileged. He raises a point about collaborating with the right partners and learning from the best local people in order to appreciate the bigger picture and actually help the people in need (as opposed to imposing western beliefs and values). He provides the One Laptop Per Child initiative as a example of a failed test run, in his words, it "failed in its initial plan to drop millions of inexpensive computers into villages, to hook kids directly to the Web and, in effect, get them to educate themselves."

From what I gather, Nassabaum is clearly not against the concept of helping others by designing products that they can use to help themselves. No, his concern is whether the right issues are being attended to, the right problems being solved. My answer to that is Yes & No. Growing up in a country that sometimes requires people to fetch clean water. While I never fetched water myself, I have witnessed images like the one seen below and the hippo roller is definitely an upgrade.

On the other hand, people living in congested cities(the hippo roller was specifically designed for rural areas so we can conclude that some thought went into the process) might not benefit from a roller and that's where collaboration begins continues. However, they probably have other needs that will benefit from innovative product design. Just because an idea doesn't work does not mean that it should be classified as "imperialism." Yes, people/designers might be ignorant of certain issues but all they need is education. They have the energy and passion to help and that is mainly what matters.


I can also see how the One Laptop Per Child is an initiative that, given poor infrastructure, will not work. Issues such as lack of electricity remove the benefit of OLPC. However, the concept behind OLPC should not be discouraged. It is forward thinking that should not be shunned. The human race is an ever evolving one. The fact of the matter is that, one day, the hippo roller might become obsolete in very areas that it is being used. But it will have served a purpose. Just as the One Laptop Per Child will one day serve a purpose in villages with electricity. Baby steps people, baby steps.

You can check out more examples of humanitarian design on Project H Design.com or google "humanitarian design" to learn more about this awesome discipline of design. Likewise, you can participate in the ongoing debate by searching for "humanitarian design" on twitter.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Digital: Pixlr

Gone are the days of salivating to the latest release of Creative Suites by Adobe only to find out that, well...it costs more than two months of your rent. Introducing Pixlr, a "browser based" image editor that can be used as an alternative to Adobe Photoshop. I came across Pixlr on stumbleupon and I like the idea behind it.

You don't have to be a graphic design major, or "know a guy who knows a guy who can get photoshop for dirt cheap". Pixlr is free and there is no catch. Given that this is a browser friendly editor, you can download a Firefox add-on designed for "grabbing" pictures off the net and editing the image on your browser in a matter of seconds. I edited my twitter profile avatar with the add-on:
Just in case you were wondering, the shades were grabbed off Polyvore.com. Yes, they are $325 Alexander Wang shades. I know, they look just like the real thing!

For tips on how to use the editor, check out the Pixl blog. My favorite tool has to be the brush tool. With a growing brush collection, you can transform your image with brushes ranging from doodles to vector stalks, true stroke of genius.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Lateral: Life

I did a 5 minute video for this post only to find out that the sound was mute when I played it back.

But that's fine because the video below sums up what I said in my video:

Life is this journey that starts with the pieces you are given, your parents. In some cases people don't start with their biological parents, some babies are dumped in a garbage can, others are adopted. But someway or the other, there's at least one other human being who leads our way. As we grow older we begin to discover more pieces, pieces of wisdom passed on from our loved ones, pieces of our own, pieces of knowledge, pieces of love, pieces of sadness, pieces of regret, pieces of rebirth. What happens when you have a plan that doesn't work out? That piece was missing in your jigsaw puzzle of life. Lateral thinking is a concept that goes beyond the smartest campaign or most creative idea. Applying this concept to life is just as good, if not better. The questions to ask yourself is, did that piece really exist? Is there one in front of me? Can I create a new piece? I'm beginning to appreciate the bigger picture, the piece that has it all.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Inspiring: Gilbert Arenas

I like to root for the underdog. Maybe I see elements of myself in them. I'm not just talking about any kind of underdog (there are different types, you see). I'm talking about the underdog who lifts people up with their story. This week, I'm handing the YISI inspiration badge to Gilbert Arenas.

Arenas, also known as "Hibachi" or "Agent Zero" is a basketball player for the Washington Wizards. What's that? You never heard of the team? Me neither. Not until I came across Gilbert Arenas in 2007. I was having a tough semester at school but my spirits brighten up a little after I watched this video:

And this is not some dumb post about how Adidas lifted my spirits. In fact, the brand has nothing to do with this post. Arenas got me thinking when he said "it wasn't even about basketball anymore." How many of us set our hearts on something and forget to see the bigger picture? We listen to what people say about how impossible our goals are. Like Arenas, we're asked to sit on the bench. Arenas inspires me because he has proven to the world that he is not a zero (literally, he changed his number). And yes, he made some bad choices during the 2009-10 NBA season but he has also made some good ones too. His story inspires me to get back up and play with heart.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Design: The Menu

How many times have you ordered for something in a restaurant? How many times have you taken notice of the menu? A menu speaks volumes. Not only does it show what the restaurant/cafe offers, it also enhances the ambiance of the place. When I sit down and reach for the menu, I like to be wowed.  Sometimes the menu comes in simple A4 paper with regular typeface. Straightforward and...boring. And then there's  the "all over the place"menu (my favorite type, when done properly). You can find good examples from the following restaurants: Islands, TGIF, Denny's

don't forget drink menus:
Make no mistake, whether it is all over the place or subtle, menu design plays an important role in meal selection. Today, I'd like to pay homage to the menu. What would life be like without the picturesque menu? A printed piece of work that taps into our imagination and tantalizes our appetites. I'm currently working on a menu for a restaurant. They are in the process of updating an old menu and are asking for a new look to go with their new dishes. Watch this space for a sample of their new menu :)