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Inside Shenzhen’s race to outdo Silicon Valley

From a population of 30,000 in the early 1970s, the city has grown to over 10 million, with gleaming high-rises, a modern transport system, and world-class retail. The local government gives grants for filing patents and for starting maker spaces. Gentrification and rising rents have made it the most expensive city in China, as the factories that fueled its boom move steadily outward into the rest of the Pearl River Delta.

From Huaqiangbei the boxes are brought to the depots of global logistics companies and loaded onto airplanes and cargo ships. In the latter case they join 24 million metric tons of container cargo going out every month from Shekou harbor—literally “snake’s mouth,” the world’s third-busiest shipping port after Shanghai and Singapore.

Industrial design companies and independent design houses are the newest parts of a larger ecosystem of business services that includes incubators, coworking spaces, and fab labs such as the Shenzhen Open Innovation Lab (SZOIL), near the border with Hong Kong. SZOIL takes in foreign and Chinese makers alike, teaches them basic fabrication and prototyping skills, and connects them with design firms like Innozen.

key ways of reaching international audiences, like Instagram and Twitter, are accessible only from the mainland through virtual private networks, which the government is making increasingly hard to use. WeChat Pay and Alipay, meanwhile, require a Chinese bank account, making it hard to take payment from foreign clients. All this hampers Shenzhen-based businesses’ dreams of going global.

This isn’t just a China-US problem, but a global one of rising “technonationalism” that could dampen the rise of globalization.

The descendant of the selfie stick is the handheld gimbal stabilizer that, for as little as a hundred dollars, turns any camera into a semi-professional video platform. The hoverboard may have been a one-hit wonder fueled by social media, but scooters and balance boards are taking off as viable modes of short-distance transportation. The first toy quadcopters were little more than annoyances, but their bigger cousins, combined with specialized software, are transforming both filmmaking and surveying work.
reportage  shenzhen  today  innovation  chinese  technology  business  design 
8 weeks ago by aries1988
GE Says It’s Leveraging Artificial Intelligence To Cut Product Design Times In Half

It’s a neural network that’s trained with the results of standard two-day computational fluid dynamics (CFD) analyses of variations in a particular design to estimate the conclusions that a CFD would come to. In one test case, in which the researchers trained the surrogate model with about 100 CFDs to figure out the optimum shape for the crown of a piston in a diesel engine, the model was able to evaluate roughly a million design variations in 15 minutes, an increase in speed of 5 billion times. More typically the researchers expect to achieve an improvement of 10 million to 100 million times. The best design of the piston crown produced a 7% improvement in fuel efficiency with a “significant” reduction in soot emissions, they say.

“We can, say, take all the knowledge that went into designing the GE9X or the LEAP [jet engines] and apply it to developing a hypersonic or apply it to a next-gen narrow-body,” says Tallman. “We’re confident that it will provide insights that we wouldn’t have otherwise.”
industry  design  ai 
march 2019 by aries1988
Branded in Memory
The bite, which is the logo's most iconic feature, was included for scale, so the apple wouldn't be mistaken for a cherry.

Starbucks' current logo, introduced in 2011, is a streamlined version of the two-tailed siren. It no longer features the "Starbucks Coffee" text and is pure green, as opposed to green and black. Despite this simplification, only 6 percent of people drew a near perfect Starbucks logo from memory.

The question at the heart of this experiment is "How accurately can we recall logos we see on a daily basis?" The results show that most people are very good at recalling brand colors – around 80 percent selected the correct palettes for their drawings, while shapes and elements in logos are harder to recall.

There was, however, a difference by age. On average, younger people drew more accurate logos than older people. This was true across almost all brands, but was most noticeable for 7-Eleven, Burger King, and Adidas. Walmart was least affected by age, showing no difference between younger and older groups.

Confidence scaled with accuracy, so while people in general overestimated how well they did, those who did best had the best awareness of their ability.
logo  design  advertising  fun  comparison  data  memory  poll  infographics  analysis 
october 2017 by aries1988
How castles became monuments to myth and whimsy

Here’s the romance: this church was dedicated to St Mary, then a patroness of militant types because her womb was deemed impregnable, except to God. Shown in medieval paintings and tapestries in a paradise garden, her symbolic hortus conclusus is very conclusive indeed, bound and defended by locked gates and crenellations. So whole castles like Santa Maria da Feira in Portugal took her name, along with chapels serving castles from Prague to Dover.

The psychologist Bruno Bettelheim suggests we all hold a psychological disposition toward castles, and as children conjure them to process our understanding of the world. He wrote: “ ‘Once in an old castle in the midst of a large and dense forest’ — such beginnings suggest that what follows does not pertain to the here and now that we know . . . The old castles, dark caves, locked rooms one is forbidden to enter . . . all suggest that something normally hidden will be revealed.”

Ryman went on to design the Cinderella Castle in Orlando, completed in 1971 at 183ft. This concrete and fibreglass construction looks more French, specifically the 15th-century Château de Saumur. There are now six Disney centrepiece castles, designed as variants of a theme, the latest in Shanghai completed in 2016, which Disney describes as “seven towers, two of which embody the guiding creative principle of Shanghai Disneyland”. And yes, it also has a Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique.
romantic  caste  children  architecture  design  disney  disneyland  west  tale  history 
august 2017 by aries1988
Money and our minds: can neuroscience stop counterfeiting?

In my final presentation to the bank, I put forward evidence that the watermark on a euro should be a face instead of a building. Why? Because the human brain is massively specialised for faces, but has little neural real estate devoted to edifices. As forged watermarks are generally hand-drawn, it would be much easier to spot an imperfect face than an imperfect building.

Unfortunately, the bank faced an implementation challenge. How could they get all the different countries to agree on one person’s face? What nationality could they choose? They finally selected the mythological princess Europa, and the new €50 note with her face rolls out in April.

I then recommended all euro banknotes should be the same size, the way American bills are. That at least would get people to look at them a bit longer to see what they’re dealing with. Unfortunately, the council replied, this would require re-tooling all European vending machines. Too much work. What was my next recommendation?
money  science  design  crime  euro 
march 2017 by aries1988
Not your average paper airplane | Harvard Gazette
Collins’ talk touched on glide ratios, center of gravity, and center of lift, the boundary layer, and the Magnus effect. He drew on his experience with origami to introduce students to the complicated folds of their first plane, which had a thick hexagonal front. He talked about how an additional fold here or there can shift the center of gravity and make a plane fly better, or how a tweak of a wing’s trailing edge can prevent a nosedive. Along the way, he offered an inside view of the process behind designing 75 original planes.
design  paper  plane  fun 
february 2017 by aries1988
Fish School Us on Wind Power - Issue 37: Currents - Nautilus
As an undergraduate, Dabiri modeled the undulating movements of jellyfish. A decade later, he was involved in the construction of a medusoid—a synthetic jellyfish made from elastic silicone and the heart cells of a rat—that swims just like a living jelly when a pulsating electric field is applied.5 During that time, Dabiri also became fascinated with another unorthodox combination: schooling fish and wind power.

Fish position themselves in a staggered formation in order to use the turbulence created by their neighbors to swim more efficiently.Courtesy of Robert Whittlesey

Dabiri and Whittlesey don’t know exactly why turbines packed into closely positioned pairs are the most efficient, but they have a couple of working theories.

allows the turbine pairs to be packed more closely together—only four diameters apart compared to a norm of 15 diameters for horizontal-axis wind turbines
cfd  wind  energy  design  science  scientist  aerodynamics  ocean  moi  wt  instapaper_favs 
july 2016 by aries1988
Letter of Recommendation: U.S.G.S. Topographical Maps
it is the sort of place that arguably looks better on an orthophoto map. In person, it just seems like rocky wastes and a dead lake. But the map, from above, captivates — a tempestuous burst of almost extraplanetary rust-colored desert strikingly offset by the pale blue lake.
map  usa  design  color  travel  tool 
may 2016 by aries1988
Stormtroopers Are The iPhones Of Star Wars
There's more than a little bit of Apple in The Force Awakens, and that's why it works.
design  starwars  iphone 
december 2015 by aries1988
The long, incredibly tortuous, and fascinating process of creating a Chinese font - Quartz
To see what Březina means, consider a letter: e. Deciding what an e looks like is the job of typeface designers. To design a typeface for English, a designer needs to create symbols for each of the 26 Roman letters in upper and lower case, as well as punctuation, numbers, and so on. Each of these symbols is called a “glyph.”

Each Chinese character is a glyph, too—for instance, 水 (that’s shui, which means “water”). Behind the e glyph and the 水 glyph, however, are two very different processes. The main difference is scale.

The default set for English-language fonts contains about 230 glyphs. A font that covers all of the Latin scripts—that’s over 100 languages plus extra symbols—contains 840 glyphs, according to Březina. The simplified version of Chinese, used primarily in mainland China, requires nearly 7,000 glyphs. For traditional Chinese, used in Taiwan and Hong Kong, the number of glyphs is 13,053.

An experienced designer, working alone, can in under six months create a new font that covers dozens of Western languages. For a single Chinese font it takes a team of several designers at least two years.

For example, the character 永􏰁 (yong, eternity) is drawn twice above. Yong is one of the most crucial representative characters, because it contains eight of the most common strokes, known as the “Eight Principles of Yong.”

These strokes come together to form the 214 “radicals” of Chinese.

This means that, as Chinese typeface designers continue to add to the set of representative characters, they find cases where the stroke and radical designs they were once quite proud of do not hold up to the range of contexts they need to be used in. These assumptions must be constantly challenged and revised.

To create this uniform experience, designers must apply the style established for the representative characters to the thousands of rare and strange characters that are left. They can finish anywhere between 10 and 100 characters a day, getting faster as the style becomes more concrete.

The low resolution of early 8-bit Japanese video-game masterpieces, like those on the Nintendo Famicom, forced developers to use hiragana, the phonetic representations of characters, instead of kanji, the complex characters themselves, which come from Chinese.

Gerry Leonidas, professor of typography at the University of Reading in the UK, says font designers are trying to implement style innovations from Latin fonts that have thus far been uncommon in Chinese and Japanese—such as wide variants, often used to fill up horizontal space. “So things are bound to get more interesting in the coming years,” says Leonidas.

Think about it. Before too long, you’ll be able to create a kind of shadow version of your entire library, including every book you’ve ever read — as a child, as a teenager, as a college student, as an adult. Every word in that library will be searchable. It is hard to overstate the impact that this kind of shift will have on scholarship. Entirely new forms of discovery will be possible. Imagine a software tool that scans through the bibliographies of the 20 books you’ve read on a specific topic, and comes up with the most-cited work in those bibliographies that you haven’t encountered yet.
font  design  chinese  explained 
december 2015 by aries1988
Zai, les skis célestes | Le Figaro Madame
À Disentis, dans le canton suisse des Grisons, le designer Simon Jacomet conçoit des skis ultra-innovants, aussi performants qu’esthétiques. Et associe sa production à un discours philosophique affûté.

Nous défendons une pratique simple, presque paresseuse, qui demande le moindre effort pour le plus grand résultat. Il faut être détendu, même à vive allure, quand on atteint les limites de l’équilibre. En poussant cette réflexion sur la technique, je pense d’ailleurs avoir mieux compris ce qu’était le zen.» L’informatique intervient finalement peu dans la conception: «On pense que tout peut être simulé, numérisé, mais c’est faux. Notre discipline intègre trop de paramètres, humains, techniques, météorologiques… J’ai travaillé avec un expert de la Formule 1 qui me soutenait le contraire. Il a conçu un ski, qui s’est avéré inutilisable…»
design  mechanics  ski 
may 2015 by aries1988
Inside the Dyson dynasty -
Jake (left) and James Dyson
James Dyson shifts in his seat and laughs awkwardly as his flow of thought hits a tricky obstacle. “God, this is difficult,” he…
story  design  entrepreneurial  industry  home 
may 2015 by aries1988
Type is Beautiful » 西文标点拾趣
在文字排版中,manicule☞主要出现在书页空白处,表示所指段落或接下来的文字值得读者注意,从而梳理长文的结构。Manicule 这个名字源自拉丁文「maniculum」(小手),它还有一些别称,如 printer’s fists、index、digit、pointing finger 等。如今在书籍中已很少见到 manicule,除非是有意模仿旧式印刷。不过在 12–18 世纪,它几乎无处不在。

直至 1970 年,计算机科学家 Ray Tomlinson 参与美国阿帕网(Arpanet,互联网前身)项目时,为了让程序员的电脑在他开发的文件传输程序上互通信息,用程序员姓名和电脑名称组成了邮件地址,并选择了较少见的 @ 符号作为两者之间的分隔符,避免电脑在识别时与其他编程语言混淆。由此,史上第一封电子邮件发出了,几乎被遗忘的 @ 重获新生。

Asterisk 是我们熟悉的符号,我们使用它甚至已经到了随意的地步。不过在正式的文本中,asterisk 会与 dagger 等符号同时出现,起到提示脚注的作用。在不使用数字标记的情况下,当一页书中出现第一处注释,会用 asterisk 标记,第二处用 dagger,第三处则用双剑号(double dagger, ‡)*。在欧洲排印体系中,asterisk 和 dagger 如果出现在年份之前,则分别表示该人物的生卒年份,例如 Jan Tschichold (*1902) 或者 Eric Gill (†1940)†。
design  font  from:rss 
april 2014 by aries1988
Apple’s Magic Is In The Turn, Not The Prestige | TechCrunch
The opening dialogue of Christopher Nolan’s 2006 film, The Prestige: "Every great magic trick consists of three parts or acts. The first part is called “The Pledge”. The magician shows you something ordinary: a deck of cards, a bird or a man. He shows you this object. Perhaps he asks you to inspect it to see if it is indeed real, unaltered, normal. But of course…it probably isn’t. The second act is called “The Turn”. The magician takes the ordinary something and makes it do something extraordinary. Now you’re looking for the secret… but you won’t find it, because of course you’re not really looking. You don’t really want to know. You want to be fooled. But you wouldn’t clap yet. Because making something disappear isn’t enough; you have to bring it back. That’s why every magic trick has a third act, the hardest part, the part we call “The Prestige”. "
movie  classic  apple  design  future 
november 2012 by aries1988
5 个你不知道的图标背后隐喻 | 极客公园
对于软件和应用程序的图标相信每个人每天在电子设备上都能看到很多,很多软件或应用的图标背后的隐喻并不是那么直接,甚至背后有很多不为人知的故事 ,本篇文章为您介绍 Foursquare、Firefox 等图标背后的隐喻和故事。
story  icon  design  firefox  vlc  tudou 
july 2012 by aries1988
Eine Regenschirmsonnenuhr
Der japanische Designer Kota Nezu hat diesen Schirm mit funktionierender Sonnenuhr geschaffen (im Griff ist ein Kompaß eingebaut)
life  sun  design  map 
march 2011 by aries1988
Snacks and Coffee in Your Face
A sip of coffee and a bite of a donut all in one hand! This Face Mug features a big mouth space to hold any combination of liquid and snack. It would be perfect for milk and Oreos…
march 2011 by aries1988
Ajoutez un peu de Poka-Yoke dans votre vie.

Suite à la popularité de mon billet sur le diagramme d'Ishikawa, j'ai pensé qu'il serait intéressant de présenter, de temps à autres, différents outils utilisés en amélioration continue.

L'un des concepts les plus pratiques et que vous utilisez probablement au quotidien, sans nécessairement le savoir, est le Poka-Yoke ou, ce qu'il convient d'appeler dans un français plus juste, un détrompeur.
japon  life  howto  concept  design  daily  japanese  course 
october 2010 by aries1988

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