Tag: Web Design

Inflatable Motorcycle Can Take You Places While Packing Compactly Into Your Bag

[Click here to view the video in this article]

Video screenshot via Sato et al

The grownup version of bouncy castles is way more imaginative—and infinitely more useful.

Last year, a group of researchers from the University of Tokyo and mercari R4D unveiled an inflatable, functional scooter to get you to your destination while being surprisingly portable. ‘Poimo’, short for Portable and Inflatable Mobility, is said to be the first “soft mobility” personal transportation device, allowing its user to compress its soft, lightweight components and carry the whole vehicle around.

When it was first presented in May 2020, the entire Poimo scooter, made from high-quality thermoplastic urethane, weighed just 17 pounds. Meanwhile, its body came in at only five pounds, SlashGear reported. The team has made a few upgrades to the mobility device since then, so this could have changed.

The following months saw the group imagining customizations for the Poimo, based on users’ desired riding postures. Apart from an electric scooter design, there’s now a motorcycle and wheelchair. All are powered by a small in-wheel electric motor.

Almost as quick as it takes to start a car, the structures can be inflated within a minute using a pump.

There’s still no word on release details yet, since the inflatable mobility device is still undergoing design, weight, and safety enhancements. As it is, though, the Poimo is already much more visible than a skateboard or bicycle, and expectedly less painful to knock into.

[via Mashable and SlashGear, videos and cover image via Sato et al] http://www.designtaxi.com/news/414407/Inflatable-Motorcycle-Can-Take-You-Places-While-Packing-Compactly-Into-Your-Bag/

Nissan Smashes Through Walls With 3D Illusion Revealing Its New Hybrid Car

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Image via Nissan UK

Nissan sees your Instagram panorama and raises you an outdoor display of its new hybrid car transcending real-world borders.

To show off the all-new, electrified Qashqai car with mild-hybrid power, Nissan UK took to London’s South Bank and installed a giant cube with a 3D optical illusion that depicts it driving “out” of the box.

“Curtains” in the spectacle are rolled back to present the shiny new Qashqai, swimming beneath stormy clouds. The car seemingly extends out of the cube, then reverses, before harnessing enough power to break the “glass” of the cube and finally roaming free.

According to Campaign UK, the minute-long advertisement refreshes every 15 minutes. The campaign was put together by Scott Andrews and Leigh Gilbert of advertising agency TBWA\London, with production from Pixel Artworks.

Passersby who scan the advertisement’s QR code will also be able to view the Qashqai through their smartphones in augmented reality.

The mind-boggling illusion will be on display for a week starting June 18.

[via Campaign UK, cover image via Nissan UK] http://www.designtaxi.com/news/414406/Nissan-Smashes-Through-Walls-With-3D-Illusion-Revealing-Its-New-Hybrid-Car/

Startup Develops Vegan ‘Dairy’ By ‘Identically’ Mimicking Cow’s Milk Components

Image via Shutterstock

Dairy and veganism might be paradoxes, but one Israeli startup believes it has milked the future of plant-based food products with a cruelty-free, animal-free “dairy” product that acts and tastes as it had come from a cow.

On its website, Tel Aviv-based food tech startup Imagindairy describes its invention as a base for “tasty, healthy and nutritious dairy products that are environmentally friendly and care for animal welfare at affordable prices.” The vegan milk is developed in a lab from “dairy protein-based” components via a special fermentation process.

Through an artificial intelligence-assisted technique called “precision fermentation,” Imagindairy replicates milk proteins “identical” to the whey and casein proteins in a “cow’s mammary cells,” CEO Eyal Afergan told FoodNavigator. Fermentation takes three to five days, and comes from technology comprising 15 years of research.

Afergan said the protein can be “easily harvested” in high volumes, enough to mimic the amount found in dairy milk. It is then purified and dehydrated into a powder. At the end of it, you get “animal-free dairy” that matches cow’s milk in sensory experiences while being suited for the making of alternatives for dairy products like cheese.

Above all, the startup’s alternative apparently possesses the same nutritional value and composition of cow-based milk, yet remains free of lactose, cholesterol, and GMOs.

The company’s proprietary technology allows it to match qualities of cow’s milk that plant-based proteins in alternatives like soy, oat, and almond milks haven’t been able to replicate, as they do not share the biophysical features or nutritional value of whey and casein.

Cow’s milk proteins have the distinct ability to develop curds, which give dairy products their unique creaminess and texture. Adding even a single dairy-based protein to a plant-based product can significantly alter its taste and texture.

Afergan is a proud graduate of the Technion Institute of Technology in Israel, earning him a commendation by Technion UK CEO Alan Aziz. As quoted by The Jerusalem Post, Aziz responded, “Up until now, the vegan sector has focused on trying to find the closest alternatives to everyday dairy products. But it turns out that the best substitutes for milk and cheese are just milk and cheese – minus the cows.”

Imagindairy aims to bring the milk alternative to the masses in a couple of years, pitting it against plant-based meat company Impossible, which is also developing an animal-free product similar to cow’s milk.

[via FoodNavigator and The Jerusalem Post, cover image via Shutterstock] http://www.designtaxi.com/news/414405/Startup-Develops-Vegan-Dairy-By-Identically-Mimicking-Cow-s-Milk-Components/

Snapchat Discontinues ‘Speed Filter’ That May Have Encouraged Dangerous Driving

Image via Shutterstock

Social media app Snapchat is discontinuing a feature known as the “speed filter,” which had allowed users to capture how fast they were moving at any given time.

The feature was first launched in 2013, and although it has faced criticism over the years, Snapchat had always defended the feature—up until now.

Families have sued Snapchat over the feature, as users have been injured or killed in car crashes where drivers were speeding in order to take a Snap. While critics are glad to see the feature gone, some are questioning why the app took so long to make the decision.

A Snapchat spokesperson told NPR the feature “is barely used by Snapchatters,” and as such, the company would be “removing it altogether.”

Snapchat removing its speed filter is for the best, but I did have fun using it when I was on a plane pic.twitter.com/xqY3O456qH

— ᒎᗴᑎ🦋 (@jenlovescats) June 18, 2021

While Snapchat started deleting the feature last week, it could take a few more weeks before it disappears for all of its 500 million monthly active users.

However, attorney Michael Neff, who represented the families of those involved in car crashes, said the change will not ease the pain of his clients.

“While this will no doubt serve the safety of the motoring public moving forward, it does not remedy Snapchat’s choice to create and distribute the speed filter in the past,” he said.

Most of the crashes tied to the feature involved teenagers at the wheel. As per NPR, in 2015, a driver in Georgia was left with permanent brain damage after a collision involving the “speed filter.” That same year, three young women died in a car accident in Philadelphia, as per ABC.

In 2016, five people in Florida lost their lives in a high-speed collision involving the feature. And in 2017, three young men in Wisconsin crashed into a tree and died while clocking speeds of over 123 miles per hour.

Snapchat had tried to decrease the visibility of the feature in the past, changing it from a filter to a sticker, and adding a “Don’t Snap and drive” warning. The app had also capped the top speed which could be shared at 35 miles per hour. But it did not remove the feature entirely.

In May, NPR reported a federal appeals court ruled that the family of the young men who died in the Wisconsin crash had grounds to sue Snapchat for being negligent in designing a feature that could lead to foreseeable harm, though the lawsuit has yet to reach a conclusion.

As Irina Raicu, Director of the Internet Ethic Program at Santa Clara University puts it: “Sometimes, one of the most thoughtful ways to deploy a product is to never deploy it at all.”

[via NPR, cover image via Shutterstock] http://www.designtaxi.com/news/414404/Snapchat-Discontinues-Speed-Filter-That-May-Have-Encouraged-Dangerous-Driving/

Android Phones To Be Updated With Real-Time Earthquake Alerts Globally

Image via Shutterstock

Google is launching a new feature for Android devices that aims to alert users to approaching earthquakes instantly. The tech giant first started rolling out this feature to smartphones in April in a few select countries, and is now expanding the list.

Early warnings during earthquakes are key to helping people evacuate or take cover, but public infrastructure to alert everyone in the vicinity of an approaching quake can be costly.

Google aims to use its wide network of Android smartphones to fix the issue, providing users with timely earthquake information as well as real-time warnings.

As part of this joint network, each Android smartphone can work as a mini seismometer, joining millions of other devices to form the world’s largest earthquake detection network, as per Live Mint.

This sensing feature is already built-in for most smartphones, which contain tiny accelerometers that can sense when a quake might be happening.

When a smartphone detects what it thinks could be a quake, it sends a signal to Google’s earthquake detection server, along with the relevant location information. The server will then combine information from multiple smartphones in the area to figure out if an earthquake is happening.

Last week, Google launched the feature to users in Turkey, the Philippines, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan. It hopes to roll out the feature first to countries at higher risk for earthquakes.

[via Live Mint, cover via Shutterstock] http://www.designtaxi.com/news/414402/Android-Phones-To-Be-Updated-With-Real-Time-Earthquake-Alerts-Globally/

Bill Gates Unveils His Favorite Books To Read For Summer In 2021

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Image via Gates Notes

Each summer without fail, Bill Gates presents his top reading picks to help broaden perspectives through difficult times. Last year, in the height of the pandemic, for instance, the Microsoft cofounder shared book recommendations that could help the world cope with its emotions and illness-related fears.

This summer is no different. In the midst of tumultuous times himself—involving the end of his 27-year marriage with Melinda Gates and resurfaced tension about his possible ties with late socialite and sex offender Jeffrey Epstein—Gates explores “the complicated relationship between humanity and nature” within the pages of five books.

The titles serve as a companion for the aftermath of the pandemic, as well as supplement Gates’ vision to “avoid a climate disaster.” They are: Lights Out: Pride, Delusion, and the Fall of General Electric by Thomas Gryta and Ted Mann; Under a White Sky: The Nature of the Future by Elizabeth Kolbert; A Promised Land by Barack Obama; The Overstory: A Novel by Richard Powers; and An Elegant Defense: The Extraordinary New Science of the Immune System: A Tale in Four Lives by Matt Richtel.

Gates explains that the insightful texts deal with how people might react when they “come into conflict with the world around them,” and what some of them have done to reverse the damage.

Have a rundown of his reading picks for summer 2021 right below, and find out more from his blog post here.

[via Fast Company, cover image via Gates Notes] http://www.designtaxi.com/news/414403/Bill-Gates-Unveils-His-Favorite-Books-To-Read-For-Summer-In-2021/

Ireland Is Using This Popular Video Game To Illustrate Its Stunning Landscapes

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Image via Tourism Ireland

Ireland is using scenes from popular video game Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla in a tourism campaign to lure visitors to the picturesque destination.

The game’s first expansion, Wrath of the Druids, brings main character Viking Eivor to Ireland, featuring some of the country’s famous landmarks, including Dublin, Benbulben, and the Giant’s Causeway.

Ubisoft, the creator of the video game, teamed up with Tourism Ireland to highlight both Ireland’s gorgeous scenery as well as its notable sights and sounds.

“Ubisoft has done an incredible job in bringing aspects of Celtic Ireland to life in amazing detail,” said Mark Henry, Central Marketing Director at Tourism Ireland, as per Games Radar.

“The campaign is a fun and innovative way to bring Ireland to the attention of a new audience of gamers. We want to spike players’ curiosity about the featured locations and inspire them to come and explore them in the real world,” he explained.

Take a peek at the game’s stunning backdrops of Viking Ireland in the trailer below.

[via Games Radar, cover image via Tourism Ireland] http://www.designtaxi.com/news/414400/Ireland-Is-Using-This-Popular-Video-Game-To-Illustrate-Its-Stunning-Landscapes/

Disney Reportedly Gets Loki Fan Art Removed Even Though It Doesn’t Own The God

Video screenshot via Marvel Entertainment

Most people would be familiar with the Loki personified in the Marvel Cinematic Universe by Tom Hiddleston. For others, Loki is a Norse deity worshipped by many for centuries.

So when artists received copyright claims for creating imagery and merchandise inspired by the shape-shifting god, they were appalled. A notice shared by Twitter user @YourBoswell from print-on-demand marketplace Redbubble suggests that Disney Enterprises, Inc. could be clamping down even on artwork unrelated to the Marvel Studios version of the mythical trickster.

Redbubble detailed that the artwork had to be taken down as it “may contain material that violates someone’s rights,” based on “guidance” from Disney “describing the type of content they consider infringing that should be removed from the marketplace.”

The fan art being flagged is entitled Low Key Loki, and features the punning phrase “Low Key” in green letters.

The creator said the listing had been up on the marketplace for years, intended as a product for cosplaying purposes. He added that the typographical piece’s shade and font were deliberately selected to avoid copyright infringement claims, “but I guess with the success of the show, they’re cracking down.”

It remains to be seen if this particular takedown order was issued by Disney or is simply a preemptive measure by Redbubble in light of the release of Disney+’s Loki series.

The marketplace explained in its email, “In most cases, this means that the rights holder did not specifically identify your work for removal, but that Redbubble has detected potential similarity between your removed work and one or more words, phrases or images included in the rights holder’s removal guidance.”

Nevertheless, followers of the non-Disney Loki are balking at this act of mischief. “So not even mythology Loki is allowed [because] Disney owns that too, apparently… It’s ridiculous that I enjoy their movies and series so much,” one Twitter user wrote. “Just want to warn all my occultists out there that Disney is coming for anything that has to do with Loki, who is still worshipped as a deity by many of us. Not only that, but the phrase ‘low key,’ apparently,” said another.

The artist said he intends to file an appeal for the removal of the graphic.

What the fuck????? pic.twitter.com/uN7vL2XYHr

— 🔞🏳️‍🌈Loki’s Buttslut🏳️‍⚧️⭕️🔞 (@YourBoswell) June 17, 2021

It’s been up for years and it’s a comic reference, simple text art I made for cosplays. I even made sure the color and font were different

But I guess with the success of the show they’re cracking down. I’m gonna appeal it when I’m more awake. If I change the name, maybe.

— 🔞🏳️‍🌈Loki’s Buttslut🏳️‍⚧️⭕️🔞 (@YourBoswell) June 18, 2021

This is a pretty terrible take.

Loki's been written about since the 1220's . And Loki is a deity I work with.

Disney is just a parasite.

— Josh Conway did the #Moderna and still SigInts! (@CrankyLinuxUser) June 18, 2021

Ah yes, disney, the owner of the norse gods 😀 https://t.co/vR6M5mbDX6

— maven | 🌘🌈🍖🦋🏳️‍🌈 LOKI SPOILERS (@darkalinas) June 19, 2021

Disney thinks they can copyright someone's culture now. 21st century colonialism right there.

— #CancelRent Völva (@SignyTheSage) June 19, 2021

[via Daily Dot, cover image via Marvel Entertainment] http://www.designtaxi.com/news/414401/Disney-Reportedly-Gets-Loki-Fan-Art-Removed-Even-Though-It-Doesn-t-Own-The-God/

Thousands Sign Petitions To Stop Jeff Bezos From Returning To Earth From Space

Image via lev radin / Shutterstock.com

Over 54,000 people have signed petitions to ban billionaire Jeff Bezos from returning to Earth after he takes off into space next month.

The founder of Amazon and space exploration firm Blue Origin had said he and his brother, Mark Bezos, will be aboard the New Shepard rocket for its first-ever human flight on July 20.

Just a few days after Bezos’ announcement, two petitions were launched to try and stop him from returning to Earth, according to Insider.

Both petitions have garnered thousands of signatures in just over a week. More than 35,000 individuals have signed a Change.org petition titled “Do not allow Jeff Bezos to return to Earth” as of the time of publication. Change.org describes that the page is on track to becoming “one of the top signed on Change.org.”

A second petition, “Petition To Not Allow Jeff Bezos Re-Entry To Earth,” has gathered over 19,700 signatures, and is still gaining traction.

The campaigns’ descriptions and comments highlight a common sentiment among signatories who want to defend Earth against billionaires like Bezos. “Billionaires should not exist… on Earth, or in space, but should they decide the latter they should stay there,” reads the first description.

Jose Ortiz, who set up the second petition, also said in its description that Bezos is “an evil overlord hellbent on global domination.”

Are these petitions a good laugh or over 50,000 people who really abhor Jeff Bezos? It’s hard to say for sure.

[via Insider, cover via lev radin / Shutterstock.com] http://www.designtaxi.com/news/414399/Thousands-Sign-Petitions-To-Stop-Jeff-Bezos-From-Returning-To-Earth-From-Space/

Thousands Sign Petitions To Stop Jeff Bezos From Returning From Space Trip

Image via lev radin / Shutterstock.com

Over 54,000 people have signed petitions to ban billionaire Jeff Bezos from returning to Earth after he takes off into space next month.

The founder of Amazon and space exploration firm Blue Origin had said he and his brother, Mark Bezos, will be aboard the New Shepard rocket for its first-ever human flight on July 20.

Just a few days after Bezos’ announcement, two petitions were launched to try and stop him from returning to Earth, according to Insider.

Both petitions have garnered thousands of signatures in just over a week. More than 35,000 individuals have signed a Change.org petition titled “Do not allow Jeff Bezos to return to Earth” as of the time of publication. Change.org describes that the page is on track to becoming “one of the top signed on Change.org.”

A second petition, “Petition To Not Allow Jeff Bezos Re-Entry To Earth,” has gathered over 19,700 signatures, and is still gaining traction.

The campaigns’ descriptions and comments highlight a common sentiment among signatories who want to defend Earth against billionaires like Bezos. “Billionaires should not exist… on Earth, or in space, but should they decide the latter they should stay there,” reads the first description.

Jose Ortiz, who set up the second petition, also said in its description that Bezos is “an evil overlord hellbent on global domination.”

Are these petitions a good laugh or over 50,000 people who really abhor Jeff Bezos? It’s hard to say for sure.

[via Insider, cover via lev radin / Shutterstock.com] http://www.designtaxi.com/news/414399/Thousands-Sign-Petitions-To-Stop-Jeff-Bezos-From-Returning-From-Space-Trip/

White House Opens Its First Historical LGBTQ+ Display For Pride Month

Image via Rena Schild / Shutterstock.com

In celebration of Pride Month, the White House is hosting an exhibit dedicated to artifacts of the LGBTQ+ community.

This is the first-ever physical display of historical items dedicated to the community, which the White House teamed up with the Smithsonian Institution to curate. As per the Advocate, the exhibit features artifacts from notable LGBTQ+ figures, such as Harvey Milk, Marsha P. Johnson, and Rose Cleveland – the sister of the 23rd and 25th President of the United States, Grover Cleveland.

“For almost 30 years, Rose Cleveland maintained a romantic relationship with Evangeline Marrs Simpson Whipple. The women lived together in Italy from 1910, until Rose’s death from the Spanish flu in 1918,” the exhibit describes.

Naturally, there are also artifacts on display from historic moments in LGBTQ+ history, including the Stonewall Rebellion and the AIDS epidemic.

The hallway of the White House was also lit up in rainbow colors as a tribute, something that has never been done before.

White House partners with Smithsonian Institution for exhibit on #LGBTQ+ history. Features photos, documents, memorabilia and information on the history of Stonewall, AIDS, Harvey Milk, Marsha P. Johnson, Rose Cleveland and more https://t.co/V5NYxRGpBO #LGBT #LGBTQIA #PrideMonth pic.twitter.com/Y7KdzDyTrE

— LGBTQ+ News (@mondokoosh) June 19, 2021

White House hallway lit up in rainbow colors for Pride Month pic.twitter.com/HA3Bu4kyxt

— Jordan Fabian (@Jordanfabian) June 18, 2021

[via Advocate and LGBTQ Nation, images via various sources] http://www.designtaxi.com/news/414397/White-House-Opens-Its-First-Historical-LGBTQ-Display-For-Pride-Month/

Fake ‘Mona Lisa’ Painting Sells For Over $3 Million

Image via Christie’s

While one might expect the original Mona Lisa by Leonardo da Vinci to fetch millions should it ever go on sale, it’s a surprise that even copies of the artwork can fetch staggering prices on the market.

A reproduction of the famed artwork just sold for €2.9 million (US$3.4 million) at an online auction held by Christie’s Paris, far surpassing the auction house’s estimates of €200,000 to €300,000 (US$236,000 to US$355,000).

The replica, named after antiquarian Raymond Hekking, was acquired from an antique dealer in a small village in Nice, France. Hekking was convinced that his copy of the Mona Lisa was the real thing, rather than the one on display at the Louvre.

Hekking invited media from across the globe to his home in Nice, even challenging the Louvre to prove the authenticity of its version. The Mona Lisa had been stolen from the Louvre in 1911, leading Hekking to think it had been replaced by a fake.

Turns out, the work he owned was likely a copy by an “Italian school, early 17th-century, follower of Leonardo da Vinci,” according to a press release by Christie’s.

Take a look at the replica that fetched millions below.

Image by Christie’s

[via The Art Newspaper, images via Christie’s] http://www.designtaxi.com/news/414396/Fake-Mona-Lisa-Painting-Sells-For-Over-3-Million/

George Floyd Statues Unveiled In The US As Reminder To Keep ‘Paying Attention’

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Image via bgrocker / Shutterstock.com

Terrence Floyd, the brother of George Floyd, along with others are highlighting that the mission for racial equity and inclusivity isn’t over. To commemorate the Juneteenth federal holiday and remember Black lives that were unjustly taken away, new statues of the late Floyd were set up across cities in the US.

On Saturday, Terrence Floyd unveiled a six-foot-tall bust of his brother at a Juneteenth rally held outside the Brooklyn Public Library. Created by artist Chris Carnabuci, the sculpture is hand-assembled with pieces of plywood, each cut out with 3D modeling software and CNC equipment.

Last Wednesday, Newark mayor Ras Baraka revealed a 700-pound bronze George Floyd statue outside city hall. Floyd is depicted to be seated on one side of a bench, his arm stretched over the shoulder of whomever sits beside him. Baraka described the man as a symbol of “a lot more than himself at this juncture in history,” according to USA Today.

The monuments were presented a year after fervent Black Lives Matter marches that saw confederate sculptures being toppled over. Floyd was killed by Minneapolis police on Memorial Day last year, reverberating protests across the country.

“My brother was the sacrifice, so I need y’all to continue to pay attention and keep my big brother’s name ringing in the ears of everyone,” said his brother Terrence Floyd in a livestream.

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Confront Art (@confront.art)

Today Mayor @rasjbaraka unveiled a donated statue honoring George Floyd in front of City Hall, alongside Filmmaker Leon Pickney, Artist Stanley Watts, Activist Larry Hamm and more pic.twitter.com/nefig7fruE

— City of Newark (@CityofNewarkNJ) June 16, 2021

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A post shared by Confront Art (@confront.art)

[via USA Today, images via various sources] http://www.designtaxi.com/news/414398/George-Floyd-Statues-Unveiled-In-The-US-As-Reminder-To-Keep-Paying-Attention/

Banksy Loses Trademark To Two More Iconic Works

Image by Infrogmation of New Orleans / Flickr via Wikimedia Commons (CC BY 2.0)

Back in May, Banksy lost a trademark dispute over an iconic image of a monkey. First appearing in 2002, the graffiti artist used the motif time and again, before the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) declared its trademark invalid.

Now, Banksy continues to sustain hits to his extensive portfolio, with Radar Rat and Girl with Umbrella being stripped of their trademark. In its previous ruling, the EUIPO said the artist had been filing for trademarks in “bad faith,” as he wasn’t planning on commercializing the images.

“As Banksy has chosen to be anonymous and cannot be identified this would hinder him from being able to protect this piece of art under copyright laws without identifying himself, while identifying himself would take away from the secretive persona with propels his fame and success,” the panel said in a statement shared by UNILAD.

However, it seems Banksy isn’t backing down just yet. On the website of Pest Control Office Ltd, which authenticates artwork on behalf of Banksy, visitors can find the warning: “Please do not use Banksy’s images for any commercial purpose, including launching a range of merchandise or tricking people into thinking something is made or endorsed by the artist when it isn’t… saying Banksy wrote ‘copyright is for losers’ in his book doesn’t give you free rein to misinterpret the artist and commit fraud.”

With the rate the artist is losing the trademarks to his work, it seems this warning could soon turn into just a mere suggestion.

Image via eddiedangerous / Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

[via UNILAD, images via various sources] http://www.designtaxi.com/news/414395/Banksy-Loses-Trademark-To-Two-More-Iconic-Works/

Canon’s AI Cameras Only Let Employees Into Offices If They Look Happy

Image via Valokuva24 / Shutterstock.com

Say cheese, says Canon. Even if you work there. Especially if you work there.

There have been a surprising handful of reports lately about China’s surveillance systems that can even detect if you’re fake-happy at work, and Chinese Canon subsidiary Canon information Technology appears to have installed one of its own. According to Nikkei Asia, in 2020, the company rolled out an “intelligent IT solution” across offices at its Beijing headquarters with “smiley face access control” as one of its functions.

The technology perceives if a person standing in front of its camera is happy, and only allows them into work or lets them book conference rooms when they smile.

Canon detailed in a press release that, given the company’s focus on “laughing” and “big health,” it hopes to promote these aspects in the workplace during the daunting pandemic. “It is hoped that smiles can let everyone relax and get healthy, so as to create a more pleasant working atmosphere and improve efficiency,” the company noted.

This system hasn’t received so many smiles online, where employees have expressed their displeasure about having their feelings intruded on. “So now the companies are not only manipulating our time, but also our emotions,” one staffer wrote on social networking site Weibo.

Defending the concept, Canon China told Nikkei Asia that it just wants to break the shyness and nurture a positive atmosphere in the workplace. “Mostly, people are just too shy to smile,” a spokesperson told the news outlet, “but once they get used to smiles in the office, they just keep their smiles without the system, which has created a positive and lively atmosphere.”

Image via Canon China

Image via Canon China

[via PetaPixel, images via various sources] http://www.designtaxi.com/news/414394/Canon-s-AI-Cameras-Only-Let-Employees-Into-Offices-If-They-Look-Happy/

LG Quits Designing Smartphones, Now Hopes To Sell iPhones Instead

Image via Grzegorz Czapski / Shutterstock.com

In April, LG Electronics—the third-largest phone maker in the US—announced it was ceasing its smartphone business worldwide to focus on its other offerings.

Well, it turns out that LG could still be selling smartphones, just not its own.

As reported by BusinessKorea, via BGR, LG is in negotiations with Apple to retail iPhones, iPads, and Apple Watches in more than 400 LG Best Shops in South Korea. That’s right, the former Android smartphone maker has picked Apple products—instead of Android—as its favorite handheld devices after its own.

The report also mentions that LG and Apple are in talks of setting up designated Apple corners in the stores, either manned by Apple employees or LG Best Shop staff.

One request they have yet to agree on is Apple’s insistence on displaying its laptops and desktops in the outlets too, according to BusinessKorea. Computers are one category LG doesn’t want Apple to claim, as the South Korean tech brand wants its Gram laptops as standalone computers.

In South Korea, Android stands as the most popular mobile OS in the country, likely driven by a preference for Samsung models. LG’s counterintuitive plans to serve a slice of Apple pie could boost its presence as a market challenger.

A spokesperson for LG Electronics told BusinessKorea that “nothing has been decided yet,” and that the brand is “exploring all possibilities.”

[via BGR, cover image via Grzegorz Czapski / Shutterstock.com http://www.designtaxi.com/news/414393/LG-Quits-Designing-Smartphones-Now-Hopes-To-Sell-iPhones-Instead/

Life-Size ‘Elephants’ Roam Through London To Send A Massive Conservation Message

Image via Travers Lewis / Shutterstock.com

One of the nine herds of elephants that have taken over London trotted past the bustling Piccadilly and Buckingham Palace.

These life-size wooden creatures are part of an ongoing partnership between CoExistence and Elephant Family, two nonprofits championing how humans can better live alongside animals in a larger, more cohesive ecosystem.

CoExistence, which spearheads the project, aims to identify mutually beneficial modes of living, especially with the world’s population soaring from 2.3 billion in 1937 to 7.8 billion today. Inversely, the global environment has shrunk from 66% then to only 35% remaining.

According to Colossal, the nine herds of the huge mammals can be found roaming through London’s urban spaces, most of which are closed off to wildlife.

From St James’ Park to Berkeley Square, and even the Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall’s homes at Highgrove, these sculptures are generating awareness of the environmental crises Mother Nature is facing.

Through the installations, the nonprofits hope to raise funds in order to support grassroots organizations in India that will help create technology and infrastructure that allows humans and animals to live together harmoniously.

There are plans to expand from London to the rest of the world, with CoExistence in talks to install 500 more animals in different locations.

Together with The Real Elephant Collective, each nation will receive a herd of animals specifically designed for it. The organizations then work together with the Indigenous population in the Tamil Nadu jungle in southern Indian to make these sculptures.

The craftsmen, who live alongside real-life elephants of up to 15 feet tall, make each creature from long strips of lantana camara, an invasive weed that harms the environment. By helping to remove the weed, the craftsmen also aid in preserving the natural ecosystem of their homeland.

On July 6, a new herd of thirty-seven endangered and extinct birds will join the elephants in Green Park, as per Colossal. Made of steel, clay, and bronze, seven artists came together to create the flock, including a three-meter-tall (10-feet-tall) curlew, crafted by Simon Gudgeon. These birds are part of a related collaboration with WildEast, a UK organization focused on finding new methods of sustainable farming, in order to raise funds for conservation efforts.

To lend your support to CoExistence’s efforts, anyone can adopt one of the elephants. There are also souvenir goods available in its shop. For more information, follow the elephants on Instagram here.

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Image via Travers Lewis / Shutterstock.com

Image via Travers Lewis / Shutterstock.com

Image via Brian Minkoff / Shutterstock.com

Image via Brian Minkoff / Shutterstock.com

[via Colossal, images via various sources] http://www.designtaxi.com/news/414391/Life-Size-Elephants-Roam-Through-London-To-Send-A-Massive-Conservation-Message/

Unilever Unveils Recyclable Toothpaste Tubes To Come Clean With The Environment

Image via monticello / Shutterstock.com

In recent years, Unilever—global conglomerate with 400 household brands to its name—has been giving its packaging and manufacturing processes a good rinse to help protect the planet. It is now introducing new toothpaste tubes in hopes of making all of its toothpaste tubes recyclable by 2025.

Starting with France and India, Unilever’s greatest markets, the company will be piloting a sustainable toothpaste tube design that has been four years in the making, Yanko Design reports. It will also share the design with other companies in hopes to inspire active adoption in the industry. With toothpaste as an indispensable everyday product, a widespread overhaul in packaging could do wonders for the environment.

Toothpaste tubes are usually constructed with plastic, along with an aluminum lining, for flexibility and prolonged shelf life. This comes at a cost for Earth, as the tubes would be difficult to recycle. Unilever’s solution is to use a material mostly consisting of High-Density Polyethylene (HDPE), “one of the most widely recyclable plastics globally.”

At 220-microns, HPDE is also the thinnest plastic material used by the toothpaste industry, including Colgate, which has started working with the component too.

The tubes are compatible with standard HDPE recycling streams, and can even be recycled easily by consumers.

Unilever also says that it is partnering with recycling organizations around the world to ensure that post-consumer toothpaste tubes are treated right. In France, for example, the tubes can be collected from consumers’ home recycle bins and repurposed into new products.

The company will begin testing the tubes with oral care brand Signal, before rolling out the design to India’s Pepsodent and CloseUp by the end of the year.

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A post shared by Unilever Global #StaySafe (@unilever)

[via Yanko Design, cover image via monticello / Shutterstock.com] http://www.designtaxi.com/news/414392/Unilever-Unveils-Recyclable-Toothpaste-Tubes-To-Come-Clean-With-The-Environment/

Thinx Upsizes Affordable Period Underwear, Meticulously Tested On Diverse Bodies

Image via Thinx

When Thinx first hit the market, it was a revolutionary idea. After decades of pads and tampons being the only options for period care, there was now an eco-friendly alternative. The New York-based feminine hygiene brand catapulted period underwear into the spotlight. Not only does this alternative give persons who menstruate a reusable option, but it also protects against odor and leaks, providing more comfort.

However, there has still been a lack of accessibility when it comes to the plus-size community’s relationship with period-care products. Thinx, leading the charge, has now made improvements to be its plus-size offerings.

According to Byrdie, not only has the brand released extended sizes for its more affordable Target ‘Thinx For All’ collection, but it has also just launched updated plus-size options across its signature styles. Ranging from XS to 4X, Thinx has redesigned its lineup with true plus-size dimensions.

This means that apart from increasing the size of the underwear, each style was tested on menstruating bodies of all sizes to analyze fit and function. Thinx said it paid attention to how the hip, waist, and legs fit, in order for users to get the most optimal protection.

“We recognize the plus-size community has been overlooked in period care, and it’s important for us to help bridge that gap for those who want to be part of our brand. We’ve taken the time to listen and put in the work to make sure our new line fits properly and addresses the feedback we received in the past,” Thinx CEO Maria Molland said.

While there is still more to be done to make period-care products more inclusive to plus-size individuals and more accessible to all menstruating persons, Thinx’s redesign is definitely a step in the right direction.Take a look at the collection here.

Image via Thinx

Image via Thinx

[via Byrdie, images via Thinx] http://www.designtaxi.com/news/414390/Thinx-Upsizes-Affordable-Period-Underwear-Meticulously-Tested-On-Diverse-Bodies/

Here Are Fashion’s ‘Most Resold’ Brands Across Millions Of Product Listings

Image via Shutterstock

A new report released by energy-efficient resource platform SaveOnEnergy uncovers the “most resold” brand on the market, based on analysis from resale sites like Depop, eBay, and ASOS Marketplace.

And with the results in, Nike has been deemed “by far the most resold brand in the world, with a staggering 1.16 million listings in total.”

Following the sportswear giant are Zara, Topshop, ASOS, and fierce rival Adidas. Though it’s unsurprising that brands such as Nike and Adidas are so in-demand, given the hype around sneakers in the last few years, it’s interesting to note how often products of fast-fashion brands are being resold, too.

This rise could be attributed to the Gen Z trend of “thrifting” or the push by millennials to reuse, recycle, and be more environmentally friendly.

It is certainly intriguing that people are paying for used clothing from fast-fashion retailers, considering these outfits often don’t hold up for long.

According to Input, the report also found that the most resold items in the UK are from fast-fashion brands, too.

People have been looking to “increase the longevity of their products,” even if they come from ultra-fast-fashion labels, such as UK-based PrettyLittleThing. The label has been “ranked as one of the most resold brands in the world, with 502,510 total listings.” Other brands of the like, such as Boohoo and Missguided, are also among the top 20 resold brands.

This could be seen as an encouraging trend, with younger consumers upcycling their used outfits. However, as Input posits, it could also be a telltale sign of how many pieces ultra-fast-fashion brands are producing.

In a study conducted last year, VICE reported that Boohoo debuted 772 new garments a week, averaging 116 new items a day. With such a staggering number of pieces on offer, ultra-fast-fashion brands may be topping the lists due to consumers only wearing outfits once, before moving on to the next drop.

Take a look at the full list of the top resale brands below.

Click to view enlarged version

Click to view enlarged version. Image via SaveOnEnergy

[via Input, images via various sources] http://www.designtaxi.com/news/414387/Here-Are-Fashion-s-Most-Resold-Brands-Across-Millions-Of-Product-Listings/

Researchers Reveal How Prehistoric Artists Would Have Lit Up Their Cave Studios

Image via Medina-Alcaide et al

Researchers and scientists have always sought to understand our prehistoric ancestors’ cave art, though no one really had details of how the works were made.

Now, a new study on ancient lighting techniques gives new insight to how ancient artists might have worked in their cave studios.

As part of the study, Spanish archaeologists Ángeles Medina-Alcaide, Diego Garate, Iñaki Intxaurbe, José L. Sanchidrián, Olivia Rivero, Catherine Ferrier, Dolores Mesa, Jaime Pereña, and Iñaki Líbano performed experiments to uncover how prehistoric artists constructed a steady light source in their caves.

Based on evidence found in Paleolithic sites in Southwest Europe, scientists understand these cavemen used three main light sources: torches, fireplaces, and portable grease lamps.

By performing experiments using all three sources, the researchers learned about the peculiarities of each choice, including the types of residue each technique produced.

According to ARTnews, the study found that fireplaces restricted the cave’s already-limited airflow, while torches were useful for exploration but not sustained work.

Torch flames were often unpredictable, and could sometimes create more smoke than light, hindering the cavemen’s artistic processes. Grease lamps turned out to be the steadiest form of light, though they had to be positioned correctly as the scope of light was somewhat limited.

Despite the study’s comprehensive findings, there’s still one question scientists have yet to shed light on—why the cavemen artists chose to work deep inside the caves, rather than at the entrances.

“They could have made drawings just at the entrance of the cave without any problem. They wanted to do it in these narrow places and go very deep inside the caves,” scientist Diego Garate told CNN.

While we’ll never resolve all the mysteries surrounding our prehistoric ancestors and their art, this study brings us a little closer to what they might have experienced back then.

Image via Medina-Alcaide et al

Image via Medina-Alcaide et al

[via ARTnews, images via Medina-Alcaide et al] http://www.designtaxi.com/news/414386/Researchers-Reveal-How-Prehistoric-Artists-Would-Have-Lit-Up-Their-Cave-Studios/

Mattel Launches Hot Wheels Digital Collectibles En Route To World Of NFTs

Image via Mattel / Business Wire

Unlike the Hot Wheels you used to collect, these ones can’t zip around tracks. And yet, they’re likely worth more.

Mattel is speeding into the world of non-fungible tokens (NFTs) by auctioning its first digital artworks, modeled after three Hot Wheels cars: the ‘Twin Mill’, ‘Bone Shaker’, and ‘Deora II’.

Sales for the virtual toy cars will start on June 22 via Mattel’s collaboration platform Mattel Creations, with a starting bid of 99 cents per car.

Buyers will pay in Ethereum, in line with Mattel’s aim to reach out to “a new collector customer base who expect cryptocurrency as a purchase option,” the company explained in a press release.

While this could look like just another swing into a trend of NFT collectibles, Mattel president Richard Dickson justified that the company is, instead, “connecting to culture,” which he said is “core to Mattel’s DNA.”

Dickson expressed, “As we continually look to innovate, evolving physical product to digital art through NFTs was an obvious next step for Mattel Creations.”

After the week-long auction, Mattel intends to rope in more products from its brand into the realm of NFTs over the year. Could we be seeing crypto Barbies soon?

Image via Mattel Creations

Video via Mattel Creations

Image via Mattel Creations

Video via Mattel Creations

Image via Mattel Creations

Video via Mattel Creations

[via CNBC, images via Mattel Creations] http://www.designtaxi.com/news/414389/Mattel-Launches-Hot-Wheels-Digital-Collectibles-En-Route-To-World-Of-NFTs/

Tamagotchi Hatches As A Smartwatch So You Will Finally Feed Your Pet On Time

[Click here to view the video in this article]

Image via Bandai

The portability of Tamagotchi has evolved into the modern world of wearables. To celebrate the 25th anniversary of the virtual pet toy, the nostalgic relic of the 90s has been redefined as a smartwatch.

Unlike most smartwatches, the egg-shaped Tamagotchi Smart isn’t designed for tracking your steps and heartbeat. Instead, the focus is on the health and wellbeing of your electronic pet, and you’ll give it physical affection through the device’s LCD touchscreen while keeping it engaged in conversation via voice recognition commands. No more excuses not to care for it now.

The watch, rechargeable by USB, offers up to 30 hours of battery life. It also introduces new characters and items to the Tamagotchi world.

Owners can pamper their virtual pets by installing sweet add-ons with ¥1,100 (US$10) “smart cards.” There’s a ‘Tamagotchi Sweet Friends’ card that serves up candy and desserts, along with a mini-game; as well as a ‘Tamagotchi Rainbow Friends’ card consisting of rainbow and unicorn skin with themed items and food.

The smartwatch is now available through a raffle, but most fans should be able to nab one when it officially goes on sale on November 23 at ¥7,480 (US$68). Currently, these plans are for to-be Tamagotchi pet parents in Japan; parent company Bandai hasn’t unveiled any release notes for the rest of the world yet.

Image via Bandai

Image via Bandai

Image via Bandai

Image via Bandai

[via CNET and Kotaku, videos and images via Bandai] http://www.designtaxi.com/news/414388/Tamagotchi-Hatches-As-A-Smartwatch-So-You-Will-Finally-Feed-Your-Pet-On-Time/

Calendly’s $1.5M Logo Designed By Pentagram Runs Aflush With Toilet Jokes

Image via Pentagram / Calendly

For the uninitiated, Calendly is one of the leading cloud-based scheduling platforms on the market. It offers over 10 million monthly active users a fuss-free way to manage their calendars, integrating other platforms such as Google Calendar, Microsoft Outlook, Slack, and Zoom.

However, the company’s new brand identity, created by design studio Pentagram, has received less-than-great reviews about the logo design.

According to Creative Bloq, it’s been rumored that Calendly spent US$1.5 million on the rebranding effort, only to have its logo resemble the bird’s-eye view of a toilet seat.

The new logo features a rounded hexagon shape inside a hollow ‘C’. While Pentagram said the new branding “introduces a new brand mark and logotype that are an evolution of previous versions, with a stronger and more modern presence,” it seems most users on Twitter have taken it in the opposite direction, instead.

Take a closer loo-k at the updated logo below.

Image via Pentagram / Calendly

hold on.. calendly spent $1.5M on a new logo that looks like a bird’s-eye view of a toilet?

lmao, fire whoever made that decision yesterday. pic.twitter.com/lYjW5o9c5J

— Jay 🚀 (@MisterJHuffman) June 14, 2021

This is Calendly's new logo. I am logging off. pic.twitter.com/Zm89GkTEkw

— Gay Rich Tia (@breedaddy_mp3) June 11, 2021

Calendly's new logo cost $1.5m pic.twitter.com/Dja2RzA3pc

— Daniel Pikl (@danielpikl) June 14, 2021

[via Creative Bloq, images via Pentagram / Calendly] http://www.designtaxi.com/news/414384/Calendly-s-1-5M-Logo-Designed-By-Pentagram-Runs-Aflush-With-Toilet-Jokes/

Neat AI Can ‘Predict The Future’ And Turn A Single Photo Into A Believable Video

[Click here to view the video in this article]

Image via Shutterstock

While the iPhone’s Live Photos feature automatically captures the immediate moments before and after you take a picture, a new deep learning algorithm by researchers at the University of Washington doesn’t need those—it simply “predicts” what happens during those instances.

The team’s research, which will be presented at the Conference on Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition on June 22, details an AI that can create realistic, high-resolution looping videos from a single photo.

What sets the method apart from other tools for cinemographs and animations is that it needs nothing more than a photo to get going. “It doesn’t require any user input or extra information,” explains Paul G. Allen School of Computer Science & Engineering doctoral student Aleksander Hołyński. He adds, “It effectively requires you to predict the future. And in the real world, there are nearly infinite possibilities of what might happen next.”

Hołyński and his team fed a neural network with thousands of clips depicting flowing motions, including videos of waterfalls, clouds, fire, rivers, and oceans, to train it to predict movements in imagery. They’d show it the first frame of a video and get the algorithm to guess the clip’s motion, and then compare its answer with the full video so that it could refine its predictions.

Turning an image into a video can be helped with a method called “splatting,” which involves the moving of the photo’s pixels to follow the predicted motions—but that idea sounds better on paper. “Think about a flowing waterfall,” Hołyński describes. “If you just move the pixels down the waterfall, after a few frames of the video, you’ll have no pixels at the top!”

To make up for the missing pixels, the team also incorporated “symmetric splatting,” which asks the AI to predict the “past” of a photo too.

Due to its dataset, the tool is currently best at creating “flowing” videos of parts of nature like waterfalls, rivers, smoke, and clouds. In time, the researchers hope to delve further with animations of other objects, like the movement of hair in the wind.

Video via Hołyński et al / CVPR

Image via Hołyński et al / CVPR

Video via Hołyński et al / CVPR

Video via Hołyński et al / CVPR

Video via Hołyński et al / CVPR

[via DIY Photography, videos via Hołyński et al / CVPR, images via various sources] http://www.designtaxi.com/news/414385/Neat-AI-Can-Predict-The-Future-And-Turn-A-Single-Photo-Into-A-Believable-Video/