Aquafairy AF-M3000

Aquafairy is a Japanese based company that develops electronic gadgets led by the president Mikio Aizawa. The company’s purpose is to rethink present design to create something new with current technologies. Their product AF-M3000 is a portable power supply for objects such as mobile phones and portable gaming devices. It’s based on a palm-sized hydrogen fuel cell that converts water to electricity using the fuel cartridge that is inserted.

AF-M3000_charge AF_M3000_onhand

Hydrogen Fuel technology has always been a serious contender for the race of sustainable energy systems and small developments like this product pave the way for future inventions that may power a car or even a house.

 

East Timor Cultural Design

Timor-Leste, more commonly known as East Timor, is a small island nation just off the Northern coast of Australia. It is one of the world’s newest nations after gaining independence from Indonesia in 2002 after a horrific civil war that has claimed many lives and severely crippled buildings and its economy. East Timor has one of the highest unemployment rates and lowest literacy levels in the world and is contrasted by its closest neighbor, Indonesia, in its manufacturing. However the nation has a colourful background and could be considered rich in culture, added by the colonisation by the Portuguese, despite being under the category of a “third-world country”.

           

            Without a strong and stable economy, East Timor is unable to create a large manufacturing industry that can compete competitively with imported products. It is however abundant in natural resources such as agriculture to grow coffee beans and fossil fuels which around 90% of the workforce service on off shore oil rigs. This has meant that it is one of the fastest growing economies but currently most of the population survive on micro economies that produce a wide range of small items. These include the traditional ‘Tais’ that hold sentimental  value to pieces of art that tells a story and gives insight to the experience of that individual to events that are so little is known about.

 

            The Tais is a strip of cloth that has been woven to create a decorative piece that can be used in the house or as a piece that goes around your shoulders. Each town generally has its own individual colours and patterns it incorporates into the design with their own meanings and can have slogans running along the material. The women traditionally do this which gives females the ability to create income aswell and empowers women which has been a major goal in the country. Tais’ can be added to the number of small desirable items produced in the country along with soaps and coffee that ultimately aim to entice tourists. The main aim for the future of the nation is to become a tourist hotspot, much like Bali or Phuket.

 

            It is interesting to explore the current state of East Timor as it is where my heritage stems from and growing up with tales told by my parents, it is quite clear that there has been extraordinary change and development in the nation. For a long time now I have always wanted to have this experience first hand and travel to the towns my parents grew up in but relatives who have taken this unique journey have warned about the ever present dangers that has still not been cleansed from the country. This just goes to show, despite the announcement of its independence, how deep the cuts were from all the conflicts that occurred not very long ago in its history.

East Timor/Hong Kong

  1. The lack of economic stability that plagues East Timor creates a lack of opportunity in the design/manufacturing sector. With an extremely high unemployment rate, even small businesses are enough to stimulate a micro economy. I believe until unemployment drops and literacy levels rise, East Timor will struggle to become competitive in design fields, especially in R&D as with many other third-world countries.

  2. Hong Kong is a model city when it comes to economic strength and the output it has in breakthrough technologies throughout the globe. With the highest IQ of any other nation, Hong Kong has the ability to produce class-leading designs. However I think that the city is limited to its small land mass so won’t become independent in its own manufacturing of products as seen with businesses only able to open small factories due to its mountainous terrain.

 

 3. East Timor’s close relativity to Australia in terms of geography has meant that Australia has become one of the biggest influences on the small island nation in the modern era. Through support during the conflict to becoming major trading partners, Australia and East Timor benefit each other through its close relations.

 4. East Timor has a rich cultural history with its background of colonisation by the Portuguese that has ultimately influenced Christianity to be the most popular religion. Being highly spiritual and superstitious, the Timorese will often decorate their homes with artworks of Jesus or similar persons of interest.

East Timor

Infographic on key statistics of East Timor.

http://infogr.am/Timor-leste-15180

As Timor-Leste, a.k.a. East Timor, is a third-world country, it relies heavily on its natural resources to make up the large portion of its GDP. However it boasts one of the fastest growing economies and as you would expect with many poorer countries, the main source of income is based on micro-economies whether it be growing crops for the market or jewelers, anything to put food on the table. Because of this there isn’t much in the sense of research on new and innovative designs for the international communities. One new plan for the nation is to build it up as a tourist hotspot with its tropical climates and close location to countries like Indonesia and Australia.

The coffee industry is one of its major export commodities even though it accounts for less that 1% of the world’s coffee production. After the Indonesian invasion many of the crops were destroyed but currently it is still rebuilding, with around 80% of the beans being of the Arabica kind. 85-90% of the crops are exported and provides a vital source of income.

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Although the country lacks in terms product design, it is well known for its production of the Tais. The Tais is a traditional, often manually woven, material that can be used as a decoration over the body or a decorative piece over furniture. Although men have become involved in tais production and especially marketing, mostly it is still considered women’s work. Weavers produce either as individuals in their own homes or sometimes in small groups if facilities such as a building are available. Current producer groups appear to be comprised of the poorer sections of society with limited literacy and education and few other work opportunities. Tais from different districts have their own specific colours and some have their own designs or motifs and cultural associations. Some of the motifs and symbols seen today were designed prior to and in early Portuguese times.

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Maria Madeira is an East Timor born artist that depicts many of her life experiences in her artwork. She has produced paintings that have covered her life from the Indonesian invasion to urban myths she heard as a child. Her work often infuses many processes and materials to create inspiring pieces that have an underlying story in each painting.

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Description: “According to the legend, East Timor originated from the time a young boy first aided to rescue a crocodile, which later returned the favour by helping the young boy to see the world, and by becoming the Island of East Timor.
Influenced by my work as an interpreter and translator for the Ambulance project, this painting is an attempt to express the necessity of first aid in East Timor as we struggle as an independent nation. Just like the young boy, this very young nation of East Timor needs rescuing in order to grow strong for the future generations to come.”

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An Australian scientist has come up with a free water filtration system that can be made from readily available materials and needs no skills to create. Tony Flynn has developed a water filtration system that uses terracotta clay, coffee grounds or tea leaves and cow manure.

The is created by creating a mixture with the clay and the coffee or tea leaves to make a biscuit like mixture. The moulded mixture is then surrounded with the manure where it is lit to dry the filter out and only takes an hour to dry out. This process is better than using a kiln, as kilns are often too expensive for poor communities and the manure is the fuel source in itself.

The creator, Tony Flynn has left his design unpatented in hope that it can be used globally to play a role in the desperate need for clean drinking water.

Personally I have a lot of faith in this design as communities all over the world have access to this type of filtration system and it doesn’t rely on the international community to distribute systems that often are costly and require maintenance. This physical filtration system removes the need for chemicals such as chlorine that can give an unpleasant taste. Furthermore when the organic material in the mixture burns away it leaves cavities that impurities get trapped in but allows only the water to pass through.

The invention was born out of a World Vision project involving the community of Manatuto, in East Timor. The charity wanted to help rehabilitate a small pottery community that had been devastated in the civil war that led to East Timor’s independence, the intention being to assist the Manatuto potters to produce their own water filters and perhaps produce enough to generate income through sales. Tests with the E-coli bacterium have seen the filters remove 96.4 to 99.8 per cent of the pathogen — well within safe levels. Using only one filter, a litre of clean water can be produced in just two hours.

ClayFilter1 flynn_main ClayFilter2

 

Making the filter

http://info.anu.edu.au/ovc/assets/claypotfilterfinalweb.pdf

Hong Kong designs

infographics:

http://infogr.am/HOng-Kong-2081998

http://infogr.am/Hong-kong-5338898

 

ChargerFrame transforms your electronic landscape into wall art. It is the hub for all your chargers – as you add a device, the picture changes. This active interplay between cables, gadgets and indicator lights is neatly framed and finished off by an energy-efficient master green switch. Hang it, wrap it, lay it and plug it. Hangs portrait and landscape.

ImageThe frame highlights the sophisticated and sometimes chaotic nature of technology and focuses it in a frame. It contrasts the idea of the tangled cables with the organized setting of having the electronic devices kept in one spot. It also bases it’s design on the growing nature of high concentration living areas and the limited space that comes with it.

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The Naoloop storage, display, organizer, reminder – A stealth organizing device that binds, carries and displays your important, everyday stuff. naoLoop Loft is a system of naoLoop tension straps fastened to a wall-mounted, steel shield. It goes everywhere – in the bathroom, the living room, the hallway or the work place. Off the ground and out of the way naoLoop Loft fits in all living spaces and offers countless ways to keep you streamlined and on-track. This product and the one above were both designed by the same designers and has a strong influence by space saving and follows a minimalistic, modern and practical designs.

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The cookoo watch is designed by a firm located in Hong Kong, which integrates both watch and the packaging as functional products. You can tell much though has been put in to remove the waste that traditional packaging creates by taking out the casing that once would have been thrown out and ending up in landfill. It plays on the design of the clock where the bird would fly out and make a ‘cookoo’ sound when it hits the hour and gives a joyful take on the product. A durable material has been used to create the casing to protect the watch during distribution but also (as described in the description) to be hanged and work as a bird feeder.

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I chose this product because I believe product packaging does play a big part in selling a product and shows the level of thought a designer puts in. This can be seen with Apple products with the level of precision used to make the snug fit when opening and closing the exterior box, creating the sense of refinement and quality. The cookoo container not only appeals to the experience of the overall product but provides a new take on mitigating waste.

Bendit sled is another design from Envary, creating an organic, free flowing sled design manipulating a material in a way that is very contemporary and appealing. This ‘snow rider’ uses sustainable materials and processes to create the abstract shape from bent sheets of beech wood. The design demonstrates the possibilities of modern processes to create new ways of obtaining the look desired without having to resorting to non renewable materials such as plastic or ones that have a lasting effect on the environment when disposed of. The benefits of wood is that, if properly managed, it can be never ending while perhaps even being advantageous throughout growing. The sled’s construction of shifted, tapered veneer (compressed in a mould) makes differing variations of material thickness possible, shouldering all kinds of tough performance requirements. The ergonomically shaped seating area provides optimal hold for the user, while the s-curved sections support overall balance and cushioning suspension. The rubber covered leash empowers easy pulling and enables users to maintain precise control for downhill rides of varying difficulty.

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Micro wind turbine. Hong Kong is a densely populated city as many others are, and now the need for clean energy is becoming evermore present. A group of researchers, designers and engineers have teamed up to create a micro wind turbine suitable for rural and urban environments. The product is able to generate electricity even at slow wind speeds and currently costs $150 each but is expected to be cheaper if mass produced. I chose this product because it is only a matter of time where households shift towards individual power generation as pollution in areas such as cities become too toxic and detrimental to the health of humans.

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The Obsideon pod gives a new take on airport furniture on what is generally a chaotic and stressful period. The pod creates a refuge for passengers to relax in their own enclosed space where it gives cocoon to feel comfortable in. Through my experience in airports, passengers will often find seats away from other people even if it is further away from where they want to be just to maintain the sense of privacy, however the pod isn’t stationary so it can be relocated next to other pods.

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Hong Kong

Hong Kong has had a very interesting history with it being under ownership of the British under a 99-year lease that was to help destroy the opium trade and reinforce British defences. However during World War 2, the Japanese invaded which resulted in the British defences to flee but soon after when the Japanese announced its unconditional surrender, the British came back into rule. In 1997 the lease was up and the land was surrendered back to China. With the diverse history and hub and various cultures, Hong Kong is extremely multicultural. The population dense country is home to 7.2 million and was said to have a GDP of $351.1 billion which is up 3.6% from 5 years prior. Due to Hong Kong’s diverse  and rich history the is a great mix of races and religions but the main ones are Buddhism and Christianity. Majority of employment is taken up by the printing and publishing industry followed by the food and beverage. 

Two part infographic created about Hong Kong

http://infogr.am/Hong-kong-5338898

http://infogr.am/HOng-Kong-2081998

 

East Timor

The Demorcratic Republic of Timor-Leste a.k.a. East Timor is a small island nation located just North-West of Darwin, Australia and is on the right half of the Island called Timor and the left is part of Indonesia. This small country is one of the newest nations to announce is independence after many years under ruling from Portugal and then an invasion from Indonesia where the island was caught in a bloody civil war. During this occupation at least a hundred thousand people were killed and there was severe damage to the infrastructure which has had a profound effect to this day. 37.4% of the population live below the international poverty line and about 50% are illiterate however in 2013 East Timor came in 6th largest in GDP growth.

Capital City: Dili

Population: 1.1 million (2012)

Official languages: Portugese, Tetum

Surface Area: 14,784 sq km

GDP: $1.21 million (2012)

Principle export destinations:

1. United States 43.9%, 2. Germany 25.7%, 3. Singapore 9.1%

Principle import destinations:

1. Indonesia 39%, 2. Singapore 18.3%, 3. Australia 10.2%

Primary religion: Catholicism

Main export products: Coffee, Oil and gas, sandalwood, marbleImageImageImage

Bacau, Friends of.). East Timor Now. from http://easttimornow.com.au/trade/coffee.aspx

DFAT.). TIMOR-LESTE. from http://www.dfat.gov.au/geo/fs/timo.pdf

East Timor GDP.). from http://www.tradingeconomics.com/east-timor/gdp

East Timor

After decades of conflict, East Timor is beginning to rebuild but despite the slow urbanisation of the country, the scars still show. About 41% of the population live below the poverty line and despite being so close to Australia, very little is known about this third-world country. East Timor has the potential to grow it’s economy but i believe through desperate decisions made by government and exploitation by other countries, it is stuck in a situation where those other countries dictate the government and economy of East Timor. This is very much a system based on micro-economies and individuals are able to harvest vegetable oils and produce soap that go to feed families. More popular is the tradition ‘Tais’ which is a form of weaving done by women. They play a big part in the cultural heritage of the nation and are used for ceremonies, home decor and personal apparel.

250px-Tais_weaving_in_Lospalos,_East_Timor 681x454

Gunpowder

The invention of Gunpowder in the 9th century in China has literally shaped the world to the way it is now. Early uses were in the form of fireworks and primitive gunpowder weapons in China and from there on the technology spread throughout the Arab world, Europe and India. It played a massive part in the industrial revolution in breaking the earth to extract fossil fuels and precious metals and minerals. By 1346 England was starting to produce their own gunpowder, which is testament to the influence and importance of gunpowder.

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