A new type of flexible ultra-thin glass has been unveiled by the company that developed Gorilla Glass.
Dubbed Willow Glass, the product can be “wrapped” around a device, said the New York-based developer Corning.
The glass was showcased at the Society for Information Display’s Display Week, an industry trade show in Boston.
Besides smartphones, it could also be used for displays that are not flat, the company said.
But until such “conformable” screens appear on the market, the glass could be used for mobile devices that are constantly becoming slimmer.
“Displays become more pervasive each day and manufacturers strive to make both portable devices and larger displays thinner,” said Dipak Chowdhury, Willow Glass programme director at Corning.
The prototype demonstrated in Boston was as thin as a sheet of paper, and the company said that it can be made to be just 0.05mm thick – thinner than the current 0.2mm or 0.5mm displays.
The firm has already started supplying customers developing new display and touch technology with samples of the product.
Lots of potential outside technology products, of course: interior, textile and jewellery design could benefit (curved glass walls, wearable glass etc?)
(Read more at BBC News – Willow Glass: ultra-thin glass can ‘wrap’ around devices: .)
We trekked out to the wilds north of Eglinton to the CNIB, dropping in on the iDevice User Group. This is a group where blind people teach each other how to get around in the world, using iOS applications as their helpers. We were the only sighted people present, there to talk to this particular subset of Pocket Rocket‘s users.
I simply gawped when one blind woman pulled out an iPhone then snapped a perfect shot, guided by the built-in Camera app.
Eventually a common theme became apparent: Apple’s applications — Calendar, Messages, Mail, iPhoto, even Maps and most surprisingly Camera — are completely usable by blind people.
If you’ve never seen a blind or partially sighted person using an iPhone or iPod Touch, it is quite intriguing – you can’t help but stare in the way your mother told you not to do. You can try it out for yourself, as Stephen van Egmond shows:
- Go into Settings app, and go into Accessibility at the top level.
- At the bottom of the screen is a setting that lets you make a home key triple-click turn on VoiceOver. Turn it on.
- Go into the VoiceOver panel, and turn it on. Your phone will now say “VoiceOver on” and become extremely annoying to use if you’re not used to it. A “VoiceOver Practice” button will appear.
- Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to ‘tap’ on that VoiceOver Practice button and go practice some moves. Hints:
- You can drag one finger around the screen to browse until you find the button that does what you want, then put down a second finger to activate it (some call this a tap-and-a-half; the proper term is a split tap).
- Use two fingers flicking down to have the entire screen read to you. This is great for news or email: your device can read a piece to you while your hands are busy driving a car or feeding your baby.
(Disclaimer: never use your phone while driving a car)
The point of Stephen’s blog post is to encourage all app developers to build in accessibility like this – it’s part of the iPhone’s operating system and there’s really no excuse for developers not to do it. The effects can be quite amazing - read what Austin Serpahin wrote a couple of years ago about “hearing” colours:
The other night a very amazing thing happened. I downloaded an app called Color Identifier. It uses the iPhone’s camera, and speaks names of colors. It must use a table, because each color has an identifier made up of 6 hexadecimal digits. This puts the total at 16777216 colors, and I believe it. Some of them have very surreal names, such as Atomic Orange, Cosmic, Hippie Green, Opium, and Black-White. These names in combination with what feels like a rise in serotonin levels makes for a very psychedelic experience.
The next day, I went outside. I looked at the sky. I heard colors such as “Horizon,” “Outer Space,” and many shades of blue and gray. I used color cues to find my pumpkin plants, by looking for the green among the brown and stone. I spent ten minutes looking at my pumpkin plants, with their leaves of green and lemon-ginger. I then roamed my yard, and saw a blue flower. I then found the brown shed, and returned to the gray house. My mind felt blown. I watched the sun set, listening to the colors change as the sky darkened.
The title to Stephen’s post, “The Blind Shooting The Blind”, refers to that scene of a blind user taking a perfectly framed, perfectly focused photo using the iPhone. As Stephen says:
To get your mind blown, fire up Camera and point the camera at a nearby face, preferably a cute infant.
(Read more at The Blind Shooting The Blind ∵ Stephen van Egmond’s weblog: .)
An interesting article in The Guardian recently puts a new perspective on the effect of recycling textiles and old clothes
About a third of globally donated clothes make their way via wholesale rag houses to sub-Saharan Africa, where they end up lining the streets or filling small boutiques. Hawkers say Christmas time, when westerners flock to offload clothes to charity shops, brings in the biggest bales. The lucrative industry has even spawned fake charity clothes collectors in the west.
But critics say the billion-dollar trade risks swamping fragile domestic textiles markets, and 12 countries in Africa are among 31 globally that have now banned their import.
(Read the full article here: Europe’s secondhand clothes brings mixed blessings to Africa | World news | guardian.co.uk: .)
A team at Newcastle University is developing new technology aimed at helping older drivers stay on the road.
Many give up because their reaction times have slowed down – but this means they become more isolated and inactive.
One of the Intelligent Transport team’s developments is a “Granny-Nav” which identifies the safest route, such as avoiding right turns.
The Age UK charity said such developments could help the elderly maintain their independence.
Many avoid turning right because they do not feel confident about judging the speed of oncoming traffic.
It also uses pictures of local landmarks, such as a post box or public house, as turning cues for when people are driving in unfamiliar places.
(Read more and watch video at BBC News – Hi-tech car aid for older drivers)
A new book by Mike Monteiro examines the realities of being a designer. There’s a sample chapter over at A List Apart which looks at how to get clients, and it’s well worth a read. Although written from a graphic designer’s perspective most, if not all, of this applies to other disciplines too.
Clients are the lifeblood of a healthy business. They are the oxygen in your bloodstream that keeps everything going. No matter how good you are at what you do, without someone willing to pay you for that service you will have to close your doors. Lack of clients is the number one reason design studios fail. The number two reason? Who cares.
So where do clients come from? The best ones come one way.
At the end of the chapter, Mike gives some advice on blogging as a way of attracting clients:
BLOG ABOUT THINGS YOU WANT TO WORK ON
If you’re interested in working with Disney, then blog about Disneyland. Write the best blog about Disney design on the internet. Will this in and of itself guarantee that you’ll be the designer they call when they need work? No, but it certainly won’t hurt. And you’ll be writing about what you love anyway.
This washing label was spotted in some jeans by Telegraph journalist Emma Barnett. Read her article for her response to it. What do you think? Funny or sexist?
I thought you’d enjoy this. Wonderful story.
Well done Lucy and Anna, and their partner, medical student Wen Ling Choong!
Two entrepreneurial projects from students at the University of Dundee were today each awarded £2500 after they were named winners of the 2012 Venture Programme competition.
A designer accessory for junior doctors and a new medical device with applications for biopsy and anaesthesia were the winning entries in this year’s competition, which offers up to £5000 seed money for researchers to turn their ideas into commercial applications.
The winners were Muhammad Sadiq, from Pakistan, a PhD student in Mechanical Engineering, for his drug delivery system which features a vibrating needle. He has worked extensively with the Institute for Medical Science and Technology in developing his product.
He shared the £5000 prize with Design Aid+, a team made up of 5th year medic Wen Ling Choong and 3rd year Textiles students Anna Rzepczynski and Lucy Robertson. Their `Essential Accessory+’ has been designed specifically with junior and foundation doctors in mind, giving them a fashionable but very practical carrier for the equipment they need to carry on the ward. It has been designed using NHS-approved infection-proof materials.
The Venture Programme is open to early career and postgraduate researchers at the University and is aimed at those who are interested in developing their research or exploring the commercialisation possibilities for their ideas.
Judging the final session at Enterprise House today were a panel of experts including Kevin Bazley, Senior Manager at Scottish Enterprise; Dr Howard Marriage, Director at Aquila Biomedical Ltd; and Dr Norman Alm, Co-founder and Director of CIRCA Connect and Honorary Research Fellow in the School of Computing at Dundee University.
The awards were presented by the University Secretary, Dr Jim McGeorge.
Last week’s Observer had a feature on British Design to coincide with a new exhibition at the V&A. Here’s James Dyson’s pick of the best of British:
I remember the launch of the Mini in 1959. We were all aware that this was a complete break from the past. My mother bought one in 1960 when I was 14. I loved it. My brother and I were both 6ft 1in and my mother was 5ft 11in, so here were these great lanky people, getting into a Mini and thinking it was huge.
Italy had the Fiat 500 and France had the Citroën 2CV, both brilliant cars, but the Mini was a very British riposte to that. It was revolutionary in quite an interesting way. The Fiat and Citroën were both cars with big wheels that projected into the interior of the car, making the interior feel small – if you got into cars of that era, you were horribly aware of the big wheel arches. The clever idea of Sir Alec Issigonis, the Mini’s designer, was to make small wheels but to pump them up harder to get over difficulties with the suspension. The brief was to have a car that was only 10ft long – he thought cars were too big – and the Mini also answered a sociological need: it was a small family car that was extremely economical.
If you get into an original Mini now, you’ll find the interior is still large in comparison to cars of today. Issigonis dispensed with the wind-down window which meant that when you touched the inside panel of the door you were also touching the outside panel, so you got the full width of the car. It was very simple, but a great breakthrough. There is a reason why it became Britain’s best-selling car.
(Read the rest of the picks at Great British design: six favourites | Art and design | The Observer)