What I've Learned from Vintage Military Surplus Gear

How to build complicated equipment you can operate while being shot at

Military surplus equipment is more than just cheap, weird and green. For me, it's a design study in what happens when usability and ruggedness are given priority and production cost is forgotten. Check out the photo gallery for two of the coolest pieces in my collection—the AN-GRR-5 shortwave radio and the TA-1042 digital field telephones—and read on for more on military gear and my favorite sources.

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AeroTech Evolution Protective Bike Case Lets You Fly With Two Wheels

If you're an avid rider of bikes, the rough part about traveling is not just going without your set of wheels for an extended period of time, but trying to transport them on a plane--risking damage to the frame and wheels. The AeroTech Evolution bike case seeks to change all that.

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RFID Waves Visualized and Demystified Using a LED Wand

RFID Visualization:  Touch/Berg
Two Oslo-based design researchers have created a visual model of RFID fields in an effort to show curious designers how RFID looks and works, and help shed light on its functionality.

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What Will Sir Dyson Innovate Next?

Even though the ring-shaped Air Multiplier fan isn't particular powerful at $300, it's still, well, a bladeless ring! And while the answer to what comes next can only truly be known in the jetstreams of genius cycloning around in Dyson's head, cartoonist Tobias Lunchbreath has taken a stab at what ring-shaped future luxuries we may have the pleasure to purchase in the future.

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Food-Generating Microwave Wins Electrolux Design Challenge

How will people make dinner in 90 years? If the newly crowned winner of the Electrolux Design Lab 2009 challenge is any indication, it'll be as easy as 1-2-3. Cocoon is a fish- and meat-generating microwave, intended as a solution to preserve fishing and farming resources.

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The Computer Glitch As Art

Who says there's no beauty in making your computer spaz out on screen? In new book Glitch: The Design of Imperfection over 200 contributors took inspiration from those silicon freakouts to provide beautiful visuals that make the Windows BSOD look like the cold authoritarian artifact that it is.

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Electrolux Design Challenge Envisions Your Automated Future

Meet your kitchen of the future. Electrolux Design Lab has announced the finalists in their annual design competition. Undergrad and graduate industrial design students were challenged to envision new home appliance ideas for the year 2100 that create new ways to prepare and store food, wash clothes, or do dishes. Of 900 entries, these eight were selected as the most inventive, eye-catching, and forward-thinking.

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DesignYourDorm Brings College Move-In Day Online With 3-D Modeling

Now students can lay out 3D décor and furniture long before they step through the door of their college dorm.

For the nervous new freshmen heading to college this fall (and some bitter 25 year olds looking to travel back in time) a new website, DesignYourDorm offers the chance to make design decisions ahead of time in a 3-D replica of the room they’ve been dealt.

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Floating Apartment Complex Takes the Worry Out of Rising Seas

There are two ways to react to global warming: you can fear it, or you can embrace it. Architect Koen Olthuis of Dutch design firm Waterstudio chooses the latter. His Citadel apartment building, part of a larger water-management development project called New Water in the Netherlands, is the first floating apartment complex in the world.

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Bibliospherical Orb of Doom Constructed in Germany

Bibliosphere at Night:  Greeen! Architects

The Bibliosphere--a sustainable structure featuring renewable energy sources, plus natural lighting and ventilation--was designed by Greeen! Architects to serve as the main attraction for the University of Duisburg-Essen. By the looks of it, I think they succeeded in their mission.

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Simple Innovations: The Bottle-Top Bike Clip

The Bottle Cap Bike Clip:  Matthias Ries
I've never wanted to attach a water bottle cage to my bike; I like it to be as free of clutter as possible, both for aesthetics and to keep the weight low. But I can't say that I've never wanted to have a quick drink handily accessible when I'm riding without a bag.

That's where this bottle cap clip concept by Matthias Ries comes in.

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Google Phone Designers Reconceptualize the Future of Driving

Mike and Maike, the design firm responsible for the Android-powered T-Mobile G1 Phone (and its notorious chin), have come up with what they consider to be the car of the future. In this ideal car, you don't drive, and you don't speed. Instead, you sit back and relax in what amounts to a mobile living room.

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Color-Picking Pen Concept Imagines Real-World Photoshop Eyedropper Tool

Designer dreams up pen that perfectly replicates colors in the environment

Most of the Photoshop tools familiar to artists import old school analog devices onto the computer. Before computers, artists would use actual razors to crop, and physical scissors and glue to cut and paste. But South Korean designer Jinsun Park has envisioned a pen that reverses the process, taking a tool developed for the computer and porting it to physical reality.

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Edushi's 3-D Pixel-Art Maps of Chinese Cities Put Google Maps to Shame

The future of online mapping tools? Yes please

I've always been a fan of the pixel-art illustration style, whether it's the latest eBoy poster or illustrations by Quick Honey featured in our own pages. But this, I'm afraid, takes the ultimate pixel-art cake: a ginormous, ultra-high-resolution pixel-art map of Hong Kong that's zoomable, brosweable and searchable just like a Google Map.

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Retro-Futurism: Olympus's New Rangefinder-Inspired Digital Camera

Olympus's EP-1 digital squeezes many of a DSLR's features into a compact package inspired by the fifty-year-old Pen F

Sometimes looking to the past to inspire designs of the future is inspired by nothing more than fashion, but sometimes, it actually serves a functional purpose. Enter Olympus's freshly announced EP-1, which recreate a form factor we haven't seen a lot of since the film era: a sleek, compact body with interchangeable lenses.

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