Music, like making, is universal. No matter how far you travel, either in distance or time, you’ll find people creating, and whether it’s things or sound, the act of creating is a constant that connects us all. With that, we are extremely excited to announce the littleBits Synth Kit . Developed with Korg, the world-renowned electronic instrument company, we have successfully combined music and making to provide an experience that has never been seen before. Taking our goal of making an electronic design platform accessible for all, now anyone can dream up new sounds or songs and make them a reality as fast as their mind will allow. We think this could be the start of a new chapter in the history of music technology and we hope you’ll join us for the ride.
-Paul Rothman, Product Development
Developed in partnership with Korg, a pioneer of electronic musical equipment, the littleBits Synth Kit is an infinitely customizable and expandable analog modular instrument. The littleBits Synth Kit includes an assortment of 12 electronic Bits modules that instantly snap together with magnets to create circuits like those used in Korg’s famous analog synthesizers (like the MS-20). The Synth Kit also includes a project booklet outlining step-by-step instructions for 10 projects.
The Synth Kit was developed over the course of 9 months and is a collaboration between two seemingly different companies that share very similar ideals and principles. We embarked on creating a kit that would behave as a modular analog synthesizer but was accessible to anyone with an interest in sound. We started by ideating the different modules that might be possible and picked the ones that would offer the most complete and varied experience.
After several modules for the kit were selected, a MAX/MSP patch was created to simulate the behavior between them. This simulation informed a lot of the features and interactions the modules now possess.
When thinking about the hardware layouts, the original sketches included trim pots for controls. This ensured the modules would remain small and there was no current precedent for a module to contain more than one potentiometer. After some reflection, it was realized that creating an instrument that required a screwdriver to adjust the controls would not be useful in a performance setting. We then decided to take the step to replace the trim pots with potentiometers, breaking a current convention but making the kit much more playable.
Each module has a story behind how it came about. Find out more about how each module developed here.
Hidden within a forestscape, dutch artist rob sweere has realized ‘the hub’ a soothing meditation chamber, which provokes an organic experience for the visitor that lies inside. six, taught steel cables connected to nearby trees suspend the immersive red form from the surface of the earth. the person lying within can view the sky, framed by the tops of the towering trees, through a gaping mouth at the object’s crown. openings on either side of the structure surround the interior with natural light, as well as reveal fragments of the woodsy landscape that encompasses it. created from aluminum and polyurethane, the habitat’s therapeutic objective is characterized by its silhouette and aesthetic: a grate-like opening at its base allows air to flow inside and hovers the daydreamer just above the ground, merging the visitor and environment as one. ‘the hub’ is a permanent artwork specially designed for the sculpture garden of the kröller-müller museum in otterlo, netherlands.
Korean artist Seung Mo Park (previously) continues to amaze with his astonishingly crafted figurative sculptures, made with tightly wrapped layers of aluminum wire based on fiberglass forms. The works shown here are part of the Brooklyn-based artist’s Human series where he recreates the delicate wrinkles and folds of clothing as well as the sinuous musculature of the human body in metallic layers reminiscent of tree rings. He’s also sculpted bicycles, musical insturments and other forms as part of his Object series.
Inspired by the logic and beauty of nature his design possess a trinity between technology, materials science and intelligent organic form, creating what many industrial leaders see as the new aesthetic expression for the 21st Century. There is always embedded a deeply human and resourceful approach in his designs, which project an optimism, and innovative vitality in everything he touches from cameras to cars to trains, aviation and architecture.
The model of present interior spaces – being a collage of simple and unrelated elements, cannot compete with their historical counterparts in terms of their richness,coherency and precision of formal organization. These emergent design interiors create a high level of qualitative differentiation and intensity in respect to the part to part and part to whole relationships. Within means of parametric architecture we explore dynamic systems, in seeing its potential of embedding an infinite amount of interior conditions without losing the overall coherency.
By translating architectural elements into dynamical inputs a vector field results providing a system which differentiates gradually and correlates systematically surmounting conventional collage techniques. Streamline-Method is used to visualize these vector data. By controlling the line output: tangent to normal a fluent parmetric architecture shift from texture to structure is achieved. Thus various architectonic elements with different function: structure (facade, stairs),texture (floors, furniture) appear as iconic figuration within one emergent design system. Various subsystems express a structural differentiation which correlates with material/textural differentiation.
This Lego cockroach behaves similarly to real cockroach, making it a great Halloween prop. It is able to navigate tricky spaces and it scurries when it is exposed to light. When it finds a dark place to hide, it lays low and stays put. See how this clever circuit combines bend sensors, inverters, and light triggers to create this lifelike interaction.
In honor of the littleBits Halloween Costume Contest, we whipped up our own Halloween costume. This glowing dinosaur can be made with the light wire and an old hoodie. Learn to use the light wire as a structural element and light up your night this Halloween. See project details here.
via cracktwo, these abandoned memorials were abandoned with the collapse of Yugoslavia. They were designed to show the brute strength and confidence of the young Socialist Republic. In their early days, they attracted millions of visitors per year, but with the collapse of Yugoslavia, their commemorative meaning vanished, they became meaningless immense sculptural forms, commemorating fights and camps whose purpose is no longer well remembered.
We’ve created a fully integrated, personalized visual system built from the ground up, including projection mapping on geometrically faceted bar, programmed user-interactive LED walls, an interface that pulls in real-time Twitter and Instagram feeds, that users can control interactively. The whole system is situated within a functional and modular interior design. Big thanks to our friends at Digital Dumbo and Bing!
korean artist do ho suh presents his first solo exhibition at lehmann maupin gallery in hong kong, a site-specific installation of sculptural artworks. the collection is a continuation of his new york specimen series, which designboom previously covered here, and consists of six life-size replicas of various household appliances from his personal apartment on west 22nd street in manhattan. a bathtub, toilet, medicine cabinet, radiator, kitchen stove and refrigerator are all structurally rendered in full-scale, using the artist’s signature polyester material. the near-translucent fabrications reveal each item’s inner workings, exposing the technical, semi-architectural framework of their build. the almost weightless wire structures are an extension of his study of themes surrounding cultural displacement, the establishment of relationships within new environments, and memories as both physical and metaphorical manifestations.
As the spookiest day of the year approaches, we here at littleBits have been cooking up some supernatural projects to trick out your Halloween. The interactions in both of the following projects are surprisingly haunting and would be a great addition to any haunted house or, if you are the Adam’s Family, a permanent wall fixture.
Great Uncle Edward
This portrait may just look like a normal photograph, but take a step closer and you will notice something very strange. The eyes in this portrait physically move, and not only that, they follow you wherever you go! We used an old frame, a photograph, motion triggers, a servo, and a series of logic Bits to achieve this unnerving interaction. This is one of our most complex circuits yet! Learn more here.
‘Come with us’, two small ghostly figures beckon. As you draw closer you hear a rattling sound. The figures suddenly quadruple in size and appear very close to you. Run away!!! The Ghost Projector uses a motion trigger and an inverter to switch between two ghostly images printed out on transparency paper and projected on the wall with bright leds. The images are angled in such a way that they appear in the same frame and alternate depending on whether or not you are detected by the motion trigger. More information about this spooky light trick here.
Stay tuned for more Halloween project ideas next week!
London-based industrial designer Marc Newsom recently designed a capsule line for G-Star Raw. You’ve seen some of our wearables on G-Star jackets, and we’ve always been fans of their pared down urban workwear. Maybe we’ll pair up this collection with a Flora or Gemma for some truly cool streetwear. (more…)
It was never just about thermostats. At its core, Nest has always been about the home. We reinvent unloved home products to create simple, beautiful, thoughtful things. First we made an entirely different kind of thermostat, because saving energy should be easy. Now we’ve reinvented the smoke alarm, because safety is too important to be annoying.
The Nest Protect smoke and carbon monoxide (CO) alarm was born one night when I lay in bed, sleepless as usual, watching the smoke alarm blink. It blinked and blinked and I realized I had no idea what that meant.
If you’re a city dweller, you take the 100-odd-pound manholes scattered in the street for granted. New York’s standard issue manhole covers have stayed about the same for years. But in some design-conscious cities, a virtual arms race for the most attractive cast iron hole covers.
italian designers giulio iacchetti and matteo ragni have been working together with the montini foundry since 2006 and during this time they have designed drains and cast-iron manhole covers for public as well as private spaces. the design is almost totally focused on the surfacefinish of where the objective – despite the narrowness of the range – was to avoid an outcome which was merely graphic decoration.
Manhole in Chandigarh, India show the grid of Corbusier’s planned city streets
A series consists of four vessels, three spherical vases and an oval vase, which mixes the intervention of human hands with new digital technologies. The two distinct parts of these pieces are shaped in two stages to give birth to two material effects. The effect of smooth white enamel collar contrasts with the rough appearance of the cookie used for the shoulder. Countersunk digitally, this bottom is embossed and features contemporary and minimal forms. The collection “Vases Evolution” subtly blend traditional skills with the latest digital techniques, giving rise to contrasting and unusual pieces.