Design Spotlight

Unique Travel Guides via Algorithm

DELI Scatters the Tourist Herd

DELI is a free web-based app that offers users tailor-made travel advice for both visitors and locals with ranging interests. Based in Amsterdam, the service plans to expand mid-2015.

A Cruise MIssile by Way of Affalterbach

A True Driver’s Car: The Mercedes-Benz AMG GT

Just a short decade ago, we of the collective automotive world were scratching our heads and wondering: when will Mercedes-Benz, known for fast and cushy rides, deliver a proper, potent driver's car? The time is now. Meet the 2016 AMG GT and GT S.

Volvo's flagship, reborn

Meet the New Face of Volvo

We meet the 2016 Volvo XC90 -- the face of the new Volvo right down to the new, getting-down-to-business logo.

The most interesting wearable in fitness

With Athos, Has the Personal Trainer Met Its Match?

Athos is a startup that’s just a few months away from bringing to market one of the most interesting wearables yet: compression clothing capable of monitoring how hard your muscles are working, on top of heart rate, heart rate variability and breathing patterns.

Is High-Tech High Fashion the Future of Wearables?

Fashion Brands Bank on Wearables, Starting at the U.S. Open

Buff male models and scrawny U.S. Open ball boys strolled silently around Ralph Lauren HQ on Monday, standing on platforms and lifting their arms and turning slowly when asked; they were showing off the latest wearable fitness technology, though it was hard to tell. The smart accessories weren't big-screened watches, blocky chest straps or pinned-on step counters: they were their shirts.

Jeep's radical departure pays off

In the 2015 Jeep Renegade, Very Different is Very Good

Jeep is an American automotive staple, but it hasn't done anything radically new in, well...ever. This signature Jeep American-ness on four driven wheels now gets its biggest injection of originality in the form of the Italian-made, Fiat 500L-based 2015 Jeep Renegade.

Oy, Robot

Design Spotlight: Is JIBO Really the Future of Robotics?

Pop-culture is in love with the idea of a friendly helpful robot. While the concept may still seem like science fiction, JIBO promises to be a low-cost helper bot that will be available to buy soon. Is this really the future of at-home robotics, or just a bulkier smartphone with personality?

Third time's the charm

Design Spotlight: Microsoft Surface Pro 3

Is it our technological destiny to want both a tablet and a laptop forever, or can advances in hardware and software, combined with intelligent design, actually unify our professional and personal lives within one screen? Microsoft made its stance on the matter abundantly clear with the launch of the original Surface in the summer of 2012. Two years later, the third iteration of the Surface is a marvel of engineering honed by experience and proving more than ever that Microsoft’s vision for the future of computing is as real as it gets. Here's a rundown of the key innovations that make new Surface Pro 3 both a powerful Intel Core laptop and an easy-to-use tablet.

Superlative Goods Just South of the Arctic

Böle and the Study of a $7,000 Briefcase

Although Böle, a small Swedish tannery on the northern banks of the Baltic Sea, is producing what may be the best leather goods on the planet, you still haven't heard of them. That might a bit intentional on their part, though.

A New Solution for Impending Disasters

The Survival Capsule and the Future of Tsunami Safety

Six years after the 2004 Indonesian tsunami killed over 225,000 people, an aerospace engineer named Julian Sharpe imagined a new solution: riding the deadly wave of water. His idea was the Survival Capsule, a floatable and nearly indestructible sphere, with room for people and provisions. Now his design is becoming a reality -- but how effective will it be at saving lives?

Reinventing the Wheel, Softly

Design Spotlight: The SoftWheel

When Gilad Wolf couldn't get around his farm in a conventional wheelchair, he invented the SoftWheel, a retrofittable wheel with built-in suspension.

The Swedes Finally Redeem Themselves For Ikea

Volvo’s Inflatable Child Seat Concept

Negotiating a bulky child seat in the back of a sports coupe during the summertime is not dissimilar from performing hot yoga. The minds at Volvo have rethought the whole rigamarole and sought the path of inner peace by creating the world's first inflatable child seat. We break it down.

The Magic Tree House

Breakdown: Writer’s Shed by Weston, Surman & Deane

To get any work done, it helps to have a quiet, simple study, which is why so many writers seek country solitude. But how do city writers find their zen? For one anonymous author/illustrator, it meant hiring British architecture firm Weston, Surman & Deane, who designed this workspace -- based on their client's love of children's literature and mythology -- in Hackney, London, on a budget of $51,000.

The Future is Gold

Olympic Innovations: Technology That’s Changing the 2014 Winter Olympics

Thanks to Cold-War-era bias (and some legitimate concerns), the groundbreaking athletic technology developed for the 2014 Sochi Games played second fiddle to alleged (OK, verifiable) corruption and safety issues. However, we want to give credit where credit is due. From aerodynamic bobsleds to virtual ski-runs to crazy X-Ray goggles, the technology on display in Sochi threatens to outshine the physical feats of our planet's greatest athletes.

Nothing facet-ious about it

Design Spotlight: Waterford Crystal London Collection Glassware

The current iteration of the Waterford Crystal company has been making exquisite, traditional crystal products for a good portion of history. But now Waterford has decided to reimagine their product; indeed, they’ve decided to revolutionize the way a man might feel about crystal, and as part of that effort heralded designer Jo Sampson fashioned the new decidedly male-centric London Collection. Apropos, then, that we hopped over to foggy London town to meet with Sampson, chat with Waterford CEO Pierre de Villemejane and check out the new collection.

Incredible Design for a Notable Charity

Photo Essay: Jony Ive & Marc Newson (RED) Auction Preview

Collaborating with Bono and Bobby Shriver for the (RED) charity, Jonathan Ive and Marc Newson have personally curated a collection that celebrates the best in design and innovation. If you appreciate design, engineering, space, music or style and are itching to liquidate your family's trust fund, then ready your paddle. On a kind invitation from the folks at Sotheby's, we made our way to a private viewing of the collection before its auction.

Speakers that speak for themselves

Design Spotlight: Joey Roth Ceramic Speakers & Subwoofer

Pursue perfection. Some people -- people at the top of their games -- consider it a personal mantra. That theory holds for the design world, too, and it's why industrial designer Joey Roth recently released a third version of his celebrated speaker system. Apparently, he just wasn’t satisfied yet.

Meet the concept cars of the sneaker world

Design Spotlight: Nike Elite Series 2.0

Nike has been a dominant force in basketball for years, equipping some of the game's biggest stars with footwear both on and off the court. Recently, we had the chance to sit down with Nike Basketball Design Director, Leo Chang, to discuss the second generation of the Elite Series, a limited collection of kicks designed for Nike's premier athletes just in the time for playoff season. Given the stakes, the series which originally launched last year, provides a unique opportunity for Leo and his team to push what's possible. It's about designing the best for the best, when limitations have left the building.

Zero Drop, Zero Limits

Design Spotlight: Altra Zero Drop

The vernacular of the running shoe industry has morphed in recent years. While we were out pounding pavement and burning trails, the polo-clad retailer who spoke of under- and overpronation (often interchangeably) has been replaced by a more sophisticated runner who uses terms like “minimalist”, “zero-drop” and “windlass effect”. New slang is good, but it can be confusing -- and it doesn’t necessarily bring us closer to understanding what makes the perfect running shoe. To get a better grasp on what goes into running shoes today we spoke with Golden Harper, founder of Altra Zero Drop Footwear.

Skis for the Snowbound Connoisseur

Design Spotlight: Ramp Skis

When picking out a new pair of skis, most of us don’t think to ask about core materials, side cut or vibration dampening -- in fact, even knowledgeable ski bums probably don’t have more than a general understanding of these topics. Fortunately for you, the designers at Park City, UT-based RAMP Sports live and breathe ski engineering and manufacturing. It doesn’t take long after stepping on to their small manufacturing floor to see that building handmade skis is both a passion and a way of life for this small collective of diehards.

The trailer that inspired the AirStream

Design Spotlight: The Bowlus Road Chief

We're all familiar with the iconic design of Airstream trailers. But what about the name Hawley Bowlus? He was the designer and builder of the Spirit of St. Louis -- the record-breaking plane used by Lindberg to fly non-stop across Atlantic Ocean. But a few years later in 1934, he also created the forebear of the AirStream trailer, a stunning piece of technically advanced machinery dubbed the Hawley Bowlus Road Chief. Today, the classic Road Chief is reborn as a stunner with all the modern trappings.

Million Dollar Baby (maker)

Design Spotlight: Chase Car Inc. Porsche Panamera Turbo Camera Car

Though most movies don't cause the viewer to think about camera angles, lighting or color tone, there are some (Star Trek, Eagle Eye, Fast & Furious) with sequences and scenes that leave you wondering "How the hell did they shoot that?" This is how the hell: Chase Car Inc. We had a chance to check out their matte-black, modded out Porsche Panamera Turbo, replete with a full camera crane. Needless to say, we smiled for the camera.

Fly... or die

Design Spotlight: Body Jet by Marc Newson

After adding his distinctive touch to typical consumer products like the Pentax K-01, Australian designer Marc Newson has now made the logical leap to... jetpacks? That's right. Newson's Body Jet is made from a carbon fiber shell and features all of the elements you'd need to make strapping a rocket to your back even remotely feasible: landing gear that retracts during flight, gyroscopic controls for steering and safety straps (...fine).

Fortress of Solid-tude

Design Spotlight: Concrete Canvas Shelter

Looking to build a man-cave resembling something out of the Applied Sciences section of Wayne Enterprises? While undoubtedly Batman’s bivouac of choice, the Concrete Canvas Shelter (~$30,000+) is also an incredible achievement in British ingenuity and instant accommodations. Available in both 270- and 580-square foot models, these buildings-in-a-bag can be constructed by two people in under an hour and become semi-permanent structures in just one day. Simply unfurl, inflate and douse the shell with anything this side of sewage, and you have a weatherproof and insulated shelter ready for refuge.

After 15 years, it's finally time for a wardrobe change

Design Spotlight: NASA Z-1 Spacesuit

The final frontier of space -- and the technology required to get there -- once represented the pinnacle of innovation. Then stagnation (and budget cuts) set in. The core design of the Space Shuttle was developed in the late 70s, several years before the development of Apple's Lisa computer and Microsoft's Windows operating system, and served for three decades before officially retiring in 2011. Similarly, the iconic Spacesuit designed to protect our fragile forms in the endless vacuum hasn't received a major update since 1998, the same year Google was founded, Bill got naughty in the Oval Office and Céline Dion's My Heart Will Go On was making our collective ears bleed. While advancements in the spaceship industry have shifted to the private sector, the space agency has finally shared its own internal plans for the next generation spacesuit, dubbed the NASA Z-1.

Best thing since toasted bread

Design Spotlight: Hue Toaster

The pop-up toaster began burning bread for the masses in 1919, and while it was an American invention, the first iteration had very British tendencies and toasted only one side of its crusty victim. By 1925 this had been corrected -- and the toaster has more or less remained the same ever since. Regardless of brand, number of buttons or inclusion of countdown timers, the driving principal behind browning has always been to apply heat to bread for a pre-determined amount of time; a process simple enough, but one that more often than not results in an unsavory end product.

Drink it all in

Design Spotlight: Soma Water Filtering Carafe

The plastic pitcher currently filtering water in your fridge is a far greener way to stay hydrated than pounding down bottles, but it stills leaves plenty to be desired — both in terms of form and function. Its tupperware aesthetic isn’t exactly ready for the bright lights of the dinner table, and if you fill...

The fastest sailboat in the world

Design Spotlight: The Sailrocket 2

One look at the Sailrocket 2 shows that your teacher wasn’t full of s**t when he said physics can be fun. This 600-pound carbon sailing vessel is truly a testament to the ingenuity and craftsmanship of its British sailing team (and the badass sailor that steers it). Reaching a certified speed of 54.08 knots (62.2...

It's not Jarvis...yet

Design Spotlight: Oakley Airwave Goggles

Oakley’s Airwave goggles are a new breed of advanced snow sport eyewear equipped with a heads up display that simulates viewing a 14-inch screen from five feet away when a user looks in the lower right corner of their peripheral vision. That description sounds confusing, but the important thing to remember is that the technology...

Knockout On Wood

Design Spotlight: Allied Maker

Upstart Allied Maker is one of those stories we love exposing. All the elements are right. An individual pursuing a passion, an obsession with making things and a handsome product. Craftsmanship. The most overused word in recent history, but we’re saying it anyway. The young man behind Allied Maker is self-taught woodworker Ryden Rizzo. But...

You Are My Sunshine

Design Spotlight: AE Light SolarMine Emergency Lantern

The Boy Scouts of America’s motto is simply “Be prepared”. They’re spot on: failing to do so can lead to some seriously bad outcomes when true disaster strikes. The AE Light SolarMine Emergency Lantern ($115) is made to give you light in exactly that unfortunate occasion, and having proved itself during Japan’s horrific 2011 earthquake...

Trump Card

Design Spotlight: MOO NFC Business Cards

The humble business card is an antiquated yet necessary tool of business communication. Their simple swapping is a time honored tradition the world over, and not a form of etiquette that is likely to disappear. But in today’s digital world, taking the time to transfer those vitals to a useful place seems downright tedious. MOO...

Carve the aqua apex

Design Spotlight: Mercedes-Benz Silver Arrow of the Seas

If sporting the three-pointed star on land just isn’t enough for you, aim your vehicular aspirations to the water. Mercedes-Benz’s plans to broaden their design chops to more than just cars are officially under way, mimicking Porsche-like endeavors. Mercedes and U.K.-based Silver Arrows Marine have partnered to create the high-end, 46-foot Mercedes-Benz Silver Arrow of...

Tron de France

Design Spotlight: Cannondale CERV by Priority Designs

Want a cycling game-changer? You’ve got it. The Cannondale CERV by Priority Designs is a concept bike that adapts to a constantly changing riding environment. Typically, the rider’s body has to compensate for such changes, but the CERV has a “dynamically adjustable headset” that moves both vertically and horizontally during riding. For example, in a...

Environmentally enlighted

Design Spotlight: Switch LED Light Bulbs

Improving on Edison’s original incandescent light bulb design has been a mixed bag — the soft-serve CFLs save energy but cast a bluish cadaver pallor and require a HazMat response to clean up mercury released if they break. A different, albeit expensive, approach to energy efficiency comes in the Switch LED light bulb. Continues after...

The deep end

Design Spotlight: NEMO33

Most landlocked divers recall with a shudder the pool sessions that were required to learn skills for open water certification. Often conducted in an over-chlorinated high school pool, they’re more a rite of passage than an inspiration. Well, for divers in Brussels, Belgium, pool sessions have a whole different meaning thanks to John Beernaerts’ NEMO33,...