Science & Design

Souped up threads and a mean music machine

Fender x Levi’s Vintage Clothing & Stratocaster Guitar

In 1957 the Fender Stratocaster electric guitar was a spry three years young; that same year, Levi's original 1873 patent for riveted denim work pants -- the first jeans -- was already an octogenarian. But that doesn't mean those jeans didn't love to rock 'n' roll. As part of a series paying tribute to America's vintage Hot Rod culture, this spring Levi's is rolling out one-off garments and items that would love to take your pink slip at the drag strip.

This is the incredible technology you're looking for

MYO Gesture Control Armband

Want to use simple hand gestures to move around robots, control iTunes, play video games and way, way more without spending an entire lunar cycle on Dagobah bunking with a rambunctious green midget? The MYO gesture control armband ($149) is the answer.

True British Muscle

Aston Martin V12 Vantage Carbon Black Edition

Aston Martin recently decided that being one of the most prestigious and sexiest car makers on the planet wasn't enough. They needed to be audacious. Their execution of this? Surgically transplanting the 6.0-liter 510 hp V12 from the DBS into their smallest and lightest offering, the Vantage. The Carbon Black edition adds carbon-fiber side strakes, lightweight carbon fiber and Kevlar seats, piano black accents and gloss black painted wheels, which convey the same kind of ballsy aggression as the drivetrain underneath that extruded aluminum body. Read on for a video and photo essay of this Brit stunner.

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.

Tiny wheels, big dreams

Playforever Toys

Miss racing your old toys across the tile floor? Playforever toys ($28-$60) -- cars, motorcycles and airplanes -- will have you practicing your engine revving noises in no time.

This faucet really blows

Dyson Airblade Tap Hand Dryer And Faucet

There are more inefficient and grosser routines in life, but washing and drying our hands has that certain je ne sais quoi -- the feeling that there must be a more sensible, genius solution on tap somewhere. The genius solution comes courtesy of the folks at Dyson; their Occam's Razor solution is the new Dyson Airblade Tap (call to discuss pricing), a hyper-efficient washer/dryer faucet combo.

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).

Fun Per Gallon

Quick Spin: 2013 VW Jetta Hybrid

If a hybrid vehicle is what you seek, there are two ends of the spectrum. On the left: the Toyota Prius, sipping fuel at 51mpg through an uninspiring 98 hp engine for $24K. On the right: the Porsche Panamera S Hybrid, which will run you close to $100k, with an “is-this-really-a-hybrid” 22mpg due to its...

Guilty as charged

Breakdown: 2014 Cadillac ELR

Given its lineage, we probably wouldn’t refer to it as a true “driver’s car”, but the completely new, super-aerodynamic Cadillac ELR 2+2 sure looks the part. That its design is edgy, futuristic, and alludes to strong momentum is no surprise given Cadillac’s direction as of late (and because we’ve told you about it before), but...

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.

50 mph on a skateboard, brah

Loaded Boards Chubby Unicorn Deck

If what you know about skateboarding is huge verts, Vans shoes, or longboarders on college campuses, then the Loaded Boards Chubby Unicorn deck ($360) and the whole downhill/freeride movement will blow your mind. Somewhere between snowboarding and street luging, this fun activity involves crazy talented and insanely balanced (maybe not mentally) human beings flying down streets at 50 mph, pre-drifting into turns and emasculating "play it safe" onlookers the whole way.

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.

12 gifts for the aesthete

12 Guys of Christmas: The Designer

They speak to Adobe software like a petulant brother, organize bookshelves by color for “fun” and fill photo albums with typefaces. They find calm through arranging objects in right angles (whether it’s their property or not) and take pleasure knowing that they’ll always notice the details we philistines ignore. “They” are designers of course, that...

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...

Hot fashion

Invicta Ove Fireplace

The Invicta Ove Fireplace (~$3,200) is the latest in a line of beautifully crafted cast-iron creations by the Invicta Foundry in France. At first glance (and without any flames) the Ove’s elongated shape resembles a re-purposed cryo-chamber, stolen from a Hollywood set. Stare a little longer, though, and you’ll warm up to the Ove’s delicate...

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...

Bringing water to Mars

Mercedes-Benz Ener-G-Force Concept

From the revamped A-Class to mysterious Affalterbach gems, Mercedes knows a thing or two about pushing the boundaries of automotive design. Most of their time has been spent developing on-road capabilities — but at this year’s LA Design Challenge, Mercedes gave us a look into the off-road future with their Ener-G-Force. For Mercedes, this isn’t...

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...

Like a brick through a plate glass window

Defense Journal: Bond’s Gun, the Walther PPK

And so James Bond reluctantly retires his Beretta 418, in .25 ACP — and takes up the Walther Polizeipistole Kurz (police pistol, short) as his issued weapon, in both the original novel and the movie. Ian Fleming had Bond’s original Beretta catch in his holster in From Russia, With Love ; but in 1956 he...

To Infiniti and Beyond

Infiniti Emerg-E Concept

Just 10 years ago, Infiniti was viewed solely as the luxury brand of Nissan — separated only by upgraded leather upholstery, an analog clock and a slightly nicer logo. Fast forward to the Emerg-E concept (pronounced “emerge”). Similar to the Volt, the Emerg-E is an extended-range electric — with a radically different look. The 1.2-liter...

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...

Ace Architecture

MONUminis by Another Studio

If you’re lucky enough to visit the Limeys in London, you’ll need a memento to remember all the rare roast beef, English IPAs and au naturel smiles. Forego the last minute airport tchotchkes and get the far more clever MONUminis by Another Studio (~$24). These tiny etched stainless steel pieces lock and fold together to...

Putting the Town Car days in the rear view

Forward Momentum: Lincoln’s Big Bet on the New MKZ

For city slickers, Lincoln is the company car to a midtown meeting. The recently discontinued Town Car was easily the most recognizable Lincoln: the car of choice for livery cab drivers and Warren Buffett. This wasn’t sustainable. Not too long ago, parent company Ford and primary competitor Cadillac faced a similar problem. How do you...

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...

Right on Q

Audi Crosslane Coupe Concept

The Paris Motor Show produced some serious automotive eye candy, including a preview of Audi’s future design language in the Crosslane Coupe Concept. The Crosslane’s accentuated angular look seems to borrow a few external styling cues from its more expensive Lamborghini Urus brother and hints at what the next Q-series crossovers could look like. The...

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...

To the Paper Go the Spoils

Fenugreen FreshPaper

According to a report from the Natural Resources Defense Council, Americans throw out approximately 25% of the food they purchase each year due to spoilage. Though we’ve never conducted our own study, the moldy strawberries and wilted spinach in the bottom of our waste bins suggest that number is fairly accurate. To combat this problem,...

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,...

Seated in history

The Inheritance Collection by Stephen Kenn

Vintage is everywhere, but in the world of furniture, it’s not easy to find great modern design that both echoes the past and makes use of truly classic materials. Designer Stephen Kenn scoured an old Los Angeles warehouse of military surplus gear and commandeered WWII fabrics and materials for his Inheritance Collection Furniture Line. The...

Sayonara helmet hair.

Design Spotlight: Hövding “Invisible” Bike Helmet

Helmets save lives at the “expense” of what some misguided cyclists think of as “looking cool”. They’re also bulky, and a pain to schlep once the ride is over. Two female Swedish design students spent seven years researching crash data and over $10 million developing a new form of head protection that avoids both of...

Moveable Feast, indeed

Critter Moveable Field Kitchen

If you’re a man who likes to cook outside the box (and the home) then the Critter moveable field kitchen just might be your perfect mobile culinary lab. Designed by Elia Mangia, the Critter was designed for serious gourmands who need extensive equipment with a view. Whether you don’t have access to a full kitchen...

Burn at both ends

Strike Match Holder

Can you believe the classic matchbook hasn’t been updated in over 100 years? That’s changed with the Strike match holder, a pocketable stainless steel match dispenser from product think tank Quirky that holds almost 50 matches. The modern fire-maker’s biggest trick is a strike-coated barrel that lights matches in one motion as they’re removed from...

Mending the human body, from the start, to the starting line.

Life & Limb: The Evolution of Prosthetics

“We have always held to the hope, the belief, the conviction that there is a better life, a better world, beyond the horizon.” These were the hopeful words of Franklin D. Roosevelt, a man born on the tail end of the industrial revolution, where we as a species first grasped the true, constructive, and destructive...

How considered design is impacting the future of the beautiful game

Reboot: An Inside Look at Nike Soccer

Everybody knows Nike. How could you not? The global sportswear company is ubiquitous, thanks to decades of developing gear and sponsoring athletes competing in every sport imaginable (seriously, they even sponsor Curling). But while marketing savvy has unquestionably assured the brand limitless time in the spotlight — there’s an equally innovative half to Nike’s success...

Five-Lifesavers-in-One

Design Spotlight: Life-Saving 5-in-1 Tool

Sledge hammer, hoe, crow bar, hook, wire cutter, nail puller. They sound like the members of a punkrock metal band, but sorry, this isn’t an album review. Those tools make up the individual components of a prototype tool that could save your life. A strictly utilitarian tool of survival, it has the makings of a...

Competition meets innovation

Breakthroughs: 10 Technologies Changing the Olympics

It’s hard to believe the 2012 summer Olympics are already upon us. While this year’s events will feel familiar, the athletes and venues have unquestionably evolved. The same holds true for the technology used to capture, record and share their feats with the globe. Long gone are the games of stark naked athletes, replaced by...

Afont-garde

Design Spotlight: Idlewild

Depending on where your trivia strengths reside, there’s a good chance you might have read the title of this article in your RSS or Twitter feed as either the former name of JFK Airport, a Prohibition-era movie starring Big Boi, or an Allman Brothers album. But you, good sir, would be incorrect because today’s Design...

Hoop Dreams

Jeep x Jeff Staple Believe Collection

Now that global sporting competition is reaching a fever pitch, our patriotism is running high. While plenty of companies will be supporting teams across the pond, Jeep brand has partnered with acclaimed designer Jeff Staple, to rally some of our country’s most up-and-coming companies around one cause — the USA Basketball Men’s National team. The...