Visualization

Craft Inspiration: Simon Stålenhag...Extraordinary Visual Storytelling



With a long-standing interest in future visualizations at the bivouac, the style and substance of Simon Stålenhag’s illustrations has left quite the impression. Stålenhag’s masterful illustrative technique is remarkable in and of itself, but his unique ability to seamlessly blend the world we know today with new and unfamiliar future technologies makes his work truly distinct.

Stalenhag’s command of visualizations is so powerful that he has created mini-stories that are self-narrative. His Illustrations portrait powerful story arcs on their own without the need of the written word.

Stålenhag is particularly skilled at capturing an expansive sense of scale. He does this through placing large, fascinating, futuristic objects into what would otherwise be commonplace landscapes. This juxtaposition, often accompanied with a remarkable command of lighting and a clarity of focus applied to certain areas of the composition, further enhances a dramatic sense of expansiveness.

Another device Stålenhag uses in some story lines is placing human beings in what appears to be vulnerable contexts when juxtaposed with new forms of technology. Children or parents with children can often be seen navigating a landscape strewn with disused “old future” technologies or avoiding those that seem to be searching for them.

The placement of today’s emergent technology in such matter-of-fact settings and often applying an aged patina to technologies we have yet to come to know is powerful. Work like this can help encourage us to ask important questions about the technology we are bringing into the world at an increasing pace and why we might want to think more carefully about doing so.

To view more of Stalenhag’s work visit: https://www.simonstalenhag.se/

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Mobility Moment: Designing Interiors for New Purposes



While companies continue to do interesting and beautiful vehicle interior concept work, a wide range of new configurations for accommodating vehicle occupants remains to be explored. As we move towards an new era of Automobility driven by autonomous technology, how might we work or socialize in this new era when we no longer have to be as attentive to the demands of driving that we face today. Take a closer look at a few explorations via IDEO’s Future of Automobility point of view series.

Capturing New Productivity - How might we design future vehicle interiors that empower occupants to work or connect with others while en route? What might happen to the affordances for manual driving and how might that transition take place?

Work or Play - New seating configurations enhanced by new forms of ambience that allow for more natural social interactions will evolve as Level 5 autonomous systems become available.


Information Visualization: The Impact of War



Although it has been around for a while, The Fallen of World War II does a fine job of visualizing the sheer number of lives lost during the conflict. It is always sobering to see the scope of the war visualized and pieces like this help us to remain ever mindful of those that sacrificed or lost their lives in a civilian context so that what so that the relative pease we have today is not taken for granted.

Ground Control to Major Tom...



Ever wonder what it was like to ride aboard a mighty Saturn V rocket? Well, with Reentry: An Orbital Simulator you can now take on the role of a mission commander and master the procedures followed by those that pioneered spaceflight. Explore the intricate details of famous space craft interfaces and the ingenious approaches to controlling them that worked within the constraints of technologies available at the time of launch.

An Old Favorite: Danny Goodman's Macintosh Handbook


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Many fond memories of shaping early interaction design courses way back in 1993 persist here at the bivouac. I was fortunate to enter the field at a time when computing had matured just enough to become accessible to a wider range of creatives. I was also lucky to teach both introductory and advanced courses in computer visualization.

For the introductory course, I relied upon Danny Goodman’s excellent Macintosh Handbook Featuring System 7. Bringing together Danny Goodman and Richard Saul Wurman, this publication was and remains an exceptional example of accessible and visually delightful educational material. The illustrations are clear and inviting and they demystified the breakthrough technology on offer from Apple at the time.

The book is innovative in other ways as well. Information and terms are supplemented with hypertext-like cross-references to related content in other sections of the book. This is such a great reminder of the heady days of the dawn of the Macintosh and the promise of newly accessible computing for all creatives to enjoy.

For other inspirational publications check out the bivouac’s list of design related readings. Overall, Danny Goodman’s Macintosh Handbook remains an outstanding exemplar of clear and inspirational instructional reference material. It is one that passes the test of time in a fast moving technical context. For a first hand account of what went into creating the publication visit Nathan Shedroff’s site article.

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The publication visuals mimic the Macintosh operating system visuals including a “finder” menu along the top of many pages, to further demystify the new to world Apple technology.

Off The Wall



Whenever I see images of automotive designers thoughtfully shaping vehicle profiles at 1:1 scale on walls with tape and film and pen and pencil I get inspired. Regardless of how often these traditional visualization methods are used in this age of virtual reality visualization capability, images like this are a powerful reminder of what goes into getting vehicles out into the world. For the rare percentage of them that resemble rolling sculpture, it is well and good to be reminded of all the effort, craft, vision, methods and attention to detail that goes into making them a reality.

Mobility Moment: Offering Choices for Shared Travel


Providing shared vehicle occupants with a choice of being social or relaxing on their own will be key challenge in vehicle design for the next generation of vehicles.


Today's ride sharing services use vehicles that never designed with this form of mobility in mind. Designing for choice will be a key challenge for those creating vehicles optimized for ride and car sharing services in the years to come. Passengers may choose to work, converse, be entertained or just relax and restore themselves with some private time. All of this is what IDEO has explored in chapter four of its Future of Automobility point of view. Noise canceling or conversation enhancing technologies contained in seat "halos" could help passengers have easier conversations, enjoy media or opt out for tranquil time. Its an exciting time to consider all the needs one must design for when creating something for the new on-demand and shared mobility market.

Mobility Moment: CASE Brings New Hot and Cool Opportunities to the Road Ahead


Sharing economy...meet the gig economy. A driver using a shared vehicle cuts the cost of their shared vehicle session by running an errand (in this case picking up fresh vegetables for the week and storing them in a cool vehicle storage area) for the vehicle owner.


With Connected, Autonomous, Shared and Electric vehicles on the horizon, the gig economy and the sharing economy may well intertwine in interesting new ways.

Imagine accessing a shared vehicle for a few hours and paying for that time by running an errand for the vehicle owner. By picking up their groceries and placing them in a cooled storage area, everyone benefits. Mobility is gained and money saved by the vehicle borrower and time is saved for the vehicle owner. Vehicle utilization goes up as well.

As envisioned in IDEO's Future of Automobility provocation series, accessible heated and cooled storage spaces could enable a range of new on-demand services.

For more see the Moving Together section of IDEO's Future of Automobility provocation.

The Audaciousness of Apollo


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Still serving as an inspiration today for those hoping that the human race will someday venture beyond the orbit of our moon to other planets and beyond, the Apollo program is still unsurpassed in it scope and audaciousness. From its inception and from the very moment that President John F. Kennedy declared that America should set out on the grand adventure of setting a man on the moon and safely returning him to earth, the program was marked by boldness. Recently, the bivouac grew in appreciation of the effort after acquiring and putting together a lego version of the rocket. The size of the astronauts in comparison to the rocket reminds one of just how daunting the program must have felt at times for the tens of thousand of citizens who contributed to the accomplishment.

It fantastic to see the challenge of space travel being taken up once again with the likes of Elon Musk's SpaceX group. Below is a nice clip showing various space vehicles all rendered on pad 39-A for side by side comparison.

 

Beyond Skin Deep



There is something very striking about viewing objects in an exploded or x-ray view. One has the sense that you are being invited into a secret world allowing for the way in which an object is made to be readily seen.

This "cutaway" mockup of a 2018 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon Unlimited four door model is a nice example of this. It gives viewer a sense of improvements made to the new model. This kind of transparency is interesting to see especially for objects as complicated to manufacture as automobiles.

Prospective Perspective



Given the bivouac's interest in alternative futures, it is great to see more sophisticated provocations represented in videos like "One Hundred Hunters" from Nigel Stanford.

With it's masterful mixture of new and authentic retro footage from NASA, the combined story telling helps fire the imagination. After all, there are so many questions as to why we have not been back to the moon since 1972...or perhaps we have?