Atlas Up and Running

Boston Dynamics continues to make impressive strides forward with its Atlas robot seen here untethered and on the go. Interesting to see how Atlas mimics human performance in clearing obstacles regardless of whether counterbalancing as we do is actually needed or not.

2019 EyesOn Design Awards

It was a pleasure participating again this year as an EyesOn Design judge at the North American International Auto Show. Congratulations to the award winners on their inspirational work.

Best Concept Vehicle  -  Infiniti QX 3 Inspiration Concept 
- Presented by Dassault Systèmes
The judges say: "A new and fresh look that shows extraordinary sophistication and simplicity."

Best Designed Interior  Infiniti QX 3 Inspiration Concept 
- Presented by ABC Technologies
The judges say: "True inspiration and functionality."

Innovative Use of Color, Graphics or Materials  Infiniti QX 3 Inspiration Concept
- Presented by Axalta
The judges say: "Embodies a modern take on materials while retaining a clean Japanese sensibility." 

Best Production Vehicle  Ford Mustang Shelby GT 500 
- Presented by Covestro LLC
The judges say: "The next best tribute to the Mustang ... what the car really represents."

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.

IDEO's Future of Automobility work included in Cooper Hewitt's "The Road Ahead: Reimagining Mobility" Exhibition

Visitors are prompted to capture their own hopes, needs and desires for future mobility on post-it notes and to place them upon a life-sized sketch of a vehicle designed to support shared mobility.

Visitors are prompted to capture their own hopes, needs and desires for future mobility on post-it notes and to place them upon a life-sized sketch of a vehicle designed to support shared mobility.

It is such a pleasure to see work from IDEO’s four part exploration of “The Future of Automobility included within the Cooper Hewitt’s “The Road Ahead: Reimagining Mobility Exhibit. On view at the New York’s Cooper Hewitt through March 31st, 2019, the exhibit explores how we might move people, things, spaces and information in the 21st Century and beyond. Innovative concepts, prototypes and simulation work exploring how future forms of mobility and new approaches to urban planning might emerge are featured from leading companies working in the mobility domain.

Concepts created for the Future of Automobility series exploring moving people, things, spaces and together are on view within the exhibit space.

Concepts created for the Future of Automobility series exploring moving people, things, spaces and together are on view within the exhibit space.

Two In One: The New BMW Motorad 1250cc Boxer Engine with ShiftCam

Here at the Bivouac, I’ve had the pleasure of experiencing the rugged reliability of BMW’s boxer engine in an R1100RT and the sheer sophistication and power of their inline six cylinder engine in their remarkable continent cruiser, the K1600GT. Now, BMW is offering a new boxer engine with ShiftCam technology. With this new technology, Available in the new R1250RT and R1250GS, one wonders if each will feel like more than one bike in one.

The new ShiftCam is designed to provide controllable power at low speeds and more on-demand power at open throttle. The K1600GT felt like several bikes in one thanks to its adjustable engine and suspension profiles. Will ShiftCam technology have the same dynamic effect on the new boxer engine equipped bikes? As motorcycle manufacturers strive to meet new emissions and fuel standards, we can hope that innovations like this bring more bikes with a wider range of characteristics and capabilities to single track trails and long stretches of open road. Good on BMW for continuing to innovate on a time-tested platform.

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.

The Work Continues at Oroville Dam

If you have not been tracking the progress of the Oroville dam spillway repair project, the scale of the effort has been impressive. Since the collapse of a portion of the main spillway two winters ago. The California Department of Water Resources has been capturing progress through compelling videos. Its inspiring to see projects of this magnitude taking place in the United States today accompanied by a great safety record.

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.

Dwelling On The Future of Mobility and the Workplace

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It was nice to see Dwell inquiring at to possible futures of mobility and the workplace in their recent printed issue. The range of responses include thinking along the lines of what is in IDEO's Slow Becomes Fast flexible interiors concept and Inverse Commute Work on Wheels concept from its Future of Automobility provocation series. Take a closer look at an extract in their online feature.

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

Sharing 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.