This Trash Can/Vacuum Combo Makes Dustpans Obsolete

When I imagine hell, I think of an eternity of attempting to sweep tinier and tinier grains of dirt and grime off the floor into a dustpan using only a broom. No matter how vigorously I sweep those piles of household debris into the dustpan, there will always be that single line of grime left over, the unsweepable filth doomed to haunt my kitchen floor forever. 

Enter Bruno, a trash can that doubles as a vacuum to eliminate the need for dustpans. Just sweep everything right up to the edge of the trash can, and the compact little kitchen helper will do the rest. The integrated vacuum system activates when the broom comes close to the base of the trash can, sucking dirt up directly into the trash bag. It runs on batteries, and can run for 30 days per charge.  

Of course, you’ve got to buy Bruno’s custom-fitted trash bags, as well as deal with the very real possibility that some day your trash can may break—something that is a virtual impossibility with your average dumb trash receptacle. Such is the price of living in the future, where even your trash has an app of its own (in this case, one that will remind everyone in the house when it's trash day). 

Bruno may be a little more expensive than your average refuse bin, but the price of eliminating the sweep-sweep-dump-vacuum-sweep-again cycle of dustpan cleaning could be worth it. At least for those who haven't given up and pledged to live Pigpen-style. The high-tech dustbin is available on Kickstarter for $159.

[h/t: Co.Design]

All images courtesy Bruno.

Scientists Have Launched an Earthquake Emoji Design Competition

There’s no denying that emojis have changed the way we communicate. As they say, a picture is worth a thousand words—and sometimes a thumbs up or crying face emoji will suffice. But could an earthquake emoji help save lives?

A group of scientists thinks it certainly couldn’t hurt. As The Seattle Times reports, a self-proclaimed #emojiquake steering committee is hosting an open competition for emoji earthquake designs that could be used to swiftly spread news of an imminent earthquake to diverse populations.

“We need an emoji so we can communicate quickly with much larger groups of people,” Dr. Sara McBride, a disaster researcher who works with the U.S. Geological Survey, told The Seattle Times. “People can process pictures faster than words, and not everybody is fluent in English.”

As McBride pointed out on Twitter, there are existing emojis to represent other weather events—like tornados and cyclones—but none to depict an earthquake.

Social media has proven instrumental in alerting large populations about impending natural disasters, giving them time to seek shelter or take proper precautions. According to the BBC, Japan and Mexico both rely on earthquake alerts sent to their digital devices via early warning technology.

The winning design will be chosen by popular vote on Twitter, and the steering committee will work with Unicode Consortium—essentially the world’s emoji gatekeepers—to get the earthquake emoji approved for widespread use on phones, computers, and social media.

You don’t have to be a scientist or graphic designer to enter the contest. The committee has already received more than 40 submissions, but entries will be accepted until July 14. Designs can be emailed to, but be sure to check out the guidelines and size specifications on the #emojiquake website.

[h/t The Seattle Times]

Sagar.jadhav01, Wikimedia Commons // ;CC BY-SA 4.0
New 'Eye Language' Lets Paralyzed People Communicate More Easily
Sagar.jadhav01, Wikimedia Commons // ;CC BY-SA 4.0
Sagar.jadhav01, Wikimedia Commons // ;CC BY-SA 4.0

The invention of sign language proved you don't need to vocalize to use complex language face to face. Now, a group of designers has shown that you don't even need control of your hands: Their new type of language for paralyzed people relies entirely on the eyes.

As AdAge reports, "Blink to Speak" was created by the design agency TBWA/India for the NeuroGen Brain & Spine Institute and the Asha Ek Hope Foundation. The language takes advantage of one of the few motor functions many paralyzed people have at their disposal: eye movement. Designers had a limited number of moves to work with—looking up, down, left, or right; closing one or both eyes—but they figured out how to use these building blocks to create a sophisticated way to get information across. The final product consists of eight alphabets and messages like "get doctor" and "entertainment" meant to facilitate communication between patients and caregivers.

Inside of a language book.
Sagar.jadhav01, Wikimedia Commons // CC BY-SA 4.0

This isn't the only tool that allows paralyzed people to "speak" through facial movements, but unlike most other options currently available, Blink to Speak doesn't require any expensive technology. The project's potential impact on the lives of people with paralysis earned it the Health Grand Prix for Good at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity earlier in June.

The groups behind Blink to Speak have produced thousands of print copies of the language guide and have made it available online as an ebook. To learn the language yourself or share it with someone you know, you can download it for free here.

[h/t AdAge]


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