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btc ring

Bitcoin Rings: The Engagement Rings of the Future

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btc ring

Diamond engagement rings are traditional, beautiful, and generally a safe bet when proposing. That said, the gems come with their own complications, like possible theft, and worries about where, and how ethically, the diamonds were sourced. 

Inventor Seb Neumayer believes these risks are far too great. He suggests that you forget about traditional sparklers and get your bethrothed a BTC ring instead. This unceremonious piece of metal is 3D-printed, customizable, and features a QR code linked to a Bitcoin blockchain. Anyone with the corresponding app can scan the ring and determine how much it's worth. (Yup—now you can know exactly how much your fiancé was willing to fork over before you say yes.) Neumayer argues that standard engagement rings are already indicative of wealth, so why not make the whole process absolutely transparent?

The primary goal is to shift value away from the physical ring, which can easily be stolen or lost. “The real value of the BTC ring lies in the blockchain," Neumayer told Motherboard. "This is different [from] a diamond ring, where the value is on the ring.” Hauling a huge rock around might make you susceptible to mugging, but no one is going to want a QR code stuck to a band of metal; even if they did steal it, the ring does not contain a password to access the associated funds. 

The baubles are easily reprinted if lost, and can come with “blockchain inscriptions,” similar to an inscription on a ring, but digitized. Plus, if you ever find yourself with money to burn, you can upgrade the ring's worth without having to head to the jeweler. Your keepsake won't actually look any different, but nosey friends will know. 

If you'd like to secure your own financially prudent ring, you can design your own here

[h/t: Motherboard.com]

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Scott Jarvie
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Design
Optical Illusion Rug Creates a Bottomless Void in Your Floor
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Scott Jarvie

Artist Scott Jarvie doesn’t believe home goods need to be warm and inviting to earn a spot in the house. That’s certainly the case with his mind-bending void rug: When viewed from a certain perspective, the interior design piece inspires feelings of dread rather than comfort.

According to designboom, Jarvie achieved the rug’s bottomless black hole illusion using clever, two-dimensional design elements. To people standing directly over it, the item resembles a shaded crescent moon cupping a flat black circle. But adjust your position, and the simple rug morphs into a stomach-turning void in the middle of your living room floor.

If the circular rug isn’t trippy enough, Jarvie also made a rectangular runner that can turn an entire hallway into an empty pit. Neither rug is something you’d want to forget you own on a midnight trip to the bathroom.

Void rug optical illusion.

Jarvie’s art isn’t limited to floor rugs that trick the eye. The Scotland-based artist’s creative furniture and home decor includes laundry balls, a cling wrap dispenser, and a chair made from 10,000 plastic drinking straws.

Void rug optical illusion.

Void rug optical illusion.

[h/t designboom]

All images courtesy of Scott Jarvie.

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Courtesy Umbrellium
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Design
These LED Crosswalks Adapt to Whoever Is Crossing
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Courtesy Umbrellium

Crosswalks are an often-neglected part of urban design; they’re usually just white stripes on dark asphalt. But recently, they’re getting more exciting—and safer—makeovers. In the Netherlands, there is a glow-in-the-dark crosswalk. In western India, there is a 3D crosswalk. And now, in London, there’s an interactive LED crosswalk that changes its configuration based on the situation, as Fast Company reports.

Created by the London-based design studio Umbrellium, the Starling Crossing (short for the much more tongue-twisting STigmergic Adaptive Responsive LearnING Crossing) changes its layout, size, configuration, and other design factors based on who’s waiting to cross and where they’re going.

“The Starling Crossing is a pedestrian crossing, built on today’s technology, that puts people first, enabling them to cross safely the way they want to cross, rather than one that tells them they can only cross in one place or a fixed way,” the company writes. That means that the system—which relies on cameras and artificial intelligence to monitor both pedestrian and vehicle traffic—adapts based on road conditions and where it thinks a pedestrian is going to go.

Starling Crossing - overview from Umbrellium on Vimeo.

If a bike is coming down the street, for example, it will project a place for the cyclist to wait for the light in the crosswalk. If the person is veering left like they’re going to cross diagonally, it will move the light-up crosswalk that way. During rush hour, when there are more pedestrians trying to get across the street, it will widen to accommodate them. It can also detect wet or dark conditions, making the crosswalk path wider to give pedestrians more of a buffer zone. Though the neural network can calculate people’s trajectories and velocity, it can also trigger a pattern of warning lights to alert people that they’re about to walk right into an oncoming bike or other unexpected hazard.

All this is to say that the system adapts to the reality of the road and traffic patterns, rather than forcing pedestrians to stay within the confines of a crosswalk system that was designed for car traffic.

The prototype is currently installed on a TV studio set in London, not a real road, and it still has plenty of safety testing to go through before it will appear on a road near you. But hopefully this is the kind of road infrastructure we’ll soon be able to see out in the real world.

[h/t Fast Company]

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