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Get a Behind-the-Scenes Look at How Balloons Are Made

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Balloons are such a ubiquitous fixture at celebrations, they go largely unnoticed as a pretty impressive feat of ingenuity.

At one time, these harbingers of merriment were made of dried animal bladders and intestines. The first rubber balloons were created in 1824 by scientist Michael Faraday for laboratory use. By the 1930s, balloons were being mass produced and even twisted into animals, and their popularity only increased from there. While it’s hard to come by exact sales figures, it’s estimated that annually, 45 to 50 million balloons are sold in California alone. Manufacturers are able to keep up with this demand thanks to a highly efficient and totally hypnotic production process.

How It's Made has an inside look at what goes in to making a balloon. It starts with pouring dye into a tank of latex, where it’s mixed around for up to 16 hours to saturate the color. Racks of balloon forms are dipped into a tank of coagulate, whose electrochemical charge attracts the colored latex. After the forms are dipped in the latex, a set of spiraling brushes roll up the ends to created the lips for easy handling and blowing. They're then purified in a hot water bath, given a talcum powder and water bath for easy removal, and shot with a bit of air to lift them off the form and on to a conveyer belt. After a turn in the washing machine, they’re taken to their limits in an inflation test.


Romantic, isn't it? (Screenshot)

See the full process in the video below, and prepare to feel the urge to throw a massive party. 

[h/t The Kids Should See This]

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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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fun
Here's How to Turn an IKEA Box Into a Spaceship
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iStock

Since IKEA boxes are designed to contain entire furniture items, they could probably fit a small child once they’re emptied of any flat-packed component pieces. This means they have great potential as makeshift forts—or even as play spaceships, according to one of the Swedish furniture brand’s print ads, which was spotted by Design Taxi.

First highlighted by Ads of the World, the advertisement—which was created by Miami Ad School, New York—shows that IKEA is helping customers transform used boxes into build-it-yourself “SPÄCE SHIPS” for children. The company provides play kits, which come with both an instruction manual and cardboard "tools" for tiny builders to wield during the construction process.

As for the furniture boxes themselves, they're emblazoned with the words “You see a box, they see a spaceship." As if you won't be climbing into the completed product along with the kids …

Check out the ad below:

[h/t Design Taxi]

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