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Virginia Tech via Stanford Center on Longevity

This End Table Design Concept Doubles as an At-Home Gym for Seniors

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Virginia Tech via Stanford Center on Longevity

Physical activity is just as important—if not more important—in your old age as it is throughout the rest of your life. But for many elderly people, the act of going to a gym is either unappealing or impossible. This compact workout station was designed to provide seniors with an exercise alternative right in the comfort of their own home.

According to Fast Company, the dynamic table was created by a team of industrial design students at Virginia Tech as part of the Stanford Center on Longevity's third annual Design Challenge. The invention, called Veevo, resembles a basic end table when it's not in use. To transform it into a piece of exercise equipment, seniors can simply pull on the handle and unfold its components. The chair is meant for low-impact, seated exercise, and its seat opens up to reveal a compartment for storing weights and yoga equipment. From beneath the chair, a step stool pulls out and can be used for more intense activities, and a handrail lifts out from the side to lend support.

Virginia Tech via Stanford Center on Longevity

The concept was partly inspired by a team member's grandmother, who had broken her wrist after falling and lost the ability to care for herself for several weeks. Looking to promote independence in the elderly, the team decided to take a proactive approach toward dealing with debilitating falls. According to the Centers for Disease Control, one in three men and one in two women stop exercising completely by age 75. A compact home gym could give seniors who might have remained sedentary a convenient way to improve their strength and balance.

Veevo is one of 12 finalists currently competing in Stanford's challenge, which looks at student-designed projects that promote healthier, longer lives. If their concept wins, the students hope to one day make their product a reality for the seniors who could benefit from it.

[h/t Fast Company]

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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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