Lytro Illum in the media

Posted on Jun 27, 2014 in Media

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With the first LYTRO ILLUM cameras soon to be shipped to the photographers that preordered the camera, I wanted to summarize some of the media buzz of the past few months here on my blog… and it has been crazy!

The coolest exposure that the Illum received was probably Joshua Topolsky introducing the camera to Jimmy Fallon on The Tonight Show. Many other media outlets focused (pun intended) on the product’s extraordinary design. Engadget’s Nicole Lee writes:

And what a design it is. The Lytro Illum looks like something out of a museum or a designer piece from a Parisian fashion house. It’s a sleek and stylish thing, with a unibody magnesium chassis that’s attached to a gorgeous anodized aluminum lens barrel equipped with both zoom and focusing rings.

Also David Pierce of the Verge likes the Illum:

It’s big, with a wide round lens and a large grip, but it weighs less than 2 pounds and is perfectly comfortable in my hands. Its back face is slanted, like someone chopped off part of a larger camera to form this one.

Slashgear’s Chris Davies calls the product “a menacing stealth-black camera”, while Les Shu of Digital Trends finds that “the sleek, wedge-shaped body suggests it’s anything but traditional” and Harry McCracken of Time Magazine really understands who the Illum is designed for: “the Illum targets what the company calls ‘creative pioneers,’ which it defines as professionals and passionate amateurs who are serious about staying on the cutting edge of storytelling technology.”

As one would expect, the Illum’s angled design caught the attention of many writers. Wired’s Matt Honan explains

The angled touchscreen is designed for photography where you’re less likely to be holding a camera directly up in front of your face.

Mashable’s Pete Pachal talks about the inspiration of this aspect of the product:

The back LCD is angled downward. Lytro designed it that way because the camera doesn’t have a viewfinder. The company found that when people take photos using just an LCD screen, they tend to hold the camera below their eye level, so slanting the back came naturally. Helpfully, the display is also on an articulating arm.

Last but not least, Todd Bishop of Geekwire feels that other cameras will follow suit:

expect to see much more of this angle in all sorts of cameras in the future. The reason, of course, is that we’re increasingly holding cameras (and smartphone cameras) away from our bodies and looking at larger displays, not pressing the tiny viewfinder up to our eyes. So an upward tilt makes a ton of sense.

In the bigger scheme of the product development effort behind Lytro Illum, Artefact’s industrial design involvement was fairly brief, yet Wired’s Liz Stinson was interested in hearing about our design process and Core77’s Rain Noe spoke with Artefact’s co-founder Gavin Kelly and I about our work on the product, and I was selected to being Geekwire’s Geek of the Week, due to my role in the design process of Illum… and being that geek, I simply cannot wait to receiving my own Illum and to putting it through its paces.

[Update, August 3, 2014]

Now that Lytro Illum is shipping, some journalists had the chance to review the product in person, and the feedback regarding the product’s industrial design has been very favorable.

Writes David Pierce of The Verge:

There’s also no mistaking it for any other camera. Partly because its slanted back (designed so you can see the screen while you hold the camera at chest-level) gives the Illum a vaguely aggressive look, like it’s coming for you and your loved ones. Partly because the matte gray body with blue accents looks like it maybe fell from a spaceship or was lifted from the set of Battlestar Galactica. The Illum is big, bulky, and almost intimidating. I love the way it looks.

Wall Street Journal’s Geoffrey A. Fowler observes:

When I walked around with the Illum, the camera’s near-futuristic lines prompted bystanders to compliment it.

I am working on… connecting homes

Posted on May 13, 2014 in Industrial Design, Interaction Design, Working on

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Most of the products, experiences, and strategies that I design are of a somewhat confidential nature. While I thus cannot go into the details of what exactly it is that I am working on at the moment or which company it is that I am engaging with, I am posting these headlines to give a little glimpse into my work…

I am working on… redefining the cooking experience

Posted on Apr 22, 2014 in Industrial Design, Interaction Design, Working on

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Most of the products, experiences, and strategies that I design are of a somewhat confidential nature. While I thus cannot go into the details of what exactly it is that I am working on at the moment or which company it is that I am engaging with, I am posting these headlines to give a little glimpse into my work…

I am working on… saving lives by design.

Posted on Apr 20, 2014 in Industrial Design, Working on

Most of the products, experiences, and strategies that I design are of a somewhat confidential nature. While I thus cannot go into the details of what exactly it is that I am working on at the moment or which company it is that I am engaging with, I am posting these headlines to give a little glimpse into my work…

Artefact at UW Design Career Fair 2014

Posted on Mar 16, 2014 in Education, Speaking

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For the first time, the University of Washington’s Division of Design will host a Career Fair and looking at the talent that has come from the department in recent years, I am excited to be part of the event. It will be held this coming Wednesday, March 19th, between 2:30pm and 4:00pm at the HUB South Ballroom.

Artefact will not only have a booth at the fair, but will also participate in the “Speaker Series” prior to the event. I’ll be opening the day with an introduction to Artefact and my talk will be followed by Tactile’s Josh Kornfeld, Teague’s Travis Lonigan, Steve Kaneko of Microsoft, and Tom Hobbs of Facebook.

The Speaker Series will take place between 12.30pm and 2.20pm in 291 PACCAR Hall and I look forward to it!

I am working on… the next “big thing” in digital photography.

Posted on Feb 17, 2014 in Industrial Design, Working on

Old fashioned photography camera

Most of the products, experiences, and strategies that I design are of a somewhat confidential nature. While I thus cannot go into the details of what exactly it is that I am working on at the moment or which company it is that I am engaging with, I am posting these headlines to give a little glimpse into my work…

What the press says about Intel North Cape

Posted on Dec 11, 2013 in Industrial Design, Media

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Intel’s “North Cape” detachable tablet reference design had been introduced at CES in January of 2013 and it did garner quite some buzz…

Different media outlets focused on different aspects of North Cape, and I wanted to take a moment to review what the press had to say about the product over the past few months:

Laptop Mag talked about the fact that this is a reference design and expressed their hope that the product would make it to market:

As a reference design, North Cape is meant to inspire OEMs rather than become a shipping product, though Intel said that it’s possible one will adopt this design. We hope they’ll take the hint.

Mashable was certainly excited about seeing the prototype at CES in Las Vegas:

Intel Shows the Awesome Laptop You’ll Be Using Next Year

The Verge clearly saw the value that North Cape’s Smart Frame adds to the product:

Smart Frame sounds like a gimmick, but when you see how narrow the bezel is around North Cape’s screen, you can understand why people might want some more free space for their thumbs.

Laptop focused mainly on the aesthetics of the product… and it sure sounds as if they liked what they saw:

A system that reminded us of a spaceship from ‘2001: A Space Odyssey.’

I am working on… the best “project” of my life!

Posted on Oct 24, 2013 in Career, Working on

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After my sabbaticals in China in 2005 and India in 2011, I have this week started an entirely different kind of extended leave of absence: My son Maximilian was born a few months ago and now that my wife’s parents have left town after helping us through the first tough weeks, I am beginning my 12-week-long parental leave…

While it in fact feels a bit more like a parental stay, I am enjoying it tremendously and am grateful for the fact that this is part of Artefact’s benefits package… thank you Rob and Gavin for making this possible!

Seattle Tour Guide

Posted on Aug 8, 2013 in Opinion, Travel

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After my very successful guides for first-time travelers to Frankfurt and Taipei, it is about time to write one up for my new home in the “Northbest”: I am enjoying this city, its beautiful hinterland and the Washington coastline tremendously and have rather frequently been showing friends and family around – so I thought I’d share some of my Seattle favorites here:

Sightseeing

Seattle Center and Sculpture Park


An absolute must for the first-time visitor to Seattle is obviously the Space Needle at “Seattle Center” – the site of the 1962 World’s Fair. If you happen to be in downtown, take the Monorail to go there and if you’re at the Center, there’s lots to do besides climbing the Space Needle. On rainy days, you can visit the Experience Music Project and Science Fiction Museum, or the Pacific Science Center, or catch a show at Seattle Children’s Theatre or Pacific Northwest Ballet or the 3D IMAX Theater. If you have time and the weather is nice, take a walk to the Olympic Sculpture Park by the waterfront.

Downtown, Waterfront, Kerry Park

Pike Place Market is probably the second most popular tourist destination in Seattle, followed closely by the Seattle Underground Tour that gives hilarious peeks into the Northwest’s adventurous and hysterical pioneer days. If you’re in downtown, make sure to visit the Rem Koolhaas-designed Seattle Public Library and take the time to visit little Kerry Park in Seattle’s Queen Anne district. It is located above “Seattle Center” and offers spectacular views on the Needle, downtown, Mt. Rainier and Puget Sound – this scenery is exceptionally beautiful in the afternoon light of of a sunny day.
If you’re up there already, make sure to walk to the equally small Marshall Park a few blocks west of Kerry Park to catch some stunning views of Puget Sound, Bainbridge Island and the Olympic Pensinsula. Don’t miss the tiny, but romantic Parsons Garden on your way.

More City Parks

Volunteer Park is located on Capitol Hill and offers great views to Downtown and Puget Sound, especially from the water tower that is located at its south corner – in the adjacent Lake View Cemetery, you can find Bruce Lee‘s gravesite. To get a different view onto downtown, check out Gas Works Park.
If you want to “get out of town without actually getting out of town“, Discovery Park’s 534 acres of nature invite to more extensive walks or hikes along the shores of Puget Sound, all within the city limits of Seattle. On your way back into town, you can stop by Ballard Locks and check out the salmon ladder there – both Discovery Park and the locks are best visited on sunny afternoons.
Do you happen to be in Seattle in the spring? Go and see the cherry blossoms in bloom at the intersection of King Lane & Pierce Lane on the University of Washington campus.
Here in the summer? Go kayaking on Lake Union and through the Arboretum and reward yourself with some hearty Mexican food at Agua Verde or take a dip in Lake Washington at Madison Park Beach.

Museums
Seattle offers a pretty decent selection of museums: Seattle Art MuseumFrye Art MuseumSeattle Asian Art MuseumBurke Museum of Natural History and CultureMuseum of Flight, or Wing Luke Museum of the Asian Pacific American Experience. Entrance to all of these museums is free in the evening of the first Thursday of every month.
Not really a museum, but very interesting nonetheless is the Boeing Factory tour about 45 minutes north of Seattle in Everett.
Here’s a Google Map with all of the above sights…

Wining and Dining

Seattle offers a vast variety of restaurants. Among my favorite Northwest/seafood places to eat are Ivar’s Salmon House and Ray’s Boathouse – they offer great views of Lake Union and Puget Sound, respectively. Other seafood alternatives are Coastal Kitchen, with a regularly changing coastal region inspiring their cuisine, or The Walrus and The Carpenter, if you happen to be into oysters.
To get your Asian food fix, visit Shiro’s for the most authentic Sushi in town or Nishino that rivals Shiro’s in quality, but feels a bit more “westernized”. And since we’re talking about Asian food already, if you love Taiwanese cuisine like I do, you’ll want to go to Din Tai Fung, Facing East or Henry’s Taiwan Kitchen.
While I am not a vegetarian, I love Café Flora’s food and cannot but recommend Harvest Vine‘s spanish tapas for both brunch and dinner.
Coffee shops, you ask…? There are too many to mention… the ones that I like most are Java Bean, Volunteer Park Café, Wheelhouse Coffee, Bauhaus, and Espresso Vivace.

Live Music

I am not the avid concert-goer I once was, yet I occasionally still enjoy a show at Neumos or the Tractor Tavern

Shopping

Being the biggest “shopping grump” that I know, I am probably not the best person to ask for advice here, but let me try:
While Downtown, Northgate and University Village host the usual chains, Fremont and Ballard offer quite a few smaller boutiques that carry locally made products…  and if you happen to be there, why not plan to visit on a Sunday to join the fun Fremont and Ballard farmer’s markets or dine in one of the many restaurants there.
If you are into binge-shopping, you could drive 40 minutes north for a shopping spree in the gigantic Seattle Premium Outlets…?

Hiking and Skiing

As I have said in my intro, the great outdoors in the “Northbest” are truly amazing! If you visit in the winter, go skiing, tubing or snowshoeing on Snoqualmie PassStevens Pass, or on Crystal Mountain.
And if you happen to be here in the summer, why not go on one of the over 3,000 hikes that the Washington Trails Association‘s has listed? Ask me for some tips…

An evening project

Posted on Jul 14, 2013 in Industrial Design, Research

Well… here’s a design project that – at least in my eyes – does not really qualify to be shown off in this website’s Portfolio section… still, I wanted to share it and so it ended up here on the blog: a 3D-printed iPhone car holder.

With the recent updates to the iOS Maps and Google Maps Applications I found my iPhone 5 replacing my trusted Garmin nüvi inside my car. Unless I have been going on a remote hike where no cellphone network was available, the iPhone’s connectivity, speed, and its speech interface often made it the navigator of my choice. The only problem was, that I never knew where to put it while driving, unless I bothered my co-pilot to hold the phone for me. So I decided that it was time to buy a car holder for my shiny iPhone 5. My two criteria were pretty straight-forward:

  • I wanted a simple device that would visually not be overly distracting, one without too many mechanical features that could break
  • The holder should mount without a suction cup (so it’d not leave traces on the windshield) and preferably be fixed, using my car’s dashboard vents.

An extensive online search yielded no results, probably due to the fact that phone holders typically have to fit a wide variety of cars, phones, and mounting scenarios, where what I wanted was a very specific solution on all three fronts. And since we just received our little Solidoodle 3D printer at Artefact, I thought, I’d do something with it and design an iPhone 5 holder specifically for my 2008 GTI.

After two failed prototypes, I found the perfect mix between stability and simplicity and had fine-tuned the viewing angle of my design. It slides easily into the dashboard vents and a hook prevents it from falling out. I opted to add five pieces of 0.5mm thick fabric (shown in red in one of the above illustrations) to protect my precious phone from scratching.

I have been using the holder for a few months now and really like it, so I thought I’d share it here as well as on Thingiverse.

For printing on our little Solidoodle, I broke the product into four parts and the files contain 3D data both of the Solidoodle-version, as well as of the complete object – maybe you can find a better way to deconstruct and print it…? Feel free to share and/or to modify the design and let me know what you think!

iPhone 5 Car Holder 2008 Volkswagen GTI