- Fashion is among the least inclusive segments of design, having a strong preference for certain kinds of bodies and offering limited options for anyone falling outside that narrow spectrum. This New York Times piece looks at how designers are working to expand the possibilities by creating sleek, minimal apparel for wheelchair users, people with chronic medical conditions and other needs that have been ignored in the past.
Making Technology Work for Us:
- Physicist, metallurgist, educator and writer Ursula M. Franklin passed away. A thoughtful critic, her writings and lectures became a touchstone for many designers, engineers and educators looking for a more nuanced take on technology's place in society. If you're unfamiliar with her work, the lecture series "The Real World of Technology" is a good place to start. She was a rare individual, carving out a middle path of doing and saying: making practical, ethical contributions to many fields while also developing theoretical frameworks to guide thinking and offer alternatives. In a heavily compromised world where we are pressured to see ourselves on one side or the other, it's a good reminder that we can reject that false bargain and chart a different course.
Feeding the Future:
- Indigo, a company developing technologies for tougher, drought-resistant wheat and cotton has finished up an investment round of $100MM which is the single largest investment made in AgTech to date. As the impact of climate change becomes impossible to ignore, investors are betting big on agricultural interventions.
- Prodigious hardware hacker/builder Bunnie Huang and Edward Snowden have teamed up to develop an iPhone case that is supposed to give you a heads-up when your device starts snitching on you. Oh, and Bunnie just announced he is suing the U.S. government for the right to tinker, hack and modify devices on freedom of speech grounds.
- The last of the VCR manufacturers is bringing production to a halt. They've been making the devices for 30 years and built 750,000 units last year. Similar to the swansongs of other technologies, the decline of the format has created a small but passionate community of collectors, known to pay hundreds or thousands of dollars for especially rare tapes. Whether it's anxiety about an uncertain future, a sense that analog technology possesses a certain humane warmth, or feeling our own mortality reflected back to us, some are unwilling to let the outmoded but familiar slide into the darkness of history completely.