Few 20th century designs more quintessentially represent Americana than the shiny aluminum Airstream trailer. Fast Company has an article looking at where the brand is now, and how they have changed their design language (and marketing tactics), to keep the dream of open-road nomading alive.
According to a new study from Deloitte, approximately half of the 4.6 million manufacturing jobs that will be created in the next ten years will go unfilled. Deloitte cites a combination of factors: waves of retirement, a lack of the right skills in new workers, and a general disinterest in manufacturing professions from younger generations.
Autodesk's team of R&D engineers and designers recently unveiled "the most complex generative design ever made," which while hard to define, is a definite signal of how far generative design tools have come. This example, as many of those we've seen to date, is from one of the handful of industries (aerospace, medical, specialty automotive) that regularly need high-value, high-cost components well-suited to generative workflows and 3D printing as a final production method. As the cost of 3D printing falls and part quality increases, expect to see the of frequency generatively produced designs to go up. That bet on greater ubiquity of generative parts is being made with real dollars by some of the CAD industry's largest players, with PTC acquiring the generative design software startup Frustrum for $70 MM.
People with sleep apnea, frustrated by treatment plans that fail to improve symptoms significantly, have turned to hacking their CPAP machines in pursuit of better health outcomes. Patients complain that while there are useful datasets pumped out by the machines, most doctors spend little to no time analyzing the data and adjusting treatment accordingly. Instead, medical practitioners seem to be principally concerned with checking user compliance for insurance purposes. Doctors understandably want to limit tinkering that could lead to patient risk and malpractice issues, while end-users might be more comfortable making small adjustments grounded in their experience. On the other side of data access and privacy, ProPublica reports on a CPAP machine user that believes their usage data was shared to their insurer without their permission, and that data used to deny them coverage.
Universal Robots has hired 20 or so employees of the now-defunct collaborative robot company, Rethink Robotics, and is taking over their old space.
Ben Kaufman, the founder of the failed crowd-sourcing product company Quirky, has been employed by BuzzFeed since October 2016. While there were a couple of oddball, Quirky-esque hardware products launched from that brand in the past few years, it was a bit of a mystery what a tangible product guy was doing on BuzzFeed's payroll. It turns out that Kaufman has been working to turn the masses of data that BuzzFeed gleans from its readers into product concept pitches that can be brought to companies that advertise on their website. While the idea of a media outlet using its readers to help find product market fit for advertisers is novel, and potentially effective, it presents a host of conflict of interest issues. Primarily, there's the question of a media company having a vested interest in stoking the fires of consumerism in their readership, versus say, being strictly informative.