Monday, November 29, 2010

Air Powered Cars Analyzed

A car that runs on air? At first glance, the idea of running a vehicle on air seems almost too good to be true. If we can use air as fuel, why think about using anything else? Air is all around us.  Air never runs out. Air is nonpolluting. Best of all, air is free.
An innovative design which is pure genius was developed by Motor Development International in 2009.  The design is the air-powered car, it is a monumental change. Specifically, the car is designed to run on compressed air.  For the past ten years companies have claimed to be close to releasing a car that runs on compressed air and Motor Development appears to be knocking on the door.  The compressed air vehicle is one of the first commercial applications for the zero-emission engine. The subcompact air car runs on compressed air instead of traditional automotive fuels. A set of carbon-fiber tanks sit underneath the passenger compartment, containing up with 2900psi of compressed air. The tanks power a tiny engine capable of 5.4 horsepower. It has a maximum speed of about 100km/h and a range of around 200-300 km per fuel charge, making it ideal for use within the city. The type of engine that is being used is a single energy engine, which works via a simple compressed-air technology. This car is said to be imported to the United States in the coming year and its retail price is anticipated to be 7,000 euro or about $9,500.
In 2010 another credible compressed-air design surfaced from two engineering professors in India.  The design is an air-compression motor about ¾ of a foot in diameter that would run a scooter.  They focused on the scooter since more than half of the vehicles in India are two wheeled.  The tank of compressed air fires into the turbine of the motor and the vanes of the turbine extend which allows the chambers to accommodate the volume of air as it expands.  The engine can run off the pressure it takes to fill a tire at the gas station.  Bharat Raj Singh and Onkar Singh, the two Indian professors who have designed the motor, spent the last four years developing their prototype.  They expect to cut down about 50 to 60 percent of the carbine dioxide released from tailpipes.   
These designs certainly appear to be the example of utopia for a world searching to find alternatives to fossil fuels and pollution.  But utopia doesn’t come quickly or easily and the production of a vehicle that runs on compressed air may still need to overcome a number of hurdles.  For example, the air tank on the scooter designed by the Indian professors only provides enough “fuel” for about 18 miles before it needs to be refilled.  Additionally, both air vehicles need electrical energy to compress the air into the tank.  The cost of the compressor and the power plant need to be considered.  There will always be skeptics and obstacles to overcome when it comes to innovative design, but the important concept is to keep coming up with the ideas that will help improve society.  Necessity continues to be the mother of invention and the air car is born of necessity.
In the aspect of design when MDI’s Guy Negre was inventing this new idealistic car he used Karl Asplunds’ idea of the design process.  His process consists of inspiration, identification, conceptualization, exploration and refinement, definition and modeling, communication and finally production.  When creating something so creative such as the air powered car, there must be many steps of design put to the test to find the perfect design/model.  A design always has to come from somewhere whether it comes from driving in a car to standing outside, anything can spark the beginning of a fantastic unified design.  Then after many test and models you will find that you have brought yourself to the perfect product that has unified all of your ideas.  To make the utopian design that is practical there are always many tests or models that a designer will end up going through to get to final product they were looking for.  Especially when it is one that will end up improving society.    
The exploration, development and production of designs such as the compressed air vehicle are an example of what society needs to help with current, real problems such as pollution and the dwindling reserves of fossil fuels.  Air vehicles on many levels meet the needs of society today. They have the obvious benefit of reducing local emissions, as well as freeing the consumer to use renewable power sources to compress the air that powers the car.  In addition, the technology and design to build the vehicle is not complex and the cost to produce the vehicle is anticipated to be much less than an electric vehicles or hybrid electrics.  This particular car is stable, extremely efficient, is intriguing and  aesthetically pleasing, and is one of the best designs the world has seen so far.   


Sunday, November 28, 2010

Utopian Design

Utopia is near!  The air-powered car is a genius innovative design that was developed by Motor Development International in 2009. It is one of the first commercial applications for the zero-emission engine. The subcompact air car runs on compressed air instead of traditional automotive fuels. A set of carbon-fiber tanks sit underneath the passenger compartment, containing up with 2900psi of compressed air. The tanks power a tiny engine capable of 5.4 horsepower.

The engine works by using compressed air instead of gasoline for fuel. It has a maximum speed of about 100km/h and a range of around 200-300 km per fuel charge, making it ideal for use within the city. The type of engine that is being used a single energy engine, which works simply by using compressed air.   Even by pushing the brake, the car will use its energy to fill a mini-compressor.

Guy Negre the French auto engineer and creator of this air- powered car has also developed a high-pressure air pump that can fill the tanks in less than a minute. These could be powered by clean electricity from hydro, wind or solar power making the air car completely pollution-free.

            This car is supposed to be imported to the United States in 2009-2010.  If auto companies started selling these air-powered cars it would save our country grave amounts of money.  It would save money so we would no longer need to purchase gasoline for cars and therefore no pollution is put into the environment.  This car not only saves people money from gas but the price of buying the car is so much cheaper as well. The Air Car will cost about 7.,000 Euro which is about 9,500 Dollars.

Color Is Everything

           Can you imagine a world without color… The world would be boring and design would almost not matter.  Color is what brings a design alive and what sets one design apart from others. As Albers stated, with color brings harmony it all depends on the color combination as well as the juxtaposition.  Color is something that is pleasing to the eye. It engages the viewer and it is what helps the consumer differentiate one product from another. Color reveals the predominant colors so if every design within one group were all the same and colorless they would all look so similar, but since color is added into the equation you get a real design something that is unique.  

         Take these boxes of cereal for example:

         They are so color full each design is filled with different shades of all colors.  The color makes the design.  If you were too see these particular boxes of cereal on a shelf in black and white like this…

         It Is such a drastic change that when you take a first glace they almost don’t look like the same product.  The depth of design almost goes completely away.  Imagine a supermarket full of black and white items.  Without the color it would make it extremely difficult to find the product you were looking for.  The color of the cereal box helps you identify which one you want, the brightness within the colors makes the design pop.  The human brain remembers the design by the color and the design put together. If a company were to take away all colors from the design and or logo from their product the product would be almost unidentifiable.  Color can completely transform a single design; it will change the way consumer perceives a product.  

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Dangerous Design

            There are many dangerous designs in this world you just need to do some research to be able to find out what went wrong.  In 2009 there was one product that was all over the news it was the Maclaren Stroller.  There were about 1 million strollers recalled because children would end up with fingertip lacerations and amputations. This would happen to the consumer when they would fold the stroller.  The child’s finger would be caught in the hinge and that is where the pinch would occur. 

            When a designer makes a product such as a stroller they should consider that it is a child’s product and that kids are known for fitting their hands into small creases.  The designer should make sure that there are no places in reach of the child for their fingers to be caught, but in the case of this particular stroller it was not tested well enough.  I’m sure the designers did not mean to design the strollers in a way where they would potentially harm the children that were in them. Instead they should have been tested and checked more intently and maybe this dangerous product would have never been recalled, and in the end been called a “dangerous” product. 

Monday, November 15, 2010

The Art of Shoe Design

        As the history of the shoe has evolved there have been more and more styles colors and patterns brought into play.  Have you ever walked into a store or shopped on line for a pair of shoes and they fit you perfectly but the design is awful? I certainly have.  That why there are now companies that have websites where you can make choose your own shoe model and design the colors and patterns on your own shoes. 

        The Vans Company has been making shoes since 1966 and the shoes have stayed in style since then.  For many years now on the vans website the company has let the customers mind go wild.  The customer can pick what style of shoe they want, what size and create their own design. When designing on the site you select different sections of each shoe, and choose the colors or patterns you want for each shoe part. You have the option to design every part of the shoe from the outer soles to the laces and tongues, you can have a different style on each part if you choose.  The option that the Vans company gives people to pick their own style is amazing and very different.  Every person has different styles and tastes so it would be impossible for a company to design and produce that many different kinds of shoes.  This website is consumer friendly and well designed.  It is amazing to see that the customers have a choice, and can make us feel like the designers.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Shelby Mustang

           In august of 1964 was the time when one of the worlds’ most Popular Performance cars was born.  Throughout history this car has had many modifications and is still one of the number one cars around.  Ford continues to impress the consumers with new innovations and upgrades of this amazing car.  Chances are, you've come across this particular car either on the street, at a local auto show, or during a visit to your local Ford dealership. This car is extremely well known for its fantastic performance as well as its up to date sporty looks. It does not matter what year the car is, they are still highly sought after by collectors as long as they are in good condition.  If you are still not clear on what car I have just described it is the Shelby Mustang. 
           From the year 1964-2010 the mustang has only continued to improve its performance as well as gain horsepower.  Carroll Shelby's first Mustang was the 1965 Shelby GT350. What really made it special was it was the first race-ready car ever to be marketed by an American automaker.  People wanted this car because of its fast acceleration, 0-30 mph in 3 seconds, 0-60 mph in 7.5 seconds and 0-100 mph in 21.5 seconds.  The Shelby reached a whopping speed of 117 mph. The car cost $4,547, which was much too expensive for the average person.  But since the cars performance was so phenomenal for the time, those who were lucky enough to buy one got their moneys worth.  The Shelby GT350 featured 306 horsepower courtesy of its modified K-code 289cid V8 engine. This was 35 horses more than offered in the standard 289cid engine. It also featured a four-speed manual transmission and side-exhaust pipes fitted with two-inch Glass-pak mufflers.  Since that car was first put out on the market it has upgraded drastically.  The combination of the added horsepower, refinement and functionality makes the 2010 Shelby GT500 a unique high performance car.  It delivers more horsepower than ever before. It now has 5.4 liter dual overhead cam v-8 engine, has 540 horsepower and 510 foot-pounds of torque!
           Safety in cars in 1965 were not nearly as strict as they are today. The only real safety the Shelby Mustang had was a roll bar as well as a safety harness.  Laws have changed dramatically since the 60’s.  Now the 2010 GT500 has traction control, stability control and front-seat side airbags. There is no spare tire, however, just a temporary tire inflation kit.  The Shelby received perfect five-star ratings from the government for frontal crash protection and front passenger side protection. Rear-passenger side-impact protection garnered four stars for the coupe and five stars for the convertible.
           The cars are very easy to use because they are automatic cars and they have power steering.  They are a smooth ride with good breaks and easy acceleration. They also have many good features like gps systems, air conditioning as well as heaters.  We now think those things are customs in every car but in 1965 when the first models came out those things were non existent.  Those items have helped the cars become more comfortable.  It is also more comfortable to have automatic windows and adjustable seats so you can find the perfect place for you in the car. They have nice leather seating and some have seats in the back.  In 1965 the cars had no seats in the back there was just a piece of fiberglass.
           The style of the Mustang has always been very aesthetically pleasing.  They have the classic “Mustang” racing stripes.  If you saw those stripes coming from a mile away you would probably guess mustang!  They are the typical muscle car accessories.  There is always an option to have that on your car but it adds more of a racecar feel to a Shelby.  One of the most attractive parts about the mustang is the body. The shape of the car has smooth rounded grooves that go down the side of the car as well as a square on top of the hood where the noise and heat from the engine comes out.  It also has a very attractive grill on the front with the addition of the cobra.  But my favorite part about the whole car is of course on the back where SHELBY is plastered on the trunk.
         There are so many amazing things about the Shelby Mustang and its amazing to see how much it has changed form the year 1964 when they started making them to the 2010 model.  They will continue to improve and will stay at the top of the performance car list. 

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Making the Impossible Possible

When I was checking my emails I stumbled upon an email from my mom.  It was a chain email entitled “Something different for sure.” I looked down the page and it had an attachment of a slideshow. It was about someone named Erik Johansson, he is from Norrk√∂ping, Sweden and he works with photographs in photoshop to turn them into impossible pictures.  Before I had opened this email I was trying to think of a third blog to write about but couldn’t so I took a break. I guess the best artists/designers are the ones you stumble upon. The work Erik does is so unbelievably eye catching and it is different from anything that I have ever seen before.  He takes fantastic photographs and retouches and combines them with another photo and makes an incredible work of art.  His work really makes your mind think and try to figure out the puzzle he has created within the photo.  Even though the photos are impossible photos he makes you believe in them because of how well they are executed. I suggest that you go to his website posted below because his work is truly remarkable.  His views on art are so creative and he really does think outside the box.