Institute without Boundaries

Projects Without Boundaries

Projects Without Boundaries: What will the the first massively produced robot look like?

By Chriz Miller

Where the technology is now — a researcher at the Shadow Robot Company uses a sensor glove to control the robot in front of him. Credit: http://www.shadowrobot.com/

Question: What will the the first massively produced robot look like?

My Best Guess: Exactly like a pair of hands.

Why? 

Even massive systems have to scale up. Our built world is already made for human proportions. Using existing tools to do existing jobs, ‘Hand-bots’ could fit into the existing systems and take on one task at a time, with the potential to scale to the billions.

Mimicking hands also helps to overcome a serious design challenge: how to program them. Using Kinect-type motion reading or sensor gloves, human workers could “teach” the Hand-bots to do their work and then be replaced by them.

Since robots make the best economic sense in high-quality repetitive labour, early adopters will likely be Foxconn and other manufacturers in its class. These companies will provide the market to spur innovation, scale up production and bring down unit costs. Soon, Hand-bot could be affordable for everyone.

As Hand-bot become common, prices will drop, making them a more accessible tool for any repetitive manual work. Need something that can prep your meals, do the dishes and fold your laundry? Imagine just downloading the function from a market of ‘motion apps’ to program your Hand-bot to do whatever you need.

Why does it matter? 

No matter what the exact form looks like, technology is destroying jobs far more rapidly than it is making them. What kind of jobs will be lost when the handbot arrives? By some predictions, soon taxi drivers will be replaced with automated cars,  doctors will be less effective than diagnostic tools and one professor will teach 100,000 students at a time. Will we use these efficiencies to create a Jetson’s two-hour work day, or will our economy become one where only wealth makes wealth and the rest of us are left behind?  The rise of the machines is already well underway. What kind of revolution will it create?

Projects Without Boundaries is an IwB Blog column where design thinkers dream big.  Here they get to imagine a world without the constraints of budgets, bureaucratic red tape, voters, clients and maybe even physical limitations.  Each article will feature the dream project of one designer/design studio and an accompanying image.

Chriz Miller is a Design Strategist with a post-grad certificate from the Institute without Boundaries. His most recent work experience was working as a strategist and doing Human Resources management with the largest independent NGO in South America.

www.chrizmiller.com

Projects Without Boundaries: History at Street Level

By John Furneaux

At a recent talk put on by the IWB, Ezio Manzini said, “Discovery of the idea of place, is about the experiences that happened within the place”. That got me thinking about how we can create a better sense of place by giving people a more visceral connection to their past. In an environment when culture is often overtaken by commerce and we are losing our streets to the global brands, which in turn weakens our sense of community.

One project I would love to do is give neigbourhoods a more tangible sense of history at street level. In particular to do this in neighborhoods that had a strong cultural impact on their city and now are neutered through gentrification and commercialization.

If we used Queen Street West as an example, this could be brought to life by combining existing technologies and environmental graphic platforms. The use of scrims and projection can allow the buildings to physically move through time – the businesses, the styles, the history of the neighborhood. Additionally by looking through their smart phones, people can see and hear the street come alive with the music, art, fashion and voices of the people who once made it community of culture.

Projects Without Boundaries is an IwB Blog column where design thinkers dream big.  Here they get to imagine a world without the constraints of budgets, bureaucratic red tape, voters, clients and maybe even physical limitations.  Each article will feature the dream project of one designer/design studio and an accompanying image.

As Managing Partner for Ove Brand|Design, one of Canada’s leading branding firms, John provides executive-level guidance in planning, strategic development and creative solutions.

www.ovedesign.com

Projects Without Boundaries: Design Walk-In

Projects Without Boundaries is an IwB Blog column where design thinkers dream big.  Here they get to imagine a world without the constraints of budgets, bureaucratic red tape, voters, clients and maybe even physical limitations.  Each article will feature the dream project of one designer/design studio and an accompanying image.

Design Walk-In

By Zahra Ebrahim

I want you to value designers. I really do. And I know it’s hard, because the most labor intensive part of their work is this intangible thing called “process”, but it is critical.  I am constantly getting asked if I know or can refer people to designers of all kinds – likely because I teach at a design school, or perhaps because I run a design think tank – but what if you weren’t someone who knows someone involved in the design world? Where would you go for design help?  What would you Google search?

This month, I am very excited to be able to realize a dream project of mine with a friend and fellow designer, Ken Chong. It’s called the Design Walk-In.  The Design Walk-In is a storefront design agency where the general public can walk in, talk to a designer who will assess their design health and the needs of their project – time, budget, aesthetic – and either give an on-site prescription or refer them to a trusted specialist in our network.  This gives the public access to designers that meet their unique needs, and freelance and young designers access to projects, clients and publicity.

We are opening today, June 4 and through the month of June as a pilot to test our hypothesis: if design is made more accessible, people will better value it.  With the help of organizations like TASDesignBuild, we have been able to set up this first experiment.  We hope to grow the project as a permanent space in Toronto and other cities worldwide.

Projects Without Boundaries: A New Gateway to the “City of TO-morrow … TO-day.”

Projects Without Boundaries is an IwB Blog column where design thinkers dream big.  Here they get to imagine a world without the constraints of budgets, bureaucratic red tape, voters, clients and maybe even physical limitations.  Each article will feature the dream project of one designer/design studio and an accompanying image.

 A New Gateway to the “City of TO-morrow … TO-day.”

By Paul Dowsett
Union Station could be the new gateway to Toronto as it was earlier in the 20th century and as the Toronto harbour was before that.
Extending the subway loop south past Union Station would better link the broader transit network of TTC, GO trains & buses, VIA, Toronto ferries, & the Billy Bishop (Island) Airport.
New north/south subway platforms on York & Yonge Streets would provide access through the new Union Station retail concourse and more direct access to the GO trains and buses.
The Ferry Docks would be the southern-most TTC Station. LRT’s would operate from here in both directions along Queen’s Quay.  Eastbound LRT’s would serve the new East Bayfront developments. One in every two westbound LRT’s could turn into Bathurst Quay, pick up car & taxi passengers and run in a tunnel under the western gap to the Island Airport.  This would be one of two ways to get to the airport.
The Island Airport ferry would leave the Ferry Docks, eliminating the much decried need for cabs, buses and parking lots on Bathurst Quay. To and from the airport the ferry could stop at a group of new islands & quays in the inner harbour.  Imagine the cool, under-utilized, WW2-era, brick and glass building at the northeast corner of the airport adaptively repurposed as the new airport ferry dock.
The new islands & quays could accommodate sustainable hotels, cultural venues, parks and play spaces.  These would be off-grid, solar-powered, deep-lake water-cooled, rain-water capturing, closed-loop water-managing, etc.
People arriving at Pearson could have a train bringing them to … Union Station !!  A ”Janus Gate” with a new face looking towards the harbour while it’s original face continues to gaze serenely at the city.
A new gateway to the “City of TO-morrow … TO-day.”
All of this started by simply extending the subway loop.  Expensive ?  Yes, and the development potential alone could easily pay for this.
This proposal better serves so many people in the GTA, including currently under-served Harbourfront residents and commuters from as far away as Oakville & Pickering and beyond.
Can the same be said for the Sheppard Subway Line ?

Since graduating with distinction from the University of Waterloo School of Architecture, in over two decades of local & international environmentally-sensitive residential, commercial and institutional architectural practice, Paul has encountered so many Clients confused by green-information overload that he has started sustainable.TO /architecture + building, to assist others to make sense of it all to add “green” and practical value to Clients’ properties.

www.sustainable.to
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Projects Without Boundaries: Dating by Design

Projects Without Boundaries is an IwB Blog column where design thinkers dream big.  Here they get to imagine a world without the constraints of budgets, bureaucratic red tape, voters, clients and maybe even physical limitations.  Each article will feature the dream project of one designer/design studio and an accompanying image.

Dating by Design

By Ayla Newhouse

Design and love are wicked problems that require constant iteration, attention, and creativity. My dream project is an illustrated book that explores how the tools and processes of design could be applied to improving relationships.

This is a dream project for me because it combines two of my passions: human emotion and design process. By exploring the overlaps between the two, I hope to shed some light on the mysteries of both and offer some tools and philosophies that could help people improve their efforts in each.
Although the project is primarily aimed at designers, I think non-designers could also benefit.
I hope to realize this project over the next two years, with the help of Kickstarter. Of course, this is also a project that I work on every day. The dream is to share what I learn on a much bigger scale.
Ayla Newhouse is a designer and creative generalist. She is the co-founder of 1THING, an app that helps you appreciate your life, one thing at a time.

Projects Without Boundaries: Ken Greenberg’s Green Heart

Projects Without Boundaries is an IwB Blog column where design thinkers dream big.  Here they get to imagine a world without the constraints of budgets, bureaucratic red tape, voters, clients and maybe even physical limitations.  Each article will feature the dream project of one designer/design studio and an accompanying image.

For our inaugural article Ken Greenberg shares his vision for Fort York as the Green Heart of the city.

Fort York Becomes the Green Heart

by Ken Greenberg

Having survived various onslaughts in the latter decades of the 20th century, Fort York is, remarkably, still relatively intact, and at the centre of one of the fastest growing areas in Toronto. From the Exhibition Grounds and the Armory to the emerging new Fort York neighbourhood, and the filling in of the west end of the railway lands east of Bathurst, this process is well underway. The greatest opportunities are still yet to come on the north side of the rail corridor from Spadina Avenue and the Wellington Place neighbourhood to the southern flank of the Niagara neighbourhood, the Ordinance Triangle, and the completion of the southeastern portion of Liberty Village. With its large landscape preserving vestiges of historic Garrison Creek and the original Lake Ontario shoreline, plus new “green fingers” that extend from it, Fort York can form a new “green heart” overcoming the barriers that have isolated and fragmented these lands for many decades.

Ken Greenberg is an architect, urban designer, teacher, writer, former Director of Urban Design and Architecture for the City of Toronto and Principal of Greenberg Consultants.

www.greenbergconsultants.com

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The Institute without Boundaries is a Toronto-based studio that works towards collaborative design action and seeks to achieve social, ecological and economic innovation. To learn more click here.

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