2012 News

Read past news stories from the School of Design Innovation's 2012 news archive.

DeSForM2012: MEANING. MATTER. MAKING featured on The Big Idea and Sciblogs

8 May 2012

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Two enthusiastic commentaries following the successful conclusion of the DeSForM2012 conference have been posted online via Sciblogs and The Big idea.

Aimee Whitcroft posted DeSForM – The most inspiring thing I’ve seen in years on Sciblog on April 24. Sciblogs mission is to bring together “the best science bloggers in the country on one website, creating a hub for scientific analysis and discussion and facilitating reader interaction…….on the big science-related issues facing society”.

Helen Baxter’s wrap up column DeSForM Design Delights was featured as lead story at the Big Idea on 26 April. The Big Idea|Te Aria Nui is dedicated to growing capability and expertise in the creative sector by communicating trends and facilitating networks across all segments of New Zealand’s creative community.

Both commentaries include a wealth of links to other aspects of DeSForM and the creative community.

DeSForM in the Media

1 May 2012

Philip Beesley's Vesica installation at the City Gallery and the DeSForM conference makes it into the Dominion Post. Read article.

Desform in the Media

Wellington in 2040: Read tomorrow’s headlines today!

26 April 2012

According to the Capital Chronicle 2040 the city faces a colourful and contentious future. Read all about the world’s first microorganism assisted cross-harbour Hydrothon, biomineralised buildings blooming in the harbour, the latest on the coolest conceptual spaces of the year or Philip Beesley’s Vesica epidemic. Download your copy of the Capital Chronicle 2040 now!

The Capital Chronicle 2040 featured at the opening of the Hylozoic Series:Vesica at the City Gallery on April 18. VUW School of Design Senior Lecturer Ross Stevens reflected on Philip Beesley’s eloquent keynote presentation and its relevance to the future of Wellington. To make his point Stevens called on scenarios from the School’s Design Led Futures programme, which were developed in collaboration with the Wellington City Council’s Wellington 2040 initiative. The collaboration challenged students to imagine how Wellington would look, sound, smell, feel, and work 30 years hence, and inspired the first edition of the Capital Chronicle. The second edition of the Capital Chronicle 2040 builds on the previous students’ work.

Download the Capital Chroniclepdf4MB.

DeSForM Keynotes now on Vimeo

26 April 2012

The video recordings of the keynote speeches from DeSForM 2012 by Philip Beesley (Professor in the School of Architecture, University of Waterloo and  principal of the Toronto design collective PBAI), Ross Stevens (Senior Lecturer in the School of Design, Victoria University) and Neil Leach (Professor in the School of Architecture, University of Southern California) are now online on Vimeo.

The School of Design is proud to host the 2012 DeSForM conference: MEANING.MATTER.MAKING

26 April 2012

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The School of Design's South Pacific location has inspired a commitment to digital technologies, which offer real opportunities to overcome distance with new forms of communication, interaction and enhanced experiences. As a result the city has a colourful and growing community of technology developers, software specialists, game and interface designers, film makers and special effects researchers, usability experts, social networking service providers and pioneers in digital design, fabrication and distribution, as exemplified by the internationally recognized leader, Weta Digital. Against this backdrop, DeSForM 2012:MEANING.MATTER.MAKING invites participation from practice-led researchers and research-led practitioners from academia and industry, as well as representatives from the many disciplines, perspectives and interpretations integral to the design and semantics of form and movement.

For conference key dates, information, and updates visit http://desform2012.schoolofdesign.ac.nz/

For information on past conferences and the global DeSForM community.

Philip Beesley on Radio NZ

17 April 2012

The podcast from Kathryn Ryan’s Radio NZ interview with Philip Beesley on Nine to Noon is live. Beesley discusses his latest kinetic installation Hylozoic Ground: Vesica on show at the City Gallery Wellington in collaboration with the DeSForM conference. It demonstrates how buildings in the future might move, and even feel and think by exploring the potentials of emerging new sensing technologies and digitally-fabricated components.

Graduate designs affordable, innovative new prosthesis

3 April 2012

Graduate designs affordable, innovative new prosthesis
Getting a product from the drawing board to the shop shelves is notoriously slow and difficult, as Victoria University industrial design graduate Cameron Lightfoot is finding out.

But it hasn‘t swayed the 27-year-old from his goal of improving life for people who wear a prosthetic leg.

Cameron got thinking about what movement is like for amputees while studying at Victoria. He noticed that most prosthetic legs make walking look difficult and uncomfortable and combined this observation with an interest in magnets to come up with a revolutionary new design.

The device, called NexStep, has super-strong neodymium magnets behind the knee and ankle joints which help kick the leg in and out and make it more flexible.

Most of the parts are made from plastic with steel rods and an aluminium tube for support and they are relatively cheap to produce which, Cameron says, is a big advantage.

"A lot of the cheaper prosthetic legs don‘t do the job while high-end ones cost tens of thousands of dollars, far more than most people can afford. Part of my motivation was to come up with something really functional at a fraction of the cost of competing products."

The magnets are the key to affordability. "They replace all the complex technology such as batteries, resistors, circuitry and gears that are usually included, bringing both the cost and the maintenance right down."

Cameron‘s invention was one of the three finalists in the New Zealand stage of the international 2011 James Dyson Awards, with the publicity opening possibilities for commercialising NexStep.

He is in discussions with a potential business partner who has expertise in branding, marketing and sales and is also in touch with a person who lost a leg in a motorcycle accident keen to test his prototype.

"That‘s significant progress—we know it works in theory but the real proof is in how it performs in practise."

Cameron worked nights and weekends to develop the original design and had the parts made using the rapid prototyping machine at Victoria‘s School of Design. He has so far met all the costs out of his own pocket and says finance is one of the big hurdles.

But he‘s not giving up and is continuing to put money earned in his day job as a laser programmer for Mulcahy Engineering in Auckland into further modifying the prosthetic leg.

"I want to make it easy to customise the leg to suit different users. I‘m developing a system where the internal components stay the same but the outer casing can be changed depending on a person‘s leg length and the strength of the magnets required to match the way they walk."

Ultimately Cameron‘s vision is to set up a small business to sell the prosthetic leg, or license the design to a company with appropriate design and manufacturing expertise.

"I think the most important thing is to believe in your product. You need that to last the distance."