Mercedes continues drive toward range-wide electric drivetrain options with new eVito

Mercedes is ditching fossil-fuels for electricity in its 2018 all-electric eVito

Mercedes has been electrifying its commercial Vito since 2010 with the Mercedes Vito E-cell. As part of its push to offer fully electric versions of its entire commercial van line-up, Mercedes is now taking orders for the 2018 eVito. Mercedes claims that the fully-electric mid-size commercial van provides the same performance as its diesel counterpart, but with lower long-term running costs.

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Category: Automotive


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Plant spies: DARPA’s plan to create organic surveillance sensors

A new DARPA program plans to turn plants into remote sensors that can detect a variety ...

There are plenty of gardeners that talk to their plants in the belief that it helps them grow. While plants aren’t likely to be eavesdropping on our conversations anytime soon, they could be gathering different types of intelligence if a new DARPA program bears fruit. The agency is pursuing research into genetically modifying plants to turn them into self-sustaining surveillance sensors.

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Category: Science


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Magnetic sails could put the brakes on interstellar space probes

The Breakthrough Starshot program plans to send tiny probes to Alpha Centauri, and a German physicist ...

Our nearest stellar neighbor, Alpha Centauri, is just four light-years from Earth, and while that’s pretty close in the grand scheme of things, we can’t just pop over to borrow some milk. With our current technology, the journey would take tens of thousands of years, but there are plans for tiny unmanned probes that could trek there in as little as 20 years. Now, a German theoretical physicist has detailed a method to use magnetic sails as a braking system, to slow craft down to a cruising speed once they get there.

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Category: Space


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students and schools • Re: Students Hard at Work

Ryan_T_Genena wrote:
designbreathing wrote:
Can you share any final presentation evaluation criteria for student universal design projects?

Cheers from Seoul

I am one of the students in the class, however, I think this information from the syllabus will answer your question to my best ability.

“Designed solutions provide some kind of interface between the user, the object, and the environment. Examine the relationships between our bodies and the built environment. We will utilize both anthropometrics and field testing to design objects with which we physically engage our bodies.”

Research (20%), Visual Presentation (20%), Craftsmanship (20%), Process (20%), and Human Factors (20%).

You can also refer to the competition criteria at

edit: my peers also had significantly varying degrees of sensitivity. One of the criteria our professor tried to push us towards was to design with empathy. Here’s some more information on the assignment criteria from the project brief:

Option 1 - “Develop a product/prototype that embraces and utilizes the ideas and principles of Universal Design for use at home” as an entry into the USC School of Gerontology Universal Design Competition.
Option 2 - Choose your own adventure. Identify a product category with opportunities for ergonomic improvement and design a new product that overcomes the problems that you uncover during the research phase of the project.

What is that competition, could you tell me more about that competition, please?

sketching • Re: Looking to improve

Really digging that petrol station edition coffee maker. A few refinements to think about:

1) could the shape of the drip tray echo the upside down us shape of the flat surface it fits on?
2) does that orange thing on the side need to be there under the cup dispenser? Feels superfluous and would be an extra part ($$$)

These are some of the things I think about when I look at sketches. I might do an overlay of that one if you are cool with it.

The Airbnb For Affordable Housing Is Here

Nesterly, a new platform that pairs older homeowners with young renters, is riding a wave of interest in multigenerational living.

Brenda Atchison’s home in the Boston suburb of Roxbury has been in her family since 1946, and she’s lived there for nearly her entire life. At 66 years old, she’s an empty nester–she describes her house as rooms that are collecting dust. But expenses are rising and her ability to earn is dwindling. She knew she wanted to stay in her home, but she wasn’t sure how to host someone to bring in some extra cash.

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