Microsoft has unveiled a special edition Xbox controller made partly from recycled plastic, including surplus old controller parts that have been reground.
One-third of the green-hued Xbox Remix Special Edition controller is made from a mix of post-consumer recycled resins and “regrind” — a term for ground industrial plastic waste, in this case the company’s leftover Xbox One generation controller parts.
These materials are mixed with virgin plastic to make the controller, an approach that Microsoft claims maintains the durability and performance of the product.
The post-consumer plastics used include CDs, plastic water jugs and automotive headlight covers.
The Remix controller was launched ahead of Earth Day on 22 April, and takes its aesthetic cues from the planet’s natural landscapes, featuring a patchwork of green and sandy hues.
The recycled, previously moulded coloured parts leave their mark on the casing, which Microsoft describes as featuring subtle variations, swirling and texturing that give “each Remix Special Edition controller its own look and feel”.
The beige-toned bumpers, triggers and side grip areas have a textured pattern that nods to topographic maps while imparting the tactility that Microsoft says its users like on those areas.
There are also elements in bright lime green, a colour that was apparently chosen as a reference to lichen in the Pacific Northwest Forest as well as to add vibrancy.
“By incorporating these regrind materials, post-consumer recycled resins, and including the Xbox Rechargeable Battery Pack – Xbox is exploring ways to use less new plastic and reduce waste,” Xbox Accessories senior marketing manager Daniel Ruiz said in a blog post.
“Our goal is to bring fans along with us on our journey towards greater sustainability across the Xbox product portfolio.”
The production of hardware for gaming — which uses mined minerals such as copper, nickel, gold and zinc — is one of the key contributors to the environmental impact of gaming, although some researchers identify the energy requirements of cloud gaming to be an even bigger problem.
Microsoft’s sustainability commitments include being carbon negative and zero waste by 2030.
The company started incorporating post-consumer recycled resins into its controllers in 2021 with the Daystrike Camo and Electric Volt, but the Remix Special Edition is the first to include regrind from other controllers. It also includes recycled plastic options in its Xbox Design Labs custom controllers.
Health tech company Respiray has launched a wearable air purifier designed to fend off allergens by creating a “bubble of clean air” around the user’s face.
Worn around the neck like a collar, Respiray‘s Wear A+ device filters out irritants such as pet dander, dust, pollen and mould, and instead blows clean air towards the wearer.
Respiray claims the device has been tested in several clinical trials and shown to reduce allergy symptoms such as sneezing, nasal congestion and watery eyes.
The Estonian company created the device to offer a drug-free way of managing symptoms in indoor environments such as the home or office, while also keeping the nose and mouth free so users can eat, drink and stay comfortable for longer.
“Having personally experienced the challenges of airborne allergies, I understand the significant impact this condition can have on one’s quality of life,” Respiray CEO Karl Gustav Annus told Dezeen.
“With over 400 million people worldwide affected by allergies, it’s clear that many existing remedies such as antihistamine medications are often insufficient and can have side effects such as drowsiness.”
Following feedback from customers that the product was too heavy and bulky, the Wear A+ was designed to be three times smaller and lighter, weighing in at 250 grams.
The hardware was designed in-house by Respiray’s product designer Annamaria Rennel, with the focus placed on aesthetics and ergonomics, along with the optimisation of airflow and speed to create an allergen-free zone around the user’s face.
“Throughout the design process, we asked ourselves a key question: if we don’t want to place something right in front of the user’s face, how can we maximise its effectiveness from a distance,” Annus said.
“This question guided every aspect of our design, from the placement of the outlet holes in relation to the mouth and nose to their shape and arrangement, which ensured that the user’s bubble of clean air was maintained even when they turned their head.”
Wear A+’s design features include an adjustable magnetic strap and an indicator light that lets the user know when to replace the HEPA filter, which is usually after about 200 hours.
The device is designed for indoor use only as outdoors its fans will be overpowered by the wind – “unless you are enjoying a cup of hot chocolate on your terrace on a completely breezeless day”, Annus said.
US start-up Mill aimed to create the ultimate solution to household food waste when designing this bin, which dries out any leftovers so they can be posted to the company and given a new purpose.
Developed by two former Nest employees, the Mill bin slowly heats and mixes any food waste on a low-power cycle to dehydrate and shrink the scraps, allowing the bin to be emptied less often.
After a few weeks, when the bin is full, the user tips the resulting “food grounds” into a prepaid box and schedules a pick-up to have it posted back to Mill as part of a membership-based service.
The process presents an alternative to sending food to landfill and composting, which can require specific conditions or combinations of waste to work effectively.
The company is currently working through the scientific and regulatory processes to turn the grounds into a commercial chicken feed ingredient.
Mill’s goal is to keep leftovers in the food system and reuse them in the most valuable, resource-efficient way.
While the bin is in use, Mill promises that there should be no noticeable smell – even as the food scraps are heated.
The evaporating water and air from the bin are pushed through an odour management system that incorporates a charcoal filter before the air is expelled through an exhaust fan at the rear of the bin.
Mill was founded by Matt Rogers and Harry Tannenbaum at the start of the pandemic, when the duo found themselves “stuck at home staring at and smelling our own trash”, and becoming increasingly obsessed with waste, according to Tannenbaum.
“We looked at what makes up landfills,” he told Dezeen. “The single largest inhabitant is food and our kitchens at home are the number one source.”
“And what’s worse is that, when food ends up in a landfill, not only do we waste all the nutrients and resources that went into growing it and getting it to your plate, it releases methane,” he continued.
Rogers and Tannenbaum started by thinking about all the ways that the experience of dealing with home food waste could be improved – “no smell, no flies, less trips taking out the trash” – and tried to deliver all these solutions in one package.
“Some of these things are built into the hardware, where the bucket is transformed into a bottomless pit,” Tannenbaum said. “80 per cent of food is water, so it shrinks down significantly when dehydrated so you have to take out the trash less.”
“Some are more subtle, like the impact tracking so you can see how much you’re wasting and become a better buyer and start saving money at the grocery store,” he continued.
The duo designed the bin in-house, aiming for a minimalistic look and a “friendly and approachable” pill shape, with the LED display interface hidden underneath a wood veneer lid so as not to command attention.
Mill has recently launched and is currently only available in the US.
Other innovations in waste disposal in recent years include the Townew bin that automatically seals and changes bin bags and the prototype Taihi bin, which composts waste using a Japanese fermentation method.
Japanese “calm technology” company Mui Lab has unveiled the consumer-ready version of its Mui Board – a minimalist control hub for the smart home that looks like an unassuming block of wood.
Designed for wall mounting, the Mui Board is a plank of timber that lights up from within using a subtle white LED dot matrix display.
This can be used like a touch screen to control lighting, curtains, thermostats, speakers and other elements of the home.
Mui Lab‘s aim with the design is to prevent distraction and information overload by reducing the presence of screens and providing a more discreet way to interface with the Internet of Things.
“Mui Lab’s unchanging focus is on the permanent value of family connection,” the company’s CEO Kaz Oki told Dezeen. “To this end, we have been developing ‘calm technology’ to enable people to focus on their important time without losing their attention at home.”
Building on previous iterations of the design, the company unveiled the second-generation Mui Board at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) last week, incorporating the new Matter networking protocol.
This allows for easy integration with other connected devices by the likes of Apple, Google and Amazon.
At the Las Vegas trade show, the gadget was displayed as part of a “calm bedroom” showing off the company’s vision for a more restful, family-orientated smart home experience.
The act of closing the curtains in the room by hand prompted other events – a light would come on and a timer for the light would appear on the Mui Board.
Mui Lab offers a number of ways to set this light timer, including a playful option where the user draws a line with their finger – as squiggly as they wish.
The longer the line, the longer the light takes to start dimming, with the display showing the line gradually receding as time goes by. Mui Lab envisions this as a period for reading a book to a child or engaging in calm activities as part of a healthy wind-down ritual before going to bed.
As well as setting timers and controlling connected devices, the Mui Board includes additional functionality such as displaying poetry, showing messages left between family members and enabling users to collect “stamps” as a reward for actions performed towards a set goal.
Users can control devices and leave messages through voice commands, by handwriting directly on the wooden surface or by using the companion app.
In sleep mode, the lights go out and the Mui Board reverts to looking like an ordinary plank of wood.
Integrating the Matter protocol has allowed the company to scale up its ambitions for the product, according to Oki, with the aim of launching in the EU and US later this year.
“Matter’s connectivity will help spread Mui’s idea of a calm and peaceful experience to the rest of the world by adding it to existing devices,” he continued. “This is one of the factors that will ensure our entry into the mass market.”
The Mui Board is set to be rolled out in the EU and US this year
Other examples of calm technology include the Light Phone, which intentionally lacks features in the hopes of encouraging users to disconnect from the internet.
Design studio Layer has collaborated with tech brand Ledger and designer Tony Fadell to produce Ledger Stax, a screen-wrapped, credit card-sized device for storing cryptocurrency and NFTs.
Ledger Stax is a hardware wallet — a device that stores the digital keys needed to encrypt and decrypt crypto assets offline, where they’re considered to be most secure. Users can also view and send their cryptocurrency and non-fungible tokens (NFTs) through the device.
Layer developed the product with French company Ledger, which has previously designed the Nano hardware wallets. The initial idea came from Fadell, who led iPod development at Apple and co-founded Nest Labs, now Google Nest.
Ledger Stax is built on the same architecture as the Nano series, but has a unique form that Layer says elevates the experience of interacting with cryptocurrencies and NFTs.
Its distinctive feature is an e-ink screen that wraps around the front surface and spine of the device, allowing for intuitive touch interaction and, given the technology’s energy efficiency, a battery life of weeks or months.
Layer founder Benjamin Hubert considers the e-ink screen an “underused” technology that fits perfectly with the heavily text-based needs of Ledger Stax and allows it to have a different type of design language, free of the expectations set by phones.
Photos or NFTs can be displayed in greyscale on the lock screen, helping to personalise the device, which is around the same size as a credit card but a little thicker, with a six-millimetre-wide spine.
The design also invites the stacking of multiple devices in the manner of physical currency or conventional ledgers. Adjacent devices will magnetically hold together, giving users the ability to organise their portfolios across separate devices while clearly identifying them from the labelling on the spine.
As well as allowing users to manage their crypto assets, Ledger Stax can be used to explore Web3 apps through the Ledger Live app, which also connects the device to a smartphone.
The device has an aluminium casing that Layer says gives it a reassuring weight in the hand and emphasises its secure nature. Its soft edges allow for easy grip.
In addition to the touchscreen, it has a single button providing the functionality to power the device on and off, and lock and unlock the screen.
Layer has been working on Ledger Stax for two years. Hubert believes that although the value of cryptocurrencies has plummeted in recent months, it has never been a better time to launch the product, as it provides people with an alternative to using centralised exchanges for storage.
“Crypto market ebb and flow aside, the need for people to understand how to and why they should take their assets into their own hands has grown in the wake of recent news,” Hubert told Dezeen. “A popular expression in the world of crypto is ‘not your keys, not your coins’, which refers to needing to own the private keys associated with your funds.”
“It has never been more appropriate with the struggles a number of centralised exchanges have been dealing with — most notably, the collapse of FTX — and the tragic fallout for the average person,” he continued.
“Ledger’s secure architecture will continue to lead the way in that regard, and Ledger Stax could not come at a better time.”
According to Hubert, its e-ink screen also makes Ledger Stax more sustainable than many other consumer devices as this technology draws less power and only when it refreshes, rather than constantly as O-LED screens tend to.
“As crypto continues to mature, there will likely be more of this – and there are already many other players in the space that offer sustainability as part of their ethos,” said Hubert.
The designer, who has what he describes as a “moderate investment” in the cryptocurrency Ethereum, says the project suited Layer’s interest in working with technologies that enable and complement cultural shifts.
“Like any market, Ethereum has its ups and downs but I think it has a promising future,” said Hubert. “It’s exciting to be part of an emerging financial market, and working with Ledger has only cemented my belief in the potential of crypto.”
To elevate the gadget’s design and ensure a long lifespan, Aarke tried to emulate the same sense of heritage associated with traditional espresso machines as well as their use of solid materials.
The resulting object is compact, with a head that resembles the portafilter of a coffee machine attached to a single stainless steel column.
It has a CNC-machined stainless steel nozzle that the brand says is engineered to allow for a “smooth and precise” release of CO2.
The product was designed “from the inside out”, according to Aarke, so that form follows function and every part serves a purpose. Even the nameplate serves a dual role, securing the tubing that allows excess water to travel safely through the inner chamber down to the drip tray.
Other details are aimed at improving safety and efficiency such as the rotational damper on the lever, which allows for a more controlled release of pressure within the bottle and a higher filling line.
The Carbonator 3 is cordless, needing only standard CO2 gas canisters and no electricity to function. These cylinders carbonate up to 60 litres of water each and can be refilled at speciality stores.
One of the biggest challenges in designing the product was creating its stainless steel enclosure, according to Aarke founders Carl Ljung and Jonas Groth.
“The three-dimensional stainless parts are extremely hard to produce on a bigger scale without compromising quality and precision,” said Ljung. “The shapes of the Carbonator are pushing metal craftsmanship to its limits.”
To help ensure a long lifespan, Aarke’s engineers built a dedicated device to tests the product’s functioning across more than 10,000 carbonation cycles. This allowed them to identify and adapt parts that were potentially sensitive to repeated use.
Currently, only some of the gadget’s parts are replaceable but the brand is aiming towards making the product more repairable.
Ljung and Groth, both industrial designers, founded Aarke in 2013 and launched the first Carbonator four years later.
Their most well-known competitor is SodaStream, a company that was founded in England in 1903 and is now owned by PepsiCo and headquartered in Israel.
Open Funk’s aim was to create a new approach to designing kitchen appliances by stripping back unnecessary components, open-sourcing the design and allowing people to utilise everyday items they already have in their cupboards.
Re:Mix is constructed from recycled and recyclable materials, with speckled panels of reclaimed waste plastic used to wrap the cuboid base, which holds the motor of the food processor.
Much like a Nutribullet, the gadget has a separate blade head designed to be screwed onto the jar containing the food. This is then slotted on top of the motor and controlled via an aluminium knob mounted on the front.
To extend its lifespan, the product was designed to be easily repaired and upgraded – either in Open Funk‘s Berlin workshop or at home with the help of open-source design plans.
The company also developed a closed-loop business model for the blender, which will involve buying back and refurbishing used Re:Mix models.
“The world’s obsession with competition, globalisation and patents got us to the point where the way we make things is causing tremendous harm to our environment,” said Open Funk. “We believe Re:Mix is proof that another way is possible.”
The base of the food processor has a modular design and is held together without adhesives, allowing it to be disassembled with common tools. Its puzzle-like joints have a simplified design that is sturdy and durable, according to Open Funk.
The speckled panels surrounding the base of the food processor are made in France by melting and pressing waste plastics, before the resulting slabs are CNC milled in Berlin.
Open Funk says it chose to make Re:Mix compatible with 82-millimetre jars as these are widely available across Europe, as well as being large enough to accommodate the blades and to fit most people’s hands for rinsing.
A QR code on the back of the blender’s base leads to a repair guide, video tutorials and a product passport that helps users to repair and upgrade the product themselves.
Open Funk only ships to the European Union, which the company says was an intentional decision to guarantee repairability, lower the ecological footprint from shipping and bypass the work of having to engineer the product for international standards.
Instead, the company hopes to inspire designers around the world to adapt its product for their own markets.
“We hope to see other hackers, makers and entrepreneurs take the open-source blueprints of Re:Mix and build their own local versions in their own regions,” Open Funk co-founder Paul Anca told Dezeen.
“Not only would this create a platform for decentralised production with low emissions but the end products will be reflections of local customs, taste and materials,” he continued.
“That’s a much more creative expression than the current one-size-fits-all approach we see in the industry.”
American technology company Bug Labs has developed a system where consumers combine modular electronic devices to build their own ideal gadget (via Protein OS).
Called BUG, the system consists of a BUGbase with four connectors so that different elements can simply be snapped onto the sides. It was unveiled at the International CES consumer electronics show in Las Vegas earlier this month.
Four modules will be available to start with: GPS, digital camera and videocam, touch-sensitive colour LCD screen, and accelerometer and motion sensor.
Other modules will be added later this year, including a teleporter apparently.
Below is some information from Bug Labs:
BUG is a collection of easy-to-use electronic modules that snap together to build any gadget you can imagine. Each BUGmodule represents a specific gadget function (eg: a camera, a keyboard, a video output, etc). You decide which functions to include and BUG takes care of the rest letting you try out different combinations quickly and easily. With BUG and the integrated programming environment/web community (BUGnet), anyone can build, program and share innovative devices and applications. We don’t define the final products – you do.
BUG helps you explore the realm of personalized devices and applications, and find ways to solve many of the problems current gadgets can’t. For example, with BUG, you can easily assemble and program a GPS + digital camera device that automatically publishes geo-tagged photos as a web service. Integrating with an online photo-sharing service like Flickr is only a few more lines of code away, and now you have your own real-time, connected traffic-enabled mobile Webcam!
(Above: Accelerometer/motion sensor module)
The platform is designed to enable a collaborative development environment. BUGnet, our online community, is tied in directly to the BUG SDK, which allows developers to connect with others, share information, and jointly build products or services.
(Above: GPS module)
BUGbase is the foundation of your BUG device. It’s a fully programmable and “hackable” Linux computer, equipped with a fast CPU, 128MB RAM, built-in WiFi, rechargeable battery, USB, Ethernet, and a small LCD with button controls. It also has a tripod mount because, well, why not? Each BUGbase houses four connectors for users to combine any assortment of BUGmodules to create their ultimate gadget.
* ARM1136JF-S-based microprocessor * 1 USB 2.0 HS host interface/4 hub port connections * 1 USB OTG HS interface * 4 UART serial links * 4 channel SPI interface * I2C (400 kbits) interface/4 channels * I2S interface/2 channels * Smart LCD interface * Camera sensor interface * Micro memory card interface * MPEG4 hardware encoding/decoding * Hardware graphic acceleration * 10/100 Ethernet MAC * 802.11b/g * Base unit LCD module interface * Base unit onboard memory (FLASH/DDR SDRAM) * JTAG/ICE support * Serial debug port * Power system * AC operation * Battery operation/up to 4 external batteries * Fast battery charging/simultaneous of internal and external batteries * Smart power management support * Battery-backed real-time clock * Audio out via onboard piezo speaker
(Above: Touch-sensitive, LCD screen)
BUGmodules are the functional components used to add capabilities to your BUG device. Each module connects to the BUGbase, and installing and swapping modules is literally a snap. Each additional module exponentially increases the overall function of your BUG, and every combination unlocks virtually unlimited new potential devices.
Available Q1, 2008: GPS, Digital Camera / Videocam, Touch-sensitive, Colour LCD Screen, Accelerometer, Motion Sensor
BUG is built entirely with open source software. BMI, the BUG Module Interface, attaches devices to the BUG. Device-based services and applications are dynamically available based on which modules are connected to the BUG. Higher up the stack is Java, which hosts a service-oriented component runtime called OSGi. Java and OSGi make creating new BUG applications simple and intuitive, as BUG applications are essentially one or more bundles. In addition, each BUGmodule launches an OSGi bundle which in turn creates services for other components to consume. BUG applications are created using the BUG SDK (internally named Dragonfly), and are shared with other developers and users through BUGnet, our online community.
About Bug Labs:
Bug Labs is a new kind of technology company, enabling a new generation of engineers to tap their creativity and build any type of device they want, without having to solder, learn solid state electronics, or go to China. Bug Labs envisions a future where CE stands for Community Electronics, the term “mashups” applies equally to hardware as it does to Web services, and entrepreneurs can appeal to numerous markets by inventing “The Long Tail” of devices.
Bug Labs didn’t just start with a dream or a vision. As kids, we were more likely to take apart new toys than actually play with them, just to see what was inside. As teenagers, personal computers were still new and as much a challenge to tinker with as they were to operate.
With BUG, we want people to recapture and share this excitement again, and we want them to apply this to their everyday device. We believe everybody is an inventor at heart, so we’ve developed a platform for users to create and forever modify their favourite gadget, allowing for ultimate customization and use.
Jawbone and fuseproject continue their partnership with the launch of Jawbone Prime and Earcandy today. Jawbone PRIME brings consumers even better audio quality, improved comfort and fresh, fun color choices.
EARCANDY is a summer color burst, to bring self-expression and a smile to our line-up. The 4 colors represent great skin-tone complements and contrast, as well as personal style one cannot resist, this reinforces the basic notion that anything that the consumer wears makes a statement, and it should be designed as such…this is what we call EARCANDY.
This release continues Aliph’s tradition of marrying technology and design to deliver the best Bluetooth headset on the market. Jawbone PRIME and its EARCANDY colors are available today for pre-order at www.jawbone.com and will be sold in retail stores nationally starting May 1, 2009.
The appliances can be stored in a pull-out cabinet on one side of the unit.
Above and below: the hand blender
The kitchen unit is part of a diploma project by Thetard to create products that do away with the need for electricity and it will be shown at Ambiente Talents, Frankfurt in February 2011 and Salone Satellite, Milan in April next year.
See more kitchen equipment in our special Food and Design report. Here’s some more information about this project:
R2B2- kitchen appliances with alternative driving concept by Christoph Thetard
R2B2 is a set of kitchen machines that gets powered by rotating a flywheel with muscular strength. The stored energy can be used by connecting different machines on special plugs. There is a kitchen machine, a hand blender and a coffee mill. Electricity is not necessary anymore. That means no electrical waste, a load less use of resources, independency of the electrical power grid and almost no noise while in use.
Above: the kitchen machine (food processor)
The hand blender The hand blender can be used for different works by attaching different tops. A flexible shaft leads the rotation noiseless to the handheld and powers a blender, an egg or a cappuccino creamer. The transmission makes a speed up to 10.000 rpm possible. The hand blender can be stored on a holder on the bottom end of the shaft for daily use. It can be used for different works by attaching different tops.
The coffee grinder The coffee grinder is storage and mill at once. The bean container and the powder container are made out of glass. There is room for 300g of beans. The main part of the mill with the grinder is made out of porcelain and closes the whole coffee grinder aroma-tight. It is possible to grind beans for 10 cups of coffee at once. The big opening of the glasses guarantees easy excess to clean.
The kitchen machine The kitchen machine is laid out for four people. For the multifunctional use there are blades, a whip and different adapters for cutting slices. To clean the machine, you can easily reassemble the axle from the bowl. One criterion to choose the attachments was the aim to provide the possibility to do as many different jobs with as less as possible parts.
All appliances can be placed in the container. The main part of the transportation and selling packaging can be used to hold the attachments in place. All attachments will be sold separately. That means that you can buy just the parts you need.
During his final project, Christoph Thetard concentrated on sustainability. Regenerative energy seems to be the solution for the problems of energy supply. That puts people into the temptation to use electrical devices in all kinds of products. But it creates another problem that already exists today: The production of electrical waste and the loss of resources. So the target of this project wasn’t to make electrical appliances more sustainable, but to avoid electricity completely.
R2B2 combines three kitchen appliances and a central driving unit. A kitchen machine, a coffee grinder and a hand blender were chosen after extensive studies to stand representatively for a lot of appliances which are essentials for comfortable cooking.
The heart of the driving unit is a flying wheel, which gets powered manually by a pedal. It works as an energy storage and powers the appliances mechanically and directly. Because of splitting the machines in functional attachment and power unit, it is possible to store much more energy than with usual manually powered appliances.
Early during his studies at the Bauhaus-University Weimar, Christoph had a passion about sustainability. His main focus lies on the conception of a solution that gets to the core of the problem. It sometimes happens, that he combines very old techniques and principles with high-tech material and production- processes to find a solution for a problem. A lot of these techniques are forgotten, but with the new material, they can build a surprisingly good alternative to the standard solutions of today.
That is what Christoph Thetard also did with R2B2: This simple, robust, independent and long-lasting technique turns it into a purchase that will last a lifetime. That reduces the production of waste and the use of natural resources to a minimum. The fact that R2B2 operates nearly inaudibly earns it a lot of acceptance.
Christoph made the flywheel and the whole technique visible to make it understandable for everybody. Using the pedal, it is possible to speed up the flywheel to 400 rpm. The so stored energy is enough to work one minute with 350W. With a switch at the front, you can choose between a slow, a fast or a neutral gear. R2B2 will be shown on Ambiente Talents 2011 and SaloneSatellite 2011 with StudioMontag.