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25 October 2019

Author: The Future Laboratory

Image: Reebok autumn/winter 2019 Trail Collection


This week: Sensorial nutrition, Lidl's at-home micro market and the best bits from Dutch Design Week 2019.

Neo-fruit by Meydan Levy

1. The fruits of the future could be artificial

Jerusalem – NeoFruit is a speculative project that imagines how common fruits will adapt to our future lifestyle.

Designed by Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design graduate Meydan Levy, the project explores how an industrialised food sector has left us with food that is lacking in nutritional value and bereft of experience. With agricultural methods reaching growing demand by using chemical enhancers and genetic modification, there is an opportunity for future foods that re-invent the concept of supplements.

Levy has designed future fruits that target our modern lifestyles while providing a psychologically sensual dining experience. Artificially produced, the NeoFruits not only provide the varied nutritional qualities that contemporary food brands have neglected, but also a vital sensory experience that is missing from the supplement industry today.

The project takes a more speculative look at how food systems are changing to reach growing demand, in turn diversifying what we eat.

Hiber Nation by Philips

2. Philips Design envisages human hibernation

Eindhoven – Philips Design has used its appearance at Dutch Design Week to imagine what healthcare could look like in 2050.

Presented at the city’s Embassy of Health, Philips has teamed up with students from various universities to imagine scenarios for the future of healthcare. Its resulting research and design concepts were produced using a methodology that encompasses Philips’ different guiding philosophies, potential geological developments and possible future socio-economic paradigms, with the aim of getting visitors to think about emerging futures in healthcare.

The designers behind its Hiber Nation project propose a future in which humans sleep for three months straight to reduce our impact on the environment. In this yearly hibernation, the body temperature is kept low and the metabolism is slowed down, shifting people into what Philips terms a Therapeutical Thermia.

For more on how health-conscious consumers are adapting their lifestyle choices to be more measured, explore the Foresight section of Conscious Deceleration.

Lidl micromarket

3. Lidl customers can open an at-home micro market

Sweden – The supermarket’s latest campaign invites loyal customers to open a Lidl shop in their own home.

The campaign encourages Lidl shoppers to request their own Micomarket box, which contains items to help them set up their own dinner party using Lidl products. The box includes fresh food for a three-course dinner, Lidl-branded workwear and baseball caps, store signs and even a Spotify album featuring the store’s soundtrack.

Targeting loyal fans of the supermarket, known as ‘Lidlers', the campaign encourages shoppers to convert sceptical friends into Lidl customers. ‘Lidl Micromarket means that Lidlers, our best friends and brand ambassadors, will have the opportunity to promote our brand in a memorable, quirky and fun way,’ says Bella Goldman, head of marketing at Lidl Sweden.

In this way, Lidl is tapping into our Community Commerce macrotrend, which explores how decentralised retail concepts are transforming the act of shopping and turning customers into brand representatives.

4. Shape-shifting materials that can be customised

Eindhoven – New customisable materials offer a glimpse of a transformative future.

Despite the fact that engineers and designers have long carried out a broad range of research into shape-shifting materials, they are still far from reaching mainstream use. The designers of re:flex are aiming to speed up that process and have developed a shape memory composite that can change its form through heat. Manufactured more cheaply than any of its predecessors, re:flex can be implemented on a large scale and be easily transformed at low temperatures.

One of the key ideas behind re:flex is to allow materials and objects to be highly customisable to suit users’ needs. While still in development, the designers see it being implemented in transport, architecture, product design and healthcare. These kinds of smart materials offer the possibility of truly responsive products and interactive environments.

Read more about self-assembling materials in our Programmable Realities macrotrend. For more on how smart materials will configure and change shape when confronted with a change in environment, also read our Skylar Tibbits Viewpoint.

Still Life by Vera van der Burg, Design Academy Eindhoven at Dutch Design Week 2019

5. An algorithm that gives objects meaning

Eindhoven – The project explores how we can train machine-learning algorithms to become more emotional.

In her project Still Life, Vera van der Burg trains a speculative algorithm with a highly subjective set of rules to emulate a human understanding of objects. These algorithms ambiguously learn from patterns in large data sets and interpret a still life photograph through emotional values such as love, jealousy and seduction.

With AI becoming more pervasive in changing human behaviour, consumers are becoming more inquisitive about the ethics powering our data systems. In a similar vein to Trevor Paglen’s From ‘Apple’ to ‘Anomaly’ (Pictures and Labels) exhibition, Van der Burg explores how machine-learning systems are biased by the programmers behind them. In a statement about how self-learning algorithms are often a reflection of their subjective values, the object-recognition algorithm in Still Life is a reflection of Van der Burg and her tastes.

To learn more about algorithmic ethics and how to use design cues to harness machine-learning systems, read our Morality Recoded macrotrend.


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