Rotary phone

Psst, call centers are monitoring your emotions now

Like most arts graduates in their twenties, I have two voices: the one I use for day-to-day interactions and the one I’ve cultivated working in service positions. The former is more sarcastic and the voice I’m likelier to employ without thinking, but the latter is genuine. When I say “have a nice day” in my service voice, I don’t not mean it, I’m just putting in more of an effort. There’s a more traditional word for this effort: labor. But what kind of labor is it? The service voice is definitely a part of menial work, but even feigning interest…


Red alert: there are now robotic cheetahs

After seeing the “design features” that enable the cheetah to run so fast, I wanted to circle back to Boston Dynamics’ robo-cheetah, which we looked at a few years ago. Their creation isn’t faster than a Ferrari, but with a top speed of 28 miles per hour, it’s faster than Usain Bolt. The concept rendering is a good deal more optimistic-looking than the actually built version, which is headless, tailless and needs to be connected to an external power supply: However, more recently another Boston-based team has been working on a cheetah-bot of their own, and this one runs under its own…


The future of furniture design are motion-controlled, shapeshifting chairs

The promise of MIT’s Transform project, currently showing at Milan’s Design Week, is that your living room suite of the future will be a lot different. Furniture will be able to transform itself to accommodate you, or your girlfriend, or your kid. This rigid wooden swivel stood that I’m currently sitting on, for instance, could instantly rearrange itself at the snap of my fingers into a relaxing recliner.  This ergonomic dream is based on the inFORM project that has the lofty aim of bringing digital tech into the physical world. We reported on it a while ago. And though right…