Feel Good Introduction
- How will our brains change when a sixth "finger" is attached?
- Tilt mirrors, raised chairs, this collection just got better
- Finally, electric toothbrushes can also be repaired
- Lie down on this wall and cool down
- Cariuma: Combining local knowledge, making tree planting more "depth"
The use of external mechanical skeletons to assist with physical tasks is not new, but few seem to think about how our brains deal with these changes.
Technology is advancing, but no one is discussing whether our brains can adapt.
The University College London team conducted an experiment on this.
The research team fitted 20 people with a prosthetic "Third Thumb". This "sixth finger" is controlled by attaching sensors to the big toes on both sides. Stepping on the sensors on one side makes the fingers move in one direction, and the other side makes it move in the other side.
During the five-day test period, participants used the Third Thumb for 2-6 hours. They quickly get used to the new "finger" and consider it just like a part of their own body.
Before the test, the participants had an MRI scan of their brain. Normally, with each finger movement, distinct areas of the brain become active.
After the test, there were some changes in the participants' brain responses – the participants used the Third Thumb hand, and when each finger moved, the corresponding active areas of the brain began to converge.
This means that the brain becomes less precise when it "sees" other fingers in order to adapt to Third Thumb.
However, the change disappeared a week after users completed the test.
Evolution did not prepare us for the extra body parts.
We found that when we want to extend our physical capabilities in new or unexpected ways, the brain needs to adapt to our body's performance.
Of course, the experiment was small and short-lived, but it also opened a new door.
Pottery Barn, an American high-end home furnishing chain brand, announced the launch of "Accessible Home", a series of accessible furniture including 150 products, to better serve the disabled, injured and elderly groups.
The inspirational stories of this series are not very "conventional".
Pottery Barn president Marta Benson was once in the store's bathroom and suddenly noticed that there wasn't one of the company's own products there. It was later learned that this was because the company's products did not meet the requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act and therefore could not be used in public restrooms.
That's how she started pushing the company to create this accessible collection.
The collection is primarily a revamp of some of Pottery Barn's most popular products.
There are some nice changes.
For example, after the team changed it to adjust the inclination of the mirror, it can be more convenient for wheelchair users; the classic desk has also launched a version that adapts to the height of the wheelchair, with an open storage component, reducing the part of the drawer that needs to be grasped or pulled.
There are also products that need a bigger makeover.
The classic armchairs under the brand have joined the power module, which can move and tilt in all directions, which can reduce the pressure on the body.
Of course, the premise of all renovations is to retain Pottery Barn's original style and aesthetics.
Pottery Barn found in previous research that many accessible furniture is more functional, so it looks especially like medical supplies: "We don't want customers to feel like they are in a hospital."
Industry insiders said that although not everyone can afford Pottery Barn's products, the entry of such a large-scale chain brand into this field will also attract more other brands to follow, which is good news for the overall accessibility community.
While brush heads can be changed regularly, a dead battery in an electric toothbrush usually means throwing it out.
It is conceivable that because there is no mature recycling service path, most of the waste electric toothbrush handles will go to landfills, and the lithium batteries in them will also pollute the soil and groundwater.
Recently, a company has finally started to make electric toothbrushes that can be repaired.
London-based startup SURI's electric toothbrush has a modular design that users in the UK and US can send back to the company to replace the battery when it runs out of life.
At the same time, the design of the toothbrush also removes many functions that users have reported useless, such as Bluetooth connection and charging light, extending the use time to one month on a single charge.
In the future, SURI also plans to equip the toothbrush with an autonomous battery replacement manual, so that users can replace the battery themselves.
The brush head of the toothbrush is also made of plant-based plastic, which can also be sent back to the company for recycling or degraded in an industrial composting environment.
In addition, other parts in the toothbrush are also built according to the "repairable" thinking, and they can be repaired if they are broken.
Although these are the "right things", SURI still encountered many challenges when it landed, and most factories couldn't understand their approach – "Why would you want to repair a toothbrush? You can sell it directly to customers. A new one."
Co-founder Gyve Safavi explained that a lot of sustainable thinking in large companies is "after the fact":
(Large companies) You design a product that meets certain requirements, and then you start thinking, now how can I make it more sustainable?
But we wanted to base our business on design, functionality and sustainability from the very beginning.
Like many parts of the world, the UK has recently experienced severe heat, and the Met Office has issued a red heat warning for the first time.
Hard soda brand White Claw decided to paint a "cool" street mural to cool down the passing citizens.
This wall painted with ocean waves not only looks cool, but also feels cool – a cooling blanket is installed under the painting, and pedestrians feel cool when touched.
White Claw suggested that citizens can give the wall a "hug" to cool down their bodies.
David Python and Fernando Porto, who share the same passion for skateboarding culture, co-founded Cariuma, a brand focused on creating stylish and comfortable skate shoes.
We grew up in Brazil and watched how the shoe business destroyed our rainforest. As a descendant of Aboriginal people, I know this is destroying our Aboriginal community.
Python said. Because of this, the restoration of the rainforest has become one of the core cultures of Cariuma.
In the beginning, Cariuma, like many startups focusing on social corporate responsibility, donated money to partners to plant two trees for every pair of shoes sold.
After working together for a period of time, the company learned from its partners that this model has many challenges for the operation of the organization.
Donating money every time a product is sold makes partners passive and unable to make longer-term plans. Therefore, Cariuma now starts to use half a year as a unit to estimate how many products the company can sell during this period to donate to partners in one go.
In addition, Cariuma has hired a chief scientific officer, Carol Muzzi, to work closely with partners. Muzzi visits our partners in Brazil every week to learn about their jobs and needs, and to make sure all employees in the company are aware of this.
(These visits) are not to fix what they are doing, but to understand how we can effectively help.
For Cariuma's partner CEPAN, this is a rare find. Because the two trees corresponding to a pair of shoes are not just as simple as "planting two trees".
That means funding agencies to hire indigenous people to identify and collect hundreds of seeds of a particular plant, with only a 3 percent success rate in germinating into an adult tree.
Joaquim Freitas, Head of CEPAN, said:
It takes years, sometimes centuries, to cultivate the soil and see the trees grow back, and we need partners who understand it all.
There are also agencies that want to give us money and expect us to plant trees the next day. It's not that simple.
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