16th January 2017
30 years ago after the flotation of Habitat Terence Conran used some of his newly acquired resources to found the Design Museum, an institution that has tirelessly demonstrated how outstanding design can enhance the experience & quality of life [and a much more spiritually rewarding use of wealth than a super yacht]. Last November the New Design Museum opened its doors in the superbly refurbished Commonwealth Institute in Kensington repurposing the building to become a museum of the future rather than a vestige of the past.
This week sees the opening of an exhibition at the New Design Museum called the New Old [https://designmuseum.org/things-to-do/talks-and-events/pop-up-exhibitions/new-old] it demonstrates how designers are interpreting new ‘near horizon’ technologies to enhance the experience of later life and empower older people to look after themselves, some using autonomous systems and robotics. However there is not a single humanoid robot to be seen, this is for two key reasons:
The first being that although artificial intelligence may be able to beat a human being at board games like Chess and Go, no one has yet developed a functioning human shaped robot capable of autonomously making you a cup of tea in your kitchen, let alone the laboratory. We have had Teasmaids for years but these like dishwashers are inflexible and programmed for a single task. An autonomous robotic arm & hand suitable for domestic use have yet to be developed and this is not a trivial challenge; legs for instance use almost 30 times more energy than wheels, that’s why we don’t use them on cars. At present any attempt at developing humanoids using current technologies is doomed to disappoint.
The second reason is more emotional in that people just feel a bit creepy when confronted by humanoids, we call this ‘uncanny valley’ – people feel threatened by such things. However, we have developed a pet like device, ‘MiRo’, which looks like a cartoon hybrid of a puppy and a bunny, and people feel emotionally engaged, calling it cute and start asking when they can get one. On the face of it MiRo’s principal task, like a pet, is to help people feel happy and reduce loneliness, however, like Radio 4 or Amazon’s Alexa, MiRo can similarly inform. It can also monitor your wellness and remind one to take medicines and recognise people if you are suffering cognitive decline.
The objective is not to replace human on human care, but fill in the gaps when older people might be alone between visits, and give carers an insight into people’s routines too. With a rapidly ageing population and a fast changing society it is probably going to be difficult to find enough compassionate people to do these sensitive jobs.
In the future it will be the responsibility of designers, entrepreneurs and manufacturers to interpret emerging science, technology and engineering to transform it into emotionally engaging products such as the iPhone, which is celebrating its tenth birthday this month, that will enhance the user’s experience, consumer lifestyle and consequentially our social culture.
30th December 2015
The Lovair Ribbon range has been awarded a prize by The Chicago Athenaeum: Museum of Architecture and Design and The European Centre for Architecture Art Design and Urban Studies.
04th December 2015
Very excited to have two of our projects featured in the Guardian's article about homes of the future.
Great to be included alongside some of the most interesting projects in "smart home" tech.
12th June 2015
We are delighted to be launching the Lovair Ribbon Collection at Neocon in Chicago (Booth 8-3077) from the 15-17 June 2015.
We are thrilled to have been awarded Best of NeoCon Gold award 2015 for the Ribbon Collection
Ribbon is a range of three distinct but complementary desk mounted products; a sensor tap, sensor soap dispenser and a hand dryer dryer. The collection principally declutters washrooms by hiding the hand dryer motor and automatic refill soap system out of sight.
05th March 2015
The SCA Designed Pashley Café, at premium cycle retailer Velorution, is now open.
The Trike was designed & made by SCA for high-end urban cycle retailer Velorution to set off their flagship store in London serving Black Sheep espresso.
The fully-functioning trike is equipped to deliver top-quality espresso coffee to the discerning customers that the retailer looks to attract; featuring an integrated fridge, till, water tank, pump and disposal unit, as well as a weather-resistant canopy. The Barista trike will match efficiency levels of a permanently installed cafe.
The project was co-sponsored by Lezyne and Pashley Cycles. During a phase of expansion, the retail brand looks to utilise the Trike to drive brand awareness (and sell coffee) at key trade shows and cycle events.
09th January 2015
See the video of the SCA team assembling our UE stand at the Spring Home Show 2015:
02nd December 2014
UE will have stands again this year at London's Home show, Ambiente, and the Chicago International Home & Housewares show. Pop in and say hello if you see us there!
Home show runs from the 11th - 13th January at London Olympia - Stand number G9
Ambiente runs from 13th - 17th February at the Frankfurt Messe - Hall 1.2 Stand J51
Chicago International home and housewares show runs from 7th - 10th March
17th November 2014
Eaglemoss Collections, the UK’s leading publisher of partworks and collections, is making 3D printing and design more accessible, with the launch of the first ever 3D printer, designed by SCA.
The printer will be available via a weekly partworks subscription as well as fully assembled via selected retailers. 3D Create & Print will give consumers the ability to safely print jewellery, games, figurines, mobile phone cases and many other amazing objects, limited only by their imaginations.
It is bound to be the hottest Christmas gift on the market!
12th November 2014
“When giving a present it's important to show thought and empathy to the person that you are giving it to. It reflects what you think of them and how much you value your friendship. Intense effort and thought goes into every detail of our designs; we hope that this will provide pleasure and satisfaction for years to come.” Sebastian Conran
Thought That Counts is our holiday campaign, encouraging our community to celebrate thoughtful presents! This holiday season, treat your loved ones to Universal Expert products – useful, thoughtful gifts that will last a lifetime.
Do you know a friend or a family member who’d love a Universal Expert gift? Head to our Facebook page for our weekly prize draw and follow the #ThoughtThatCounts hashtag on Twitter for daily discussions about the holiday season and the art of giving.
20th October 2014
SCA, in collaboration with researchers at Sheffield University, have designed the first high speed sintered cycle helmet which is custom made for the user. The helmet takes 3D printing into a new realm by allowing users to have their heads scanned, and the product printed to the exact right size and shape, with programmed crumple zones as well as built in ventilation.
Check it out at Factum
15th October 2014
On October 14th 2014 Sebastian joined a panel of UK's top robotics specialists at the RE.WORK Future of Robotics Forum in London, to discuss the Future of Robotics. The wide range of topics included public opinion of robotics, trends in entertainment robotics, bio-inspired flying robots, Robotics in the home, Commercialisation of Robotics and many more.
Sebastian's presented some of SCA's current projects, such as MiRo and "Intellitable" the intelligent tilting table, as well as findings from his recent Robotics mission to California. He added and important user-centric perspective to the discussions, touching on things like how can robots help people in the home and what should they look like to be effective and accepted.
Many of the talks are available here:
26th September 2014
We are thrilled to announce that Miro the biomimetic robot is launching! Miro is the product of a very special collaboration between Eaglemoss and an amazing team of specialists, including Sebastian and the SCA team.
This loveable robot is one of the first true biomimetic robots - robots that imitate life - to emerge from a lab and into the home. Its advanced brain allows it to learn from its surroundings and develop a unique personality - no two MIROs will develop in the same way! We think it's pretty incredible (and adorable!).
Check it out at Miro Robot
04th September 2014
We believe just because something looks good, it doesn't mean it can't work well. And vice versa. We created the design movement Beautility to share this belief with the world.
Beautility perfectly sums up our design ethos: playful pragmatism, with form and function working alongside each other to create meaningful pieces that make your life easier, and better.
15th June 2014
As one of the UK's leading experts in Robotics, Sebastian has been selected for special UK robotics mission to California. He will be representing the British robotics sector, and no doubt bringing home lots of fascinating insight into the innovations taking place in the US.
24th May 2012
As Designers-in-Residence at Sheffield University, SCA has been commissioned to design a number of logos for affiliates of the University.
The Centre for Advanced Additive Manufacturing (AdAM) conducts world leading research in the fast emerging field of Additive Manufacturing (aka 3D Printing).