Weekly 'Pulse' Issue 25

Our weekly round-up of thought-starters, opportunities & ideas...


Fashion’s Footprint Just Got a Bit Lighter

A New York based shoe start-up is offering fashionistas the opportunity to expand their shoe collection while remaining environmentally friendly and socially responsible. 

The two founders of Alterre Shoes (both former students at the famed Parsons School of Design), have developed a modular technique that separates a shoe’s base from its straps, allowing users to mix and match combinations for various occasions - maintaining the flexibility of fast-fashion without the waste. The brand sources their leather from Brazil, where the shoes are also made to reduce the carbon footprint related to transporting materials.  

Read more here: goo.gl/wuNH1Q

How can we use modular designs to improve utilisation & longevity, encourage conscientious consumerism and reduce our environmental footprint?

Repurposing Mother Nature’s Blueprint

It seems that biology and computer science have found a new intersection with architecture and design. Haresh Lalvani, co-founder at the Pratt Institute Center for Experimental Structures, has drawn on the principles of biomimicry and generative geometry to design shelters that shape and structure themselves. The structures are created from a single sheet of metal using computer based laser cutters. The lightweight design takes minutes to bend into shape and does not require any tools for assembly - two attributes that have the potential to address emergency housing needs in times of crisis or natural disasters.    

Read more here: https://goo.gl/sMkWDc

How can we combine interdisciplinary principles to derive innovative solutions and create new products that address our biggest challenges in a new light?

Paper Planes with a Purpose

A team of engineers at SF based robotic company Otherlabs are working to develop a drone constructed from biodegradable cardboard that can carry up to 1 kg of cargo. 


Designed to help humanitarian groups deliver emergency supplies in hard to reach locations, the project is currently in prototype mode. Engineers are combining “origami design” with laser cutting technology to produce cheap, lightweight drones that can be flatpacked during shipping then assembled where needed. The Apsara drone prototypes work using a GPS unit and wing flap motors to help them land within 50 feet of programmed coordinates. The next iteration will see them use ephemeral electronic communication to guide the drone without any electronic components, allowing the gliders to truly disappear without a trace.

Read more here: https://goo.gl/AJEQ8G

How can we harness emerging technologies to develop new and more nimble supply-chain models that scale without the constraints of costly infrastructure & finite hardware?