A few months ago I was up at MIT's Media Lab, where I happened to wander by a lab where John Underkoffler, who developed the gestural interface that Steven Spielberg used in "The Minority Report," was playing with some new technology. He graciously let me fool around with it. I better stick to writing. But I thought of that experience when I recently saw ads for HP's Touchsmart PC, with its snazzy user interface.
So I was delighted when I learned that the designers behind the remarkable machine were none other than John Edson and his team at Lunar Design. Knowing John and the values he evangelizes every day as the company's president, I wasn't surprised that the product embodied Lunar's mantra of "creativity that makes a difference."
Last time that John was in the office, he showed me two particularly memorable projects. One was a small, discreet device for the treatment of sleep apnea. Called Provent Therapy, it was created for Ventus Medical, to be an alternative to the bulky equipment most sufferers had to endure. The other was a concept for a sort of next generation nursery, with automated rocking, bottle warming and programmable lighting. It was so clever it almost made me long for the days of having an infant again. Well, not quite.
This diverse portfolio of projects is standard fare at Lunar, where John, an engineer-designer who would look at home as the bassist in an indie rock band, rallies the troops to create award-winning designs that have included everything from the Zootr to the ULTRA II SD PLUS flash memory card and a green version of San Disk's ImageMate Reader.
Lately, John says, the company's focus has been on best practices in sustainability, both within the company and in the designs they create. The group recently published the "Designer's Field Guide to Sustainability," and John regularly speaks at industry conferences on the topic.
All that's just fine, but as John noted recently on Icon-o-cast, the company's blog, "As designers, we have a panoply of motivations. We want our clients to be happy, for their products to sell in the millions, for our peers to admire us, for our work to matter to people, to make a difference in the world. But now I realize all that is meaningless. What we really want is for our work to be featured in the music video at the top of the charts. Check it: Boom Boom Pow by the Black Eyed Peas uses the HP TouchSmart PC to frame their hypnotic vision of the future."
Now, all the Peas need is that Ross Lovegrove desk....
Here are some of Lunar's recent projects:
The HP Touchsmart computer
The Zootr Scooter
The Oral B Cross Action Toothbrush