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Resource Fix: Technology that adapts to avoid unintended consequences

High beam headlights are crucial when driving at night. Unfortunately, while they improve visibility and safety for the driver, they can also create a safety hazard by blinding or distracting oncoming drivers.

Volvo's new headlight technology, Active High-Beam Control, supplies shade for oncoming cars when high beams are deployed, so that the road remains brightly lit without effecting oncoming traffic. The technology, which is similar to adaptive headlights from Lexxus and Audi, is part of Volvo’s long-term goal to ensure that no one is killed or injured in a new Volvo.

Often the solution to one problem creates unintended consequences. Adaptive headlights solve an unintended consequence of using high beams without compromising the effectiveness of the original technology and without creating a new, add-on solution that uses more resources. How can other companies use this type of thinking to make an existing solution adaptive rather than tacking on a new solution?

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Resource Fix: Home cooking with new tools

New, more efficient models of familiar products emerge every day. How many of these products are due for a complete overhaul? Buse Üstün, a designer from Turkey, has developed a new solution for home cooking. Üstün’s design is a modular stove that doubles as its own storage. It can grill, griddle, and cook with induction, all while taking up minimal space on a countertop and without requiring specialized installation. Üstün has targeted her design at people living in small spaces, in one or two-person households, where kitchen “real estate” is a prime concern. How can other familiar products be altered to still provide the functionality we need, but with far less resources?

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Resource Fix: Toast without a toaster

Last year when we released the video "Value Matters: Innovation Has Direction" a writer at Core 77 introduced it with this design school mantra: "People don't want toasters. What they want is toast." In other words, people want the benefit of toasters (toast). Yet how we make toast hasn’t changed much for nearly a century. Is there a better way?

At least two designers think so. Kim Been created the porcelain portable toaster. It’s a small, handheld device that you glide over bread like a knife. Burcu Bag, Amalia Monica, and Vinay Raj Somashekar designed the flexible Halo Toaster, which rolls up between uses. Both designs take up less space than today’s standard toasters, reflecting the trend toward smaller, urban living spaces. Neither looks like what we’ve come to expect a toaster to look like. What other products could be reimagined to deliver the same benefit in a different way?

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