That’s Interesting and Uplifting 26.06.2020

As we all try to adapt, cope, be safe and do our part to control and overcome the Covid-19 pandemic, it is important to find ways to stay motivated and positive. That is why, over the last few weeks, That’s Interesting has been focusing on initiatives and ideas that are uplifting and inspiring in these challenging times.

So, from musical homes to music zines for prisoners in lockdown, here are some things that made us say “That’s interesting, and uplifting!” in the studio this week.

Home is where the tech is.

How will tomorrow’s technologies redefine the way we live at home? That’s the question driving Everyday Experiments, a new series of projects launched by Ikea, its research lab (Space10) and a group of leading design and technology studios. There are currently 18 digital prototypes live on the website, ranging from fun to functional. For example, Spatial Instruments (pictured above) lets you create music using the layout or design of your room: moving the camera around to focus on shapes and objects triggers different sounds, allowing you to treat each one like a musical instrument. Lockdown has already redefined our relationship with the home – this is another exciting way of keeping this key space alive, playful and helping us view it a little differently everyday.⠀

Homes in harmony here

Heritage redefined.

One of the key achievements of the Black Lives Matter movement has been to push individuals and businesses to fully acknowledge and address the endemic, systemic racism that plagues our society. As a result, many brands have started to analyse and assess what their values, organisation and heritage really stand for. So it is that Quaker Oats has made the decision to retire the Aunt Jemima brand, whose origin and logo is based on a slave mammy who sang of her owner’s (unkept) promise to be set free. “As we work to make progress toward racial equality through several initiatives, we also must take a hard look at our portfolio of brands and ensure they reflect our values and meet our consumers’ expectations,” the Pepsi-owned company said in a statement to CNN Business. The company is neither the first nor the last to make a decision like this – it will be interesting (and hopefully uplifting) to see how these brands are finally evolved.

Brands for equality here

Locked up in lockdown.

Although – at surface level – the restrictions of lockdown might appear to make little difference to the life of a prisoner, they have actually had a significant detrimental effect. Since the start of quarantine, prisoners have been confined to their cells, visits from friends and family have been forbidden, and education and other activities have been suspended. In an effort to counter the resulting sense of frustration and isolation, graphic designer Hannah Lee and InHouse Records – the first record label to be launched in prison – have created Aux, a print magazine that uses music and design to combat recidivism. Focused on music and devised to increase literacy, develop new skills, and entertain inmates, the zine and the record label also look to create safe and enabling environments for individuals to better their technical and social skills.

Discover Aux here 

Virtual trainer.

Phones and tablets have joined weights and mats to become the new must-have for at-home workouts. This was the starting point for Otari Studio, the creators of a fitness matt with an integrated screen, a state-of-the-art AI camera and exercise tracker. With the Otari Yoga Mat, users can follow virtual training sessions (either live or on-demand) on the screen, while the camera tracks progress, counts reps, corrects poses and helps keep up with the pace of the class. When finished, users fold the entire set-up down to a flat package, for easy storage in the home.

Smarter fitness here

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