Thursday, May 2, 2013

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly - The industrial design future of snowboarding according to Behance is an internet place that arty folks congregate to show off their wares. Amongst the mass of creativity are some industrial designers having a crack at improving snowboarding. Some of the ideas they've come up with are really interesting, others...not so much...

The Good

120˚ Lock - A Purpose-built Snowboard Lock
Snowboard accessories are an area of snowboarding still waiting to be improved. The current batch of tools and locks on the market are just off-the-shelf products branded up by snowboarding companies. These lads decided to the opposite and design a lock specifically for snowboarding. Here's what they came up with.
The two significant improvements they introduced were a much easier combination dial to use with gloves on and a thicker cable.
Adding a slightly thicker wire might not sound like a revolutionary improvement but here's a short parable to explain why it's a great idea, because every snowboard blog should include a good parable once-in-a-while.
Two friends, Dick and Dave, were walking in the mountains when a huge frothing-mouthed grizzly bear suddenly charged towards them. The two men started running for their lives, but within moments Dave abruptly sat down, removed his heavy hiking boots and started to change into his running shoes. Dick called out as he ran past, "Hey, Dave. You're wasting your time. You'll never outrun that bear. Why are you putting those on?". Dave replied "Dick, I don't have to outrun the bear, I only have to outrun you."
To build a better board lock, you just need one that's slightly harder to cut than all the other ones.

Industrial Design tomfoolery.

Air Helmet - Designing a snowboard helmet from scratch
Snowboard helmets are another area crying out for a dose of creative thinking. As they've become more popular the designs have improved by baby-steps rather than revolution and as a result they follow the same basic rules. They're all essentially big round smooth plastic balls, with the only variation being whether you have a small peak at the front or not. These guys decided to start from scratch and try and design a helmet specifically for snowboarding and they went venting crazy.
I'm not totally convinced by the resulting design. This white one looks good while the other colours veer close to heinous territory, but the idea to start again and ignore the current design standardisation is a good one and something I'd like to see a little more of.
This particular design is ultimately doomed, because there's no room for the pros' massive Red Bull stickers.

Helmet with integrated removable headphones 
Wireless headphones that you can use remove from the helmet and use separately  Saves buying two sets of headphones.

SKÅDI - The Ski Resort Ambulance
After experiencing the joys of being carted down the mountain on a stretcher after a bad crash, Luke Woodard decided to build the perfect snow ambulance, and while he was at it he made sure it looked fucking awesome.

The only drawback I can see is that it will only encourage people to seriously injure themselves to get a ride.

Not content with just designing an snow ambulance Luke also designed this snowmobile/spaceship

AvA 299 DROP - Heliboarding Concept
Here's another lad who decided he also didn't want to mess around with little things like helmets and locks, so he decided to have a crack at redesigning the helicopter. Although this is a classic case of interesting idea, but not great execution, I still kinda want one.

Strictly for my ninjas

Toolless snowboard bindings
If there's two things that are like crack to industrial designers it's integrated helmets and Flow bindings. We'll get to the integrated helmets later of course, because we're still in the good section, but in amongst the reams of shitty Flow bindings concepts was this one. This lad went to town in cramming ideas into his bindings concept, but the one that really has some legs is the ability to attach/detach and adjust the bindings with no tools. A bit more work on that idea and there's another really interesting product for someone.

The Bad

Quad-Point Snowboard Binding Tool
Following on from the toolless binding, here is the exact opposite idea. This is from the same lad that brought us the two snowmobile concepts, so that's a worrying loss of form for him.
Here are some of the key features:
  • Heavier than a screwdriver
  • More uncomfortable to use than a screwdriver
  • Only works on one type of binding arrangement
  • Less adaptable than a screwdriver
  • Requires four times more effort to tighten than individual screws
  • Can't adjust the tightness of any individual screw

Snowboard Boot Concept for K2
This one looks pretty, but can you spot the problem?
The rear BOA and highback combo could be tricky.

Armoured Snowboard Gloves
Turn your hands into little plastic armadillos with these snow gauntlets. 
Handy if you need to instigate a dual

Konkur Stix | Snowboard Poles
Snowboard poles. Yeay!

The Konkur snowboard pole comes complete with various other ineffective accoutrements.

The Ugly

Snowboard with inbuilt toe caps
For people who have really shy toes.
A hajib for your feet

Integrated Snowboarding Helmet
Like a Ruroc helmet, but amazingly even uglier

Another Integrated Snowboard Helmet
"It's a bit ugly isn't it? How can I improve it? Perhaps if I envision it in a virtual world, on a polystyrene mannequin head, on a plastic plinth, on the ground in a deserted car park."

Snowboard Helmet
Haven't I seen this somewhere before?

Goes well with the armoured gloves

You Might Also like...
There's more headgear fun in our article on The Future of Snowboard Helmets

There's more snowboard pole fun in our article on The 10 Most Bonkers Snowboard Inventions Ever Patented.

And there's more vehicular-based shenanigans on Custom & Concept Cars – Inspired by Snowboarding

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