At a supermarket in Lille, France, the overhead lighting knows where all the best deals are. That’s because the retailer—Carrefour, France’s largest chain—recently installed a new system by Philips featuring LED luminaires that emit a frequency invisible to the human eye but detectable by smartphone cameras and that can be used to share data. That allows it to sent shoppers who have downloaded a companion app push notifications containing coupons, product information, and more as they navigate the store. The news calls attention to developments in solid-state lighting that are allowing the lights to do more, from hosting occupancy and motion sensors to serving as a conduit for security infrastructure, further integrating the already-ubiquitous lighting elements into a building. [Philips]

#longread: How the humanoid ‘bot finalists in DARPA’s 2015 Robotics Challenge are training for the final event—during which, Wired writes, each must “open a door, turn a valve, cut a hole in a wall using a power drill, walk up some stairs, traverse rocky, unstable ground, and handle a surprise task. Oh, and it has to drive a car." If the 'bots are headed to the jobsite one day soon, let's hope they also learn how to pick up coffee. [Wired]

Autodesk recently hired Maria Giudice, most recently Facebook’s director of product design, as its vice president of user experience (UX) where she will be tasked with aligning UX across the software company’s more than 100 products. [Fast Company’s Co.Design]


Researchers at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, in Germany, have developed a cloaking device (left) that bends light rays to conceal any object fitting within a 1”-diameter tube. What differentiates this shielding device from most previous versions is that it uses common materials like polymers, metals, and acrylic paint, and works on a macro-scale. [Gizmag]

Engineering students at Rice University recently used 3D printing as a fabrication tool to explore the material qualities of mollusk shells that contribute to their strength—a study in matching the durability of natural materials and systems with synthetic substances. []

Bicycle maker Aero recently collaborated with three designers—formerly classmates at the Institute of Architecture at the University of Applied Arts Vienna, to create a prototype bike whose frame is crafted from thin layers of laminated, bent birch. On display during Milan Design Week last month, the project’s goal was to test the material’s performance for larger-scale architectural applications. [Dezeen