1. Word Lens
Augmented reality just got a step closer to reality with the release of the new Word Lens from Quest Visual. The app instantly translates text from one language to another (currently it only supports English and Spanish) using the built-in camera on an iPhone or iPod touch. It doesn’t work so well with handwriting but performs impressively when viewing signs, books or other printed text.
2. StartHere Mart
Little Fury, a New York-based packaging design studio, decides to do their part to aid global poverty by setting up StartHere Mart, an adorable online shop selling functional wares from independent designers with 5% of each purchase going toward charity.
3. The Standard Hotel NY Ice Rink
While it doesn’t boast the bird’s-eye view of the Boom Boom Room, The Standard Hotel NY’s 3000-square-foot ice skating rink is another enticing reason to visit. Open to the public seven days a week, tickets and skates will only set you back $15.
4. Puma: Life Scoreboard
Friend of CH and resident computer whisperer Joel Niedfeldt helped build Puma’s customizable scoreboard, an elegantly-designed way to put whatever you want—whether its iPhone vs. Blackberry or WikiLeaks vs. The Man—head to head.
5. A Brooklyn Manicurist’s Insane Nail Art
From ice cream cones to dollar bills, Japanese nail artist Naomi Yasuda creates intricately “insane” nail art at her Brooklyn salon Hello Beautiful.
6. Auntie Carols
London agency Inferno is sending their holiday cheer in the form of singing aunties, who take requests via webcam. Both named Carol, the ladies will warble anything from Jay-Z’s “99 Problems”to “Good King Wenceslas.”
Minimalissimo recently uncovered Siwa, a new collaboration between famed Industrial Designer Naoto Fukasawa and Japanese paper maker ONAO. The line of bags, shoes, cases, and book covers—all minimally constructed out of paper—are delicate in appearance but actually strong and water resistant thanks to the washi-suki paper method.
8. Muji’s Festive Human Vending Machines
Combining Japan’s penchant for the automat with a little Muji clever practicality, the housewares brand came up with a human-enabled “Noel Machine” that can be found in the streets of Barcelona and Madrid during the Christmas shopping period.