Art Lebedev Studios’ Spectrus USB Hub – Interesting Design!

I just came across this product by my favorite Russian design studio, Art Lebedev Studios.  The studio has designed this interesting USB hub – modeled after the idea of a prism splitting light into the colors of the rainbow:

This thing is COOL!  What I love almost more than Lebedev Studios products is their process sketches – and the fact that they actually include them on the website!  Check out these process shots:

What kinda bums me out is what the product finally ended up being, at least on the Lebedev Studios product page for Spectrus, is a product with no LEDs embedded for maximum awesome.  Here’s what the initial render looked like, LEDs and all:

and here is what they ended at – just colored lines on the case, no illumination:

I still think it’s cool.  But it would have been SO MUCH COOLER illuminated!!!  Art Lebedev, your studio still rocks to me.

Art Lebedev’s Optimux Maximus Programmable OLED Keyboard



I have written about a few really cool devices and gadgets to come out of Art Lebedev’s studio in past months.  My friend Tatiana from the KTH program just recently told me about an Art Lebedev Studio design called Optimus Maximus – a programmable, fully customizable OLED keyboard that gives you the ability to have kazillions of keyboard layouts at the touch of your finger.  Video on a key, images on a key, text on a key – whatever you can dream up.

Want to have a Photoshop shortcuts keyboard?


How about an Asian keyboard?  Cyrillic?  Greek?  Arabic?  How about a magical new language that you invented from pictures of a sumo wrestler from thin to fat to thin, or a series of photographs of various stages of a Cheeto in digestion?



Art Lebedev’s Optimus Maximus OLED keyboard is pretty awesome.  I can imagine what my HogPC keyboard layout would be, and how many different layouts I would have on that thing in the first day – AutoCAD, WYSIWYG, Illustrator, all of the Office products that I use regularly – the ability to switch from one layout to another easily makes my designer mouth water.

The Optimus Maximus keyboard also comes with a manager/creator software that allows you to customize your layout and save them as formatted files – resolution is 48X48 pixels at 10 frames per second (if you’re doing video).  The keyboard itself has an SD slot on the rear for storing layout files, two USB ports, a mount for a K-lock, USB power and DC power inputs:


How much would you think a virtually unlimited collection of keyboard layouts cost?  Well, it’s about 44,000 Rubles, $1692.31 USD, or €1257.14 Euro.  But it is pretty awesome.  Someday I will be able to afford one.


Art Lebedev Studios’ Air Crosswalk

Another interesting concept from the Russian geniuses at Art Lebedev Studios is something they’re calling Air Crosswalk.  Essentially, it is illumination for crosswalks, diffuse, and from above, minimalizing the chance that a pedestrian might not be seen in the night.  These sources are suspended above the crosswalk itself, lighting the crosswalk and anything moving through it.

This concept is actually being implemented in Tumen, Russia in 2009.

Art Lebedev’s Square Traffic Lights

Art Lebedev Studios has posed an interesting yet not bad idea:

Why not make traffic lights square?

We’re used to round lamps in traffic lights.  As drivers, and I know this to be true in other countries, we don’t always pay attention to the round red and green things telling us when to gas and brake.  Art’s concept is centered around making the traffic lights more visible, more present.  LED of course, and as a square, there’s more light-per-surface area.  Check out these images:

A Luxofor Traffic Light in Japan:

A Luxofor Traffic Light in Moscow:

and finally, a Luxofor Traffic Light in New York City:

Please check out Art Lebedev’s site on the process behind solving this traffic light problem.  There are A TON of images on this page.  A ton.  I mean that.  Lots of renderings.