An Aluminium Pen with Scale for Architectural Drawing by Shigeru Ben

Japanese architect Shigeru Ban has designed a retractable and re llable pen for Acme Studio that doubles as an architect’s scale ruler. The threesided Scale pen is made from aluminium, and features a laser-etched ruler on each of its three facets.

Japanese architect Shigeru Ban has designed a retractable and re llable pen for Acme Studio that doubles as an architect’s scale ruler. The threesided Scale pen is made from aluminium, and features a laser-etched ruler on each of its three facets.As well as serving as a fully functional architect’s scale, the design works as a ballpoint pen that retracts with a twist of the upper and lower half.


An architect’s ruler – or scale ruler – is used to determine actual distances on a scaled drawing.  e instruments typically feature multiple scales along its length, so architects can measure di erent drawings with the same ruler. To the various scales onto one piece of equipment,designs are o en tetrahedral – a feature that Ban replicated for his pen.  e Scale pen currently retails on the Acme Studio store for $90 (approximately £64), and comes in a magnetic case.

Other designers who have tried their hand at stationery design include Marc Newson, who previously created a fountain pen with a retractable nib for French fashion house Hermès and a set of pens for German brand Montblanc, which feature a magnetic closure system and nibs plated with rare metals.

Five Futuristic Building Materials

From scaling up graphene production to reinforcing concrete with nanocrystals, researchers today are shaping - or growing the future of construction. Five such innovative materials are listed as below:

UNBREAKABLE MATERIALS - Julia Greer, a materials science and mechanics professor at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech), uses two-photon lithography to create precise polymer nanotrusses that can be coated in materials like metal or ceramic, hollowd out to remove the polymer, and then stacked in a fractal construction-essentially a nanotruss made of nanotrusses. The newly created material couples the structural and material properties of its medium, such as metal or ceramic, to possess previously unheard of characteristics including  aw-tolerance and shape memory. It can be used for applications like battery cells, smart windows, heat exchangers, and wind turbines etc.

RESILIENT, SELFCLEANING FINISHES- For application to glass, steel, paper, and other materials, a new coating from researchers at the University College London resists moisture evena er being scratched or exposed to oil—typical weak spots forconventional repellent coatings. Made from coated titanium dioxide nanoparticles, the  nish rejects water, oil, and even red wine by bouncing the invasive substances off its surface and removing dirt in the process.

WAVE BENDERS- Researchers at the University of Missouri have developed a new way to control elastic waves—which can travel through materials without altering their composition—that could protect structures from seismic events.  e team developed and engraved a geometric microstructure pattern into a steel plate to bend or refract elastic and acoustic waves away from a target.

GRAPHENE- Caltech researchers say they’ve found a faster way to mass-produce graphene—the ultrathin and superstrong nanomaterial discovered at the University of Manchester in the U.K. in 2004 -and at a higher quality than was previously possible. their batch-processing method allows for the growth of smoother and stronger graphene sheets than do conventional thermal processes, while cutting production time from hours to minutes and increasing sample sizes from millimeters to inches.

STRONGER CONCRETE- At Purdue University, researchers are adding cellulose nanocrystals derived from wood  ber to concrete. When applied to construction materials like concrete, they help to reduce a structure’s environmental footprint by requiring less material to achieve a similar effect.  The nanocrystal additive can be extracted as a byproduct of industrial agriculture, bioenergy, and paper production. Its addition enhances the concrete-curing process, theresearchers say, allowing the concrete to use water more effciently and without impacting its weight or density signi cantly.


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