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Cardboard Bikes Do More With Less

When technology, design, and urgent need overlap in a truly MESH environment, innovation happens. Often that innovation is about doing more with less.

Designers have always known that more upfront thinking results in improved, resource-friendly final products. In the traditional manufacturing model, however, the goal is often one of “good enough” rather than sublimely fantastic. That’s why inventors and entrepreneurs should be encouraged. There is always room to disrupt existing markets with new ideas.

Here’s an example. Israeli bike enthusiast Izhar Gafni was inspired when he saw another inventor’s cardboard canoe. A light came on: could he build a bicycle out of recycled cardboard? An inspired prototyper, Gafni started building mockups. His first productions reminded us of Frank Gehry’s famouse cardboard chairs from the early seventies seen here.

Gafni is no ordinary tinkerer. He has a background in high-tech manufacturing, but he also brings an experimenter’s workshop ethic to play when solving a wicked design problem like reinventing the way we think about bike design.

Take a look at this video about Gafni’s design journey. You will be amazed. One application for Gafni’s low cost bikes is for bike sharing programs like Toronto’s Bixi. Cities may well be changed forever by a simple idea.