Good design doesn’t have to be expensive. It doesn’t have to be hard to make, or use difficult to come by materials. I hope this video is a design inspiration to all of you, even those of you who never fold your shirts. I don’t see much to be improved in this device. It is inexpensive, easily manufactured, recycled and recyclable, functional, does its job easily and well, and takes up very little space.
Every once in a while I see a new product where the inspiration was good, but the execution was weak. This fog filled bubble machine by Gemmy is a prime example. First off, there is no reason to make a product this tacky. I know it is targeting Halloween, but the fluorescent orange box with a skeleton isn’t impressing anyone, and it makes it even less impressive the other 364 days a year. The product uses a fog fluid made of mineral oil or glycerin to make fog bubbles. Bubbles are nasty enough being made out of soap, I don’t want to be cleaning mineral oil and glycerin off of everything, and they have potential health consequences when inhaled.
I do think it is a fun concept. There are other ways of making fog. There is dry ice, which doesn’t solve the problem of havking to buy an extra product. It would be safer, but between the CO2 and the cold. probably far too heavy. Smoke might work, but probably reduces the life span of the bubbles, and comes with its own set of problems. I think I would use an ultrasonic fogger. I used one for my pumpkin (actually a watermelon) this year to great effect. It uses ultrasound resonance to break up the water into very fine fog.
These new shades from Nike are still in the prototype stage, but once they have named it (Hindsight) and released pictures and info, they can’t be far off. They use fresnel lenses around the sides to create a distortion like no-line bifocals, but these gives the wearer around 25º of additional periferal vision on each side. They are intended for cyclists, but I think they have plenty of uses. Sports come to mind. A baseball pitcher wouldn’t even have to look around for base stealers. More info and pictures via CrunchGear.
Well it looks like I was wrong. As of the last time I checked, this product still hadn’t materialized.
The three fingered wood shop teacher may be stereotype of the past. The SawStop table saw blade has a small current running through it. Whenever an unfortunate finger or wiener comes in contact with the whirling blade, it changes the electrical resistance enough to cause a sensor to trip a spring loaded aluminum brake, which stops the blade and uses the blades momentum to carry it back and down out of harms way so fast you would barely need a band-aid (1/200th of a second).
Erika from Hot For Tools will run you through a demonstration. So far the feature isn’t available in existing brands, so you have to buy the Sawstop saw. The stop mechanisms aren’t cheap enough to make you want to show off the feature in action to your friends, but they are a whole lot cheaper than an emergency room visit, regret, or for you employers out there, workers comp adjustments. As Erika showed us, this saw is sold by ToolKing here:
SawStop Table Saws at ToolKing
Last week in Friedrichshafen in southern Germany, there was an airship regatta (race). Along with the usual group of speedy nearly uncontrollable little blimps was this beauty which will be sure to be getting a lot of attention in the coming weeks. Team LaChLuVe has set the bar so high with their Fi-Fi- Fin-Fish that the airship races will never be the same, and may have a lot of new applicants. Unlike the propeller driven blimps and zeppelins, the air fish glides through the air propelled by a very natural looking swish of the tail, which also provides steering when holding it in place and gliding. The pectoral fins are servo actuated for additional control. I would be shocked not to see this as a consumer product within the next couple of years, and I can’t wait to see what shows up at the world air games next June.
Update: The Fi-Fi- Fin-Fish was made by Empa (a Swiss materials technology development institution) by using electro-active polymers to power the motion of the tail. When electricity is applied, the polymer contracts like a muscle to give the tail its kick. The fins, in combination with the low center of gravity, do a great job of keeping it upright. There is a further abstract for a more complex system with a flexing body here. A flexing strip along the top and bottom of the fish would be attached to the vertical ribs. The contraction of the polymer would cause the body to flex in a more natural fashion.
Update: The project was a collaboration with the Technical University of Berlin, and has been a several year project. Earlier versions of the fin-fish flew in the ’06 and ’07 regatta. Empa started with a more traditional airship, and got more fishy with each revision. Several tails were tested, as were several different ways of using the electroactive polymer.a
Part of their vision is creating a solar powered version that could operate efficiently and silently for surveillance. There is a growing demand for spy drones, and most of their competitiors sound like flying weed-whackers.
Don’t you hate it when you are out for a swim and you get swallowed by a whale? WASP Injection Systems has the product for you: A hollow knife with a CO2 cartridge in the handle. Just jab it into the offending predator and push the button. Not only will you have an instant balloon animal, but it will be rapidly carried toward the surface with the marine equivalent of cement galoshes.
Here is something that could have, and very well may have, been invented tens of thousands of years ago. By strategically drilling holes in two sheets of metal, Jiyeon Song creates a static structure, which when the sun hits it at certain angles throughout the day and year, allows light to pass through both layers at predetermined positions. The light and shadows produce the ever shifting words of a poem. I’m not a big fan of poetry, but the time lapse is really worth a look.
The Url is perhaps the best example of the idea being the invention. Here is a site that anyone could have bought for under ten bucks a decade ago, but didn’t. Well, It’s too late now. Upsidedowndogs is a site full of upside down pictures of upside down dogs. It may not be any great revolution for society at large, but the site is a perfect example of maximum success for minimum effort, and it is hard to not be cheered by a visit.
Not all innovations are used for the good of the people. As an armored truck driver walked into a bank with a bag of cash, he noticed a worker with a dust mask and a pump sprayer. Unfortuantely for the guard, the sprayer was full of pepper spray. After this cleverly disguised individual grabbed the cash, he ran to a nearby river where he had an inner tube stashed as a getaway vehicle. To discourage pursuit, he had put out a craigslist ad requesting workers and listing the required clothing for the job: An exact match for his own. His decoys had been told to meet in the area of the bank, and didn’t realize they had been duped until after the robbery.
Update: It looks like our thief was a bit sloppy. Three weeks prior, he had left a can of mace, a wig, a two way radio, and a safety vest behind a dumpster near the bank. Someone noticed him picking up the items and wrote down his license number. The tip, combined with DNA evidence made solving this one almost too easy. What a Wile E. Coyote moment. Adding this to Imperfection.