For behind the scenes pictures, stories and special contests, follow us on Facebook!
Subscribe:

Tag Archives: Concepts

Tube Squeezing Toothbrush Seems Pretty Obvious

Tube Squeezing Toothbrush (Images courtesy Catherine Werdel)
By Andrew Liszewski

What’s most surprising about Catherine Werdel’s tube squeezing toothbrush design isn’t that it took so long for someone to come up with such a simple solution, but the fact that it still hasn’t been made a reality. Well, I guess it’s not that surprising. The two largest toothbrush manufacturers here in North America, Colgate & Oral-B (Crest), both also make toothpaste. So helping consumers get every last drop out of a tube is only going to hinder their sales. Clearly a conspiracy. So until some third-party brush maker steps in to shake up the industry, you’re probably better off just taking a router to your toothbrush and cutting your own groove in it.

[ Tube Squeezing Toothbrush ] VIA [ Fancy ]

Eraser Pencil Eliminates Wasted Wood

Eraser Pencil (Images courtesy Deuk Young Lee)
By Andrew Liszewski

While incredibly simple but highly usable, there are still two big issues I have with wooden pencils. 1) The wood basically does nothing more than make holding and writing with a thin piece of graphite easier. And it’s basically wasted every time the pencil is sharpened. 2) The eraser on the end is never big enough to accomodate my constant mistakes.

So I’m 100% behind Deuk Young Lee’s concept of making a pencil out of rubber eraser material instead. It can still be sharpened like a traditional wooden pencil, using the same office gear, but ends up being more comfortable and easier to hold thanks to the softer material. And there’s plenty of eraser for correcting your mistakes. Admittedly the delete key tends to fill the eraser’s role in my life these days, but as long as grade school kids still have to learn penmanship, I think this design has some merit.

[ designboom – deuk young lee: eraser pencil ]

Concept Umbrella Funnels Water Down Into A Squirt Gun In The Handle

Squirt Gun Umbrella (Images courtesy Alex Woolley)
By Andrew Liszewski

It kind of defeats the purpose of carrying an umbrella on a rainy day to stay dry, but the kid in me (who pretty much runs the show) really likes this more entertaining take on the brolly. The tip of the canopy is actually sunken so it works like a funnel, channeling the rain drops down into a squirt gun that doubles as the umbrella’s handle. As long as you’re the only one carrying around this special umbrella you’ll stay completely dry, while the random strangers you pass on the street won’t know what hit them. It was created by Alex Woolley as a concept piece sadly, and I’m almost certain it hasn’t gone into production. Otherwise there’d be one hanging on my door already.

[ Alex Woolley – Encouraging Adults to Play in the Rain ] VIA [ Fancy ]

Harvesting Power From Broadcast Signals Is Back With The Rectenna

Rectenna (Image courtesy DigInfo TV)
By Andrew Liszewski

A few years ago, at CES2010, we discovered a concept device that RCA was showing off that promised to harvest electricity from wi-fi signals, which could then be used to charge mobile devices. The ‘Airnergy’ charger, as they called it, sparked a lot of discussion about whether or not such a technology was even possible. And sure enough, at CES 2011, the Airnergy devices were no where to be seen at RCA’s booth. We assumed that would be the last we’d hear about the concept, but a Japanese company called Nihon Dengyo Kosaku has apparently picked up the torch.

Their unfortunately named ‘Rectenna’, which is actually a combination of the words ‘rectifying’ and ‘antenna’, is able to convert terrestrial TV broadcast signals, or wi-fi, back into usable electricity. At a recent trade show in Tokyo, where the company was showing off the technology, they were able to harvest about 1.2mV and 0.06µW of power from a TV broadcast antenna located about 3.4 miles away. Not a heck of a lot of juice of course, but there are electronics that can run on just micro-watts of power. So while it won’t be useful for charging your smartphone, it does seem to be a viable way to wirelessly power certain barebones devices.

[ DigInfo TV – Rectenna Converts Radio Waves To Electricity ] VIA [ Akihabara News ]

This Blind Camera Has No Optics – Instead Shows You Other People’s Photos

Buttons - A Blind Camera (Images courtesy Sascha Pohflepp)
By Andrew Liszewski

It’s probably not a concept that Nikon or Canon are going to embrace any time soon, but if you don’t have much confidence in your photography skills, Sascha Pohflepp’s blind ‘Buttons’ camera will certainly appeal to you. It’s actually part of their ‘Blinks and Buttons’ art exhibit, and as you can see in the photos, the camera has no lens, no sensor and no optics whatsoever. Just a faux shutter button that triggers a cellphone hidden inside to retrieve and display a photo from Flickr that was taken at the exact same moment. So in a manner of speaking, the Buttons camera actually takes other people’s photos.

And since the camera was created as part of an art piece, I feel obligated to share the artist’s ‘motivations’ and ‘inspirations’ behind it:

Taking a photo means making a memory. Choosing a moment in time and framing a situation. Archiving it or making it public. Either way, we create a visual item that we have an emotional attachment to through our memory. Photos help us to remember moments in our past. Often they even become a memory in their own right. For many, making their moments public through services like Flickr is already part the process of photography itself, creating archives which contain a vast collection of visual fragments of individual lives.

[ Buttons – A Blind Camera ] VIA [ @ronbrinkmann ]

Soundsitive Gesture-Controlled Speaker

Soundsitive Gesture-Controlled Speaker (Images courtesy designboom)
By Andrew Liszewski

At the moment the technology world is still all caught up in ‘touch’ functionality, but one day it could very well be replaced with even easier gestures, creating a planet inhabited by people constantly waving their arms and hands about in the air. And that would probably be ok with industrial designer J.C. Karich, who created this Soundsitive gesture-controlled speaker as part of the Designlab show in Paris last month.

As you move your hand closer or farther away from the top of the speaker, an outer wooden veneer sleeve raises and lowers, causing the volume to increase or decrease. Or more likely, just serves as a visual indicator that your gesture has been detected and adjustments are being made. And skipping tracks, forward or back, is controlled by simply swiping your hand over the top of the speaker in either direction, depending on whether you want the next or previous song. On one hand it’s nice not requiring a remote or buttons to control the speaker, but on the other hand, the invention of the remote control, and not having to get up to interact with something, is truly what separates us from other species.

[ Designlab – Soundsitive Gesture-Controlled Speaker ] VIA [ designboom ]

Orange’s Sound Charge Shirt Concept Uses Loud Music To Keep Your Mobile Phone Powered

Orange Sound Charge Shirt (Image courtesy Orange)
By Andrew Liszewski

When attending a massive music and arts festival, the last thing you want happening is your mobile phone dying so you miss out on distractions like email, Facebook and Twitter. So once again Orange has cooked up another concept device to be tested at this year’s Glastonbury festival of contemporary arts that lets you recharge your electronics without having access to an outlet. In the past they’ve created devices like the Power Pump and Power Wellies, but this year it’s a t-shirt that will theoretically be providing power to future concert goers.

To be specific, it’s actually a piezoelectric film panel on the front of the t-shirt that generates the power. About the size of a piece of A4 paper, it works like a large microphone, absorbing sound waves and converting them into an electrical charge via interlaced quartz crystals that is then stored in a separate battery. As long as sound levels stay around 80dB, the Sound Charge shirt should produce about 6 W/h of power over the weekend, which is roughly enough to recharge two old-school cellphones, or a single modern smartphone. Not exactly the most efficient solution out there, but it’s certainly eco-friendly.

[ PR – Orange – Turn it up to 11… Orange unveils the ‘Sound Charge’ 2011 ] VIA [ Electricpig ]

Through The Looking Glass Mirror Lets You Be A Part Of The Fairy Tale

Through The Looking Glass Mirror (Images courtesy Romy Design)
By Andrew Liszewski

Like a real life version of Harry Potter’s Mirror of Erised (Desire), Romy van den Broek’s Through The Looking Glass mirror does more than just show a person’s reflection. Admittedly it won’t reveal your heart’s desires, but it does let kids experience an interactive fairytale. For the prototype they went with the story of Hansel & Gretel, and through the use of a highly reflective LCD touchscreen display and motion capture software, young’ns are encouraged to participate as the story unfolds. For example, in this case they’re encouraged to gather stones for Hansel before the story continues. Two kids can even interact with it at the same time, although you’ll probably be spending twice as much time cleaning off pint-sized fingerprints.

[ Through The Looking Glass Mirror ] VIA [ MoCo Loco ]

Just-Eat’s Eatensil Is A Culinary Swiss Army Knife

Just-Eat Eatensil (Image courtesy Pocket-lint)
By Andrew Liszewski

Just-Eat, the website that makes it easy to order food online from local restaurants, apparently wants to take the whole takeout experience to the next level. Citing their own research which found that 74 percent of people in Britain preferred eating fish and chips with a wooden fork, and half felt that noodles from a carton should be consumed with chopsticks, they decided that their customers needed a way to properly enjoy their meals no matter what they ordered. So they created the Eatensil concept which is basically a Swiss Army knife with utensils.

Instead of nail files, screwdrivers and scissors, you’ll find a wooden ‘chip’ fork, a pizza cutter, a set of chopsticks, a bottle opener and of course a knife, fork and spoon. At the moment Just-Eat is testing the waters to see if customers would actually be interested in the monstrosity of a concept, which admittedly is a bit more environmentally friendly than plastic cutlery. But as far as I can see it’s missing one important tool that I often end up using when eating takeout: a Tide to Go stick

[ Pocket-lint – Eatensil becomes ultimate cutlery for take away fans ]