IdeaConnection Innovation

This Ecoelectric Device Makes You Eat Greener Bread Toasts!

This Ecoelectric Device Makes You Eat Greener Bread Toasts!

Nov-05-08 By Sam
I love to do bread toasting for my family, and my son loves to dip them in tomato soup which he digs with gusto. Breakfast at our family table is never complete, son always reminds me, without toast bread for his beloved soup, and I agree.

But how much electricity do we spend toasting bread? I reckon it could be a lot because Morphy Richards wouldn't have spent their time or precious dime trying to make us eat greener bread toasts. That is, at least, when it comes to energy efficiency, and the Ecolectric 2 Slice Toaster, we are assured, is able to use 34% less electricity than conventional toasters.
A story about a physics exam…

A story about a physics exam…

Oct-15-08 By Paul Wagorn
Sometimes it's easy to get caught within the bounds of where an accepted solution "should" come from.  We need to look a the tools that we are given,  and get creative not just with the solution, but with the tools themselves.

The following concerns a question in a physics degree exam at the University of Copenhagen.  The story goes like this:

Brainstorming Better. A little help for my friend.

Oct-02-08 By Peter
A colleague wrote to me today.I wanted to bounce a premise off you. The Ad Club asked me to lead a workshop in December around a topic. I proposed "Better Brainstorming in Today's Idea Economy."

What I like is that brainstorming is something everyone takes for granted and something everyone believes they're good at. But as we know, there are good sessions and bad sessions. If you had to list the top 3-5 factors in successful brainstorming sessions, what would they be? I gave my friend my first-thing-in-the-morning, top-of-my-head response. I've polished it up a bit and it's below.
The Speed Vest

The Speed Vest

Sep-18-08 By Paul Wagorn
Sometimes someone comes up with something that makes everyone else think "Why didn't I think of that ?"

Have you ever outpaced cars and been honked at? Had a car almost wipe you out while making a turn? Do you ever ride your bike so fast that you wish that everyone else could know how close to the speed of light you were? Or sometimes are you riding your bike, cars honking impatiently behind you, wishing that they knew you were actually going more than 10 mph? Or maybe you just want to show off to your buddies that you left in your dust!

Enter... the speed vest!
I’ll show you mine, if you’ll show me yours

I’ll show you mine, if you’ll show me yours

Sep-18-08 By Peter
Most of us were taught to share at a very early age. What happened? A big chunk of the world's population still starves every day, even though we know that when we do share, we all benefit. Especially when it comes to scientific learning.

Sharing among professionals is called collaboration. And as the world gets more complex and our challenges more daunting, services like our own IdeaConnection arise to enable and encourage collaboration among scientific minds around the world.

Likewise, the more we discover and invent, the more critical it becomes that we not only help each other solve problems but that we share what we learn. Recent advances in the highly complex field of genetics illustrate the need for an open-door policy of collaboration.

The Angular Boxfish and The Mercedes Benz Bionic Car

Sep-09-08 By Sam
Man borrows a lot from nature in his application of technology, like when the bat provided inspiration for sonar - a system using transmitted and reflected underwater sound waves to detect and locate submerged objects or measure the distance to the floor of a body of water.

Bionic engineers are specialists in translating nature’s solutions into human technology and attempt to answer questions such as why nocturnal animals like bats which are known to be blind can adapt to use echolocation by which they navigate and hunt prey.

Daimler AG, the automotive manufacturer that claims to act responsibly towards society and the environment and to shape the future of safe and sustainable mobility with groundbreaking technologies, too use bionics to design their top-end cars.

Lapdesks Provide Some Comfort for Schooling Under a Tree

Sep-08-08 By Sam
Imagine a class under the shade of an acacia in a sun-scorched village of Africa or Asia? Not a Biology or Natural Science field class for junior high school students in Toronto.

This is a ''normal" class of third graders who probably ran 5 kilometers to school on an empty stomach in the morning and who have no desks to write on. Many kids in poor rural communities in Africa have found themselves in this situation.

Even many more urban slum dwellers are forced to study entirely under trees for lack of adequate schooling resources.

The BEE: UNICEF’s Solar-Powered Communication Hub for Off-grid Communities

Sep-08-08 By Sam
I have known UNICEF - United Nations Children's Fund - to be working mainly to help provide children in vulnerable communities around the world with education opportunities.

But to have a prototype of a portable solar-enabled communication hub that would serve as a tool kit in emergency situations as well as a video-conferencing tool in remote village schools for easier interaction in the learning environment is a plus for the UN agency.
Literally Cool Inventions

Literally Cool Inventions

Aug-26-08 By Peter
In an earlier post, Old invention deserves a new life, I dug up the Crosley icy ball--a way to refrigerate without electricity. Since then, I've found some even cooler approaches to refrigeration. They also deserve some life.

Science News reports a Chip-size refrigerator that could fit inside future laptops. It still runs on electricity, but a lot less, and it removes a lot more heat than the current fans system in your laptop. How it works:
Thar’s gold in them thar crowds!

Thar’s gold in them thar crowds!

Aug-24-08 By Peter
Warning: It's coming. Whatever you do to make money, no matter how innovative, crowdsourcing will deliver it cheaper from the world at large. If not today, soon.

Just ask any professional photographer who has labored to peddle pics to stock photo houses. What they used to get paid $300 a shot for, buyers now can get for a dollar.

Crowdsourcing is sort of like outsourcing with a captialistic vengence and technological superpowers. So it goes with innovation.

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