Posts By: Paul Wagorn

Frustration often begets creativity and innovation.

I really hate having to get the very last remaining bit of toothpaste that collects up at the bottom of the tube.

Well, this new toothpaste tube (designed by Dominic Wilcox and illustrated by Clare Mallison) solves this problem by putting a cap at both ends.

Now when you (or your partner) keep squeezing from the front or middle of the tube, no need to get angry – you can simply open up the other end to get the rest out! It also does the double duty of fixing the problem of your partner gumming up one side of the tube because you can each have your own end cap.


Micheal Jackson’s patent

Not all inventions are new cars that run on strange fuels, new drugs that cure cancer or novel methods of digging wells in the third world.  Sometimes, patents are issued for devices that simply entertain us.  This leads us to Micheal Jackson:

Micheal Jackson’s untimely passing has obviously been very big news – there have been tribute CD’s, tribute movies, tribute youtube videos, tribute magazines, books, and just about everything else.  Michael Jackson has definitely left an impression on this world, not the least for his patented dance moves.

Anti-Gravity Illision Patent
Anti-Gravity Illision Patent

Actually, one of his dance moves is patented.  Well not quite, but at least the mechanical contraption that he invented to facilitate one of his moves is patented.

In Michael Jackson’s “Smooth Criminal” video, he and the other dancers performed a trick that almost seemed as though they defied gravity – they leaned forward past 45 degrees, keeping their feet firmly planted on the ground.

In the video, they did the trick with wires, but when it came time to perform the song and trick on stage, a new method was developed.  As it turns out, the solution that he came up with turned out to be novel, so he decided to patent it.

Anti-Gravity Boots
Anti-Gravity Boots

A special set of boots were developed, which resembled shoes combined with Jackson’s trademark white socks.  These boots had metal fasteners which, when clipped into metal fittings on stage, would keep the boot solidly attached to the ground.  The wearer could then lean forward without falling, much like you can do in ski boots while wearing skis.

So, maybe take a break from working on your next-gen fuel or your iPhone killer, and spend some time working on your dance moves!

If you;re interested in taking a look at the patent itself, you can take a look at it here, thanks to Google Patent Search.

Oh, and here’s some video of Michael Jackson’s (patented) anti-gravity move.  Enjoy:

Sometimes a picture needs almost no explanation:

The clothespin-hanger
The clothespin-hanger

This great idea solves the problem of how to dry all the clothes in the laundry at once, and also helps rid laundry of clothespin marks.  I would imagine that these clotespin-hangers would also double as regular hangers once the clothes are dry.

The sheer simplicity of these hangers is what impresses me most about these innovative and creative hangers.

swinxs 1Sometimes innovation comes from completely discarding most everything about an idea that defines it.  One of the major complaints about videos games for kids is that they keep kids indoors, staring at a computer screen or television when they could should be outside playing and getting some exercise.

Playing video games makes us forget how fun it is to actually play outdoors with friends – Why not get rid of the television?  Why not take the gaming console outside?
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The Japanese are an innovative bunch. Everything from cellphones to cars and TV’s have benefited from the Japanese pass time of making products better more interesting.

The latest device coming from Japan is a terminal that gets attached to toilets made by the toilet giant Imax. It analyzes your stool and gives you an instant health report to your cell phone.  Japanese toilets have always been a few steps ahead of the west, but this product even takes thinks a step further.
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Creative people are crazy

Pablo Picasso - Self Portrait
Pablo Picasso - Self Portrait

When I was a child, a doctor once told me that he suspected that I might have attention deficit disorder – ADD (or ADHD as it’s now called).  He went on to say “..but, only a touch of it.  Basically enough to make you creative”. I suspect that he was joking at the time, but it always made me wonder.

I was reminded of this recently when I dug up a report based on research by Professor Arnold Ludwig of the University of Kentucky.

Dr. Ludwig studied over 1000 “original thinkers” in a wide array of professions – art, music, business, science, politics and sports. In his research spannig close to 10 years, he studied these people’s mental fitness, their chosen professions and the releationships between their mental health and career selection. What he found was interesting: Crazy people have jobs that rely on creativity.

The results from his study (“Method and Madness in the Arts and Sciences”) showed that:

  • 9 out of 10 poets studied had diagnosable mental disorders (!)
  • 77% of fiction writers had mental disorders
  • 74% of theater people
  • 73% of painters and other visual artists
  • 68% of musicians (which I think is dead accurate based on my own experience of being in bands!)

This is compared to 18 to 29% for sports, scientists and business people.

Many studies have shown higher rates of depression in creative people as well (how depressing!).

So, the question that begs to be asked is what is the causative relationship? Are creative people crazy, or are crazy people creative?  Dr. Ludwig says:

“Mental illness is not the price people pay for their creative gifts… creative people who are mentally ill find themselves, almost by default, in the arts rather than in business or the other sciences.”

Ok, so being creative doesn’t make us crazy…  Whew, we dodged that bullet. What this does mean, however, is that we may have to deal with more off-kilter-ness from our co-workers and professional relationships if we work in a creative field.

Tell us what you think – do you agree with Dr. Ludwig’s findings, or do you just think he’s crazy being creative?

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:
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The Speed Vest

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!
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Photography for the Blind

Sometimes the ideas that initially sound the most absurd are the most brilliant ones. Suppose for a moment that someone told you that they were going design a camera for blind people. Well, a design team at Samsung has done just that.

My first thought was “Why?” … My second thought was “ok, but…How?”
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