Korean designers, Ji-in Byun, Cho Jung Seok & Oh Seul Ki, designed portable and innovative trash bins to curb waste issues on the beach as every hour, 700 tonnes of waste are thrown into the sea. Stationary bins are placed few and far between, but Dustbin 4 Beach is a streamlined bin that can be pitched into the sand and is portable. The tapered base digs deep into the sand for stability. A cut-out niche at the base allows the user to stamp the bin down with the foot, and a cut-out handle at the top facilitates easy removal and shifting. Very cool.
In 2007, NESTA (National Endowment for Science, Technology and Arts), sent out an open innovation challenge to the entire UK to reduce carbon emissions. A £1 million ($1.6 million USD) prize fund was set up which spurred community groups into action to tackle the problems of climate change.
By early 2008, 355 groups had suggested a variety of imaginative and practical ideas, but only 100 of the most promising were selected and given support to develop their ideas further. From this group, 10 finalists were selected who received funding and support to implement their plans over the course of a year. They were given until October 2009 to reduce CO2 emissions in their community. Three overall winners were chosen to share the prize money.
The open innovation challenge proved to NESTA that world-beating and ingenious environmental ideas are not just the preserve of scientists, politicians and international conferences, but can come from communities.
Most women’s snowboards are simply men’s boards made in smaller versions. Recently, with the help and inspiration of pro rider Gretchen Bleiler, K2 designed an all terrain snowboard specifically for women. The ‘hybrilight’ construction is eco-friendly and ultra light. The board is designed on the new K2 flatline rocker, which is neither rockered nor cambered, just flat from tip to tip. The Eco Pop performs best in the park, as the flatline technology makes spins and landing jumps practically a second thought, and the board’s pop and flex can’t be beat.
The snowboard won Snowboard Magazine’s ‘Best of Test 2009‘ after hundreds of riders rode thousands of demo models and chose the K2 Eco Pop as the women’s winner.
Gretchen Bleiler riding her new pro model snowboard, the K2 Eco Pop.
One of the most unconventional designs to hit the market comes in the form of air, yes an air umbrella offers protection from rain by shooting a steady sheet of air to create an invisible canopy. Designed and engineered by Je Sung Park and Woo Jung Kwon, the air umbrella works by sucking air through the bottom intake and blowing it out the upper outlet to form an air curtain. The size of the air umbrella air curtain can be adjusted to accompany multiple users at once. Amazing!
NASA’s open innovation Lunar Lander Challenge required inventors to create, build, and fly a rocket powered vehicle to simulate the flight of a spacecraft on the moon. The lander had to take off vertically, fly horizontally, and then land accurately on a designated pad, all within a two hour time frame. NASA had the monumental task of developing a reusable lunar craft and sought outside help to tap into the brains of so-called ‘citizen inventors.’ Masten Space Systems, an aerospace startup company from California, won the challenge with its Xoie Reusable Rocket and took home the $1 million prize.
Panasonic just unleashed the world’s largest full-HD 3D plasma display TV at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. The 152 inch, 8.84 million pixel screen is part of Panasonic’s Plasma Display Panel line, utilizing a new process called super-efficient quadruple luminance efficiency technology. This 4K2K high tech panel can achieve the same brightness as a conventional full-HD panel in about one-quarter the amount of time, allowing it to keep up with rapidly-moving 3D imagery.
Equivalent to nine 50 inch screens, the 4K2K also incorporates crosstalk reduction technology, which minimizes overlap between what is seen by the viewers’ left and right eyes. The PDP reduces double images by displaying one full frame per eye at a time. This is ideal for rapid 3D displays because the set can refresh pictures a frame at a time instead of a line at a time. 3D TVs are expected to take off in 2010; manufacturers Sony, LG, and Panasonic are all showcasing their latest innovations, including sets with built in Internet telephone service Skype.
The company, Spot Appliance Design for All, has come out with a brilliant and sleek new set of appliances for people confined to a wheelchair. The fridge, oven, and dishwasher feature digital touch screen controls and while slight but significant differences in the mobility and ease of the dishwasher and oven may be hard to see, their functionality goes along way. The fridge is vastly different and more advanced than the common household kitchen appliance and includes sliding trays and bins, an electric-magnetic door latch system, motion activated LED night lights, and of course, a control panel choc-full of options like time, date, temp, music control, LED control, security lock, and other general preferences.
Unemployed people are taking matters into their own hands and minds by putting the creativity and skills they have to use in the field of innovation. For some, losing their jobs may be the perfect incentive to kick start that idea that has been lurking in their minds for the past months, or even years. Experts say tough economic times often lead to new inventions as people out of work have more time available and are more willing to take risks. Technology never stays still and never ceases to amaze; what you may see or hold in your hands today could be radically different tomorrow. Now is the best time to take responsibility of your own future.
In terms of new inventions, Bruce Nemec of C2R Product Development says that, “the numbers have probably gone up four-fold in the last month. I think that stems from people that are either out of work or have been displaced, companies have closed and they’re trying to set themselves up long term for a better financial position.” According to the US Department of Labor, the American economy lost another 85,000 jobs in December, leaving the unemployment rate at 10% and 15.3 million people without work.
Jobs in areas that boost innovation pay more than jobs in other sectors, and are clearly superior to jobs that do not. Federal Reserve Chairman Bernanke acknowledged as much when he stated that “investments in human capital, education, research and development, new technologies, energy, and infrastructure were important for long term growth.”
Case and Point – Alfred Butts, an unemployed architect from New York who invented the game of Scrabble during the Great Depression. Now played in 129 countries, using almost 30 languages, the first Scrabble sets were made by Butts personally, cutting out the individual wooden tiles by hand. Over 150 million Scrabble sets have been sold worldwide.
The new face of Volkswagen was presented to the public at the Detroit Auto Show this morning and people are liking the style and idea behind the New Compact Coupe (NCC). The scaled down Jetta gasoline electric hybrid two door compact car is powered from a 1.4-liter gasoline engine rated 150 horsepower, and a 27-hp electric motor fueled from a lithium-ion battery, so the car could run strictly on electricity. The gas engine not only shuts off when not needed, the transmission decouples it from the rest of the drivetrain so the car coasts easily, saving fuel. VW says, “the concept car can run at 45 miles per gallon and emits just 98 grams of CO2, a greenhouse gas, per kilometer.”
Toshiba is the first to announced a new line of Cell TVs with super fast Cell chip processors, like the ones used in the Play Station 3 console and advanced PCs. The pricey yet groundbreaking home entertainment technology can take any 2D show and present it in 3D, but will require the use of 3D glasses. Still, this is a huge step forward in dimensional technology. The active shutter glasses will come bundled in the yet-to-be-priced television.
Other features include crystal clear LED panel technology, 55 inch screens, built-in wireless networking, and are twice as bright as any other Toshiba brand television.
Read more details on PR Newswire.