With the recent advent of crowdfunding companies, such as Kickstarter and Crowdrise, inventors and entrepreneurs are coming up with new gadgets and innovations faster than ever. Check out these recent innovations that are becoming commonly used items.
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Finally, a keyboard that you don’t have to lug around with you. Wonderfulengineering.com reported about this new product. “Laser Keyboard is an innovative product that lets you convert any surface into a keyboard. The keyboard connects to any device with a Bluetooth such as your iPad or cellphone.” No doubt it will have a market.
Take a standard electrical plate, integrate a USB Port and voila, you have SnapPower. This is a ‘why didn’t I think of that’ innovation. With more and more electronics taking over our daily lives, who the heck has enough plugs in their house?
Already far exceeding its funding goal on Kickstarter, the deceptively simple SnapPower Charger features a 1-amp USB port built into the cover itself. The unit can be installed on any standard outlet with only a screwdriver, and can also be easily removed if the owner changes homes.
Huffington Post writer Damon Beres explains, “Installation is pretty easy. First, for safety’s sake, you’ll need to turn off the power to whatever outlet cover you’re switching out. Then, you unscrew the existing faceplate, slap the SnapPower cover into place and screw it in. You don’t have to worry about messing with wires inside your wall because the device is set up to draw power directly from the outlet. ‘The standard outlet cover plate found in homes is one of those things that’s there but not noticed,’ Sean Watkins, a co-founder of SnapPower, told The Huffington Post. ‘Our goal was to take something ordinary and turn it into an easy-to-use product that solves an everyday need.’ Watkins told Huff Post the SnapPower charger is safe to use. It will ship with UL certification, meaning it’s been tested for consumer use by an independent safety company. Watkins also said the device ‘incorporates safety features that prevent surges from damaging attached devices.’ Plus, it shouldn’t overload your gadget with too much of a charge.
Speaking of electrical outlet covers, this is another use of it that was invented by designer Jake Frey. Engadget.com explains this product, “NeoCover is a magnetized light switch cover so you can hang things without nails or hooks. Powered by super-strong rare earth neodymium magnets, NeoCover can grip your keys, tools or most metals with seemingly magical strength. It comes with nickel-plated key rings capable of holding up to 27 keys, enough to support everyone but the custodian or the building super. Safe to use with flash drives, security cards, remote access auto keys and similar electronic products. Palette- neutral white fits well in any house, office or building – any place with four walls and a door. If you can use a screwdriver, you can install in seconds on your existing light switch fixture.” Perfect if you have trouble losing your keys. Just hang them on the light switch plate when you walk in the door!
Another recent innovation revealed on engadet.com is the Hue Go. “Philips has just unveiled a mobile addition to its venerable line of programmable LED Hue bulbs. It’s called the Hue Go and is a salad bowl of light that you can hold in your lap (because people do that apparently?) or use as an accent or serve as a luminescent centerpiece much like the Hue Beyond or Luminaires. But unlike these earlier designs, the Go isn’t tethered to a wall socket. Each unit reportedly lasts about three hours on a single charge and can be controlled through the associated mobile app (or the Hue Tap) just like a standard Hue bulb.
Even if you aren’t close to your phone, you can still change the Go’s current color output to one of five presets (whatever the heck Cozy Candle, Sunday Coffee, Meditation, Enchanted Forest, and Night Adventure mean) using a manual switch on the unit itself. Like every other branded light in the Hue family, the new Go works seamlessly with both your existing Hue system and any of the 200-plus aftermarket control apps currently available. It’s expected to hit store shelves (specifically: Apple stores, Amazon, and Best Buy) around the end of May and will retail for $100.” So if your living space is short on plugs, this is a great alternative: a light you can move around without a cord.
Pocket-Sized Washing Machine
Say what??? Another treasure found on wonderfulengineering.com will be useful to travelers and camping enthusiasts. It has an internal washboard, so they recommend turning garments with metal inside out so the washboard isn’t damaged. Just add water and the wash solution, seal the product, and rub it. For a quick wash, it only takes 30 seconds and for a washing machine quality, 3 minutes. Empty the dirty water, fill with clean water and shake around to rinse.
Balcony Bridge Planters
If you live in a residence with a balcony and want to display your plants, then this is the product for you. As reported on wonderfulengineering.com “In modern day living, space is an important asset. While we love to have greenery and floral beauty, it’s not always possible to find a space for pots. These redesigned planters are a perfect solution for your apartment.” These pots are indented in the middle to hang over your balcony rail (like a bridge) and come in a variety of colors.
Although invented in London, the product has a distribution center in the United States. As soon as more people hear about it, sales will explode. Sugru.com has an awesome video showing all the various uses for this product.
The site explains, “Sugru is the world’s first moldable glue that turns into rubber. Our patented silicone technology is unique. Out of the pack, Sugru feels like play-dough, and it’s that easy to use too. It bonds to almost any other material and cures just by exposing it to air. Its durable cured properties mean it’ll stay strong and securely bonded anywhere from the freezer to a steamy hot shower, from the home to the great outdoors. When Sugru cures, it’s flexible rather than rigid. Which means that you can use it on things that need to be able to move like textiles, cables, or shoes. It’s also electrically insulating* – how awesome is that? *Be careful with electricity – stick to small consumer electronics repairs below 24 volts. Sugru is strong and durable. Once cured, it will also stand up to anything the weather throws at it, wet or dry, hot or cold – it will be great. It also won’t fade in the sun and it’s fine with sea water too! As Sugru is a silicone rubber, it feels soft to touch when it has cured but is also grippy. This makes it perfect for handles and grips as it is comfortable but non-slip.”
Treadmill Standing Desks
Although these have been out for over eleven years, the trend to stand while working on a computer is just recently catching on. The New York Times ran an article explaining this new innovative concept, “The good news is that when creative capitalism is working as it should, problems open the door to opportunity. New knowledge spreads, attitudes shift, consumer demand emerges, and companies and entrepreneurs develop new products. That process is under way, addressing what might be called the sitting crisis.”
Steelcase, the big maker of office furniture, has seen a similar trend in the emerging marketplace for adjustable workstations, which allow workers to sit or stand during the day, and for workstations with a treadmill underneath for walking. The company offered its first models of height-adjustable desks in 2004. In the last five years, sales of its lines of adjustable desks and the treadmill desk have surged fivefold, to more than $40 million. Its models for stand-up work range from about $1,600 to more than $4,000 for a desk that includes an actual treadmill. Corporate customers include Chevron, Intel, Allstate, Boeing, Apple, and Google. ‘It started out very small, but it’s not a niche market anymore,’ says Allan Smith, vice president of product marketing at Steelcase. The Steelcase offerings are the Mercedes-Benzes and Cadillacs of upright workstations, but there are plenty of Chevys as well, especially from small, entrepreneurial companies.
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