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As a picky eater I’ve always hated it when people have questioned me about not liking it when two different foods touch.  “It’s all going to the same place,” they always say.  News flash asshole: when Yellow and Blue mix together they don’t wind up as a yellowish blue mix.  They wind up as Green, something completely different!  Isn’t it entirely plausible then that when two foods mix they wind up tasting like something else entirely different?! Something that I wouldn’t like!?

Thankfully, I no longer have to worry about my foods mixing because a six year old inventor by the name of Ruby Lucken has created plastic food dividers known as food cubbies that suction onto your plate and keep your foods separated!

In addition to keeping your foods from touching the dividers also serve an additional purpose: giving you a mini-wall to push your food up against thereby making it easier to scoop into your mouth.  I’ve always struggled to keep rice on my chopsticks when eating Japanese food but with these dividers on my plate I won’t have that problem any more!

To be clear these dividers may not work on every plate depending on the size and shape of the dish.  But they should work on most plates and even if they don’t they still demonstrate one very important thing: that we’re all capable of coming up with a great idea, even if we are just six years old.  Or happen to eat like one.

Are food dividers the Greatest Idea Ever?

 

I usually do my best thinking while in the shower but I may have just come up with a million dollar idea while food shopping.  Okay, not really a million dollar idea.  More like a 2 for 1 manager’s special idea.  And technically I wasn’t even food shopping.  Just in the parking lot on my way to go food shopping.  But that’s beside the point!

The point is that I came up with a really good idea: driverless shopping carts!   The days of having to get out of your car to move a shopping cart that’s taking up your parking spot are over!  The days of returning to your car and finding a fresh dent from a stray out of control shopping cart are over!  The days of having to walk ten extra feet to return your cart to their designated collection area are over!

Are we really so lazy as to actually need driverless shopping carts?  In a word: YES!  Yes we are.  More to the point, we’re technologically capable of pulling this off, so why wouldn’t we?  If something can be automated, we owe it to ourselves to automate it!

What I’m envisioning then is a smart shopping cart.  When you’re done using it just push the return home button on the handle bar and the cart will follow along a designated path in the parking lot until it returns to the collection area on its own.  It’ll come equipped with rear and front facing cameras and motion sensors so that it’ll know to avoid pedestrians, cars, and other carts.  It’ll also be able to notify you if you left something behind, such as a carton of water bottles on the bottom shelf.

Taking this a step further wouldn’t it also be great if we had smart shopping carts that worked inside the store, not just in the parking lot?  That way instead of having to push the cart ourselves, it would just know to follow us around the store as we walked down the aisles.  Taking this a step further you could even equip the cart with mechanical arms that pull the items off the shelf for you based on your shopping list.

This idea really isn’t far fetched.  We already have shopping carts that are kind of smart.  You know the ones that have wheels that lock when you try to move them past the imaginary boundary surrounding the store so as to prevent theft.  And we also already have a device known as Cruise, capable of being added to any car to turn it into a driverless car.  So is it really that much of a stretch to think that one day we could have driverless shopping carts?

I don’t think so.  And I think we owe it to ourselves to try.  Now, if you’ll excuse me I have to go put away my ice cream before it melts.

If we had driverless shopping carts we wouldn’t have to deal with scenes like this anymore.

#853 – The Antipode

Exciting new modes of transportation are nothing new.  Just a few weeks ago at CES we were introduced to a self-flying drone that could transport someone around.  There’s also Elon Musk’s famed Hyperloop, now under construction in Quay Valley, California and Sir Richard Branson’s SpaceShipOne, which aims to master suborbital flight.  Hover boards may be catching on fire but at least our cars are learning how to drive themselves safely.  And for all of the laments about the fact that we don’t yet have flying cars we could be on the verge of…actually having flying cars thanks to Terrafugia. 

All of those concepts are potentially life-altering and game-changing but they may all pale in comparison to the Antipode, a new hypersonic jet capable of taking someone from New York to London in just 11 minutes!!!  Looking for a more exotic getaway?  No problem.  You can be in Istanbul in just 24 minutes!!!

As CNN reports, “Remember the Skreemr, a concept for a supersonic plane that could travel at Mach 10?  Scratch that, there’s now a design for a plane that could cruise from London to New York in 11 minutes, traveling at Mach 24 — that’s 12 times faster than the Concorde!  Charles Bombardier, the industrial designer who came up with both designs, has dubbed this newest concept the Antipode, which he conceived in collaboration with Lunatic Koncepts founder Abhishek Roy.  In theory, it could carry up to ten passengers up to 12,430 miles in under an hour.”

The fact that it can only carry ten people at a time is a little bit concerning.  As is what I can only imagine will be exorbitant ticket prices.  Most likely this new mode of transportation will be something that only the super-rich will be able to enjoy.  But even still this concept is worth getting excited about.  At least until the next amazing transportation concept comes along.  Which at this rate, should be any day now.

 

Is the Antipode the Greatest Idea Ever?

Here’s a quick look at everything that tickled my fancy this past week:

Facebook Upgrades:  One area where Twitter routinely outperforms Facebook is in regards to live sporting events and all of the chatter that they generate among fans who are all enjoying the game at the same time.  Essentially, live tweeting an event is socially accepetable.  Live Facebooking it isn’t.  Facebook wants to change that and become the go to place for live event commenting so they rolled out Sports Stadium, a new portal designed to give sports fans the ultimate second screen experience.

As Re/Code reports:

“The company announced Facebook Sports Stadium late Wednesday night, a section of Facebook where users can go and follow major sporting events with things like player stats and videos and Facebook content from other people following along.

The feature looks a lot like what you’d find inside of ESPN’s or CBS’s mobile app, although the Stadium feature relies almost entirely on Facebook content. One tab has things your Facebook friends are saying about the game; a separate tab is for things that “experts” (verified Facebook users) are saying.”

But that wasn’t the only upgrade Facebook unveiled this week.  They also rolled out a new feature to all U.S. iPhone users giving them the ability to live stream video directly within the app.  Best of all, unlike Periscope, these videos aren’t here for just a limited time.  Rather there is no time limit for how long the content can be viewed.

At first this feature was only available to certain celebrities but it’s being opened up for everyone to enjoy.

As Engadget puts it:

“Livestreaming has been around for several years now, but it wasn’t until the arrival of mobile apps like Meerkat and Periscope that it caught on. Now Facebook has jumped in on the trend too. Yesterday, the Zuckerberg-owned empire expanded its Live Video feature beyond just celebs and verified pages so that everyone on the social network can get in on the bandwagon. It’s only available on iOS for now, though an Android version should soon be on its way.”

Periscope meanwhile upgraded as well as they announced a partnership with GoPro.

As The Verge reports:

“Periscope just took its first steps away from the smartphone. The Twitter-owned live-streaming app announced an integration with GoPro that will let users broadcast to their followers from an action camera for the first time. The integration, which currently works on iOS with the GoPro Hero 4 Black and Hero 4 Silver, allows Periscope to recognize a GoPro whenever one is connected to an iPhone. Once connected, the app gives users the option of broadcasting from the camera.”

Considering the state of both companies teaming up is a smart move that could help both stave off the competition.

 

Toy Upgrades:  From the “Well It Took Them Long Enough Department” comes two upgrades to iconic toys as Barbie dolls now come in more that just one standard size and LEGO adds a wheelchair accessory to its sets.

As Wired puts it in regards to Barbie:

“Barbie just got a redesign. The iconic doll now comes in four different sizes: petite, tall, curvy, and original. You know the original size—it’s the one that, if Barbie were a life-size human woman, would leave her with a 16-inch waist and an inability to walk on her own two feet. It’s also the size that’s outraged critiques for years, prompting Mattel to make a radical design move. That move was unveiled this morning, in a TIME magazine cover story.”

Meanwhile not everyone was happy with LEGO’s decision to market the new wheelchair accessory with an elderly character.

The Huffington Post explains:

“In the photo on Lego’s site, an elderly figure is featured in the wheelchair. Rebecca Atkinson, co-founder of the Toy Like Me campaign, worries about the message the toy sends to children.

‘We applaud Lego for producing a wheelchair using Duplo figure,’ Atkinson said in a press release. ‘But it’s so disappointing that the only wheelchair using figure across all Lego products is an elderly person being pushed along by a younger figure. What does this say to children about disability?'”

Controversy aside I think these toy upgrades are a step in the right direction and long overdue.  Kind of makes you wonder if there are any other toys out there that are in need of a makeover…

Life Upgrades: News of the DeLorean going back into production can only be classified one way: as a life upgrade!  At least that is if you’re one of the 300 people lucky enough to get in on the first wave of new cars that will be produced starting in 2017.

According to USA Today:

“DeLorean Motor is resurrecting the past with plans to build replicas of the famed car from the Back to the Future movies of the 1980s.

News reports out of Humble, Texas, say the automaker plans to make about 300 replicas of the 1982 DeLorean that has not been in production for 34 years. The company has remained in business by refurbishing old DeLoreans — about 9,000 were originally sold — for enthusiasts.”

To buy one all you’ll need is about $100,000.  But don’t worry.  It’ll be worth it as it’ll come fully equipped with all of today’s modern electronics and amenities.  No word yet though if it’ll come equipped with a Flux Capacitor.

Robot Upgrades:  Some people eagerly await the day that we all have robotic personal assistants that cook and clean for us like Rosie the Robot from The Jetsons.  Others irrationally fear the day that the robots rise up and become our Overlords.

Regardless of how you feel about them it’s clear that robots are here to stay.  So we better start thinking about what’s going to happen to them after they outlive their usefulness.  In other words it’s time to start making more environmentally friendly robot parts.

Popular Science explains:

“Most robots are made of plastic and metal, which are non-biodegradable. But researchers at the the IIT’s Smart Materials Group have developed a way to create a bioplastic out of food waste. This material could eventually be used to make an entirely biodegradable robot.  Athanassia Athanassiou, who leads the Smart Materials Lab at the IIT, says that the bioplastic can be flexible or tough, so it could be used for both robot ‘skin’ and interior robot parts.”

Sadly when it comes to plastic the damage to our environment may have already been done with scientists recently saying that it’s likely that the hardy material will show up in future fossil records.  So the less of it we can leave behind going forward the better.

Are any of these upgrades the Greatest Idea Ever?

If you’re one of the millions of people effected by last week’s blizzard you’ll love this news: researchers at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln have developed a new kind of concrete capable of using electricity to melt snow and ice!  It’s an idea that I came up with years ago and it has a lot of merit even if it will cost a lot more to make than regular concrete.

The Christian Science Monitor explains how it works:

“Steel rods beneath the concrete’s surface connect to electrodes, which connect to a 120-volt AC power source. Carbon byproducts from coal mining and steel shavings from industrial waste make up only 20 percent of the otherwise typical concrete mixture, but the conductivity is strong enough to clear the surface.”  

Better yet, this new concrete removes the need for the usual environment damaging salt and de-icing chemicals which can corrode concrete and lead to the creation of potholes.  Meaning that despite the higher upfront costs municipalities will actually be saving money in the long run.

But wait, there’s more!  This isn’t just a prototype or theory we’re talking about.  Rather, we’re talking about an actual product that has already been proven to work.

As the Huffington Post reports:

“The concrete has already been tested on a 150-foot bridge near Lincoln, Nebraska. The bridge was inlaid with 52 slabs of de-icing concrete in 2002, and has successfully melted snow and ice on its own ever since, according to the researchers.  Now, the researchers plan to demonstrate the de-icing concrete technology to the Federal Aviation Administration in hopes that the concrete might be integrated into the tarmac of a major U.S. airport.”

I’m sorry but did they say 2002?!?!?! What’s taken them so long to get this implemented?!!?!  I don’t care if it costs more.  Let’s do this!

 

Is electrically conductive concrete the Greatest Idea Ever?

#850 – Living Ink

If you live on the East Coast you’re probably stuck inside this weekend, bored out of your mind thanks to the most annoying Jonas since Nick.  If you’re lucky enough to still have power you’re probably binge watching How To Make A Murderer on Netflix, playing video games, or heaven forbid, actually reading a book.  But if you’re looking for something else to do you might want to consider Living Ink: the World’s first ever time lapse ink.  Doodling will never be the same again.

Made from algae this ink is, well, as the name suggests, alive.  After drawing something in several distinct phases you place your creation inside of a protective greenhouse of sorts and over the course of a few days your intentions will reveal themselves.

Gizmag explains in further detail how it all works:

“{The ink] can be applied to paper with a pen, a paintbrush or even a printer and is visible at first, so the artist can see what’s being created, and then fades after a few minutes. The ink comes in two varieties, one that’s fast growing (which shows as pink at first) and one slower (that’s initially in blue).

Once the doodling is done, the work is placed inside a portable greenhouse containing nutrients and moisture, then popped in a solid wood stand and placed near a source of light such as sunlight or the glow from a table lamp.

Over the course of a day or so, the algae in the fast ink start to reproduce and show up on the paper first, followed by the slow-growing ink over the next couple of days. When all is revealed, the paper can be removed from the greenhouse and the artwork put on display. The designers compare the process to “gardening on paper.”

Essentially what this means is that you can now easily send hidden messages to friends and loved ones.  Or cleverly tell a joke that at first sets up the punch line and then delivers it.  Perhaps one day we’ll even see Hallmark birthday cards made from Living Ink.

Until then, if you want to learn more be sure to check out their Kickstarter page.

Is Living Ink the Greatest Idea Ever?

 

#849 – Ruggie

It’s Tuesday morning.  You just spent the weekend hiking, watching playoff football, and playing in your first softball game of the season.  Your body aches as your mind struggles to remember how to wake up at 6 am.  Your bed, warm and cozy, serves as a safe haven for all of the horrors that await you out in the real world. All of the office politics, crazy ex girlfriends, and inevitable road rage incidents.

Left to your own devices you’d stay in bed all day long.  But sadly you come to the realization that you can’t do that.  Not today.  Not with that big presentation due tomorrow.  And so you say to yourself: “Just.  One.  More.  Minute.”, as you hit the snooze button for the seventeenth time.  Before you know it, thirty three minutes have gone by and you’re now officially late to work.  Again.

Thankfully help may soon be on the way.  Enter the Ruggie, a new alarm clock of sorts, that ensures you’ll get up and out of bed on time, each and every day.  That’s because in order to turn it off you’ll actually have to get out of bed and stand on it.  Seeing as how it’s a rug and all.

What the what!  But, wait.  There’s more.  According to the Huffington Post, “Not only will it force you to actually stand up out of bed, but the Ruggie will also deliver motivational quotes of your choosing every morning. Talk about starting the day off on the right foot.”

Now if only we could do something about that road rage…

Is the Ruggie the Greatest Idea Ever?

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