Outside My Little World

by Ilias Carré on February 18, 2011

in Design

Working day to day in the interactive/search/media/social media/design fields, things are constantly changing. There are new innovations, enhancements, upgrades, new ways to communicate and share information, new hardware and software, new ways to develop and design, and the list goes on and on. It’s easy to keep my mind busy and entertained within this little world. One thing I like to do is step out and see what other ideas are happening in areas that have nothing to do with my everyday work. I never know how they will affect me and some of them are simply brilliant. Websites like TED, Springwise, trendwatching, or Popular Mechanics, offer up a whole range of ideas and inventions that you need to explore. Here are a few examples.

Hippo Water Roller

Hippo Water Roller

Hippo Water Roller

This invention helps tackle the issue of people in areas of Africa having to travel long distances carrying large containers, often on their head, to get water. Two engineers came up with the idea to develop a large water barrel built of rugged plastics with an easy-to-fill opening, turn it on its side, and attach portable handles so people can roll it to their destination instead of having to carry it. It lets people transport more water than before and also saves them from spine and neck injuries that would occur when carrying heavy water containers. http://www.hipporoller.org/

sOccket

sOccket

sOccket lighting a LED

Being a soccer player this idea really grabbed my attention. Knowing how widespread the popularity of soccer is around the world, particularly in developing countries like Africa, the idea four young women from Harvard came up with is fantastic. Using a special soccer ball, they figured out a way to capture the energy during game play, then use that stored electrical energy to connect and illuminate a LED lamp. 15 minutes of play gives you 3 hours of light. In developing countries, that is very beneficial. The ball is still in prototyping stages, but it is certainly a great idea and hopefully can gain support and investors. http://www.soccket.com/

EyeWriter

EyeWriter

TEMPTONE with the EyeWriter

This invention has a very neat story behind it. A legendary graffiti artist named TEMPTONE was diagnosed with ALS (Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis), which impaired his ability to move his muscles. One thing that did have movement were his eyes so a group figured out an affordable way using off-the-shelf products and open source software to let him and others create art by tracking the movement of their eyes. He would create artwork using his eyes and one thing they did was project his tags on buildings or walls in Los Angeles, letting him continue his legacy as a graffiti artist. It continues to be an ongoing open source project. http://www.eyewriter.org/

What are some ideas or inventions outside of your everyday routine that have inspired you or what are some things you do to go outside of your little world?

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Les James Les James February 18, 2011 at 3:38 pm

This is such a great post because it illustrates what I consider to be design in it’s purest form. Take the Hippo Water Roller example. The design isn’t flashy or sexy yet the solution to the problem is so beautiful in it’s simplicity and effectiveness. It’s real easy to give in to scope creep and we end up over designing something, but here is a wonderful solution that gives the user everything they need and nothing they don’t. It’s this kind of thinking that really inspires me to become a better designer so that I too can craft elegant solutions to real, everyday problems.

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Morgan Siem February 22, 2011 at 9:06 am

Great post, Ilias. I love the idea of the Soccket. It’s great to see people applying their knowledge (be it technical, design, scientific, etc.) to real-life issues.

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