September 12, 2014
Remember e-ink? For a moment around 2010, it looked poised to take the world by storm. While Amazon continues to use it for some Kindles - and some would say it still makes for the most readable display - it never really caught on in broader applications. But it's not dead; it remains perhaps the most power-efficient way to run a digital screen, and that feature means e-ink is showing up in some unexpected places.
The latest we've seen is an e-ink display on a checkout lane divider, those little plastic bars you use on the checkout conveyor belt to defend the borders of your grocery pile from the customer behind you. A company called Motion Display has created one that uses motion sensors to trigger an ad on its screen whenever it's picked up. We think this is a pretty cool innovation - combined with NFC chips or a code reader, it could be incorporated in some clever marketing efforts based around the items a consumer is buying. How would you use it? Let us know on Twitter, via @consumereyes!
September 5, 2014
While the efforts to purge BPA from plastic bottles are well known, there are still some unexpected places where the chemical can show up. Earlier this year, it was revealed that the thermal paper used in receipts can actually transfer a measurable amount of BPA through the skin, and the race was on to find a suitable replacement.
The latest innovation is Appvion's Alpha Free receipt paper, which replaces the BPA with Vitamin C - perhaps the most on-trend swapping of ingredients we've ever encountered. No word yet on whether it offers any appreciable health benefits, though.
September 4, 2014
Digital Rights Management, or DRM, has long been a hot-button issue in the digital realm; it may not have begun with Napster, but in the post-Napster era we've watched a constant race between users attempting to open up information to the world and content owners trying to keep it locked down. And as our everyday objects become more technologically advanced, we've seen a trend toward DRM popping up in some unexpected places.
Keurig's enormously popular K-Cup coffee machines use their own form of DRM to prevent other manufacturers from producing cups for the machines. The system employs a dot of a special dye on each authorized cup, which a sensor in the machine looks for before brewing begins - but with the Mother Parkers brand's announcement that their cups will be compatible with the latest Keurig machines, the code may be cracked. Will Keurig up the ante on the next iteration of their machine, or accept that the Keurig is now compromised? And if they succeed in keeping the system proprietary, where could this strategy show up next?
August 21, 2014
Ever had a particularly exhausting day shopping at Ikea and found yourself looking longingly at those beds in the showroom? Soon, your napping fantasy could be a reality. Ikea Australia recently announced that they'd be listing some of their showroom beds on AirBnB, letting consumers actually spend the night in the ultimate immersive Ikea experience.
We love this idea (provided the sheets are given a good washing ahead of time) because it shows a brand being willing to embrace the fun aspects of its relationship with consumers. The idea of letting consumers sleep in the Ikea apartments has a great, intuitive "hook" - they're iconic spaces that we've all seen, and you've probably wondered what it would be like to actually treat one like your home. It also ties into the growing trend of large public spaces letting guests sleep over - New York's Museum of Natural History recently held its first slumber party for adults.
So take a page from Ikea's book and think about what your brand has to offer; if you could give your biggest fans an all-access pass, what would they want to do?
Pic via Consumerist
August 13, 2014
Everywhere you look, it’s prime time for foods on sticks – corn dogs at the State Fair, kebabs on the backyard grill, paletas at the Brooklyn Flea. But leave it to the Japanese to combine two great skewered foods in a way that only they could want to eat: Yakitori Popsicles.
Such is the Japanese love of innovation that the latest heatwave has kicked off a full on trendlet for these grilled chicken skewers, encased in meaty gelatin and then slowly frozen to retain that fresh-from-the-grill flavor. It helps that the gelatin is naturally rich in collagen, a popular cosmeceutical thought to prevent wrinkles. A double whammy for summertime snacking in the sun!
Hey, at least you don’t have to worry about having popsicle tongue.