Sometimes it just takes a few tries for an idea to stick. Augmented reality, for example, was a big buzzword a few years ago; apps like Layar and Google Goggles were must-downloads, Google Glass was on the horizon, and it looked as though we'd all soon be living in a hybrid of reality and the internet.
Considering how powerful a modern smartphone can be, it seems remarkable that most of us treat them as disposable; after a year or two, we're itching to trade up to the newest model, even if it's just for incremental gains in performance. But what if we could keep the parts of the phone that haven't been improved by the latest iteration, and just buy the parts that have?
We recently had a chance to sit down with Jamie Wolfond, founder of the new furniture and product design company Good Thing NY. In the roughly two months since its founding, Good Thing has already drawn the attention of the design world. His philosophy around innovation stresses attention to every aspect of sourcing and manufacturing, from the very outset of the design process.
We can all identify with the impulse to capture an image for posterity; in the era of the smartphone, that urge to preserve and share has become an overwhelming part of many people's lives. But it increasingly appears that we're on the edge of an exponential boom in our ability to record and experience images.
In the last couple years, a great deal of thought has been put into the pizza-ordering process. Hungry customers can follow Domino's Pizza Tracker, which logs every step of their pizza's creation, from the initial order, to baking, to the moment it leaves the store. A Domino's in Salt Lake City even installed 5 webcams in its kitchen for maximum transparency. And online ordering, through a company's site or services like Seamless, has become the norm. So where can we go from here?
Looking for a quick creativity booster on a Friday afternoon? You can't do much better than flipping through the finalists for this year's Dyson awards. Smithsonian Magazine has put together a great roundup of some of their favorites-- from a robotic arm that can help workers left heavier objects, to a fridge-powered device that lets you set the perfect temperature and humidity for your fresh fruits and vegetables, to a wind-powered cellphone charger.
Sometimes it's easy to forget that there can be room for innovation at even the most basic level. One of our favorite finds from this year's Maker Faire in NYC was Ply Products, a company that has created a brilliantly basic invention - a new hardware fastener.
We love wearable technology, the more unusual the better – and one of our favorite concepts right now is a fare card for the Boston T transit line that's been adapted into a chic ring. Created by two MIT students, the Sesame Ring carries an RFID chip that's compatible with the Boston MBTA's rechargeable fare card system. Just fist-bump the card scanner as you walk past, and you're good to go.