tech planet

Saturday, 19 January 2013

Hide + Seek Champ: RFID Tracker is a Remote Bloodhound

If you’re one of those people who regularly misplace your keys, your TV remote, your wallet and anything else that’s small enough to disappear, you need a way to keep track of your stuff. The Finder is an RFID location device that uses a transparent touchscreen device and a sheet of locator stickers to help you find all of your little lost things. Just peel a sticker off of the sheet and stick it onto your stuff, then the handheld device can tell you just where it is.
The concept was designed by Chu Want, Qiujin Kou, Qian Yin and Yonghua Zhang – and it looks like a cool futuristic twist on the numerous other “finder” devices out there. The handheld device guides you to your items, taking you turn-by-turn right to your stuff’s hiding spots. You’ll never be late again…well, not because of lost keys, anyway.

Office Recycling Machine Magically Turns Papers into Pencils

Believe it or not, some offices still use pencils and paper to communicate. Those that do often find that they have an abundance of waste paper and a lack of usable pencils. This brilliant solution takes care of both problems at once by using waste paper to create brand spanking new pencils. It’s called the P&P Office Waste Paper Processor, and it’s designed to provide low-cost writing implements from office waste.
The machine uses a relatively simple procedure to recycle your old papers into writing instruments. You fill up its compartments with pencil leads and glue, then feed a piece of paper in and the paper is wound tightly around the lead while glue is dispensed to hold it all together. Shortly after you put the paper in, a new pencil pops out.
The pencil chute also works as a pencil sharpener, presumably after making an adjustment somewhere to activate that function. The pencils produced by this unusual machine are all unique; the design depends on what was on the paper that’s fed into the gadget.
It’s doubtful that making pencils from old paper would actually save any money or energy over, say, recycling paper the standard way and just buying new pencils for pennies each. But for classrooms and offices that use both pencils and paper like crazy, having a handy way to take care of both problems simultaneously could be a welcome change. The P&P is just a concept for now, but given the fact that recycled paper pencils are already being sold extensively it seems like only a matter of time before this machine becomes a reality.

Forget About It (Or Don’t): Mobile Gadget Tracks Your Stuff

Whether it is due to distraction, lack of time or just plain forgetfulness, lots of us leave home without essential items every day. What if you could track all of your gadgets, keys, and all of those other objects that make your day complete – and ensure that you never again leave home without them?
The Memio is a simple wireless gadget that would track the items you own as they come through your front door. The slick gadget lists all of the things you designate as your essential daily items, indicating as you are about to leave whether you have them with you or not. The designer, Rob Prickett, doesn’t explain how the items would be tracked, but presumably it could be achieved with small trackers stuck onto each object.
The screen can even tell you where you left your items last, letting you find your misplaced keys in no time rather than hunting for them and making you late for work. If you try to leave the house without any of your essentials the Memio will alert you with a little red light. Unfortunately, like most other memory helpers, this one won’t be of much use unless you can actually remember to take the Memio with you and program all of your stuff into it.

Flex It: Space-Age Cord Wraps Up Multi-Functionality

It’s often the more fantastical designs that catch our eyes and make us dream of a technology-filled future. The “Integral Cord” concept from Raphael Lang, Yu-Lin Hou and Stephen Chan Win Tak is an exciting idea that may not be entirely possible with today’s technology but gives an enticing view of the type of flexible gadget we may carry around in the future.
The design earned the runner-up award in the Lifebook category of the FUJITSU Design Award: A Life With Future Computing competition, organized by Designboom in collaboration with FUJITSU. The Integral Cord design is both deceptively minimalistic and cleverly packed with functionality.
The cord’s length is packed with laser LED arrays and camera arrays that both create a flexible display and allow the device to recognize where the user’s finger are at any given moment. Because the cord is flexible, it can be manipulated into a vast variety of shapes and sizes.
When it is moved, twisted and manipulated, the Integral Cord can create several different displays at once. The LEDs criss-cross inside the loops to create a visible pixel at every point of intersection. Several of the devices can be connected to create gigantic super-size displays, multiple connected screens, or even a projected image – or one cord can be coiled to create a very small and inconspicuous display.
Thanks to the integrated cameras, the Integral Cord can do more than just show pictures. When shaped into a loop, it acts as a scanner as an object is passed through the loop. Transferring files from one system to the next is as easy as bringing a file up on one loop display and using a finger to “push” it through to the other loop.

Crazy 70s Human Washing Machine

Did you ever climb into the clothes dryer as a kid? Did you ever want to try the washer? If you lived in 1970s Japan, you might have gotten a brief chance. Sanyo displayed a suite of futuristic electronics in the 1970 World Expo in Osaka; the examples were meant to show off what the home of the future would be like. One of the most fascinating gadgets was their Ultrasonic Bath.
The bath consists of an egg-shaped chamber six feet off of the ground that contained a chair. After the user climbed a ladder to enter the chamber, a pre-rinse cycle sprayed the body with jets of water. The machine then moved on to a massage bath mode, ultrasonic cycle, and a rinse. After the user was thoroughly sanitized, the gizmo entered the dry cycle, complete with special lights to blast away germs.
Sadly, the Ultrasonic Bath never actually made it to production. It’s just wacky enough to make it seem cool, even by today’s standards. And with its funky 1970s styling, it would undoubtedly be the most stylish thing in your home – whether you decided to keep the bathing suit or go au naturale.

Wash, Rinse, Repeat, Hike: Arm-Powered Camp Dishwasher

If you would rather be chased through the woods by an angry mother bear than wash your camping dishes by hand, you’ll love David Stockton’s EcoWash System. The small plastic gadget is meant to be carried along on camping or hiking trips to keep dinner dishes clean and shiny without the need to dip your hands into a dishpan – and with no electricity.
The concept is simple enough. A squat cylindrical chamber holds dishes and utensils, and water and soap are poured in through a small opening at the top. A hand-crank pops out of the side and the user spins and spins, using elbow grease to slosh the dishes clean. Another small opening at the bottom of the chamber lets the dirty water out. Rinse and dry cycles follow.
The designer intends the washer to come with its own special set of plastic dishes and cutlery that would fit perfectly into the dishwasher. After washing, the dining set could presumably be stored and transported in the washer as well.
While it seems like a cool idea, this seems to be a fix for a problem that doesn’t really exist. It would take far more planning, money and muscle power to carry and operate this machine at a campsite than it would to simply wash the dishes by hand. But there are some people who would pay any amount and go to any ridiculous length to keep from doing dishes (we’re looking at you, ex-roommates), so this concept is just for them.

High Rollers: Refrigerated Robot Wheels for Fetching Food

Ordering goods online or from a local retailer and having them delivered to our homes is so common as to be called mundane at this point. There remains a human hand somewhere in all of those transactions, though – from the order puller at the warehouse to the delivery person who drops off the groceries. The very strange AMMI (Automated Mobile Marketing Intelligence) concept would remove humans from one more step of the shopping experience.
The little vehicle is meant to be programmed at home with the coordinates of the nearest grocery store. When the family needs supplies, they order online from that store and the order is made ready for them. Then the AMMI rolls into action. The autonomous vehicle makes its way through neighborhoods and into the supermarket where it is filled up with its owners purchases. When fully loaded, it rolls back home to be unloaded. A climate-controlled interior would make sure everything arrives nice and fresh.
We love weird futuristic concepts, but this one seems to have way too many flaws and potential problems to make it to mainstream. Sending a small vehicle out into the world on its own loaded down with groceries seems like an invitation to thieves and hooligans to do their worst. And while the AMMI would have a road recognition system and gyroscopic self-stabilization, the urban sport of AMMI tipping would undoubtedly put a swift end to any proliferation of this type of grocery-getting device. We’ll stick to our bike baskets for transporting food, thank you very much.

Not One Less camera ensures everyone gets their photo taken

I was about to call the title of this story as “Not One Less camera ensures everyone gets shot”, but the use of the verb here proved to be rather insensitive at this time of bereavement for folks who are grieving at Newtown. Well, capturing photos with a camera would come across as second nature to many by now, but there is one caveat – most of the time, group photos tend to miss out on the photographer him/herself, and this is what designer Ji Lin hopes to solve with her ‘Not One Less’ camera design.
This concept will see the camera sport dual lenses – one in front, and one at the back, where it will capture the group portrait while simultaneously snap a photo of the photographer – all at the same time when the shutter button is pressed down. Following that, the Not One Less camera will get to work by superimposing the photographer’s image into the main photo. This is a 2012 IF Design Talents entry, and it remains to be seen whether such a concept has the kind of wings to take off on a commercial scale.