Top of inventor’s wit-2011

Author: Ury Smirnov. Category: Subjective rating of changes. Date:28.12.2011, 17:59.

On the eve of New Year’s I have decided to please you with a collection of unexpected technical solutions that go beyond standard thinking. Most of them have been implemented in the past year, some for the present are only announced.

Why have I chosen precisely these projects and the development from the tens of thousands of technology announcements found during the year (including hundreds of news about the profitable and celebrated market hits)? It seems to me that the ideas inherent in the selected project can inspire other inventors and break the patterns of thinking of potential users. It is a very useful quality for things of the XXI century: the thing that surprises helps the observer to remain flexible, so – to become successful.

10. Tenth place was shared by two witty children’s toys. Interactive cubes Sifteo Cubits are able to perform the role of game characters and props to interact with each other and react to the movement of the child. This is a ready alternative to video games, puzzles, and training programs that allows separating our children from the monitors, and returning them at the same time to the world of kinesthetic pleasures stolen by computers. The second device is Pinoky. One can put it on a paw or ear of any teddy bear and the favorite child’s toy comes to life! Pinoky has an integrated electric motor that obey the signals from the remote control, voice commands and can be programmed to certain movements.
9. Today exoskeletons are being developed not only for the “universal soldier”, but also for the disabled, as well as for farmers and some other peaceful occupations. Nevertheless, I was very pleased with the development of “exo-bones” with limited range 🙂 – exoskeleton hand x-Ar. I am sure that before the end of the decade, powerful and cheap exo-tools will become as commonplace in many homes, as a set of screwdrivers, a drill and a hammer. Sure, to invent something original, sometimes one need to narrow the field of view – instead of trying to “go beyond”.

8. How many cruel inventions were made to force people to rise in time for the job! Modern alarm clocks can get out of your soul with multiple alarms, wild sound and light effects and even (such model also exist) with many questions that are set up until awakened not give the correct answer. 🙂 Jerusalem College of Engineering (State of Tamil Nadu, India) experts have gone the other way. They proposed the idea of an alarm clock that keeps track of brain rhythms and the man wakes up only when he is in a shallow sleep phase, which means – guaranteed to wake up refreshed. The most advanced technologies are the most humane at our time.
7. Unusual pen, created by specialists of the University of Illinois under the direction of Jennifer Lewis allows you to create… ready electronic circuits directly on the paper. By the way, there are many ways now of no less original means to actuate such instrument drawn. They are: an antenna printed on a printer that allows to feed electronic devices with the energy of electromagnetic waves, the battery that is working on… paper, the paint that is capable of performing the role of solar batteries.

6. Another unusual pen – Phantom Omni – helps blind children to learn to write. It is a mechanical arm with feedback, which “leads” the student’s hand in accordance with the movements of the hands of teachers. Surely the same principle can be used in the preparation of athletes and specialists of different professions.
5. An elegant, economical and environmentally friendly replacement to traditional speakers for smart phones was offered by designer Anatoly Omelchenko. His iBamboo is an iPhone support, carved by hand from… a hollow piece of bamboo. It enhances the sound and creates a kind of the stereo effect natural way, without consuming electricity. I would like such approach to rethink different technologies would become a trend.

4. When we talk about interactive movies, we usually mean that the audience of the future will be using a remote control, gestures or voice to choose consciously certain versions of the story. The project Biosuite is, figuratively speaking, the tool for audience unconscious to become «director». More precisely, the choice of plot twists and turns and the final of the film recorded is stipulated with physiological responses of viewers (the changes of their heart rate and skin conductance) that are registered by instruments. I must say the authors of the present invention are very creative in rethinking of the principle of lie detectors. 🙂
3. How to control remotely the household appliances:

  • without remote control panel (which can not always be carried with everybody)?
  • without additional stationary control panels (which cost money, eat electricity and entangle the house with wires)?
  • without the system of gestures recognition (which does not work in the darkness and out of focus camera)?
  • without a voice recognition system (which is useless if the house is noisy)?

Brilliant solution was proposed by Desney Tan with colleagues from the research deprartmenr of Microsoft. The device created by him (which one needs temporarily to carry in a backpack) decrypts the human interaction with the characteristic of this house as a unique pattern of background electromagnetic radiation. The owner can simply draw “buttons” he needed in any area of his home with a conventional paint. When he touches a particular part of the wall, the device recognizes his “instructions” – and give it to a gadget or appliance.

2. A team of Chinese scientists led by Hexi Baoyin boldly broke just two deep-rooted stereotypes. The first of them is that an asteroid is the risk of global catastrophe. The second one is that the extraction of minerals from asteroids requires the creation of an extended transport “bridge” between the Earth and the asteroid belt. Meanwhile, the project by Chinese scientists would allow to avoid long cargo flights. If, of course, developers are able to find a way… to “fix” an asteroid, occasionally crossing the vicinity of our planet on a permanent or temporary Earth orbit. In my opinion, this ingenious logistics project is unlikely to be realized in this century. But who knows: maybe a good idea about asteroid defense would appear during in-depth calculations by the authors of the project? And I am sure that this project will soon inspire Hollywood producers for the next space blockbuster. 🙂
1. A shaker-book for the iPad, created by artist Raghava Keykey, could be the symbol of our rating. It helps the child to overcome the “unobtrusive ideological diktat” of adults and as long as possible to remain a little creative genius of unconventional thinking. Each shaking of the book displays a slightly different set of images and texts. As a result, each time a child is invited to an alternative point of view on the events described. I think many politicians, businessmen and people of art, firmed in their views, need the laptop-shaker and simple zombie citizens – TV-shaker. 🙂

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Happiness, health and prosperity to you and your family! See you in the New Year!

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