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Good Thinking

Fractional Ownership Portal

January 17, 2007 We’ve written before about the growing trend towards fractional ownership moving from cars to almost every aspect of lifestyle. Fractional ownership is the concept of dividing an expensive asset into percentage shares and selling those shares to individual owners. Each person who owns a fractional share then gets a relative percentage use of the asset. More often than not, a company manages the asset and owners pay fixed fees for the management in addition to variable fees for use. For rapidly depreciating assets, such as high-end vehicles, the management company may sell the asset after a fixed period and distribute the proceeds back to the owners. Now a new web portal named Fractional Life is providing a one-stop site to assist consumers in making sense of the currently expanding fractional ownership marketplace. The website also covers those companies that offer lifestyle experiences such as the use of supercars, jets, yachts and other top-end luxury products but without the consumer owning a particular segment - anything asset-sharing, part-ownership or experience sharing based.  Read More

Crosslink flexible lighting could change the look of the future

January 16, 2007 Futurists’ might need to reappraise their forecasts for the look of the future if the promise of a new electroactive polymer materials with remarkable properties reaches full commercialisation. Start-up Crosslink has developed a material with an array of real-world applications that could profoundly influence how our living environments, possessions and clothes look in the future as it effectively offers almost any object the ability to become a light source. SuperFlex is a lightweight, crushable, durable electroluminescent (EL) lighting technology based on polythiophene, an inherently conductive polymer known as PEDOT. SuperFlex can be formulated to emit light in both the visible and near-infrared (NIR) spectrums and can withstand being twisted, punctured, torn or scrunched-up (bottom images) without losing its ability to light up. The first commercialisation of the technology will be in the form of easily-transportable softwall shelters for the military (top image) with the lighting system semi-permanently attached to the inside of the shelter. The future prospects for SuperFlex are very bright as textiles, composites, plastics and metals all can be coated with SuperFlex, signalling a step-change approach to how we use light sources. The technology is applicable in myriad ways - from merchandising displays to packaging, walls, drapes, any part of a structure, clothes that light up at night for safety or decorative purposes ad infinitum. Then there are some compelling military applications, such as a foldable map that emits its own infrared light so it can be read in complete darkness using night vision goggles.  Read More

Self cleaning Lotus leaf imitated in plastic

January 15, 2007 Nature has some ingenious solutions which have been studied by some of the most successful inventors and creators of our time. Frank Lloyd Wright implored, “Study nature, love nature, stay close to nature. It will never fail you.” Now we have the prospect of a self cleaning plastic cup based on the same ideas that nature used to self-clean the Lotus Leaf - a plastic cup that can be reused without washing it, simply because contamination has no chance to stick to the surface. The ideal natural properties of the Lotus leaf’s self-cleaning surface are ideal for many applications and consumer products. Work underway by the Applied Laser Technology Group of the University of Twente has shown that such products are possible by using an ultra fast femtosecond laser.  Read More

Concept to prototype in three days

January 15, 2007 With concept-to-showroom times being cut from years to months in recent times, one wonders just how quickly the development process can be carried out. One very ambitious and ultimately successful promotion at MacWorld Expo really pushed the envelope in this regard. Product development company mophie successfully turned the show floor of MacWorld ’07 into an open-source product development space where in less than four-days MacWorld attendees saw doodled concepts become actual prototypes. The mophie Illuminator generated over 100 concepts, and although the promise was to deliver one prototype, three of the concepts were deemed so good that three finished products were created during the show. And some nice ideas too …  Read More

The KangoRoom self-contained portable trade display

December 30, 2006 As we’ve previously noted, moving an elephant atom by atom costs a lot more than moving the elephant in one pre-assembled lump. Now everyone knows that trade shows are a gold mine of new business opportunities and a vital part of an effective, integrated marketing effort, but the cost per lead is often very expensive when you add all factors into your allocation of resources. Creating a functional and effective booth at a trade show is not for the feint of heart or inexperienced – it requires fastidious pre-show planning and the choreography of myriad factors and external suppliers if it’s gonna be right on the day. The KangoRoom is a self-contained portable trade display that eliminates the constant design, construction and set-up of the booth. Obviously not for everyone, but for many companies this new approach from New Zealand’s KangoRoom would enable a lot more trade shows to be incorporated in the budget.  Read More

The Hippo roller – ingenious water roller

The Hippo roller is another one of those ideas that is incredibly simple yet can make untold difference to millions of lives. Imagine waking up long before sunrise and then walking for more than two hours to the nearest river or borehole and then carrying a bucket full of water on your head all the way home - every day for the rest of your life. This hell-on-earth scenario is faced by millions every day, causing extensive personal injury and suffering with no respite. The Hipporoller carries 20 gallons of water, four times the water that one person can carry via a 20 litre bucket (5 gallons weighs nearly 42 pounds or 18.9 kilograms) and it does so without placing undue stress on the neck, arms or spine. The humanitarian project is woefully under-resourced, so if you fancy doing your bit for your fellow humans at this time-of-plenty in the Western world, you can support the Hippo Water Roller project via the Africa Foundation which is registered in the USA as a charitable organization with 501(c)3 status and hence qualifies as tax deductible. Via Treehugger  Read More

The AddMirror - highly effective ambient media

December 19, 2006 The world of ambient media seems to grow more crowded by the day, as advertisers seek an opportunity to cut through the clutter of the myriad adverts which have dulled our awareness to them. In terms of attention, there are few more effective mediums than the mirror where everyone becomes the centre of their own attention. So we’re pleased to report that the most effective medium in history now takes advertising. Addirect was founded in 2003 with the idea of bringing together advertising and technical innovation to create highly-targeted ambient media and they have certainly achieved that with the AddMirror. Working exactly like a regular mirror, The AddMirror reveals up to six A4-sized “hidden” advertisements using pre-set lighting sequences. The rationale behind The AddMirror is that it’s a dynamic medium for advertisers that compels audiences to engage with their creative work. Simply put, people looking in washroom mirrors cannot fail to see their adverts. Moreover, AddMirrors are strategically located in sites that guarantee high visitor traffic.  Read More

Custom Gift Card Kiosks

December 15, 2006 Since the first Christmas card was sent in the year 1843 by Sir Henry Cole, the traditional has caught on and the Christian Festival is now the largest card-sending occasion in most European countries, the United States, Australia and a bunch of others. As far as we’re aware, George W Bush sends the most Christmas cards each year (approx. 1.4 million Christmas cards), America sends 1.9 billion Christmas cards and we warrant there’d be a few more sent across the rest of the world too. So it’s interesting to see the development of the Christmas card via personalised gift kiosks and on-line services such as Cardways. The Macy's Custom Gift Card Kiosk by Cardways is being tested in select locations in San Francisco and San Jose to give customers a more personal gift card experience. You can personalize your cards with photos and the message you want for that person, and ordered online or at the kiosk, the company prints, addresses and mails your cards for you.  Read More

Lab-grown diamonds now an alternative

December 14, 2006 Diamonds may well be the world’s most beautiful gem, though we suspect there are many factors contributing to why they remain a “girl’s best friend.” The association with love may soon be tested as technological advances have finally enabled laboratory-created diamonds which have a distinct advantage over their naturally occurring identical twins - they are 100% conflict-free and have not paid the wages of a child soldier, been exchanged for armaments, financed a brutal civil war or have been smuggled at least part of the way to landing on that engagement ring. The New York Times writes ,“Across vast stretches of Africa, diamonds fuel war. Diamonds are so lucrative for predatory governments and marauding rebels that war has become a useful cover for hugely profitable smuggling enterprises. But for millions of Africans who happen to get in the way, diamonds are agents of terror.” In addition to their humane aspects, lab-diamonds also have virtually no environmental impact and they are physically, chemically and optically identical to mined diamonds yet a fraction of the cost. Of course, there are those not even convinced in the worth of diamonds in the first place. For example, “the diamond engagement ring is a 63-year-old invention of N.W.Ayer advertising agency. The De Beers diamond cartel contracted N.W.Ayer to create a demand for what are, essentially, useless hunks of rock.”  Read More

An iPat image

December 14, 2006 Just the thing for checking whether that’s a gun in their pocket or they’re just pleased to see you. Sago’s full body imager, iPat, recently completed and passed rigorous location and identification testing on a variety of explosive threats. The tests took place in cooperation with a leading security equipment provider. iPat was unveiled in September during the ASIS security show in San Diego. The aPat handheld personnel screening tool and iPat do not radiate X-rays or microwaves at any level. Both products are designed to provide primary or secondary screening in high security applications such as airline passenger screening or access control. They passive millimeter-wave/thermal imaging products image a person’s natural body heat to detect the presence of hidden threats such as explosives, liquids, guns, and knives.  Read More

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