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Good Thinking

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

Figure 1 - World Wealth Levels in Year 2000

December 7, 2006 A new study on The World Distribution of Household Wealth by the Helsinki-based World Institute for Development Economics Research of the United Nations University was launched earlier this week. The study shows the richest 2% of adults in the world own more than half of global household wealth. The most comprehensive study of personal wealth ever undertaken also reports that the richest 1% of adults alone owned 40% of global assets in the year 2000, and that the richest 10% of adults accounted for 85% of the world total. In contrast, the bottom half of the world adult population owned barely 1% of global wealth. The research finds that assets of US$2,200 per adult placed a household in the top half of the world wealth distribution in the year 2000. To be among the richest 10% of adults in the world required US$61,000 in assets, and more than US$500,000 was needed to belong to the richest 1%, a group which — with 37 million members worldwide — is far from an exclusive club.  Read More

Research shows the message in advertising is irrelevant

December 5, 2006 Now here’s a story that is certain to fuel debate – new research undertaken by the University of Bath’s School of Management shows that creativity and emotion are what makes advertising successful, not the message it is trying to get over. University of Bath’s Dr Robert Heath (pictured) found that advertisements with high levels of emotional content enhanced how people felt about brands, even when there was no real message. However, advertisements which were low on emotional content had no effect on how favourable the public were towards brands, even if the ad was high in news and information.  Read More

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