All posts filed under: innovation

Float Table by Rock Paper Robot

The woman behind the innovative furnishings company RockPaperRobot (RPR) might be as fascinating as her designs. A trained roboticist with an Engineer’s and Master’s degree from MIT, Jessica Banks was in the Humanoid Robotics Group within the university’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab. She left graduate school just shy of her Ph.D. to teach about distributed power systems in MIT’s Civil and Environmental Engineering Department, and also holds a B.S. in General Physics from the University of Michigan, with a concentration in Creative Writing. And when you think she couldn’t be any cooler, you find out that she used to be Al Franken’s personal assistant. New from RPR is the Float Table, a magical Rubik’s Cube-like structure that elastically deforms and stabilizes when force is applied. The handcrafted table is a matrix of “magnetized” wooden cubes that levitate with respect to one another. The repelling cubes are held in equilibrium by a system of tensile steel cables. Float is available in a variety of woods and finishes as 38″ x 18.5″ x 18.5″ coffee table, a 18.5″ x 18.5″ side table, and in custom sizes. Shelving is …

Petite Loop “Phone Leash”

It’s a rare thing when you find a product that is equal parts simple and useful. The Petite Loop “phone leash” is an incredibly handy, lightweight accessory that sticks to the back of your phone under your case. First you peel back the adhesive backing on the ribbon of your choice and attach it to the back of your phone. You then pull the .5 millimeter thick ribbon through the charging hole on the bottom and snap your case back on (it is claimed to be compatible with all phones ). You now have a handy way to be hands-free with your phone if you are without pockets, want to hang it on the back of the bathroom door so it doesn’t fall in the toilet, or want to keep it from getting snatched as the subway doors close (happened to my friend). At only .8 grams, the ribbon adds no noticable weight to the phone. But how strong is it really? You know those wall hanging tabs from 3M that only come off if you pull them horizontally from the product but will not …

Sense Sleep Tracker

The Sense sleep tracker from Hello, which begins shipping to consumers next month, raised an astounding $2.4 million on Kickstarter in August to become the 6th most funded tech campaign in the crowdfunding site’s history. Taking a different approach to “wearables” that can only track your sleep patterns when they are on your body, Sense is intended to fade into the background and let you just focus on the task at hand — sleeping. The design of the polycarbonate shell was inspired by architecture, in fact Sense resembles a little egg that would have rolled out of Beijing’s iconic “birds nest” Olympic stadium. Sense comes with a little device called a Sleep Pill that attaches to your pillow and invisibly tracks your sleep movements at night. In case you were wondering, the manufacturer says that the unit “absolutely does not” track movements related to sex. The unit’s high-precision sensors are so sensitive, however, they are able to identify noise (from snores in your bedroom to car alarms on the street); pick up on light disturbances; monitor temperature and humidity conditions; and even see particulates in …

Zipbuds Earbuds

There is an episode of the indie hit show Portlandia, where a couple is buying a housewarming present for a friend and ends up in a trendy “knot store” that literally sells different kinds of knots. The salesperson (played to quirky perfection by Jeffrey Goldblum) convinces them to buy some tangled earbuds in a glass vitrine as a piece of  home decor. Explains Goldblum, “an artist we work with makes these by jamming them into his pocket.” He then purrs inexplicably. The makers of Zipbuds have a new solution to avoid the inevitable pocket-stress on your earbud wires. Zipbuds are tangle-free earphones with a patented zipper technology that allow you to literally zip-up the wires together so that they can’t get tangled. This “vertebrae design” is lightweight and uses high-performance military grade cabling to reduce fraying or distorted cables. The earbuds are made to minimize ear pressure and fit comfortably, and include three custom-fitted ear tips. They are compatible with Apple, Android, Windows Phone, and other media devices that accept traditional 3.5mm headphone input and come in black, …