This week in tech, we present amazing concepts from exceptionally creative minds. These ideas are so good, you'll wonder why no one invented them before. How about germ-proof clothing? Odors that can be sent via text message? A car that comes with its own drone and a fish that's able to drive an aquarium. Those are just a few. Read on.
STRING JUNGLE GYM: Croatian-Austrian collective Numen/For Use is known for its large-scale interactive environments. The group's latest design is an inflatable building rigged with a network of cables. The String Prototype gives kids and adults alike a jungle gym experience. Climb aboard.
Renault’s new KWID Concept, unveiled at the New Delhi Auto Show, comes with an accessory no other car on the market has: a drone. The Flying Companion accompanies the car in manual mode or can be driven by passengers. It flies above the traffic to scout road conditions and uses a camera to collects images and send them back to the car.
From the same people who brought us Le Whif (Harvard Professor David Edwards), the chocolate inhaler, comes oPhone, a Bluetooth-enabled device the emits scents. It connects to a person's smartphone and allows anyone who has the device to receive odors via text or email.
This vehicle is a cross between a hovercraft, an airboat and a pontoon. Designed by Interconn Development in Ontario, Canada, the Amphibious Trimaran with Aerostatic Discharge is a craft that can travel over land, water, snow and ice. Depending on the surface it's traveling over, the vehicle can glide on a friction-reducing cushion of air or it can float on three inflatable pontoons. After 200 hours of testing, Transport Canada approved the ATASD for commercial use.
Cambridge, UK-based Novalia has developed a way to print conductive ink onto paper and a make a keyboard that would cost just $10. The electronic ink works similar to touchscreen technology and runs on a small watch battery. It can be connected to any device via a Bluetooth signal.
You can recycle that empty wine bottle or you can turn it into a beautiful lamp. The $15 cork, from SuckUK lights up for several hours and then recharges via a USB attachment. Twist the cork to turn it on or off. Embellish several bottles to create dramatic lighting indoors or outside. It also makes a nice gift.
City-dwellers who ride public transportation or come into contact with lots of other individuals that might be carrying germs, a cold or the H1N1 flu virus might want to consider this line of clothing from design consultancy firm Gravitytank. The jacket has a washable "sneezing patch" in the inside of the elbow, palm-protecting fold out gloves and a face mask that comes with an antimicrobial liner that serves as an air filter. Stay healthy!
Politician Nathalie Kosciusko-Morizet, who is running for mayor of Paris, wants to transform the dozen or so abandoned Metro stations into useful civic places. Architect Manal Rachdi and urban planner Nicolas Laisné drew up some examples, including a performing arts space, a public pool, an art gallery, a restaurant, a nightclub and an underground garden.
Small autonomous robots, developed by a team of scientists from Harvard University, work together to construct different shapes out of foam bricks with just a few simple, low-level commands. They were inspired by termites, social insects capable of building large, complex structures. Instead of programming the robots to perform tasks, the scientists gave each robot a series of simple rules to follow that work like traffic signs to signal when the robot should put down a brick, turn or climb higher. With just these simple commands, the robots were able to build towers, castles and pyramids.
Dutch design studio Diip created the Fish On Wheels, a mobile aquarium that your goldfish can drive. A camera positioned above the tank monitors the location of the fish and sends the information to a computer that controls the drive motor and steering. When the fish swims forward, the vehicle drives forward; if the fish goes to the back, the vehicle drives in reverse.