The solar-powered balloons transmit signals to each other high in the sky, signals which eventually find their way to a user’s “Internet antenna” on the Earth below. The balloons simply drift with the winds—algorithms help the balloons rise or fall into the wind pattern that will take them where they need to go.
Some late-night hunger pains can only be appeased by one thing: instant ramen. But as all ramen aficionados know, it’s not only the noodles and mysterious spice packets that count—the packaging itself forms much of the experience. A good meal-in-a-bowl should have a worthy bowl to go along with it.
Designers Anna Glansén and Hanna Billqvist of Tomorrow Machine designed a clean, eco-friendly version that they’ve dubbed the “sustainable expanding bowl.” It’s made from 100% bio-based and biodegradable material, and it hardens into an eating vessel for soups, noodles, and pretty much anything with a “just add water” label on it.
To gather ideas, Chang led his design team on a city-hopping observation tour around the globe, from hot-air-balloon rides in Africa to Singapore’s Skypark on the Marina Bay. “We were able to come up with a new design paradigm,” he says. And with it, a cool factor to rival Apple’s.
The definition of what constitutes an innovative idea has gotten pretty loose lately. Challenge your team to come up with truly revolutionary ideas that create a distinct competitive advantage. Here’s how.
The JF-Kit House by the Spanish design firm Elii is an experiment in “domestic fitness,” rendering “the image of a possible future where citizens produce part of their domestic energy requirements with their own physical activities.” Each room features a fancifully named exercise station that would, theoretically, help create energy to power the home, including an “arm workout bureau,” a “spinning kitchen,” and a “triceps greenhouse.” A video shows the home’s imagined inhabitant lifting weights, cycling, and doing calisthenics as part of his house’s everyday upkeep and daily chores like cooking.
After Apple booted Google Maps from iOS last year, Daniel Graf led the development of a beautiful, refreshed mapping experience that shot to number one in the iTunes store and kicked Apple’s ass on its own turf. Here’s how Graf made it happen—in his own words:
“We have a very successful Android version of Google Maps, so the easiest thing to do was to say, this is super-successful, users love it, so why don’t we just port it over to iOS? But I wanted to challenge the team. While the Android version is a great product, you can also tell it’s been around for a while. You have to access everything via menus—it’s not really best-use-case driven anymore. I said, let’s take a step back—what if we could start from scratch and forget anything we’ve ever done? We have the foundation—the Google data, the mapping data, the local business data, the imagery, the navigation algorithms—it’s a dream to start with.”
“I focus best on Friday when it is sunny out.” “Looks like classical music enhances my focus.”
Ever wondered just how focused (or not) you really are during the day? Melon could be your answer. This new headband measures your focus and then sends the results to your smartphone. The goal is to help you learn which environments and activities improve your focus. More info, and a demo video.
“One of the easiest ways to go green is to go small,” Hill says. “I want to show people that there’s an amazing modern green future, and make it easy for them to step into it.”
Hill transforms his couch into a bed, makes a desk appear from the wall, and then moves that entire wall to reveal a guest bedroom. Just as quickly, he disappears the guest room, pops a Murphy bed back into place, and reveals a dining room table with seating for 10. Even Hill’s bathroom is multifunctional: He soundproofed the toilet stall and added a handsome wooden bench that folds over the seat, which turns it either into a private phone booth or, no joke, a very tiny meditation studio. That’s why he and nine others who are trying to change how we live made our list of The 100 Most Creative People of 2013.