Friday, December 25, 2009

Writing On The Wall

IdeaPaint, Cambridge, Mass. Want to spur innovation? Turn every wall, no matter the surface, into a whiteboard. Three recent Babson College graduates created a paint that dries to create a surface that does just that, and any dry-erase marker wipes it completely clean. The paint sells for $3.50 to $4.00 per square foot of coating. After closing a $5 million venture round in December 2009 (following a $5 million round in November 2008), the founders plan to have it in at least one big-box store in early 2010.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

MooBella Icecream custom made

The Art of IndulgenceThe makers of MooBella® are as unique as the ice cream itself. Were a team of ice cream experts and world-class engineers committed to innovating ice cream and changing it forever. Each team member has a passion for ice cream. MooBella® is the creation of people using new technologies to create the highest quality ice cream experience in places where it simply would not have been possible before.
Simply stated, MooBella® is where taste meets technology. The MooBella® team has created a multi-patented, fully automated ice cream process that will change ice cream forever! Only MooBella® lets you make your own ice cream fresh and on-the-spot - just the way you want it. MooBella® uses only 100% natural real dairy ingredients, select flavors and scrumptious mix-ins to give you an amazing, rich and delicious personalized ice cream experience. If you are passionate about ice cream, you need to try MooBella® - we guarantee it will become your favorite ice cream brand ever!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Friday, November 6, 2009

Tomorrow Television, 1945

A U.S. Armed Forces film about the future of television.

Friday, May 1, 2009

I've always wanted to drive on water!

The Aquada is a revolutionary showcase of High Speed Amphibian (HSA) technology.

This radical new breed of vehicle has been precision engineered to the most exacting standards. It has undergone an extensive safety testing programme and complies with appropriate marine and road safety regulations.

Entry to the water is via beach, boat ramp, slipway or directly from the water's edge. Once afloat, the transition from road vehicle to High Speed Amphibian (HSA) is effortlessly achieved.

Simply press a button and drive into the water. The wheels automatically rise and as you press the accelerator nearly a ton of thrust pushes the Aquada onto the plane. The whole process takes less than 12 seconds. The Aquada can plane at over 30mph.

Powerful enough to tow a water-skier and with a style and class of its own, the Gibbs Aquada is the perfect leisure vehicle. It combines the thrill of an open top car with the sheer exhilaration experienced in a high performance speedboat.

The Aquada is the new name for freedom!

Friday, April 24, 2009

OriginOil's Modest Plan To Make Money Off Oil From Algae

OriginOil (OOIL.BO) has a plan for algae based oil, and it's not to save the world by using algae-oil to replace petroleum. Rather, it's a modest plan that involves selling technology to algae farmers in the near term, then moving on to selling its technology to other companies.

OriginOil CEO Riggs Eckelberry swung through The Business Insider's HQ this afternoon to explain how he plans on turning the green of algae into the green of money*.

Last Friday the company applied for a patent that Eckelberry thinks will set the company on its course. That patent is for a technology that makes extracting oil from algae an efficient, cheap, one-step process. As pictured above, algae enters one of OriginOil's tanks, and is quickly seperated into biomass and oil afterwards. Eckelberry says OriginOil hasn't tested the technology in on a massive scale, but he's confident that it will work as it scales upward.

The business plan for OriginOil is to sell its technology to algae farmers who will use the extraction process to produce oil. Eckelberry says there are about 30 algae companies now, and he expects there to be over a 100 in the next year when he actually commercializes the technology.

He tells us that many companies are interested in working with OriginOil, though he wouldn't name any. He says that OriginOil has a waiting list of clients.

If the company can advance this technology, the next step in its business is to sell modular systems to companies with factories throwing off CO2. He says those companies can channel their CO2 into tanks that have algae in them. The algae will grow off the CO2, then it can be processed and turned into fuel.

It's a win-win for companies. They cut back on CO2 emissions, which are pricey in Europe where a cap and trade system exists, and might soon exist in the U.S. And companies also get a new source of fuel for themselves.

The best part of the business, from our perspective, is that he doesn't want to be a "land baron" as he puts it. He doesn't want to use loads of space to develop his technology. That's up to someone else.

Of course, for the business to really thrive, Eckelberry will have to sell his technology to other companies. He'll have to get customers lined up, and he'll have to prove his technology not only works, but is the best.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Iiamo self-heating baby bottle requires no stove, batteries

If you want to heat up a baby bottle when you're out and away from your kitchen, you're usually out of luck. Not so with the Iiamo self-heating baby bottle, which uses some form of magic to heat up milk without any batteries required.

It uses a "100% organic heating cartridge that only contains salt and water." How does that generate heat? I have no idea, but it apparently works, and in just 4 minutes at that. For people who take their babies out on the town often, this could be a pretty great product.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Sliding House

The brief was simple: to build a house to retire to in order to grow food, entertain and enjoy the East Anglia landscape. The outcome was as unconventional as they come. A structure that has the ability to vary or connect the overall building's composition and character according to season, weather or simply a desire to delight. Wallpaper* took a trip to the site to capture the physical phenomenon in the only medium that serves it justice - film.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Light Transmitting Concrete.

Litracon as tough as concrete, yet light can get through it. Litracon is a combination of optical fibers and concrete. A wall made of Litracon has the strength of traditional concrete but thanks to an embedded array of optical glass fibers, which lets in the view of the outside world, such as the silhouette of trees, or passersby, that are displayed inside the building.
The glass fibers allow light to travel by points between the two sides of the blocks. Due to their parallel placement, the light-information on the brighter side of such a wall seems unchanged on the darker side. Also there is no change in the color of the light.
An array of thousands of optical glass fibers runs parallel to each other between the two main surfaces of each block. Theoretically, there is almost no loss in light up to 20 meters due to the fibers in such a block and hence a wall structure built from light-transmitting concrete can be several meters thick.
In 2001 Hungarian architect Aron Losonczi invented Litracon, the first light transmitting concrete and in spring 2004 he founded his own company, Litracon Bt., located in the Hungarian town Csongrád.

Saturday, February 7, 2009


What Are Smittens?
Smittens are mittens specially designed so that two people can hold hands inside of one mitten.


I created the idea of Smittens while on a romantic walk with my husband. We were trying to hold hands through our bulky mittens, when it dawned on me to create a mitten that was large enough for both our hands. That way, I thought, we could truly hold hands.
One set of Smittens includes one pair of regular size mittens, and one oversized mitten for hand-holding (shown in photo).

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Woody Norris: Inventing the next amazing thing

Woody Norris is a serial inventor of electronics, tools and cutting-edge sonic equipment -- such as the LRAD acoustic cannon.

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Drinking Straws...

In 1888, Marvin Stone patented the spiral winding process to manufacture the first paper drinking straws. Stone was already a manufacturer of paper cigarette holders. His idea was to make paper drinking straws. Before his straws, beverage drinkers were using the natural rye grass straws.

Stone made his prototype straw by winding strips of paper around a pencil and gluing it together. He then experimented with paraffin-coated manila paper, so the straws would not become soggy while someone was drinking. Marvin Stone decided the ideal straw was 8 1/2-inches long with a diameter just wide enough to prevent things like lemon seeds from being lodged in the tube.

The product was patented on January the 3rd, 1888. By 1890, his factory was producing more straws than cigarette holders. In 1906, the first machine was invented by the Stone's "Stone Straw Corporation" to machine-wind straws, ending the hand-winding process. Later other kinds of spiral-wound paper and non-paper products were made.

In 1928, electrical engineers began to use spiral-wound tubes in the first mass produced radios. All made by the same process invented by Stone. Spiral-wound tubing is now found everywhere -- in electric motors, electrical apparatus, electronic devices, electronic components, aerospace, textile, automotive, fuses, batteries, transformers, pyrotechnics, medical packaging, product protection, and packaging applications.

Can openers invented 48 years after cans

Cans were opened with a hammer and chisel before the advent of can openers. The tin cannister, or can, was invented in 1810 by a Londoner, Peter Durand. The year before, French confectioner, Nicolas Appert, had introduced the method of canning food (as it became known) by sealing the food tightly inside a glass bottle or jar and then heating it. He could not explain why the food stayed fresh but his bright idea won him the 12,000-francs prize that Napoleon offered in 1795 for preserving food. Durand supplied the Royal Navy with canned heat-preserved food while Appert would help Napoleon's army march on its stomach.

Tin canning was not widely adopted until 1846, when a method was invented to increase can production from 6 in an hour to 60. Still, there were no can openers yet and the products labels would read: "cut around on the top near to outer edge with a chisel and hammer."

The can opener was invented in 1858 by American Ezra Warnet. There also is a claim that Englishman Robert Yeates invented the can opener in 1855. But the can opener did not become popular until, ten years later, it was given away for free with canned beef.

The well-known wheel-style opener was invented in 1925. Beer in a can was launched in 1935. The easy-open can lid was invented by Ermal Cleon Fraze in 1959.

Since 1972, some 64 million tons of aluminum cans (about 3 trillion cans) have been produced. Placed end-to-end, they could stretch to the moon about a thousand times. Still, cans represent less than 1% of solid waste material - about one quarter of all cans are recycled. Worldwide, some 9 million cans are recycled every hour. Which is good news, considering that it takes a can about 200 years to degrade if you bury it. It takes paper about a month to bio-degrade, a woolen sock about a year, and plastic hundreds of years.

Recycling cans saves 95% of the energy required to make aluminum from ore, or the equivalent of 18 million barrels of oil, or 10.8 billion kilowatt hours.

Used aluminum cans that are recycled return to store shelves within 60 days.

Canned petfood was introduced by James Spratt in 1865.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

From toothpaste to solar energy


From toothpaste to solar energy
By Abigail Klein-Leichman January 13, 2009

While searching for an ingredient to make toothpaste flow more easily, an Israeli chemist came across a novel way to produce inexpensive, clean solar energy. 3GSolar, the company born of that serendipitous discovery, is now poised to light up the developing world.

"There are maybe a billion and a half people living without electricity," Dr. Jonathan Goldstein, the British-born inventor and battery scientist who founded 3GSolar in Jerusalem in 2003. "Many governments of developing countries are keen on bringing people forward to improve their living standards."

Goldstein's deceptively simple solution is set to revolutionize dye-sensitized solar cell (DSC) technology, invented in 1988 by Swiss scientist Michael Graetzel. The cells are photovoltaic (PV), meaning they convert radiant energy - such as sunlight -- into electricity with the help of a layer of semiconductor.

"As a battery scientist, I saw why nothing commercial had come out of the invention: Cells were tiny and nobody knew how to scale them up to be something practical," Goldstein tells ISRAEL21c.

He knew that if he were able to make a larger DSC, it could be a cheaper and more available alternative to silicon, the relatively expensive and scarce semiconductor currently used in most solar-energy panels. Silicon solar panels are also costly to produce.

Here's where the toothpaste tinkering came in handy. Goldstein had invented a toothbrush with toothpaste preloaded in its handle. In looking for ways to ease the flow of paste to brush, he learned about a cheap white powder called titanium dioxide - and discovered that it not only solved his toothpaste problem but also had a track record in DSC technology. If treated with an absorbable dye, titanium dioxide becomes sensitive to light.

"You can easily screen-print thin layers of titanium dioxide on surfaces and churn out plates of this material and then oven-bake the layer on firmly - it can even be baked on in the air, with no need for expensive equipment," he explains.

Extracting generated current

Goldstein's low-cost current collector enabled building tablemat-sized cells and extracting the generated current.

Initially, 3G was funded by an Israeli government incubator program. In its second year, it caught the attention of New York-based venture-capital fund 21 Ventures. With a staff of 18 scientists working on the project, the concept quickly took shape.

"We're on schedule for pilot production in early 2009, with initial plant production in Israel in 2010," says Goldstein, adding that 3GSolar is on track to be the first PV manufacturer in Israel. It is also soon to become the first Israeli company on the Toronto stock exchange.

Government officials in Senegal and India are eagerly awaiting the first panels. "There is a lot of interest because PV is clean energy and it's always there on the roof if you get a blackout," says Goldstein. "People like to have that security."

He has an ambitious yet prudent business plan. "We will build ourselves up slowly within those [developing] markets and then move to industrialized countries in our second generation," he says. "These countries may buy just one or two panels per family -- not for air conditioning, but for the basic needs of someone who might have electric light in his home for the first time."

The glass-based titanium-dioxide-treated panels are expected to debut at half the cost of similarly sized silicon panels. "We believe as we make more plants, that will drive our cost down even more," says Goldstein.

He envisions maintaining a plant, and R&D facility in Israel, as well as licensing the technology to countries that will be using the panels. "The manufacturing plants can be put in anywhere because all you need is a screen-printing machine and some sort of oven," he explains.