SuperSmartBoard animates what you draw

October 29, 2006

SmartBoards were the logical evolution of the blackboards we knew when we were young. MIT’s AI Lab takes it a step further by making the board understand what you have drawn. They call it “Assist Sketch Understanding System”, I call it SuperSmartBoard to keep it simple. Here is why… The system take a form of sketch recognition and combines it with a physics engine.

“The sketchpad system currently understands mechanical drawings. The system recognizes simple mechanical elements, such as springs, pulleys, and pin joints. It also has a way to describe concepts, such as fixed objects and gravity; for example, a downward-pointing arrow indicates gravity. “

Watch the amazing video here

More videos:


3 of the nicest racks I’ve seen

October 27, 2006

All innovative racks shown below use some sort of increased flexibility. In all 3 cases, increasing the flexibility creates distinct user benefits. Here they are…

Jointed roofrack

1) Jointed roofrack
In this case increased flexibility means increased user convenience

Rack uses sides

2) Roofrack uses sides
In this case increased flexibility means more available space to use


Integrated bike rack

3) Integrated bikerack
In this case increased flexibility means having a bikerack at one time, and not at other times

Wow! Modifying only one thing, its flexibility, already gives these racks 3 different advantages over competitor products. There are more benefits to be gained, I know for a fact that there are at least 15 distinct advantages of making products or parts of it more flexible.

How can you use that knowledge to improve your own products?

Look around you.
See what’s fixed.
How can you make it flexible?

(do it, it might seem hard at first, but once you get the hang of it, you will be amazed!)

Walk through your photos in 3D!

October 26, 2006

Here’s a quick post on something I’m starting to get really excited about. Turning your ordinary pictures into a real 3D world. Or how to make a virtual walk through all the photographs and memories you have gathered over the years. How does that sound for an experience?

Technologies like Microsofts Photosynth take a large collection of photos of a place or object and displays them in a reconstructed 3-Dimensional space. It will change the way you think about digital photos forever. Another one is this technology which makes a movie based on the interpretation of a single photograph. See Photosynth in action below; WOW!

My guess is that it will be only a matter of 1 to 2 years before this stuff hits the market and hits it big.

And there’s more… Can you imagine a combination of this technology together with the Augmented Reality techology I talked about last week? Connecting these 2 technologies could open new markets and would allow you i.e. to invite your friends and family to step into your photographs and see what you saw.

Sounds promising to me!

5 Most innovative ideas I’ve seen in advertising

October 24, 2006

Billboard advertising has been around for decades. It is safe to say that they are no longer as effective as they used to be. Watching some new advertising techniques appear has made me realize that the memorable ads are the ones that really interact with life itself and are connecting to us in an emotional way.
I’ve a compiled a small list of the most striking ads of the last 6 months.


1. HUNGER AND THIRST: Magazine on a bottle
This could be how we get drinks for free in the future.
Have a coke. Have a smile.


2. SUPRISE! Peephole Pizza Guy
Nice alternative to the stacks of flyers we all have



3. PATIENCE & CURIOSITY – Conveyor belt ads
I’m sure you’ll want to see the entire belt before you leave the store


4. PLAYFULNESS – Wonderbra magazine ad
Have a feel of what a wonderbra would look like


5. CLEVERNESS – Fun shopping bags
There are tons like these.
All of them play on either (1) how they interact with the person
or (2) how the bag interacts with the print

Self repairing car parts – the fender un-bender

October 23, 2006

Great innovations are rarely the result of new scientific breakthrough. Over 90% of all innovations are basically combinations of two or more existing things. Why some connections have not been explored up to now never seizes to amaze me.

One of the combinations I expect in the near future are self-repairing body kits. Because basically the building blocks are already here to make it work. How exactly are car manufacturers going to do it? Read on…

Fender benders, or small accidents with only minor damage, happen on a daily basis. Almost everyone driving a car will have its share of them sooner or later. I know I have. The downside of those accidents always leave a dent in your car. And a dent in your ego.

My problem statement
How can I get rid of the dent in my car without anyone knowing?

My solution
Get a hairdryer.

My secret? Shape Memory Polymers


Shape memory polymers (there’s an animation) has been around for some time now. They are basically the materials that will revolutionize the future. Probably you have already encountered similar materials like the alloys that’s used in the titanium frames of some glasses. You can bend them and bend them, but they always go back to their original position. Shape memory polymers is one of those ‘smart materials’ that become flexible when heated and remember their original shape from when they were formed.

Making parts of the body kit out of Shape Memory Polymers would allow us to repair the damage by simply heating the parts that are dented. Upon heating, the parts become flexible and as during the cooling the piece returns to its original shape. Just like when it left the factory. The process can be repeated over and over again. So, no more dents, no more embarassing moments.

Like I stated before, the technology is here, now we only need to use it.