You Are Here

The technology isn’t here yet, but flexible screens are coming.

I want to see one of these on a T-Shirt, hooked up to the wearer’s GPS. The shirt can read “You are here.” and display a map of the current location.

With a little more gear, there could also be an “I’m with Stupid” shirt that display’s “Stupid”‘s location on a map.

Cell Phone answer + hold button

I’d love my next cell phone to have a button that, when pressed, would not only answer the phone, but give a prerecorded message explaining that I’m leaving the inappropriate-to-talk location I’m currently in, that I’m going somewhere I’ll be able to talk, and to please hold. So much better than whispering, or pressing the ‘answer’ key and not speaking until you’ve left the room…

Color-Changing Cell Phones

What if you had a cell phone whose body changed color based on distance from a location known as “home”? It shouldn’t be that hard to make, technically: you’ve already got enough GPS-like information, and you could achieve the visual effect with translucent plastic and colored LEDs.

Would it be useful? I’m not sure: there are times when it would be helpful to know how far you were from home, or from some preselected destination. It sure would look neat. Maybe sometimes that’s enough…

Seattle Rain Globe

Selling a Seattle snow globe, with Pike Place market and the Space Needle in the background, wouldn’t make much sense: it just doesn’t snow here that often. Someone sells a glitter-filled snow globe and calls it a rain globe, but it should be possible to use some sort of oil that’s denser than water and dyed blue. You could shake it, so that the oil breaks up into tiny droplets, and watch them puddle at the bottom of the globe, right in Elliott Bay.

Tinfoil-lined Wallets

Now that we’re going to be getting RFID everything for identification purposses — everything from our SpeedPass to our driver’s licenses — the time has come for a wallet that is still fashionable but will also keep the contents of our wallet from broadcasting their identities to all and sundry.

Mesh toiletries bag

The problem with standard toiletries bags is that something invevitably spills in them: benadryl, conditioner, mouthwash, hand lotion, whatever. And it’s always impossible to clean up.

My dad really wants a mesh toiletries bag, like the kind of stuff dive bags are made from. Of course, that would get whatever nasty spill happens in your toiletry all over your other stuff. So it would need to snap out or otherwise live in a nice rubberized zip-up bag.

I feel like this should already exist, but I’ve never been able to find one like this.

Predictive Text Encoding Synonym Dictionary

All right, so this isn’t mega-useful, but it would be fun to have a dictionary of words sorted by how they’re spelled on a phone keypad. I don’t even have the slightest idea of a practical use for this, but once in a while I say, “Hey, I didn’t know that ‘blood’ and ‘alone’ are spelled the same!”

Squishy Packaging

My girlfriend works at the Whole Foods Market in Roosevelt Square, here in Seattle. She works in the Whole Body department, which includes personal care items (soap, shampoos, deodorants, razors), bulk herbs and spices, and nutritional supplements.

She reported yesterday evening that some customers will use a pendulum to decide (or discover, if you prefer) which supplements they should take. Others will use dowsing, crystals, or the advice of a medical professional.

Some people, touch the various products and intuitively are drawn to the product they believe is correct for them. (Apparently, this is a form of muscle testing.) I hypothesized that perhaps the plastic bottles or cardboard boxes might throw off their scrying attempts.

It occurred to me that, should one wish to further influence such attempts, it might be fun to make squishy packaging. Dense foam cubes can be made, with cutouts for the actual pill bottle. These could pack and stack like cardboard boxes, but they would also be fun to play with and nice to touch. Wasteful, certainly, at least in some cases. It is the packaging that makes the product, for great number of people. (In Malcolm Gladwell’s Blink, he reports that changing the color of 7-Up’s label affected consumer reports of its taste, even though the product in the can was unchanged.)