Origami algorithms are being used to create medical implants and space telescopes. I wonder if origami algorithms might be used to create the build-a-building, using plastic, wood, and mesh sheets that can be folded differently to create different shaped useful small buildings? Learn more about this amazing new technology that combines art, science, and history in this Ted Talk.
Ikea is developing a prototype of refugee shelter that is easy to put together, is insulated, has a solar light so people can cook/sew/do homework when it gets dark, and other simple yet practical features.
Ikea is getting feedback from refugees to improve upon the concept before they roll out the final design. They also plan to include a system of health care, education, and more so refugee families can not only get stabilized physically, but get all members of a family back on their feet in body/mind/spirit as quickly and respectfully as possible.
Vacations are fun! Even if you’re in a wheelchair or have limited mobility. Accessible Adventures is a new video series, hosted by former radio host John Williams, that SHOWS accessible vacation spots featuring wheelchair and limited mobility people having fun in the Northwest! Also check out the blog to see Jim Martinson skiing Crystal Mountain on a mono ski. Here’s a video with John Williams telling more about this timely idea:
Rebecca Onie asks audacious questions: What if waiting rooms were a place to improve daily health care? What if doctors could prescribe food, housing and heat in the winter? Here’s a Ted Talk that gives concrete information to create a healthcare system that actually keeps us healthy.
Tennessee is considering using lottery money to fully fund community college and technical school for all high school grads. Since cost is the biggest hurdle to getting a higher education, Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam is on the right track to make higher education truly attainable – without all the hoops. Read more here.
What do you do if you’re a small tree chipping company and you don’t want to spend your money on dumping fees? What do you do if you’re a city planner trying to keep your landfills from filling up so fast? What do you do if you’re a homeowner who wants to do some sustainable and frugal landscaping pathways?
A new website in Portland Oregon solves this three way problem with chipdrop. You open an account and give your address, and whatever local tree chipping company has a load of chips they need to dump, they drive it to your house and dump it free in whatever location you mention. It helps the tree chipping companies because otherwise they’d have to pay dump fees. It helps the homeowner because you get free wood chips delivered to your door. It helps the city because it doesn’t get it’s landfills full of woodchips. Everybody wins.
We took advantage of this new service and created front and backyard pathways! Our load, we were told, was mostly douglas fir, so the whole yard smells wonderful, and it’s safe for our backyard free range chickens.
Dr. Cole Galloway is turning kids toy cars into mobility devices and physical therapy for young children. This is making a lot of people happy – especially the little kids who get to drive the cool cars.
Learn more about the University of Delaware Go Baby Go! program here.
This self cleaning Beta Fish aquarium uses no batteries, filters, or fuss. Using physics alone, the clean water you put in flushes the dirty water out. You can then use the wastewater to fertilize your plants. The tanks are made in the US and won Best New Aquatic Product at the Global Pet Expo 2013.
The First Sign Hair Clip was designed by Rachel Emanuele as a tool to protect women from violent crime. The clip can attach to hair or even a purse strap, and then detects through algorithm if you are being attacked (it knows the difference between a violent attack, a bump on the head, or jogging for instance). It also has a panic button you can push in case of danger as well. The included app collects data as evidence such as where you are, records your conversation, notifies authorities that a crime is being committed, and sends out a verbal message saying you have been located and help is on the way (thus possibly scaring away the attacker so no more harm is done, but also gathering information about him for prosecution).
Here’s the background story
You can reserve a clip for yourself or a loved one, and bring this hair clip to market through your contributions to this Indigogo account.
What happens when you combine bamboo plants and simple green science to create a public urinal? The PPlanter.
The PPlanter is a simple and attractive public system that allows you to privately pee in a urinal (there are disposable women’s adapters as well), then step on a foot pedal that brings fresh water to wash your hands. The fresh water flushes/cleans the urinal with liquids going into a holding tank. From there, the mixed liquid is pumped into the planter/biofilter, where bamboo plants are growing in a mixture of rocks, wood chips and styrofoam. The water, nitrogen and phosphorous are used by the bamboo, while bacteria living in the growing medium break down carbohydrates and protein.
I talked to my son and he says guys would have no problem with this, but probably women wouldn’t be all that enthusiastic. According to the Gizmag article, the test project had plenty of volunteers, but they didn’t break down how many were men/women. Also what would you do if you ended up needing to do more than just pee – this particular invention doesn’t cover that. But I think it’s a good start to re-imagine how to simplify waste systems.
What looks like a toy, works like a charm, and corrects clubfoot in children … all for $20? This new invention by Stanford students is a game changer for the 1 in a thousand children born worldwide with clubfoot each year. These kids currently wear heavy ill-fitting braces with attached boots that are difficult if not impossible to walk in – that is, IF their parents can afford the $300-$700 price.
These new braces are lightweight, designed to look and feel like a child’s toy, children can stand and walk in them, and they cost $20. Instead of boots attached permanently to a metal brace, this new technology features shoes that can be removed and worn separately, so it’s easier for parents to fit them on wiggly toddlers.
Learn more about this new clubfoot brace and see a video of happy kids using the technology here.
Due to severe Detroit city cutbacks, the bus system didn’t meet the needs of the community. So 25 year old Andy Didorosi bought a bus and started his own innovative transportation company. He uses an app that lets riders know exactly when the bus will arrive, creating a new kind of transit system that only runs when and where it’s needed.
Another goal of Mr. Didorosi and his now public/private partnership with The Skillman Foundation, is to get not only people to work, but the elderly and disabled to their appointments, and kids safely to after school programs. With that in mind, he’s created an online portal to show parents every after school program available for the kids by region, and has worked with these programs to create bus stops convenient to both the kids as well as the programs themselves – and this after school transportation is FREE to the students. By creating only the routes needed, the savings are nearly 90% of what a traditional transportation system costs!
The Detroit Bus Company runs on bio fuels, technology, and lots of community support. Read more about this innovative founder and community transportation idea here.
Toby dressed as the ‘Repair Wizard’ at Mac PCx on Halloween 2013
My high school senior is chomping at the bit ready to move on after 14 years of classroom education. He’s going to high school part time and working part time at a computer store diagnosing and repairing computers. His past resume includes volunteering at Free Geek where he learned to take apart and put together computers, then trained others to do so. As a high school sophomore he took computer classes in C++ and other programming languages. He’s currently studying on his own to get CompTA+ certified, and through a school class learning to write code and design his own website. He’s been saving up his work money and when he turns 18 plans to purchase professional design software and begin his own software company on the side.
As a parent, I’m getting bombarded at all sides by society telling me my son MUST get a college degree or he’ll never get a living wage job. My son tells me “I know what I want – to work with computers and design computer software. Why spend 4+ more years in a classroom and be thousands of dollars in debt before I do what I want?”
He’s got a point there.
He says a company should pay to train him in what else they might need because he’s a fast and motivated learner. He also said that computer technology is growing /changing so fast that what he’d learn in a classroom would be practically obsolete by the time he got out of college, so taking courses now and building on those courses as he works makes more sense than spending his money/time on PE 101 and introduction to Lit classes. He is studying and problem solving on his own to be on the cutting edge, and expects to be paid for his work (he feels he’s already done the internship route and proved himself). He is calm about this. He is focused. I’m the one freaking out inside. I’ve heard my whole life “Everyone needs a college education to get a good job”…yet many people in their 20’s (as well as older adults) who have expensive university educations are looking for work that pays a living wage.
My child has his own vision. I trust my son and support his wisdom. And if in a few years he decides that a college education would be beneficial to him, he’ll have the money saved up, or the contacts made, to create a path where he doesn’t have debt. That’s pretty amazing planning/thinking for a 17 year old.
It’s that time of year where oranges are plentiful, in season, and an easy and sweet vitamin C fix. But having to peel the darn things leaves pith under fingernails, as well as the possibility of getting more sticky sweet juice on your fingers then in your mouth. Well, here’s a novel idea of how to eat oranges where you create a wonderful easy long carpet of juicy orange that you can eat right off the skin! No pith under your fingernails! No juice running down your hands! Just a few cuts with a knife and you’ll be getting all that orange AND juice where it belongs – in your mouth.
Using free internet plans, your local 3D printer, and less than $10 for materials you can make your own hand prosthetics (what currently cost $20,000 ready-made). Here’s what curiosity, collaboration, and a little love can do.
Do you hate it when you go to the doctor and they need to draw blood or give you a shot but they can’t find a vein? Searching for a vein (and multiple pokes of needles) may be a thing of the past with this new invention by Evena Medical that allows cardiovascular imaging through special glasses called Eyes On. Learn more about Eyes On “see through your skin” glasses in this video.
GoldieBlox is a toy company that believes girls deserve more choices than dolls and princesses. They support that girls will build the future — literally.
Founder Debbie Sterling is a Stanford engineer who decided last year that girls need more choices than the pink aisle has to offer. She developed GoldieBlox, an interactive book series + construction set starring Goldie, the kid inventor who loves to build. Find more information about Goldie Blox here – and watch this fantastic video as well.
Voice Talent and co-owner of the Hughes/Taylor audio production company.
Encouraging thought leaders (those with innovative and sometimes odd, simple, practical ideas) through Better Ideas Now.
Creating Free fashion, frugal fun through Swap Positive.