Take the plunge

toilet plunger

How do you design a product for a category wherein the ideal scenario would be NEVER having to use said product?

Much innovation wisdom these days speak about making a product both useful and desirable, but how do you make someone desire a product that they never want to use?

Perhaps an automatic plunger? Or would the best innovation in the plunger category actually be a toilet that does not ever clog?

The beginning of a new toy

This month I joined a group of tinkerers on the Carnegie Mellon campus to learn some simple computer coding and learn how to make tangible interaction devices. Off to a very simple start, today I built my first “toy,”  and here I am to share it with you!

A quickly assembled facade of an ambulance with Arduino powered lights and sounds.

I am excited about this course and look forward to sharing my designs as they grow (hopefully) out of this very beginner stage.

Sanitizer Where You Want It

Numerous time I have heard lamentations over the fact that bar rooms tend to be extremely gross. With immense numbers of unidentified microorganisms crawling all over every surface, it seems a wonder that such queasy people enjoy spending time bellied up to the bar at all.

One experimental bartender in Iowa is pushing for a solution to this problem, providing a bottle of hand sanitizer right on the bar top.  Whether you accidentally touched the bottom of the stool you’re sitting on or you were forced to awkwardly shake hands with an unsavory old high-school classmate, the bottle of germicide is just an arms-length  away.

The bartender has not yet discovered a way to sanitize the bar snacks, “spraying the peanuts and pretzel sticks with Purell just doesn’t seem like a good idea.”


The top sides of buildings are often ignored when considering the aesthetic, aren’t they?

Yet, clearly a two story height is not tall enough to keep the roof out of the public eye in Brooklyn.

Looking down from a friend’s apartment, I see a thoroughly rusted-out roof on this gas station, and I begin to think:

  • Is this why gas station canopies always seem to leak in whichever spot I park?
  • What does this say about Mobil gas?
  • Funny to see this kind of roof when BP is out there fitting their gas station roofs with solar panels.
  • If I’m paying so much per gallon, why can’t they fix the roof?
  • Does it even need fixing? Or is it still structurally sound and just looks bad?