There are certain things that don’t need to be reinvented, like the wheel.
But once in a while, someone transforms an everyday object no one thought could be improved.
Here are some of the best redesigns of regular household objects we’ve recently seen.
1. This kitchen table doubles in size in mere seconds.
The Fletcher Capstan Table expands from a standard 6.5- or 10-foot table to one that measures anywhere between 20 and 30 feet across.
The round tables come in four standard sizes, and expands by simply rotating the top 180 degrees manually or electronically by remote. The tables are customisable, and range from $US50,000 to $US70,000 on the UK Fletcher website.
2. “LiquiGlide” allows condiments to flow effortlessly out of a bottle.
LiquiGlide is a coating of non-toxic materials that allows every single drop of your favourite condiment to flow out effortlessly, reducing a ton of waste.
Invented by five MIT students and their professor, LiquiGlide was named one of Time’s Best Inventions of 2012 and came in second in MIT’s $US100,000 Entrepreneurship Competition. The inventors currently create the coating for specific clients.
3. These ‘invisible’ bike helmets inflate on impact.
The Hövding, or invisible bike helmet, is the brainchild of two students at the University of Lund. The Hövding is actually an air bag that uses a helium gas cylinder to inflate when its sensors detect a sudden jolt.
The airbag is like a hood, except it’s shock absorbent and able to withstand multiple head impacts. The helmets are expensive, retailing on Hövding for over $US400 (£299).
4. An Austrian artist reinvented the door with origami panels.
Artist Klemens Torggler’s Evolution Door is a 4-panel “flip panel door” that opens and closes elegantly as though it’s made of pieces of paper.
Torggler has a few variations on this door, including one with origami-esque triangles that fold out to help the door move, and another system with rods that rotate two square panels. He sells them on his website for an undisclosed price (which depends on materials and design).
5. The toilet of the future folds up to save water and space.
Two British university students invented the Iota toilet, which folds in after use. Its creators claim it uses 50% less water than a stationary toilet, and is also comparatively smaller, so it can fit into tiny bathrooms. The rimless design also makes it much easier to clean.
Currently the Iota is just a concept, but with an overwhelming internet response, it could become a reality.
6. These light bulbs are wifi-enabled, multi-coloured, and smartphone-controlled.
First funded on Kickstarter where it raised more than $US1 million, LIFX is a new kind of lightbulb that is not only multi-coloured, but can be controlled through any device with WiFi and an app.
The bulbs can last up to 25 years. and have a lot of cool functions. In addition to changing colours, there’s a sleep mode that dims your lights at night and brightens them in the morning, as well as a switch you control with your phone. The bulbs sell at LIFX for $US99.
7. A shapeless water blob could replace today’s water bottles.
Ooho is a biodegradable and edible membrane made of brown algae that can hold water. The flexible water bottle kind of resembles a silicone implant, and is easy to break and sip from.
Ooho was developed by three London design students who were aiming to make something sustainable, durable, and cheap — it only costs two cents to make, though the bizarre shape could prove problematic for on-the-go drinking. Ooho currently remains a prototype.
8. This regenerating candle can be reused again and again.
As the candle burns, melting wax drips down from the candle and accumulates inside a transparent stem with a wick. Once the candle is completely melted, you can crack open the mould to remove a new, fully formed candle (you can then start the whole process over again).
Due to an outpouring of support, Shine’s prototype is now coming to market.
9. An inflatable, revolutionary car seat will change the game for parents.
Volvo’s new rear-facing car seat inflates in 40 seconds using an integrated pump. It only weighs 11 pounds, which is about half the weight of a regular car seat. Deflated, it fits neatly into a backpack, especially convenient for parents travelling with a kid.
The reinvented car seat is made with a fabric that can sustain high internal pressure, originally developed by the military and now used by the boating industry. There’s no word on when the inflatable seat could come to market, but hopefully it will be soon.
10. This nightlight keeps outlets free and lasts for 25 years.
The SnapRays GuideLight went absolutely crazy on Kickstarter after being posted in March, raising nearly $US470,000 over its initial goal.
It’s pretty easy to see why, since the light replaces bulky night lights that take up outlet space, and is easy to assemble. You can pre-order the SnapRays GuideLight through creator Jeremy Smith’s website at $US15 for one, $US42 for three, $US65 for five, and $US120 for 10.
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