Tony Fadell on the iPod, Kickstarter, Nest, Steve Jobs and more
Tony Fadell has a very interesting background, and he’s very knowledgeable about the process of creating great hardware and gadgets. In this excellent interview with Kevin Rose, Fadell discusses a wide variety of topics that would be helpful and interesting to entrpreneurs or anyone who loves gadgets.
He explains the value of Nest and where the company is going in the future. He gives some background on his role in the creation of the iPod and his work with Steve Jobs. And he also addresses some of the challenges of trying to create a hardware company using Kickstarter. Listen to his discussion of the power of saying no and the need for simplicity in products.
Check it out, and you can follow him on Twitter here.
No One Panic, but the Wheel May Have Just Been Reinvented
I’ve covered a lot of Kickstarter projects on this site, as the crowd funding behemoth proves to be an infinite source for the latest, and most interesting, projects currently out there.
But of all those Kickstarter projects, few have ever been so bold as a seemingly simple invention called the Shark Wheel, which claims to have reinvented the wheel.
It’s origin story is much humbler than its aspirations, as the story goes that one day creator David Patrick was playing around trying to get six pieces of interlocking cable to fit into a cube (which is apparently how eccentric geniuses entertain themselves), when he realized that upon dropping his created design, the shape he’d formed not only rolled, but rolled smoothly over a long stretch of ground.
As a lifelong skateboarder, David immediately realized the potential of this design, and modified it to create the Shark Wheel, a somewhat warped interpretation of the standard wheel that is designed to specifically reduce the amount of direct contact with the ground. Among other things, the benefits of that approach includes faster speed, better grip and control, and the ability to provide both of those features in wet or uneven terrain. In other words, by shifting the model of the traditional wheel slightly, it manages to provide the most desirable aspects of the regular skateboard wheel in a way that the old design cannot.
Now, the term skateboard wheel is being thrown around here, because that is the sole intention of this design’s function at the moment, as the Shark’s kickstarter campaign will net you 4 longboard wheels for a $50 donation.
While the inventor insists this design is not currently intended for use on an automobile or any other wheel dependent vehicle, it is nonetheless impressive that someone out there has managed to accomplish what was previously only referenced in terms of a joke and has actually improved the wheel, even if it is only in one specific capacity. It does go to show though that there is an infinite world of creative possibilities still to be explored, and, on its own, looks to be an impressive piece of design that any skateboarder should be intrigued by.
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The Monkey Light Pro: Geek Made, Hipster Approved
As biking becomes more and more popular due to its financial, health, and environmental benefits, particularly among bearded twenty-somethings in the Williamsburg neighborhood of Brooklyn, we’re starting to see biking culture become a bigger and bigger thing.
For the most part, this has been a tame culture. Some biking outings, a few repair shops here and there, and of course some minor…err…accessorizing. Again though, nothing unusual.
Of course, it was only a matter of time until someone said screw it, and really just crafted something wild for the most eccentric of bicyclists. It turns out that time is now, that someone is MonkeyLetric, and the something wild is a series of LED lights that go on the spokes, and can create an almost limitless amount of images, such as these.
Working off of a 4 piece LED unit that attaches to a bike’s spokes, the Monkey Light Pro is an incredible piece of technology not just because of its ability to create a moving image based on nothing but the bike’s momentum, but because of the creative potential of the images themselves.
Besides a few stock images that come with the device, considering that just about every file type is supported for uploading, and variables such as speed and looping abilities can be implemented, there really appears to be no end to the images that can be created, leading to some amazingly creative examples so far stemming solely from the invention’s creators.
Speeding towards its $180,000 goal on Kickstarter, and requiring a $695 baking to receive one, it’s looking more and more likely that we will be seeing these on the streets sometimes in the future. While it’s hard to tell if this will eventually be annoying, or even hazardous, for right now the creativity of the device makes it one of the more entertaining Kickstarter projects, and the best bicycle wheel enhancer since the baseball card.
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New Wool Blend Shirt Could be the Last Shirt You Ever Need
A question for you. Why would someone wear a shirt for a 100 days straight?
There are several answers of course. You really like that shirt, it’s a harbinger of good luck, you’re really broke, you’re…umm…trying to win some sort of bet, and of course many others.
Whatever your reason may be though, it is ultimately irrelevant as of course even the sturdiest of shirts need to be dried, ironed, and generally maintained in order to preserve their quality, meaning that the shirt of a 100 straight wears is in fact just a pipe dream.
There is one upstart designer, though, by the name of Wool&Prince that insists that isn’t true. What’s more is that they aren’t relying on some space age material or microchip to accomplish it either, but are rather using a simple wool blend to craft a shirt that can be worn for a 100 days straight, without generating a single wrinkle, or producing one bad odor. Also, unlike your typical wool sweater, the material is apparently very high quality and actually comfortable to wear.
While the 100 day wear spree may be a gimmick, it is one that proves the more interesting point that this is a durable shirt that can survive conditions both common and extraordinary and come out the other side in fresh from the dryer quality, with no more upkeep required than the occasional wash. While certain individuals like the business man on the go benefit most from this shirt then, it’s hard to imagine there isn’t a guy who wouldn’t like to have that one favorite shirt that just happens to be near invincible.
Of course the point is that you won’t have to imagine any longer. The makers of the shirt Wool&Prince have already earned $300,000+ of their asking $30,000 goal, meaning it’s just a matter of time until you can own a shirt that’s Clark Kent sensible on the outside, and Superman durable within.
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Ditch the Routine Pocket Pat-Down, and Consider the SmartWallit
There’s a compulsive activity I do almost everytime I leave somewhere, where I pat my front pockets for my keys, wallet, and phone, and don’t proceed until all three are accounted for. It’s a common impulse used to make sure your most necessary items are on you, but is far from infallible. For instance, sometimes you are running especially late, or are just hammered drunk, and don’t remember to take the usual precautions.
There’s been a variety of tracking devices over the years that help you keep tabs of your valuables in situations like that, but I’ve never considered one until the SmartWallit.
The SmartWallit is a small device that you slide into your wallet, and link to your phone via Bluetooth and an app. From there, if you leave your phone behind, the device in your wallet will beep as a notification. Similarly, if you snag your phone, but forget the wallet, the phone will beep, and even provide an approximate proximity to the wallet. While there is a keychain option for the device to keep the “band together” so to speak, there’s no way for it to notify you you’ve left them all, because, as in all things, at a certain point, you’re just screwed.
The SmartWallit isn’t just a high tech game of marco polo between the necessities, though, as there are additional app features. The most intriguing of which has to be the one that reads sensors from the device to know when you opened your wallet last to make a payment, and keeps a loose record of it that will show you the time and exact location it was used, meaning you’ll never forget where that twenty went to again. You can even import more advanced financial features to keep closer tabs on your active spending habits.
Looking for just under $7,000 to finish its Kickstarter campaign, the SmartWallit isn’t the first of its kind, but is among the least invasive, and most versatile, of the tracking devices I’ve seen yet. Plus you can never really have enough gadgets that help you never have to know the horror of replacing the contents of your wallet.
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