It's one thing to make an ingenious device and an entirely different thing to make a beautifully-designed ingenious device. Here are five recent inventions to give you design inspiration.
1. Wood Kubb
This beautiful handmade 5"x5" wooden box is actually a computer, and is small enough to serve as a media center and powerful enough to replace your laptop. Beyond the wooden collection, the Kubb also comes in a host of other colors and can be built to your specifications. The design is a refreshingly organic take on an industry reliant upon plastic and metal housing. Beyond being sustainable, the wood also has a noise deadening effect and, due to the nature of the wood, no two Kubbs are alike.
Until now, speakers were passive devices that had no way of interacting with their environments unless they were programmed to do so. The HiddenHub changes that by including sensors that analyze the dimensions of the room in which it sits (or hangs--it will detect its orientation thanks to the included accelerometer). There have been many other lovely speakers, but none with this level of technology--it even includes mood lighting.
The Ringly wins points for being technology that looks nothing like technology. In fact, like the Kubb, the Ringly relies on mostly natural materials: this wearable comes in either 18k gold or rhodium-toned plating and a variety of hand-cut gemstones. This Bluetooth-connected ring communicates via its app and will alert the user by a discrete LED on its side. While Apple has tried to curry favor with females by releasing pink-ish iPhones and wearables, Ringly's approach is much more sophisticated. Designers would do well to consider this approach when designing technology meant for women. Oh, and that ringbox is also the charger.
4. The Runcible
Hearkening back to the days of pocketwatches, the Runcible is an interesting take on the middleground between wearables and smartphones. It won't ever demand attention or interrupt your concentration, and the round screen is the first we've seen--refreshing in a world that seems to be churning out an endless chain of the same smartphone design. The wooden integration is also a welcome addition.
5. Powerslayer Blu
One of the fastest way to destroy your battery is to overcharge it. The Powerslayer is an elegant, small device that includes software that powers your device off and back on automatically, tells you how long your device will take to fully charge, and extends the life of your battery through its Softcharge technique. Every aspect of the charger was carefully designed, down to its wool and leather carrying case. And it works anywhere in the world.
Design and technology seem to be two opposing forces, but when engineers embrace beautiful design, the result is often stunning.