Brainstorming Contest - Gel Magnets

Got ideas for gel magnets? Post ideas on the Inventables Facebook page the comments and the most "likes" will win the magnets! Deadline: 6/7/11

Make a prototype that has a soft touch material

We are excited to announce that we have added a new material to our store. It's a soft and flexible material that can be used to make a prototype or repair a part.

We think this could be a cool material to use in conjunction with our hand moldable plastic.

If you make something with it send us some pictures!

Powerless Illuminating Tubing - Giveaway

Wonder How To provides more than 170,000 how-to videos and articles from over 17,000 creators, spanning 35 vertical categories and 424 sub-categories. If you take a step back and think about it that's a lot of how to videos!

Last week Rachel Mansur over at Wonder How To decided she wanted to run a special Inventables fueled Giveaway Tuesday.

The premise is simple.

1. Follow @WonderHowTo on Twitter -OR- Like them on Facebook.

2. Leave a comment describing what you would make with the material on this page:

Good luck! We'll be announcing the winner.

Forbes Covers Inventables

Caroline Howard of Forbes did a nice piece on Inventables today.  The write up was part of an ongoing effort to identify the people, places, ideas, products and companies that are poised to become central to the global conversation over the next six to nine months. Kenny Gutierrez nominated Inventables.  If you'd like to nominate your own “name” click here to nominate .  We are told the best will be featured in an upcoming issue of Forbes magazine. 

Material of the Day - Soft Conductive Foam

This is a material that has electrically conductive
silver-plated fibers integrated into a low density
urethane foam.

Innovative food, drink, and utensils

Chicago is home to a lot of innovative restaurants. Moto, and Alinea have turned traditional fine dining into an interactive and scientific experience. Recently Grant Achatz has launched a new bar called Aviary. Working with Martin Kastner of Crucial Detail they have designed the food and drink and the glassware and utensils.

Food has become a commodity and getting a great meal is becoming more commonplace than it used to be. Fine dining restaurants like these are adding more value by making eating with them an experience that goes well beyond nice decor. In many regards this is becoming dinner theater. Rather than grabbing a bite to eat and watching actors have some amazing experiences in a movie why not get a bite to eat and have those amazing experiences yourself.

In this video Grant and Craig Schoettler create a drink served "in the rocks," using a blast chiller to form hollow ice shapes. An old fashioned made with Buffalo Trace bourbon, demerara syrup and housemade orange bitters is injected into the hollow ice using a syringe. The customer uses a utensil to crack the ice and release the cocktail contained within.

Mobile Garden Project Chicago

The mobile garden is an art installation that is a garden installed on a fully operational flat bed Chicago Transit Authority “L” system train car.  The CTA has approved the project but noiseivelvet the 501(c)(3) is required to find a corporate partner to carry the contract with the CTA.

If this corporate partner is found the the proposed installation time is for 1 month.  Here is an artist rendering of what the installation would look like.

‘Rebuildables’ Design Challenge - Inventables/IDSA Chicago

Inventables and IDSA Chicago are partnering to offer a unique design challenge opportunity. The challenge is to create a product that utilizes one of Inventables’s newest materials: hand-moldable plastic. This design competition is open to all IDSA professional and student members.

Every participant will have a unique opportunity to work with this popular new material (hand-moldable plastic) while having an opportunity to create a bunch of sleek, open products; to discover some novel uses for hand-moldable plastic; to inspire building among students; and to provide a gateway into selling a product. Inventables will work with participants to source materials from Inventables’s online resources as well as source materials that can grow the Inventables library.

Please join us on May 12 at Inventables, 600 W. Van Buren #602, Chicago, Illinois 60607.

Design Goal
Create a product that utilizes hand-moldable plastic while being:
Beautiful: the product should look professional.
Functional: the final product cannot be merely ornamental. It has to do something.
Easily recreatable: instructions for building your product must be posted online.
Appealing to a high school or college student: We hope to inspire building among the age group.

Teams: Open to IDSA Professional/Student members.

Final Deliverables/Rewards
Anyone entering the challenge will be required to post their product on Kickstarter. At the end of a 4 week period, the participant/team with the highest Kickstart pledges for the completed project will receive a cash prize.

Clear process presentation
- Bill of Materials
- Tools Required
- Assembly instructions for building your own at home
Beautiful Renderings
2D Drawings/Orthographic containing basic dimensions
3D Model/Prototype using hand-moldable plastic

May 12 = Kick-off Presentation at Inventables, 600 W. Van Buren #602, Chicago, Illinois 60607.

May 19 = Check-in with Inventables. (Participants can email Inventables with questions) Teams pick up kick-off goodies (Hand Moldable Plastic)

May 26 = Participants continue posting process online

June 2 = Final deliverable due to Inventables for judging (Prizes Awarded to winner as well as winner of Kickstart pledges)

1. First place gets $500 cash
2. Second place gets $250 gift certificate to Inventables

Glow in the dark ribbon

This material provides light without electricity. Since it is super thin and tear resistant it can be sewn into garments.

The material activates within 5 minutes exposure to ambient or sunlight light sources.
The brightness is directly proportional to light intensity and exposure, however maximum brightness is achieved with exposure to 30 minutes of direct light.

The brightest light is evident in darkened conditions during the first 3 to 4 hours after
exposure. Brightness will diminish slowly until recharged in ambient or sunlight. Total
perceptible glow can be visible up to a maximum of 12 hours.

What would you make with it?

A Paintbrush for Touch Screens

The guys over at Joystickers are about to do it again. They are launching their new digital paint brush called "The Flow" on Kickstarter. With 8 days to go they have 297 backers and have raised $9212. The goal they need to hit to go into production of the product is $10,000. Check out this video that demos's the brush.

Excelerate Labs selects 10 startups for class of 2011

Excelerate Labs, is a Chicago based early stage startup accelerator.  The program is run by two successful entrepreneurs Sam Yagan founder of OKCupid and Sparknotes and Troy Henikoff founder SurePayroll.
Each year they receive hundreds of applications to participate in the program.  After intensive review of applications and in person interviews with more than 50 companies, Excelerate Labs is pleased to announce the ten companies that make up Excelerate Labs' Summer Class of 2011:

A Space Apart: A new breed of social media. We connect people and businesses in context wherever they come together. http://www.aspaceapart.net

BabbaCo: A lifestyle brand creating parenting solutions via "simple. functional. super cute." products and video content. http://www.babbaco.com

Beyond Credentials: We give young professionals the tools to create an online presence, stand out, and connect with great companies. http://www.beyondcredentials.com

Buzz Referrals: With a single line of code, BuzzReferrals turns your best customers into your brand advocates. Eliminate the hassle and track the results of your own custom referral program. http://www.buzzreferrals.com

CookItFor.Us: We get recipes made by connecting Cravers & Makers in a social fresh-food marketplace. Crave. Make. Share. http://www.CookItFor.Us

Exchangery: An exchange platform as a service that allows you to create an online marketplace to buy and sell commodity goods. http://www.theExchangery.com

Food Genius: Suggests dishes based on individualized taste profiles and tracks what you eat in a game to establish expertise. http://www.getfoodgenius.com

Joystickers: We give people a fun way to physically interact with their touch screen phones and tablets with products like removable gaming buttons and paintbrushes.http://www.joystickers.com

MapDing: A completely mobile, hyper-local, location-based marketplace. We make community commerce simple, safe, and fun. http://www.mapding.com

Power2Switch: An electricity cost reduction and energy use monitoring/management portal for residential and small business customers. http://www.power2switch.com

Congrats to the companies, we look forward to an exciting summer!

University of Illinois ID Senior Show

On Friday April 29th I attended the University of Illinois Industrial Design Senior Show hosted by Beyond Design in Chicago.

Thirty Five students of the 2011 senior class showcased their projects on boards hung up around the perimeter of the studio.

A few of the projects that stood out to me were the Axis spray paint gun, the D5R professional concept camera and the Lay Line.

The Lay Line is a hospital tube and cord organizer.  In my opinion it's value goes beyond that because it attempts to humanize the hospitalization process by making the wrist band fun. In addition to organizing the cords a doctor or patent can customize what the band says with stickers.  For kids this adds a little bit of fun to a traditionally medicinal process.

The designer responsible for this project was Brian Moy (pictured above).  I was impressed that Brian took the extra step of creating a functional prototype using Sugru.  Sugru is a modeling clay that one exposed to air it cures into a touch flexible silicone overnight.  You can work and shape it for about 30 minutes and it will cure 3-5mm deep in 24 hours.  Below is a picture of his prototype.

From my seat each year the projects are getting better and better.  Thanks a ton to Beyond Design for hosting the event!