Steve Jobs stated once that the “design is not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works.” While this statement has proven to be crucial over thousands of years, one shouldn’t misinterpret it by emphasizing the functionality despite the design. When it comes to product design, the significance of aesthetics of a given device, the way its design looks and feels, determines the choice of the customer once the functionalities of multiple devices are more or less similar. If supported by sound user interface and a well-tested, clean implementation, innovative design solutions can drastically enhance the user experience.

This article presents innovative, futuristic gadgets, devices, designs and concepts. Unless explicitly specified, none of these cut-edge concepts is currently being manufactured. None of them is available for end-users which is why neither the price nor links to the stores are mentioned.

Please keep in mind that the main idea of this article is not to do the sell-talk for trendy products, but to showcase innovative design solutions and futuristic devices which can become reality in 2008 or over the next few years.

Sony’s Apple Remote Control

Sony’s Apple Remote Control
Is there any place for innovation when it comes to the design of remote controls? Apparently, there is. This Sony’s”apple” allows users to perform basic functions like changing channels, volume etc. with simple motion gestures (see image below). Once “apples” are placed on the bowl, the remote control is being recharged. Neither price nor production dates are known.

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Optimus Tactus & Optimus Maximus

Artemy Lebedev’s Optimus keyboards offer an unusual approach for a traditional input device. A small OLED-display (Organic Display) is placed beneath every key to enable users to define displayed characters and the keys’ functionality manually. In other words, with Optimus the placement of labels on the keyboard can be varied at any time.

Optimus Tactus does not have physical keys, which means there are no restrictions on their shape and size. Any part of the keyboard surface can be programmed to perform any function or to display any images. Production date and price: unknown.

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Optimus Maximus (Demo). Each of the 113 keys is a stand-alone display that shows the function currently assigned to it. Optimus’s customizable layout allows convenient use of any language — Cyrillic, Ancient Greek, Georgian, Arabic, Quenya, hiragana, etc. — as well as of any other character sets: notes, numerals, special symbols, HTML codes, math functions and so on to infinity. Production date: the end of January 2008, price: 460$.

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Configurator in Innovative Designs and Devices
The Keyboard Configurator. You can assign any images and characters to display on your Optimus keyboard.

Nonobject Behind the Scenes Camera

The Nonobject Behind the Scenes Camera (Video) has “lenses and displays on both sides for simultaneously recording what you’re aiming at, and what you’re not.” Behind the Scenes Camera is designed to capture what’s going on behind our back, beyond our control, while simultaneously capturing the scene in front of us.

Objectcamera in Innovative Designs and Devices

Duofone

The main idea behind Duofone is the possibility to put multiple devices together to combine their screen real estate. The battery power can be shared, and a movie can be watched on a larger screen.

Duofone in Innovative Designs and Devices

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Toast Messenger

Toast Messenger incorporates a little message board where one can write quick notes and then instantly print them on the toaster. Simple, yet innovative.

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Dual Music Player

Compared to traditional music players, this Dual Music Player is different. It is a portable solution thatsupports both CDs and Flash-memory. You can listen to MP3s stored on your Flash-drive and copy music via USB while once you need to play your old CDs you can simply open both sides and let the player do the rest.

Dmp in Innovative Designs and Devices

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Vaio Zoom

The Vaio Zoom notebook takes everything we know about holographic technology and squeezes it inside a thin glass form factor. When off, the screen is completely transparent and the keyboard goes opaque. Turn it on and the touchscreen holographic festivities begin. Even the mouse buttons are holographic! [via Gizmodo]

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Visual Desktop Charger

Quite often the details are not the details. They make the design. Saying that, Charles Eames was right: the beauty of Visual Desktop Charger lies in its close attention to small details. The device is a visual indicator of the charge status of a mobile phone. It is supposed to like like a “bird bath-like charger, complete with radiating rings of light to indicate charge status and to top it all off, thirsty birds that glow once the rings of light hit ‘em.” [via YankoDesign]

Bird Charger in Innovative Designs and Devices

Bluetooth Laser Virtual Keyboard

This is reality. This BlueTooth Laser Virtual Keyboard, a laser projection keyboard, allows you to type on any flat surface. You can use it to compose an e-mail on your Bluetooth enabled PDA or Cell Phone. With 63 keys and and full size QWERTY layout the Laser Virtual Keyboard can approach the typing speed of a standard keyboard. Size: a little larger than a matchbook. Already released. Price: $150.

Laserkeyboard in Innovative Designs and Devices

Omaura HTPC

Omaura Home Theater Personal PC is a new face in HTPCs. “When we first opened the PDF containing the concept images of Omaura’s concept TT chassis, we thought for a second it was a large, TV-stand-ready all-in-one PC whose display had a seriously distorted aspect ratio. We’ll confess to a little disappointment once we realized it was simply an upright case, but that shot of its interior got us excited again. Imagine sticking the TT on a low-profile table under your wall-mounted LCD or plasma screen.” [via CNet]

Omaura in Innovative Designs and Devices

Hi-Tech Office: Eclipse Partitioning System

Eclipse Partitioning System (Video) includes a desk, task chair, expandable hood, integrated speakers, and power all set on casters for true mobility. The central idea behind this hi-tech office is versatility. Its retractable hood allows for various levels of privacy and access to accommodate to the changing work flow of one’s daily job. You should really take a look at the video. Neither price nor production dates are known.

Eclipse in Innovative Designs and Devices

EmTrace’s PS100 Photoskin Frames

EmTrace PS100 offers one single dock station for all your personal needs and interests. Looking like a digital photo frame, it fits into a wallet and syncs data for stocks, weather and other information via Internet. You can load whatever information you’d like on your personal dock station and take it with you — in your wallet. Neither price nor production dates are known.

Wallet in Innovative Designs and Devices

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iRing

iRing is a control playback for your Apple media devices. As a simple ring which fits on a finger, it has a wireless Bluetooth connectivity with iPod and iPhone. “iRing features a bright OLED status display with touch-sensitive function strip, and a rechargeable battery life of up to 2 days. Conveniently recharge your iRing using the included cradle.” Neither price nor production dates are known.

Iring in Innovative Designs and Devices

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Pock-It

So simple, yet so effective. Pock-It is a simple design concepts that allows you to use a little pocket instead of usual stick-it-notes.

Pockit in Innovative Designs and Devices

Bonus: “sQuba” Diving Car

Rinspeed’s sQuba Diving Car is the “first real diving car designed to autonomously turn into anamphibious vehicle at the push of a button — can submerge up to 10m (33ft) under water.” Powering the concept is an electric motor mated to the rear wheels.

The propulsion on the water is ensured by two propellers in the stern and two powerful jet drives in the bow to propel the vehicle under water. The body is constructed from light weight components made of Carbon Nano Tubes and contains an on-board air-filling system. Neither price nor production dates are known.

Rinspeed1 in Innovative Designs and Devices

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1 Comment

  1. Often thats because of who they tap to spearhead the creative process.


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