I like to solve my life's little annoyances, at least theoretically. Sometimes I actually make them into products (I'm working on some new ones now), but the ideas below languish in my sketchbook graveyard. Many are non-digital products (remember I'm an Industrial Design grad) but hopefully they shed some light on how I think. Some are comically old, but still kinda fun.
I almost did some freelance work for a scooter startup in 2018, and these were a few quick preliminary ideas to solve the problems of rider safety, branding in a competitive market, and city bans due to people leaving scooters in the middle of sidewalks.
I sketched this up around 2000, and I'm guessing it exists in some form now. It'd be pretty cool if the parking meter data could be pulled into Apple/Google Maps.
I'm a skier, but the one time I snowboarded, I thought of this to help snowboarders get through flats and lift lines.
Our first dog (June) did some dog sports like frisbee and flyball, which means you're often taking your dog on and off the leash (and holding the leash when not using it). "There must be a better way!" I thought, so I designed a retractable collar-mounted leash.
Remember how we used alarm clocks before iPhone alarms? And sometimes there'd be an AM/PM screw-up or low-volume error so we wouldn't wake up? It was even riskier using a hotel's unfamiliar alarm clock, so I wanted to design an incredibly intuitive version targeted toward hotels. Since this would be a pretty complex and costly product to manufacture, I never followed through with it, but I iterated a lot and was happy with a solution of using explicit (non multi-modal) buttons tied to explicit displays.
We had our first baby in 2003, and the usual parenting struggles gave me quite a few ideas! Our first had colic (ie, cries all the time), and the "Happiest Baby on the Block" book taught us that swaddling Christopher should help. Problem was, babies wriggle out of a swaddled blanket, so I designed a simple velcro-based "Cool Swaddle" (basically a baby straight jacket), which worked great. Sadly, I never got the product to market, and eventually someone else did (it's on the stores at WalMart now)...sigh. It's one of my bigger regrets.
My small post-pregnant wife struggled to lift the baby in and out of the crib, and drop-side cribs don't seem to work that well (and still require you to bend over), so I came up with this fairly simple push-pedal idea to easily raise the mattress.
Some sketches from my senior Industrial Design project. Basically, the idea was to minimze the rigid shell (which is needed to transfer your weight where you want it on your ski) so it's only in the necessary areas, while the rest of the boot can be a soft comfortable pain-free liner.
In my college and post-college days when I moved every year or so, I thought it'd be nice to have furniture that was very easy to disassemble, move or ship, and reassemble. It could also be modular to fit different spaces, with upholstery that removes easily for washing or replacing to change the look. Now, furniture-rental services are gaining popularity to fill the need, but I still like this concept. (But I have no idea what that shape is on the upper right.)
In Iowa City, we had to sort our curbside recycling, so I designed and built a simple station on our garage wall that made it all tidy and easy. And kudos to me for listing the Goals and Task List on the sketch. LOL.
A half-baked idea to make heels less painful. I have no idea how women wear them all day.
It's fun to look at pre-iPhone ideas! I don't think I can draw fingers that well anymore though, which saddens me.
Ever notice how basketball refs have to run to the scorer's table to signal who the foul was on? Why not just have a wristband-mounted tool where they can easily enter it?
I had this idea in 1998 while I was in grad school for Biomechanics / Ergonomics. I don't think it's been done, which of course might mean it's a bad idea.
This 1998 idea was certainly ahead of its time. Now we just need free Wi-Fi on flights and we'll be golden.
This idea came to me when we lived in stormy Iowa with two cars and a one-car garage.
I had this idea in 1998, well before iPhones and iPods. However, even though the technology is easily available to solve this now, it's still hard to operate music controls in ski gloves, so a glove-friendly controller would be nice even today.
When my wife and I visited Taiwan, I noticed that most cars had minor damage on their corner bumpers, so...
Need a window in a fully underground basement?
Another of my late-90's ideas that's probably been done by now.
Everyone paints floor-to-ceiling murals on their kids' rooms, right? No? Hmmm. Since we moved a couple times, I ended up painting a total of 4 rooms, each taking a few months. Sadly, I can't seem to find photos of the first couple, but here's Eli's Nemo room and Christopher's Tarzan/Jungle Book room. Click them for zoom-able versions.