Friday, November 7, 2008


It always seems to rain the hardest when you least expect it and when you’re least prepared - and of course, when you're without an umbrella. How many days have been sunny and clear until 5 o’clock and then bam! - Just as you leave work, the sky opens up? How many nights have been cool and clear until you find yourself soaked and frizzed, in the midst of an erratic downpour? And although most people own umbrellas, they never seem to have them when it matters, being forced to either a) get wet, or b) get wet walking to the nearest store for a new one.

While carrying an umbrella around 24/7 might seem both simple and pragmatic, it isn’t. For the most part, men don’t use purses, and women’s handbags are rarely large enough to stash a whole umbrella. Is there no weatherproof solution for accidentally leaving an umbrella at the bar or getting caught outside without so much as a hood?

The Idea: disposable umbrellas.

Essentially a larger, rain-shielding version of the mini-parasols found in tropical drinks, disposable umbrellas would be small, lightweight, and good for a one-time use. They would be sold in packs of two (for getting there and back) at convenience stores, pharmacies, and within vending machines; if successful, office buildings and other high-traffic venues (i.e. restaurants, hotels, theatres, etc.) could also make them available.

To some, the word disposable is immediately associated with waste. To combat this fear and related criticisms, disposable umbrellas would be made from recycled materials such as plastics, metals, and paper - or a combination of all three; in addition, a percentage of each sale could be donated to an organization aimed at helping the environment. The amount donated would surely offset the cost of recycling a discarded umbrella.

To learn more about advances already made towards creating disposable umbrellas, check out patents 5069237 and 6237615 – please note, the patent is for the specific design, not the Idea itself.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008


A remote starter is a veritable miracle on a bitter-cold, winter morning, defrosting your windshield and warming the car while you remain inside brushing your teeth: unless, of course, your car is parked across the street, or any other reasonable distance which exceeds your immediate driveway. While working wonders from home (if you have a driveway, that is), remote starters are utterly useless from an office building a few blocks away, a restaurant a couple streets over, or any other place you might find yourself far-from-car during the cold, dark months.

The Idea: a TRUE remote starter.

Using technology which would be accessible via internet and cell phone, one would be able to start their car from practically anywhere, as well as have the ability to unlock the doors, control the temperature, and cue up some music. Just like traditional auto-starters, the car would still require the insertion of a key, or security code, before it could actually be driven.

The TRUE remote starter could also double as a security device, providing phone and email alerts should the car suffer any damage from an attempted theft, a break-in, or an inter-parking-lot hit and run.

To read more about starting cars via cell phones visit

Monday, November 3, 2008


Sunscreen application is one of the less enjoyable aspects of a trip to the beach - unless applied by a scantily-clad, firm-bodied friend of course. That being said, numerous attempts have been aimed at easing the process (i.e. non-greasy lotions, spray bottles, aerosols), yet all have fallen short of success, leaving sunscreen as the proverbial 'sand-in-the-shorts' of today's beachgoer.

The Idea: spray 'screening.

Using the same technology as spray tanning (see also: airbrush tanning), there would be booths set up at the beach where one would deposit money (cash or credit), select an SPF (tanning oil included), and receive a quick and thorough, mist-applied layer of sunscreen. The spray 'screening would promote skin safety, as well as a nice, even tan - a win-win situation!

This Idea would be most effective at high traffic beaches, with portable booths situated atop the seawall or on the boardwalk; booths could also be placed more permanently in beachfront shops, where spray 'screening would be offered alongside towels, sand toys, and other ocean fare.

Spray 'screening is also an ideal candidate for an exercise in competitive branding; just as Coca-Cola and Pepsi products vie, so could Coppertone and Banana Boat.

To learn more about lotion-spraying mist-applicators, check out these various applicators for spray tanning.