Friday, December 19, 2008


The public library system is great, offering every book free of charge. One of its only drawbacks is that you have to physically go to the location to pick up a book, and with today’s busy schedules, it can be a real burden. In the same vein, because most people share this dilemma of when-can-I-get-to-the-library-next, it has a ripple effect on all users, making turnovers longer and causing delays on reservations, late charges, etc.

The Idea: public library delivery.

Public library delivery would be an extension of the online systems currently used by most libraries. Users would be able to log on, search for titles, and reserve them - but, instead of having to go to the library to get them, they could elect to have them delivered to their home or office for a nominal fee; on the same note, people could also schedule a delivery pick-up for those which are due. Ideally, the user would schedule one delivery, where they would receive their new books and hand off their old ones which need to be returned. Opponents may argue that one of the defining qualities of a library, and the most attractive, is that it costs nothing; while true, paying for a delivery service would still be much cheaper than paying for the actual book. Further, such a service would complement the current system of picking up books, not replace it, so the user would still be able to choose which method they prefer.

Numerous benefits would result from public library delivery. It would create added revenue for the libraries, which could be put towards the system's infrastructure, as well as lighten the burden for taxpayers. It would create jobs, as branches would need to hire additional people to make the deliveries. And lastly, it would make the system more efficient and foster a quicker turnover, since people would no longer have to schedule a trip to the local branch to receive/return their books.

Public library delivery would even be beneficial for the environment. Rather than many vehicles traveling to and from the library, only a few vehicles would be needed to get people their books. And where feasible, bicycles (similar to those used for takeout - think Upper Crust Pizza delivery) could be used to completely eliminate the use of fossil fuel.

To learn more about public libraries, visit

Wednesday, December 17, 2008


Winter is here, which means it is time for coats, gloves, and hats. While hats provide warmth, they also make the common practice of listening to one's ipod that much more difficult. People are constantly fidgeting with their headwear and their earphones, trying to obtain a comfortable setup, but most times, people just grow frustrated and remove one or the other.

The Idea: In-hat headphones.

In-hat headphones would basically be various types of headgear with speakers mounted inside them. Winter hats would have speakers adjustable inside the hat, whereas hunting-style hats and earmuffs would have speakers adjustable within the actual ear piece. In addition, various head pieces could be made with custom pockets to house an ipod, helping to guard it against cord-related mishaps.

In-hat headphones would be useful for commuting, exercising, or any other situation where you find yourself trying to manage the two items separately. Further, by consolidating the two items into one, you would be able to hide the telltale cord and protect yourself from a potential ipod theft.

Other ideas might include collar mounted speakers in winter jackets and backhand mounted speakers on gloves, for people who are averse to headphones in general, but still enjoy music on the go.

To learn more about how to construct your own “headphone hat”, check out

Monday, December 15, 2008


Imagine returning home from vacation, with tan skin and a camera chock full of great pictures; you decide to hold off on uploading them straight to your computer, figuring hey, they're not going anywhere. But then the unthinkable happens, and your camera ends up stolen, misplaced, or damaged. All too often, pictures are lost somewhere in between the taking and the uploading - there must be a more foolproof way of saving each photograph before anything can happen.

The Idea: camera service subscriptions.

Camera service subscriptions would be subscription plans coupled with compatible cameras which would use wireless networks to upload pictures from your camera to a website immediately after being taken. That website could be accessed at any time for editing, archiving, printing, etc. The system could be set up similarly to that of Amazon's Kindle, which allows the user to download books to their Kindle from absolutely anywhere - in this case, the user would be able to upload pictures to their computer from absolutely anywhere. With the subscription, users would be able to take photos with the comfort of knowing that no matter what happens to their camera after that moment - their pictures are already saved and sound.

In addition to the immediate-upload, users would have access to their accounts, with the ability to share photos as they are uploaded. This would benefit individuals, but moreso, it would be ideal for groups and organizations. Construction companies would be able to send pictures from remote job sites back to the office; youth groups would be able to provide parents with instant photos of what their kids are up to; the list goes on...

Finally, the partnership opportunities are plentiful for this venture, as the components for such a service are already widely available (i.e. wireless networks, digital cameras, and online photo sites). Since the companies which produce these components are already established, the race to create the best package would be instant and competitive. This translates into an array of options for the consumer, as these newly-formed partnerships try to outdo one another.

To learn more about digital photography and digital imaging, check out