Bagpiper Thumb Drive

US design patent 720760S1 for a “Bagpiper Thumb Drive,” was granted to Thomas Paul Caldwell and Thomas Paul Caldwell, on January 6, 2015. The patent document explains: “[This drawing of the] ornamental design for a bagpiper thumb drive… [shows] a lower section disconnected to reveal a Universal Serial Bus (‘USB’) connector protruding from beneath a kilt […]

Seriously Silly Design Fictions (study)

What would be the point of designing and developing “Magic Machines” in the form of a “Poo Detector” … Or an “Eyes and Ears” gizmo? … One reason would be to draw attention to the effects of so-called ‘Solutionism’ – prevalent in today’s world where technological ‘solutions’ (esp. gadgets) are constantly presented to solve problems […]

Holding the door open for others – the darkside?

Back in 2011 Improbable drew attention to the ubiquitous (though at the time somewhat under-investigated) social phenomenon of ‘Door Holding’ see : Etiquette and effort. At the time. a research team from Penn State University, US, proposed that ‘Door Holding’ may have evolved because its perceived effort-saving efficiency might be uplifting for society. (press release […]

How to Kill People

“How to Kill People” is a TV documentary made in 1960. The underlying theme: how to design weapons that kill people, but — as the occasionally-coughing on-camera host George Nelson, himself an influential product designer, explains — does not murder them. The passing years have added blurrgh-blurrgh-blurrghiness to the sound track: (HT Paola Antonelli) BONUS […]

Introducing a concept: Hortiporn

What is Hortipornography? We can do no better than consult the word’s coiners – Dr. Paul Hewer, now Senior Lecturer in Marketing at Strathclyde University, Scotland, and Professor Douglas Brownlie, at the University of Stirling, Scotland, who originated the term in their paper ‘Constructing Hortiporn: On the Aesthetics of Stylized Exteriors’ (in: Advances in Consumer […]

Inventors’ dustup, with teeth: Tat, Tit, Tat,…

Two eminent invention/design firms are quarreling very much in public about a dustpan. In form, this is a classic tit-for-tat battle: TAT: “Rise Up! Quirky Seeks Justice for Inventor Bill Ward“, which begins: As a haven for transparent online collaboration, Quirky must strive to protect the interests of its inventors and influencers. While this customarily […]