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Get the ‘Skinny’ on the Latest iPhone Rumor

Innovation, Innovative Inventions, Inventions

Rumors have been swirling around the idea that Apple is currently working on a new app called “Healthbook.”

It all began in February when Apple posted a job listing for a physiologist that intimated the tech giant might be exploring health apps or gadgets.

This leads us to the most current news about Apple’s latest invention, which might be bringing fitness and health tracking capabilities to the forefront on future versions of the iPad and iPhone. It’s speculated that the latest update will debut with iOS 8 sometime later this year.

Much like the Passbook app that was developed by Apple, which offers a centralized location for your plane tickets, coupons, gift certificates and other passes, the Healthbook will offer a unified location for the user’s health and fitness information.

How will this new app track your wellness? For certain areas, it will utilize the new M7 chip. This technology was introduced with the iPhone 5s last year for the motion-detecting processor capabilities that are embedded inside the device. For the new app, the M7 chip will help track things such as the number of steps that you take during the course of your day, or the speed as you run.

New inventions go through a slew of changes as the process gets more involved. For instance, in the case of the Healthbook, for categories like “Respiratory Rate” and “Blood Sugar” as shown in the mock-up, these info-gathering processes would require separate devices. Does this mean that, in addition, Apple also is working on a device(s) that could perform these additional tasks?

If this isn’t the case, it’s likely that Healthbook will sync with many existing third-party devices.

You know what they say, an Apple a day keeps the doctor away and we think that Apple’s latest health invention might offer the help that consumers need!

Copyright Davison 2014



A Clearer Look at the History of the Contact Lens

Innovation, Innovative Inventions, Inventions

It may seem like a fairly new idea. But, the invention of the contact lens spans back much farther than you would think. In fact, contact lenses have been helping people see more clearly since the inception of this invention in 1887.

As you all may know, the contact lens is an artificial lens that is worn on the surface of the eye in order to correct refractive defects of vision.

The invention of contact lenses came to be in 1887 when Adolf Fick developed the first pair, which were made of glass, to correct irregular astigmatism.

The early invention of the lenses was, as you could have guessed, uncomfortable and could not be worn for extended periods of time.

The earliest form of the contact lens invention was made by taking an impression of the eye and fashioning a lens on a mold. This practice was done before the development of optical instruments that could measure the curvature of the cornea, which is the transparent surface of the eye that covers the iris and the pupil.

Then, in 1889, a German glassblower by the name of F.A. Muller had an idea for the invention and found a better way to make a glass lens thinner and lighter.

In the mid-1900s, plastic-based contact lenses were introduced into the mix and were designed so that the lenses were more wearable. However, the lens continued to sit flat on the cornea that made it uncomfortable and did not provide the best vision correction.

Inventions go through countless changes in order to iron out the kinks and, in 1948, California optician Kevin Tuohy began making contact lenses entirely out of plastic. These new, fully-plastic lenses were bigger than the cornea, yet smaller than the previous pair of lenses, which was a step in the right direction.

By the 1950s and 1960s, the invention got another boost when the lens was shaped more like the cornea and they became smaller and thinner. And, for the first time ever, the lenses could be worn all day, albeit, still they were an uncomfortable fit.

The new, soft lens became commercially available by 1971 in the United States and during the 1980s, the color-tinted contact lens was introduced as along with the disposable lens and the extended-wear lens.

What once started out as a glass lens that covered the entire eyeball turned into an invention that went through a myriad of changes. Since the invention idea hit the ground running, contact lenses have continued to help people correct refractive defects of vision. In fact, more than 100 million people around the world are getting a clearer look at life because of this invention.

Copyright Davison 2014



Siri Takes the Wheel with Apple’s Latest Invention

Innovation, Innovative Inventions, Inventions

With the latest announcement from Apple, Siri may soon be riding shotgun in your car .

Apple recently announced its latest product, CarPlay. This slick, Siri-enabled device will interact with your iPhone in the car. The latest invention isn’t a standalone in-car operating system; rather, it’s a “second screen” iOS interface that is optimized for the car.

CarPlay will allow for a deeper integration with iOS devices than any in-car system to date.

The system will make its debut at the Geneva International Motor Show and cars like Ferrari, Mercedes, and Volvo will be shown with CarPlay built in.

Now, in order for CarPlay to work, the system operates with a Lightning-connector that connects to the iPhone. Users are limited to using the system with the iPhone 5, 5s and 5c, which all need to be connected to the car in order for the features to work.

But, nonetheless, you can think of this system as a car-infotainment system by substitution, because everything still runs through the iPhone.

CarPlay uses a system based on streaming H.264 video in order for the screen mirroring and car-touchscreen interaction with the phone to work.

The physical connection of the iPhone to the device will be tethered via a Lightning cable, which is a proprietary computer and power connector that was invented by Apple in order to find a better way to connect Apple mobile devices like iPads, iPhones and iPods to host computers, cameras, external monitors, USB battery chargers and other devices.

The new system was designed with the idea of providing ease for users to gain access and use their iPhone’s services and software via Siri. CarPlay offers access to hands-free calling functions, in addition to Siri search, messages and maps. The latter of the features means that Apple will have the opportunity to push its own maps app over those of its competitors (cough, cough, Google).

Finally, CarPlay will work in conjunction with other apps like Podcasts and some music services from third-parties like Beats Radio, iHeart Radio, Spotify and Stitcher. Based off of what we have seen so far, many believe that the evolution of this new Apple invention will be a gradual, hand-selected roll-out, which is similar to how Apple handled adding Apple TV software partners.

Check out a demo of the Apple CarPlay in action!

Copyright Davison 2014



A ‘Sound’ Piece of Technology

Innovation, Innovative Inventions, Inventions

On Tuesday, we wrote a blog about the ReWalk Exoskeleton that is giving paralyzed individuals a second chance at walking again. Today, we want to talk about the Resound Linx. This invention is aimed at giving the hearing impaired a better chance at hearing the sounds that make the world go round.

This new rare piece of wearable technology is a practical and immediately-usable invention that can be utilized by anyone with a hearing impairment. On Monday, this new Bluetooth device was officially launched by the Denmark-based GN ReSound company that developed it.

The hearing aid uses ReSound’s Surround Sound integrated sound processing and the company touts that it is powerful enough to aid in 90 percent of hearing loss cases.

Furthermore, this invention was created in order to work seamlessly with the iPhone and iPad. The ReSound Linx will allow the person wearing the apparatus to adjust the sound settings directly from their smartphone. This is an important feature that allows anyone who is wearing the hearing aid to be less conspicuous while adjusting their device in public.

So, what sets this device apart from the others? The hearing aids are directly connected between Apple devices. Additionally, the hearing aid also can exchange data with the iPhone, using the ReSound smart app that will give the user new ways to personalize their hearing experience.

The functionality of the device’s ability is the fact that the invention has the capability to remember specific sound experience settings from a particular location. The device can do this by tagging GPS locations, so users then have the option to use that location-specific setting whenever they return to the location.

That’s not all for the GPS function. It also serves as a locator. Let’s say that you’ve lost one of the devices; you can search for it using the ReSound Linx app, which raises the volume level on the app’s display as you get closer to the lost device.

The only apparent downside of this new invention is that it isn’t cheap. In fact, the general price ranges anywhere from $2,900-$3,500.

Although it may have a hefty price tag, this “sound” piece of technology is sparking the interest of consumers everywhere.

Take a look at the promo for the ReSound Linx:

Copyright Davison 2014



Isaac Asimov’s Future Invention Predictions

Innovative Inventions, Inventions

If you ask someone what the future will be like, some common answers are that there will be flying cars or that we will be able to travel back into time, etc. But, there was one inventor and idea man, in particular, that just so happened to predict the future, and the future that he predicted is now!

It all began in 1964 when a science-fiction writer by the name of Isaac Asimov used his creativity and imagination to invent an idea of what the future would look like; and, by the looks of it, he was pretty spot on.

Let’s take a look at a few of Asimov’s invention predictions!

Microwave- We have already written a blog that was solely devoted to the invention of convenience, otherwise known as the microwave. But, long before our blog post, Asimov predicted that there would be an invention that would prepare “automeals” and that complete lunches and dinners with the food semi-prepared would be stored in the freezer until ready for processing (hello, TV dinners). It’s safe to say that Asimov’s invention prediction number one was accurate.

GPS- Road maps are now seen as a sort of historical document, ever since the GPS was invented. Now, you can travel uncharted territory and go from point A to point B with a small invention that is either incorporated into your car’s dashboard,  sticks to the inside of your car’s windshield or is available on your Smartphone. Asimov predicted that “Much effort will be put into the designing of vehicles with ‘robot-brains’ (vehicles that can be set for particular destinations and that will then proceed there without interference by slow reflexes of a human driver.)” The invention that Asimov described is pretty close to the GPS that we use today. And, he might not be far off with his prediction of vehicles proceeding without interference by slow reflexes of the human driver; because, there are countless projects, one of which was conducted in 2013 at Carnegie Mellon University, where they invented a working prototype of a self-driving car. Stay tuned to see if Asimov’s second prediction comes completely true!

FaceTime/Internet- So, your loved one or your friend is on the other side of the country or even across the pond; but, that doesn’t matter because you can still talk to them face-to-face via FaceTime and the internet. These two inventions have revolutionized the way that people communicate and Asimov predicted this future invention by saying, “Communications will become sight-sound and you will see as well as hear the person you telephone.” He continued to say that “The screen can be used not only to see the people you call but also for studying documents and photographs and reading passages from books.” How would this be possible? Asimov said that “synchronous satellites, hovering in space will make it possible for you to direct-dial any spot on Earth, including the weather stations in Antarctica.” These invention predictions made by Asimov sound a lot like the tablets and computers that we use on a daily basis, both leisurely and for our business efforts, too.

Asimov made these predictions 50 years ago and we are using these inventions today. Perhaps, 50 years from now, we will be writing about your invention and your invention predictions. But, you’ll never know, if you don’t dare to invent!

Copyright Davison 2014



2014 Google Design Competition Celebrates Inventions


Since our creative workspace, Inventionland, has been compared to and ranked even“odder” than Google headquarters, we certainly can appreciate Google’s latest efforts to inspire young creators everywhere.

Google has just launched their 2014 Doodle 4 Google competition. Last week, the Google homepage reflected the competition’s theme, coaxing “If you could invent one thing to make the world a better place…”

The contest prompts young innovators to submit a Google Doodle under this year’s “invention” theme. The student whose artwork is selected as the winning entry will get to see their creation on the Google homepage, in addition to receiving a $30,000 college scholarship and a $50,000 technology grant for their school.

Yes, we all love to use Google and are often entertained by their doodles. But, you may be wondering why they’ve selected an invention theme for this year’s contest. Well, they couldn’t have said it better themselves.

“Before there was an airplane, there were doodles of cool flying machines. And before there was a submarine, there were doodles of magical underwater sea explorers. Since the beginning of time, ideas big and small, practical and playful, have started out as doodles. And we’re ready for more.”

The web search leader even goes as far as crediting their existence to creative minds everywhere.

“Google would not exist today if it weren’t for creativity, passion, and imagination; so, we love to celebrate and promote these values in our younger users.”

Google is encouraging students in grades K-12 to submit their artwork by March 20th.

With the Doodle 4 Google contest winner’s artwork being displayed on the search engine on June 9th, we can’t wait to see what the creators of tomorrow come up with!

If you know a creative student who might like to participate in this year’s Doodle 4 Google competition, learn more about the contest here.

Copyright Davison 2014


Squeezing Out Innovation

Innovation, Innovative Inventions, Inventions

Imagine this. It’s a warm summer afternoon and your burger is hot off of the grill. You have everything prepared and all that the burger needs is a dash of Ketchup. So, you grab for the glass bottle and repeatedly hit the bottom of the bottle with no luck. Now, you try the old trick of sticking a knife into the bottle’s neck to dislodge the contents. Finally, you have that dollop of ketchup you so patiently worked for, for the past minute.

As much as we love Ketchup, we don’t really love the effort that goes into getting that delicious tomato product out of its bottle. So, it seems a simple solution would be to put the classic glass bottle back onto the shelf and opt for the squeezable bottle. Not so fast, because sometimes that squeezable bottle can be just as annoying. One reason is the noise that it makes, which sometimes can make even the most mature person giggle. Secondly, how about that nice watery juice that seems to conveniently come out before your ketchup? Gross.

Possibly because of the annoying scenarios above and because ketchup sales fell flat, the H.J. Heinz Co., the world’s most dominant producer of ketchup, wanted to get people to eat more and, in turn, use more ketchup. That’s when Heinz set out to find a better way to get ketchup out of the bottle faster.

Heinz then had the idea to invent an upside-down ketchup bottle that emptied fast and clean. “Ready when you are” was the introductory slogan that Heinz used for their new invention.

But, just like most inventions, there can always be a better way to do something. In 1991, Paul Brown was working relentlessly in front of a molding press that was geared toward turning injections of liquid silicone into flexible, one-piece precision valves.

Brown joined forces with his mold-maker, Tim Socier, and they both came up with a valve that was a little silicone dome with right-angled slits cut in its top. When the sides of the bottle were pressed, the dome’s slits opened, reminiscent of a flower’s petals, and the contents would be released. When the pressing stopped, however, the air would be sucked back into the dome, causing it to retract and the slits to close.

In 2002, Heinz introduced its very own pour-from-the-bottom bottle that doesn’t leak, thanks to a variant of Brown’s patented valve invention. Additionally, the bottle won’t spew ketchup, because of the little grooved trap that runs around the cap.

On the other hand, maybe Heinz should take note of a new invention that’s on the rise from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) that could further solve the ketchup dispensing problem.

MIT PhD candidate Dave Smith and a team of mechanical engineer and nano-technologists at the Varanasi Research Group have been addressing this dining problem.

What’s their solution? The LiquiGlide, a “super slippery” coating that is made up of nontoxic materials that can be applied to all sorts of food packaging. So far, ketchup and mayonnaise bottles have been the first test target.

LiquiGlide is unique because it’s a kind of structured liquid that has characteristics of both rigidity like a solid but also lubrication like a liquid. The substance can work with different types of packaging like glass and plastic and can be applied a number of ways including spraying the coating on the inside of the bottles.

Take a look at the LiquiGlide in action!

Copyright Davison 2014



Invent a 3D Valentine’s Day Present

Innovation, Innovative Inventions

February 14 is this Friday! If you’re thinking “so what” and you are currently in a relationship and want to stay in that relationship, you better start scrambling; because, this Friday is Valentine’s Day!

Aside from chocolates, flowers and a nice romantic dinner, jewelry also can be lumped into the category of classic Valentine’s Day treats. But, this year, if you are considering buying that someone special something special in the form of jewelry, take a look at this!

Rather than heading out to your local jeweler, how about you fire up your 3D design software! If you don’t have 3D printing capabilities of your own, perhaps, you can turn to Cambridge startup to help you with designing and creating custom jewelry with a 3D printer.

But, unlike most 3D printers that generate objects that are made of plastic, chief executive Dylan Reid went a step above that idea and to make jewelry from metals such as brass, bronze, steel and sterling silver. These materials are more durable and are hopefully reminiscent of your strong bond with your significant other.

Some of the common 3D printers are MakerBot and Formlabs that mold liquid resins into plastic objects. However, uses high-end printers that utilize thin layers of powdered metals, which are then zapped by lasers. Next, the metal filaments are heated and cooled and that is what creates the solid shapes. The laser-zapped powder is then layered and produces a piece of jewelry.

Or, what if this is the year you pop the question to your better half? Well, there’s a 3D printer for that, too!

There is one jeweler in the Big Apple that has big plans this year. One tech-thinking New York jeweler, by the name of American Pearl, is using 3D printing in order to let customers create their own customized pieces of gold, platinum and silver more quickly and cheaply than the traditional jewelry-making process. So, if popping the question is a last-minute decision for you this Valentine’s Day, you are in luck; because, you don’t even have to travel to New York to get the ring, you can order it online from your computer.

It may seem like the future of technology with 3D printing is upon us; but, the CEO of the company has cracked an important piece that is necessary for making 3D printing a mainstream service for consumers. He is putting the power of creation into the hands of the buyer by allowing the consumer to pick the size, type of gemstone, metal, color, the piece’s form and fitting.

American Pearl uses a Solidscape T76 3D printer that creates a wax model of the piece. That same model is then used to invent a thermoplastic sculpture of the piece that is followed by a mold constructed of latex, rubber or silicon, to which they pour gold to fashion the final piece.

So, as a final reminder, this Friday is Valentine’s Day; and, maybe this year you can use your creativity to think outside the ring box and surprise your loved one with a new piece of 3D printed jewelry!

Copyright Davison 2014



Olympic Innovation

Innovation, Innovative Inventions

The 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi are right around the corner and with the Winter Games almost underway, we wanted to take a look at the new, innovative inventions and technologies that will be infused into the games.

We are in a completely mobile world. Even though we aren’t physically in Sochi to watch the Olympics, through the use of our current technology, we are able to connect with those who are there to get updates on the games.

This year, Samsung released its Sochi 2014 Olympics Winter Games WOW app (Wireless Olympics Works) for Android Samsung devices. The idea behind this new app is to help you stay connected and track the 2014 Winter Olympics.

When you initially open the application, you will have the option to choose your favorite country, athlete and sport. There are 15 sports that are available for tracking, which include alpine skiing, bobsleigh, biathlon, cross-country, figure skating, curling, freestyle skating, ice hockey, luge, Nordic combined, short track, skeleton, ski jumping, snowboarding and speed skating.

Once you’ve chosen your favorite sport, the app will bring you to a home screen that will show you how many medals your country has accumulated, in addition to event schedules and more. There is also a community section that will allow the user to discuss the events with others using the app.

The invention of this app will allow people to track specific events and to learn more about the events they might not have been familiar with before.

Now, environmentally-friendly innovations and inventions are being put into play at this year’s Winter Games. For instance, the games will use energy-efficient LED spotlights that are key features to the “green” construction of the lighting technologies at the venues. The LED spotlights use only one tenth of the electricity used by filament lamps and half as much as luminescent lamps that last up to 50,000 hours.

The application of the LED lights was encouraged by international “green” standards as a progressive technology that illustrates a responsible attitude toward energy-saving and protecting the environment.

Furthermore, the city of Sochi, which is the home of this year’s Winter Games, has found success in the implementation of renewable energy sources, such as solar power. The idea of infusing solar technology has been applied to the new railway station in Adler, Russia, where solar-powered radiators and boilers, including water-based heating systems, were installed to service buildings. The solar power is part of the “green” alternative previously mentioned, because it will replace the traditional sources of energy that will enable annual savings of up to 30% on heating costs.

And, who can forget the Olympic gear? The Olympians already wear the most innovative uniforms; but, this year, the U.S. speed skating team will wear specifically-designed racing suits that were invented by Under Armour and prominent defense contractor Lockheed Martin. The idea behind the suits is that they will reduce friction and cut wind resistance by utilizing raised dots and pin striping, making them the fastest suits ever made.

Or, how about the U.S. bobsled team that is now utilizing the innovation of car maker BMW to improve their sled aerodynamics, making it lighter, tougher, more maneuverable and, ultimately, faster.

It’s easy to say that whether it’s a new mobile app, environmentally-friendly venue designs or creative Olympic uniforms and equipment, innovation continues to forge ahead with new technologies and inventions as the 2014 Winter Games get underway.

Copyright Davison 2014



Human Library Gives New Meaning to Judging a Book by its Cover


Here at Davison, we’re always interested in finding a Better Way to do… well… just about anything! In the past few weeks, our blogs have focused on creative packaging designs to environmentally-friendly packaging designs and everything in between.  So, when we read a recent Design Taxi post about an innovative “Human Library” project, you can bet that we were intrigued.

If you’re not much of a reader, but love to learn, a human library may be just the thing for you.

Nearly 15 years ago, a group of Danish activists had the idea to start a mobile library project to literally loan out people, instead of books. The idea behind their Human Library project was to promote dialogue and understanding among diverse audiences.

According to the Human Library website, the “books” or people are available to “loan out” for about 30 minutes or so, and vary by age sex and cultural background. So, whichever “book” you may choose, you are sure to learn something new!

It turns out that those young activists in 2000 were on to something bigger than even they may have realized. Human libraries now have spread across various countries worldwide.

In fact, not too far from our Pittsburgh headquarters, the University of Rochester in New York hosted their first human library last Saturday!

While we don’t know where the next Human Library may be, we do know that we love a good story and this innovative idea could have quite the shelf life!

Learn more about the Human Library project here.

Copyright Davison 2014



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