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Ideas for New Products and Inventions

How many ideas can you come up with in an hour? Quite a few if you know the techniques of innovation and creative problem solving. Here are an hour's worth of ideas for new products and inventions, with some notes at how they were arrived at.

Inflatable Stuff

One way to invent new things is to start with an existing concept and apply it to new areas. Starting with the concept of inflatable things, the first thing that comes to mind is inflatable shelters for emergency situations, such as after earthquakes or hurricanes. They could be transported easily, and erected quickly with a simple air pump. They could be a basic large tent design, but with inflatable ribs instead of poles.

How many people drive into water and die? A solution might be inflatable flotation that is activated automatically when the car begins to sink. Like air bags meant for collisions, they would quickly inflate. In an accident involving submersion, they would keep the car afloat. One could be in the trunk, and another inside the car, or they could come out from the wheel wells. To prevent accidental inflation, the triggering device would be activated by water, but be in a place where rain and car washing water couldn't reach.

Babies provide a fertile ground for new products and inventions. An inflatable crib or playpen comes to mind. When deflated, it can be folded up and stored almost anywhere. The simplest design for a playpen might be a plastic floor with a simple wall that surrounds it and is attached to it. Imagine air mattresses for swimming set on their sides end to end and wrapped into a circle and you'll get the idea.

We used to go "tubing" down rivers in Michigan, and we were forever trying new ways to carry a cooler with us while keeping it convenient to get a soda or beer out of it. One solution could be an inflatable bar. It could not only have a cooler built into it, but have can and glass holders, and maybe even a secure place to set snacks. It could be used in a lake, pool or river.

New Vending Machines

The first thing that came to mind when I thought of new vending machines was a beer vending machine. This could only be used in a bar that was restricted to adults, of course. The primary advantage is that it would lessen the need for bartenders, since half of all the drinks sold in a bar are just simple beers. This innovation could be implemented tomorrow, using beer in cans and an existing pop machine.

A book and magazine vending machine might do decent business in an airport, bus station or other places where people are forced to sit for hours. This may already exist, but I haven't seen it yet. Add a little padding to the drop chute, and existing snack vending machines could be used.

Phone cards are sold everywhere now, but I haven't yet seen them in vending machines. Those small collapsible umbrellas could also be sold from a machine. There are probably a dozen other things that could be profitably sold from vending machines. Using simple techniques like this extension of existing concepts, there are also thousands of products waiting to be made.


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