Here’s what I would invent if I were an engineer, product designer, and entrepreneur, instead of whatever it is I am.
- Loyalty Everywhere. How many “loyalty cards” do you have cluttering up your wallet or purse and getting in your way when you’re reaching for your ATM card or drivers’ license? Replace all these loyalty cards with ONE card. To sign up for a merchant’s loyalty program, just swipe your one card into their reader. You can opt in or out of sharing your personal information with that merchant, and the merchants can participate in marketing initiatives at different levels. This card would have a huge environmental benefit because it would save tons of plastic and associated manufacturing and shipping costs. And it would give merchants more ways to market to their customers without going overboard.
- Instant Bike Lane. Wouldn’t it be cool to have a laser light mounted on the front and rear of your bicycle that projects bike lane lines and symbols down onto the road? This device goes beyond alerting drivers to your presence on the road and reminds them that you’re entitled to your space. It wouldn’t work so well during the day, but at night it would be indispensable.
- Touch Me And Sign In. Instead of having to remember 563 different passwords, your computer keyboard has a little fingerprint reader on it. Touching your index finger (or really, whichever digit you choose) to the reader signs you in to all of the websites you regularly access.
- Pen Compress. The doctor tells you to apply a hot cloth to an area of your body for 15 minutes at a time, and let’s face it, some of those areas are pretty small. What about a little pen-sized appliance with a quarter-sized cloth on the end? The appliance circulates warm water through the cloth and you hold it on your zit or whatever the doctor’s told you to treat. No more running back and forth to the sink, having water run down your arms, etc.
- Kiosk for the Rest Of Us. This is less an invention than a business concept. Don’t you think that urban areas would benefit from having little canopied areas with a couple of public phones, a bike rack, and a coffee stand all in one place? The kiosk would make money by selling coffee (and Instant Bike Lanes) and you could always get change for the phone, and there would be someone keeping an eye on the bike rack to make sure your bike doesn’t get vandalized.
This post was inspired by Rachel Sprung, who wrote about an assignment to invent a product that doesn’t exist. This list was going to be ten things I wish they’d invent, but I stopped at five to let my vast audience weigh in. What do YOU wish they’d invent?