Drinking Fountains Adapted to Water Bottles

We've already seen a water bottle that adapts to drinking fountains, but this one seen by Mark Hurst goes the other way around: an airport drinking fountain adapted into a water bottle refilling station. (This one's from Delta, which has impressed me recently with usable design.) It's an overdue solution, especially in airports where you can't bring your own water through security - just bring your empty reusable bottle and refill it, instead of supporting the scourge that is commercial bottled water. Refreshing in more ways than one!
[From, and photo credit to, Mark Hurst]

Fuut: While you work, your feet can relax!

If there's one thing wrong with most workspaces, it's that there's not enough hammock in'em. Fix that with Fuut, the hammock for your feet for your desk. This image alone sold me - and if that's not enough, it's adjustable for low ("work") and high ("rest") positions. Working barefoot is just a bonus!
[via Gizmodo]

Hotel Buttons: Good, bad, and ugly...

I recently stayed in a Marriott in Shanghai, where the light switches practically begged for some commentary. The good: text labels so I can actually tell what's going to happen when I flip a switch! The bad: it's still not natural mapping, which could have made it intuitive without resorting to labels. The ugly: the sticker on the Do Not Disturb button trying to tell you which way is on, but still not even being clear about it; plus, the "For Power Only" key card which defeats the power-saving function of using your actual room key. Still, I'll take this setup over Phoenix's mystery buttons!

In-Flight Interface: "Are we there yet?"

Fresh off of holiday flights with my 18-month-old daughter in tow, I'm especially appreciative of anything that made the experience better. So my thanks goes out to Delta for a superb in-flight entertainment system: not just the selection (Hannah enjoyed Ratatouille as seen above, among others), but the interface was helpful - even clever. Circled above is the critical info I kept wanting to know - the time to arrival - which popped up without having to stop the movie. We even noticed that when watching movies from the general selection, that red button is labeled "Flight Info" - but when watching kids' movies, it's "Are we there yet?" It was a little extra nugget of delight in a long flight that needed it!

Viora: Building a better coffee lid...

Coffee has risen to the status of a luxury experience these days, but there's often a little something between you and your sensory escapism: the lid. A thin barrier of plastic keeps spills at bay, but also blocks the aroma and alters the flow of the fluid. Viora is determined to make the best of this: admitting that these disposable lids are necessary, but designing to optimize the experience they deliver. With sipping and aroma holes placed intelligently, and walls shaped to minimize splashing, Viora claims their lid is "worthy of what's in your cup." I haven't checked their math, so to speak, but I like the approach - there's always room for improvement, even in a thin disposable plastic lid.
[via Gizmodo]

EcoSwitch: Consolidating Kitchen Machinery

Most kitchen appliances have at their core either a heating element or a motor, along with the supporting power supply and controls; the problem is that each appliance needs their own heating element, motor, power supply, and controls. But if these components could be made versatile and multipurpose, each "appliance" just becomes a simple attachment to a common base. That's the idea behind EcoSwitch, a design by frog (my employer) for General Electric. It's a promising design to consolidate components and eliminate wastes of space, of materials, and of money - a great way to get back some countertop real estate, save some money, and "save the planet!"

Cliq: Magnetic Clothing Hangers

I've always believed that magnets make everything better, and it's time to add one more to the list: Cliq is a clothes hanger that swaps the hooks for magnets. As long as you're willing to commit to the proper hanging bar (and don't have any very-metallic clothing), it looks pretty attractive to me...
[via Gizmodo]