Invisible Magnetic Drawer Lock

There's some truth to the notion that the most secure lock is the one you can't even find - if you don't even know where to start, picking it becomes practically impossible!  That's why I like the "Covert" invisible magnetic drawer lock from Quirky - it's not just a clean minimalist design, it's even more effective than normal locks.  The only problem with this kind of product is that it relies on its secret for its effectiveness - so if the product ever becomes too popular, it'll essentially stop working!
[via Gizmodo]

GymPact: Work out, or it'll cost ya...

I love products that users inflict on themselves in order to change their behavior for the better (remember the cash-shredding alarm clock?), and this one definitely counts.  GymPact is a system that pays you to go to the gym - and charges you when you don't.  It's pretty simple: you commit to a certain workout schedule, pay money when you don't go, and that same money gets paid out to people who do keep their schedule. The app seems to have clever enforcement techniques, like making sure you check in to the gym by actually being at its location as determined by your phone. Hey, if it makes people work out more, I'm all for it!

Unpressable Hotel Light Switches

I took these photos of two tabletop lamps in the same hotel room in Phoenix last week.  (Don't ask about the Fiesta Bowl, by the way.)  First, a quick word about usability design in hotel rooms: make everything obvious.  The nature of a hotel room means that all users are novices; their stay is so transitory, there's no time to become an experienced user.  So, are these two switches obvious?  No; in fact, one must be twisted while the other must be pressed, and neither visually suggests the correct action.  And putting two lamps with differently-operating but visually identical switches in the same room is a very bad move!  What any hotel chain would be wise to do is opt for large, obvious buttons on every device:  if it's a button, make it a big ol' mashable BUTTON.  If it's a knob, make it something that would be at home on an old-school stereo.  Don't make me spend extra brainpower figuring out a room I'll never stay in again anyway!

Does Form Make a Camera?

This one comes from old pal Jonathan Jackson, and it's a little silly on the surface - but like a lot of silly products, it's packing some design commentary just underneath the surface.  What you're looking at there is an iPhone case - and yep, it makes it look just like a somewhat old-fashioned camera.  Besides the disguise, the Gizmon iCa adds some function: it lets you attach different lenses to the iPhone camera in the bottom left corner, and features a big tactile shutter button and optical viewfinder.  But what's really apparent here is that smartphones have generally failed as a form factor for a camera.  You can't find the shutter button (if a real one even exists); your finger often blocks the oddly-placed lens, and holding the phone only by its edges (to prevent touchscreen interaction) just begs for an accidental drop.  Something like this silly case could actually improve the usability of the phone as a camera.  Now if only it didn't look quite like that...
[via TechCrunch]