Tall Bookshelf Packs Its Own Ladder

There's an attractive efficiency to problems that pack their own solutions - like soup cans that come with pop-tabs instead of requiring a can opener.  Here's one that fits nicely in that category: the Higher Ground bookshelf by Karen King, available on Ideacious, which secretly stashes its own ladder to access the upper shelves.  It's hidden so well that you'd never notice it - but even when it's pulled out for use, it looks good and seems to work well.  That's a win-win!
[via Gizmodo]

XKCD's Ideal Fridge

I'm a big fan of Randall Munroe's web comic XKCD - big ideas, geeky references, laugh-out-loud humor, and (perfectly) shoddy illustration.  I've even covered them here before - twice!  Anyway, here's his latest funny-but-plausible concept: a refrigerator which uses conveyor belts to move groceries along their expiration timeline, and eventually into a "BAD" bin.  Typical of his attention to technical details, he's thought this out pretty well:  the shelves are organized into different spans of time; the door conveyor belt has a functional but space-efficient ramp to dump its expired goods into the same bin as the main shelves; heck, the "BAD" bin even has a handle so it can be removed and emptied over a trash can.  We're gradually outsourcing our logistical brainwork to our various devices these days, and this fridge fits right in with that trend.  Well done, Mr Munroe - next stop, Kickstarter...?

Real Buttons for Touchscreens!

I've always had mixed feelings about touchscreen buttons: they're infinitely versatile, allowing buttons to appear, disappear, and change for each specific situation.  But the cost is that we abandon one of our five senses, as touch becomes useless to guide our fingers or feel the tactile force and click of the button.  Tactus Technology wants to bring that sense back to touchscreens, with an overlay that allows buttons to physically morph up out of the display on demand.  This is different from other haptic technologies, which use electrical or vibration feedback to simulate the feel of a button click - unlike those, this allows the buttons to be located with the sense of touch before being pressed.  In fact, this seems pretty close to the ideal improvement that could be made to touchscreens.  The only question is how well Tactus can make it work!
[via Core77]