Unintended Consequences: Pedestrian Countdown Timers

Those nifty countdown timers on most modern crossing lights certainly seem convenient for pedestrians: knowing how much time you have can help you hustle or let you relax your pace across an intersection. However, it turns out that they're actually increasing the number of accidents. Motorists surreptitiously use them to enable more second-shaving aggressive driving. One solution offered by researchers is to replace visible timers with audio-only timers, which pedestrians can hear but most drivers can't. A little less information just might make drivers a little less dangerous!
[via Gizmodo, photo credit Ed Yourdon]

Engagement Ring Box: The one special requirement...

Jewelry boxes are, as one would expect, designed to enhance the beauty, quality, and value of their contents. But an engagement ring case has one more special requirement: it needs to hide until it's revealed. A guy (or girl) can't let a bulky ring box spoil the surprise with a telltale pocket-bulge before popping the question! Andrew Zo's Clifton case is the first design I've seen which meets this need: it folds slimmer than a wallet, but opens with a fancy spinning flair to beautifully present the ring inside. It's a little pricey at a hundred bucks - but what's the value of not spoiling the surprise? Totally worth it!
[via Gizmodo]

Dispensing Soap with Dirty Hands

Rain Noe has a thoughtful little piece on Core77 about the problem of dispensing handwashing soap without getting the soap dispenser itself contaminated. He eliminates high-tech sensor based options as being infuriatingly unreliable - a problem from which they frequently suffer. Instead, he finds Joseph Joseph's C-pump, which uses the presumably-cleaner back of the hand. Sure, regular pumps could also be used backhandedly - but this allows single-handed dispensing as well. It seems that a clever low-tech solution can still trump high-tech brute force!
[via Core77]

Edible cupcake wrappers for faster face-stuffing...

If you absolutely, positively need that cupcake right this second, the wrapper can either slow you down or be annoying to cough up afterward; in that case, Dr. Oetker's Edible Wafer Cupcake Cases may be for you. I'm usually all for efficiency in product design, but there's something different about a cupcake: it's an indulgence to be enjoyed slowly, and the ritual aspect of peeling the wrapper builds mouth-watering anticipation. Do we really want to cram our cakeholes so quickly? Oh, we do? Okay.
[via Gizmodo]