Netbook users can scurry right along, there's nothing to see here. So can anyone interested in ergonomics, precise input devices, and gaming mice. Oh, and if you're strictly a desktop user, you can join the exit group too. At this point we should be left with notebook users who demand nothing more from their input peripheral than the ability to move a cursor around the screen. The Disk Mouse concept might be just the device you never knew you wanted.
It's been a little while since we checked in with Yanko Design, a "Web magazine dedicated to introducing the best modern international design." The conceptual inventions we run across are sometimes fantastic and at other times fantastically ill-conceived. One of the latest additions to Yanko Design's site is a Digital Neck Pillow designed by Jung Hwan Song and Joo Young You. How would you rank this one?
We're not entirely sure what to make of the Touchscreen Interface Water concept on Yanko Design, so we're asking you, our readers, what do you think about it? We dig the touchscreen controls, we're just not sure they're appropriate on a water faucet, especially one as funky looking as this. However, we do concede that there may be some functional applications for something like this.
Not all of the concepts that float through Yanko Design -- our go-to site for potentially awesome and oftentimes artistic prototypes -- are winners. Some are just too bizarre, while others are downright dopey, both in looks and in function. We're not sure where exactly to put the Giving Tree smartphone charger, so why don't you give us a hand?
Ma Yi Xuan's "Double USB" concept swings both ways, meaning it can be plugged in right-side up or upside down. It doesn't matter because the only way you can screw up is by trying to jam the USB connector into a non-USB port.
"The Double USB has two contact layers which are both stretchy," Xuan explains. "This always promises one layer to touch the contacts of the fixed interface, no matter which side is up. At the same time, the other layer is pushed in."
You get the gist of it from the photo below. Our only real reservation comes from the spring action, which we could see wearing out over time, especially for devices that are frequently plugged and unplugged. Otherwise, we're completely down with a reversible USB connector concept.
Designer Wonchul Hwang has come up with a novel design for a rechargeable AA battery. Unlike other batteries, this one pulls double duty as a 4GB USB drive.
The idea here is that it's primarily a USB drive, one that you presumably keep hooked to your computer most of the time, but can serve as a AA battery in a pinch. What's more, it's a rechargeable battery that's juiced every time you plug it into your PC's USB port.
"Students or office workers mostly carry a memory stick," Hwang explains. "If a memory stick could be used as an emergency battery, its use would be versatile, ranging from cameras to lanterns to speakers and other devices in outdoor activities."
View the schematics here, and then hit the jump and tell us whether you think this is a novel idea or about as useful as a screen door on a submarine.
Designer Byeong Min Choe's latest concept hits you square in the face the way only epiphanies can. Why not skip the middle man -- in this case, Photoshop or whatever photo manipulation program you use, and even a dedicated printer for that matter -- and jettison those Print Screen captures from your monitor to paper in one simple keystroke?
Meet the "Document Extractor," a combination monitor, printer, and scanner all rolled into one. Sure, we can think of a handful of reasons why this has never been done before (it would cost too much, if one function breaks you have to replace the entire unit, etc), but reservations aside, we have to admit this is a seriously cool concept.
In Choe's mind, the monitor would support multi-touch capabilities so you could manipulate screen captures and crop/resize as necessary before printing them out. When you're ready, the screen grab comes out of the bottom of the panel, and there's a paper tray in the back. And of course you could use this for printing more than just screen grabs.
So what's the verdict? Cool concept or useless gadget?
One of the latest concepts floating around on Yanko Designs' website is a DIY Earphone System with replaceable earbuds. The idea is pretty simple: user replaceable earphones plug into a central module with media controls. When the earbuds stop functioning, as they're prone to do, you just plug in a new pair.
We see some potential here, but only if manufacturers get on board with cheaper headphones. For something like this to be worthwhile, you would have to assume that the major expense lies in the central module, otherwise this isn't much different than buying a complete set of earphones to replace the ones that broke.
And that's where we see things falling apart. A cheap set of earphones only runs a few dollars at Walmart, so how much could this concept really save you? And when you're talking about higher end earphones, you're paying for the speaker technology, not the control module.
Maybe we're overlooking something here, and that's where you come in. Other than the ability to plug two sets of earphones into a single central module, do you see this idea as a bust, or is there some great potential that we're missing? Hit the jump and sound off!
Every once in awhile we head over to Yanko Design to see what electronic concoctions the world's creative minds have come up with, and one that caught our eye today is the "QWERTY Keyboard For iPhone, For Real!"
If you fall into the physical keyboard camp, something like this is just what the smartphone doctor ordered, the only problem is Apple appears fully content flying solo with a virtual plank. This simple design addresses what some feel is a major shortcoming (while others don't) by sliding neatly over the iPhone and syncing with the device.
"The slick body docks in the phone and auto disables the virtual keyboard," Yanko Design explains. "An external jack hooks into place, at the bottom of the keys for charging the phone."
Every once in awhile I head over to Yanko Design, a Web magazine filled with conceptual designs running the gamut from technology to interior design. Most of the concepts will never make it past the rendered image stage, but every so often, I stumble upon a gem that I hope to see become an actual product one day. The "Gravity Series" phone concept is one such design.
The designers -- Lukas Doenz, Joachim Kornauth, Toni Weichselbraun, and Max Salesse -- seem enthralled with the idea of their prototype being able to "offer HD technology within the dimensions of your pocket," but what really got my attention was that their device would "allow for upgradeable components."
Not a whole lot of digital ink was dedicated to this part of the design concept, but it got us thinking nonetheless. Imagine if, like your desktop, you could swap out your mobile phone's processor for a faster chip. Or add more RAM. Or drop in a beefier GPU.
Hit the jump to ready why this might not be as far fetched as it sounds.