The Futurist: Making Products Better or… CrunchGear Original Concept Designs

We live in an ergonomically-challenged world. It really is amazing how much our appliances and gadgets rely on archaic designs that are almost senselessly stress-inducing

So we got to thinking—what are some simple ways we could improve the appliances around us to be more people-friendly? So I called up the best product design expert I know: human factors design consultant Eric Porges, who also happens to be my brother.

We brainstormed ways to improve our products, and came up with these original concept designs. Our mock sketches won’t win any awards, but hopefully they’ll make your life a little better once they hit shelves.

A Freezer-Friendly Blender:

You know those freezer mugs that come lined with a gel that keeps your drink cool? Why not apply that to a blender—home to many a frozen beverage. Just throw this thing in the freezer and your concoction will stay cool for hours when you take it out.

A Less-Stressful Toaster:
If all you’ve got on deck is a cheese sandwich, then your $7 Target toaster is fine. But if you’re toasting for a party, switching slices from the slots every few minutes is tiresome.

With this toaster, simply load a full loaf of pre-sliced bread onto the entry tray. One at a time, the slices enter the toaster, and are popped out on the other tray when done. No needless switching, and a perfect slice every time.

An Easy-to-Clean Microwave:

Hard angles are hard to clean up. Until hot dog companies learn to make a frankfurter that doesn’t explode, this will have to do. The idea is simple: the inside of the microwave is rounded, and contains no hard angles, meaning simple wipes will clean up any mess, effortlessly.

A Smarter Headphone:
This feature could be integrated into either a digital audio player or headphones. For it, we took a cue from luxury cars that automatically adjust the stereo volume when the road gets noisy—particularly at high speeds and bumpy terrains.

A built-in microphone picks up the level of ambient noise. When it goes up, so too does the volume of your music, without forcing you to thumb through your pockets for the scrollwheel.

Seth Porges writes on future technology and its role in personal electronics for his column, The Futurist. It appears every Thursday and an archive of past columns is available here.