Smart Stuff June 2007 round-up.

It’s always hard to choose, but with the superb clarity of hindsight we’ll look back at June 2007 and pick 5 inventions to make the June 2007 round-up (in no rank order):

• The Worldbike (more) from Kenya, since it helps to solve a problem that really needs to be solved.

• Henry Liu’s method of using fly ash as a building material (more), since this too is a problem that has waited too long for a solution. Mr. Liu’s idea looks promising.

• The digital luggage scale (more) since it would solve a problem that has cost us way too much cash already.

• The potato scrub glove (more) from Clas Ohlson since it has proved to be such a fun little gift to friends and acquaintances.

• The thermo acoustic stove/fridge/generator construction (more) since it, as the Worldbike, promises to solve a problem that really needs a solution.

Picks from a river of advertising.

During the past couple of days, we have made two discoveries. The first is we have found that the Benjamin Franklin chair and stepladder (A) is available in Sweden, too. They call it Sally, but its origins seem Franklinesque to us. Available from Nils Holger for SEK 1.795:- (approx. USD 260:-). The other is that the Rusta stores now sell a foldable wheel barrow (B) that we posted on earlier, or at least one like it. It is SEK 99:-, (approx. USD 14:40) which has to be considered reasonable since the U.S. version was about USD 145:- when we saw it last.brbr

Bottle top basting brush.

You buy basting oil. You pour the basting oil in a bowl. You baste the meat with oil from the bowl. You throw away left over basting oil. You buy more basting oil. This could be perceived as waste, but we have discovered a way of saving basting oil. This basting brush attaches directly to the bottle, thus eliminating the bowl altogether. We have not tried it, but it sure looks like a neat idea. I is also promised to fit most (American) bottles of basting oil. From Organize Everything for USD 3:99.brbr

Thermo-acoustic stove, fridge and generator for the third world.

Researchers from British universities, the charity organization Practical Action, American Los Alamos National Laboratory and the hi-fi company GP Acoustics have cooperated in constructing a revolutionary device that is a stove, a fridge and an electric generator all in one. The machine uses thermo acoustics, a spin off technology from space research that can transform the energy in sound waves to electrical power. The super stove channels the heat from a fire into a specially designed chimney, where gas pressure creates sound. The sound is transformed into electrical current via a linear alternator (described as an inverted loudspeaker) and powers the fridge, a computer, a mobile charger or any number of electrical devices. The stove project, SCORE, is so far a concept, but scientists hope to have a pilot rig for trials within four years.brbr

Look out David Letterman!

OnMyList logo

I saw this on the Mashable blog earlier today and instantly was hooked. OnMyList allows you to create your own top 10 (or whatever the number) lists that you can share with others and allow them to vote or comment on.

Here are my top 5 lists for vacation destinations and favorite sports teams.

More to come!


Modular de-cluttering furniture.

This is a tip from Smart Stuff reader Thomas C. and it has been sitting in the in-box far too long, since we have been waiting to see if this smart concept for space-saving furniture would enter production. We still do not know if it is being produced, but here goes anyway. The Wohnschiene by Hans Hagemeister is a modular shelving and storage device where different modules; shelf, small bookcase, flowerpot, hanger, mirror, etc, can be combined on a wall mounted track. Perfect for de-cluttering a bedroom, an entrance, the kitchen… you name it. Thanks to Thomas for the tip!brbr

Spray can allows spraying straight up.

If this is not news to you, you will have to forgive us, but this is something we have never seen before. A spray can with a nozzle that lets you spray straight up. All other spray cans we have ever encountered have the nozzle mounted at a 90° angle to the can, thus making it virtually impossible to spray anything but very short bursts upward (or downward, for that matter) before the spray can releases only the drive agent. This up-shot idea should be applied to a lot of stuff other than this, but perhaps it already is, and we have simply missed it. [Via] PS. The product in question is a sort of paint used for quick and effortless cover-up of ceiling stains. If you want some, it is USD 4:47 on Amazon.brbr

Scrubbing gloves for new potatoes.

The perfect time to introduce a product like this in Sweden must be right now, less than two weeks before midsummer. Midsummer being the prime time of the year to eat lots of new potatoes. The classic midsummer’s lunch would involve pickled herring in a variety of flavors, dill, chives, new potatoes with butter and salt, crisp bread, Västerbotten cheese and, of course, liberal helpings of different kinds of flavored vodka. Although we have not had the opportunity to test drive these scrubbing mitts, we still think they are a pretty cool idea. First of all, the scrubbing of a couple of kilos of taters would probably be a lot faster than with a traditional brush. And, we have heard the ladies in our midst complain that scrubbing new potatoes does bad things to their delicate hands. With a pair of these, that argument is deflated. This alone would probably be worth the SEK 19:- (approx. USD 2:70), that Clas Ohlson charges for them. (Unfortunately they do not seem to be on the web-shop yet.)brbr

The world’s best garlic press.

Well, according to American Cook’s Illustrated magazine (demands free trial sign-up) the Kuhn Rikon Epicurean Garlic Press (above) is the crème de la crème of garlic presses. After an extensive test of garlic presses from Rösle, Trudeau, Messermeister, Zyliss, OXO, Cuisinart, Amco and Eva Solo Cook’s has decided that the Kuhn Rikon press was the only one they could recommend without reservations. The winning press scored highest on all tested parameters; garlic consistency, pressing performance, design and cleaning. The press is available on Q.V.C. for USD 29:99:- or for USD 26:95 on Amazon.brbr

Claim money if your flight is delayed.

According to EU legislation from 2005, airline passengers are can be entitled to compensation in cash for delayed or cancelled flights, or if they are denied a seat on an overbooked flight. However, passengers are not always aware of what they are entitled to, or do not have time to claim compensation. Here is where the Dutch company EU Claim comes in. The company offers to processes claims on behalf of passengers, charging a fee of 27% of successfully claimed compensation. The company claims to have netted its clients over EUR 100,000, averaging EUR 400-500 per passenger so far this year. The company has a website in Dutch (and one partly in English) and a desk in the departure lounge at Schiphol airport. Maybe a business idea?brbr