Great Ideas Are Hard to Come By

When I get a great idea for a project that would be satisfying to complete, my first reaction is often to shelve it and not start. Two things drive this:

  1. An unfulfilled idea means I still have the potential to finish it. If I start on it, I might find I lack the motivation and drive to finish it. It would become another idea in a huge slush pile of ideas that never came to fruition.
  2. If I start on it, I might find that the idea itself is flawed.

The irony of the first excuse is that if I never start a project or play with an idea, there’s a 100% certainty that it will never get done. The slush pile is already started. The goal is to eventually get one or two things out of it.

The second driver of inertia is itself a flawed idea. An idea may well be bad. But I’ll never know it if I don’t work with it and see what it’s made of. The fact is, most ideas are going to be bad. It’s in the formation of a glut of ideas that you end up with one or two that are home runs.

The lesson I have to keep teaching myself is that ideas are a dime-a-dozen. Great ideas that are unique and useful are much harder to come by. But you can’t have the great ideas until you sift through all of them, good and bad. You don’t automatically know which is which. You have to research, experiment and think. Ultimately, most will fall to the slush pile. But first, you have to make sure they belong there.

Invention 43097: The Standing Desk Swing

I’ve long been an advocate of standing desks. Sitting all day not only makes my legs ache, it’s considered bad for your heart and circulation too. Of course standing in one place all day is almost as bad.

Movement is the key. That’s why I always have a chair and a wobble board available when I’m at my standing desk.

Standing desks are old news. The concept needs to be refreshed. Click To Tweet

But let’s face it, standing desks are old news. The concept needs to be refreshed. That’s why I came up with the Standing Desk Swing. It’s like a hammock except you don’t lie down, there’s no netting and you’re working instead of relaxing. So it’s really only like a hammock in that it swings.

It’s probably more like a playground swing. Except that you’re standing instead of sitting, you have a computer on a pedestal and you’re not 8 years old. I guess it really doesn’t need an analogy after all. It’s a standing desk swing. That describes it well enough.

Creativity in Motion

Boredom can eat away at your enjoyment of a day. That’s why when I walked into my son’s room the other day and saw him listening to music and staring blankly at the wall, I knew something had to be done.

Usually when I hear the words “I’m bored” from my kids I take it as an opportunity to remind them of all the chores they have put off doing. But this time I pitied the boy and decided to work with him on some ideas for interesting projects.

Here is the list of things I mentioned he might enjoy:

  1. Create wall art for his bedroom. He enjoys drawing and is actually quite good. I encouraged him to make a large version of a smaller drawing he had already done. Then we could frame it and hang it.

    My son’s hand drawn Hollow Knight fan art.
  2. Make origami. He has dabbled in origami in the past so I thought this could be a good opportunity to get back into it. I recently bought a pack of origami papers to practice with and have on hand for the kids.

  3. Painting miniature figures. He likes fantasy and miniatures games already. He could get a game that comes with figures or buy them separately.

  4. Build PVC weapons or other crafts. PVC is cheap and readily available. There are some really cool things you can do with it.

  5. Build model planes, boats or cars. I had fun building plastic models and painting them when I was a kid. You can find models that can be glued or snapped together. The real fun and creativity is when you custom paint your model. It takes time and a steady hand but can be rewarding.

Basically, I was looking for something that would be a challenge but something he could do mostly on his own. Anything that would be more than just a flash-in-the-pan activity. In the end he choose PVC weapons.

Over the next two days we had a great time building a PVC sword and dagger.  Although I helped buy materials and gave a little instruction on measuring and cutting and painting, this was a project done primarily by my son. I wanted it this way so that he would have something enjoyable that he could do any time and could get his creative juices flowing.

I could tell he was having fun creating something of value to him. As he built his projects he kept telling me about his other ideas for more PVC projects. That’s what I was hoping for; something to spark his creativity and thinking. Something to get the ball rolling and keep his mind busy.  Creativity in motion tends to stay in motion while creativity at rest tends to stay at rest.

Creativity in motion tends to stay in motion while creativity at rest tends to stay at rest. Click To Tweet


Invention 34001: Quick Release Glasses

I don’t mind being a glasses wearer but sometimes it’s a pain. For example, when I want to lie down on the couch and watch television. But when I do, the temple arm presses into the side of my head. It hurts.

To combat this I decided the thing to do is remove the temple from one side of the glasses. However, it would be inconvenient to take out the tiny screw holding it on every time I wanted to lie down. Then I would have to put it back in when I was finished so I wouldn’t look like an idiot. And so my glasses wouldn’t fall off.

My solution was to start designing a quick release mechanism for removing the temples. A small lever could be rotated so the arm could be pulled off. Then, it would easily be reattached by rotating the lever the other direction. Below are some quick sketches of my idea.

IOT – The Internet of Toilets

I was thinking that it would be humorous to invent a wifi connected toilet lid so you can tell if it’s up or down from anywhere in the world. It seems like everyone is connecting even the most ridiculous things to the internet so why not this? Turns out, things like this have not only been talked about for years, they’re starting to come true.

Kohler has come out with the Numi SmartToilet, a toilet/bidet that opens and closes the lid for you among a host of other functions. Believe it or not, it’s even an MP3 player. This opens the lid on a whole new audio communication medium – the potcast.

Unfortunately, the Numi doesn’t appear to be internet connected. There’s really no reason for it to be internet connected but the lack of wifi makes it seem somehow unsophisticated. But the $6300 price tag makes up for it a little.

All that’s left is to create an IOT toiled with Alexa voice control. Then you can shop from your pot.

A New Way to Take a Shower

My kids kept complaining about having to take a shower every night. They were always saying things like “but we didn’t go anywhere to get dirty” or “we don’t stink!” or “it takes too long”. So I told them I would build this contraption for them to use so they wouldn’t have to expend any energy in the future. Their complaints have been strangely muted lately.