When you're obsessed with finding the most awesome gadgets and devices, there's nothing more heartbreaking than the word "concept." Not only does it mean you're not going to find a given device in stores—it usually means you're never going to find it anywhere.
Of course, encouraging the designers of tomorrow to think up new designs and concepts is vital to innovation. It's just really sad when you come across something particularly brilliant only to discover it's nothing but a figment of a design student's imagination. So here are 10 of our favorite concepts (and biggest disappointments) from the past year. You still can't buy any of them.
Designed by a dentist of all people, this ridge-lined pot is engineered to create a self-stirring vortex as whatever you're cooking heats up. It all but guarantees the food on the bottom won't burn, and since it compacts foamy bubbles in the center, there's little risk of the pot ever boiling over. More »
3D movies aren't going anywhere, and occasionally they can actually enhance the film going experience—except when you have to wear those cheap disposable glasses. But these stick-on polarizing filters let you enjoy proper 3D films with any pair of specs, and they peel off as easy as they go on so you're not going to destroy your expensive prescription lenses. More »
A simple groove running along the length of this tape measurer's extending ruler guides a pencil's tip making it easy to draw absolutely straight lines. And a series of holes running parallel to the groove makes creating perfect circles as easy as using a printer. More »
No one wants their home, particularly a cramped apartment, cluttered with tools they rarely use. So this brilliantly-redesigned ladder has hinges on every step so it folds away into an incredibly compact package that can be hidden under a bed or buried back in the corner of a closet. But it's still engineered to be strong enough to support an average-sized human. More »
There's nothing quite like fresh bread right out of the oven. And so you can dig in—or slice in—as soon as possible, this silicone and ceramic cutting tool bakes right into the bread and requires just a simple tug to slice the loaf into manageable and edible chunks. More »
In many towns skateboarders have become public enemy number one, requiring them to find obscure places to ride. And usually taking a deck down a flight of stairs guarantees a rider a collection of new bruises, but with eight shock absorbing wheels this skateboard can handle the most uneven terrain, even stairs, without the risk of bailing. More »
There's nothing like a whisk for beating eggs and batters into submission, but cleaning all its nooks and crannies almost makes you wish you had ordered takeout. But not with this design that features a break-apart handle so the long plastic strands stretch out and unravel making them dead easy to clean. It secured a well-earned Red Dot Design Award, but sadly you'll never own one unless you steal the prototype. More »
Until a headphone maker introduces a subscription plan that makes it more affordable to replace a set of broken headphones every few months, the world will be in dire need of a better way to safely stash them away. And that's exactly what this quick-folding design offers. The segmented and reinforced cord easily folds away without breaking the wires within, and unraveling it afterwards isn't akin to a Mensa mind game. More »
Pringles are already the perfectly engineered potato chip, but this expanding can is the first time they've been improved without the introduction of a new flavor or a taller stack. When opened the tube's accordion-like design blossoms like a flower into a chip bowl making them easier to share. But closing it back up afterwards is unfortunately a one-way trip to crushed chip city. More »
Damn the good people at Popcorn Indiana for bringing this brilliant one-off creation to our attention. For years we've ignorantly been content with eating popcorn with our fingers, when little did we know an auto-aiming, voice-controlled cannon would vastly improve the experience. All that's missing is a squirt of melted butter blasted alongside every kernel to make this a must-have contraption. More »