Archive for the ‘gizmo’ category

Protection with Teeth

November 8, 2007


“Rapex – dubbed the ‘rape trap’ – is a product worn internally by women. The hollow inside is lined with rows of razor-sharp hooks, which are designed to latch on to a rapist’s penis during penetration. They can only be removed by a doctor.”

With the world’s highest rape incidence (and relevantly high HIV/AIDS transmission in South Aftrica at 5 million, and where 200,000 people die of AIDS yearly), a call for a defense product such as this was answered by Sonette Ehlers. According to the First Post article, feminist groups oppose the contraption for being medieval and akin to chastity belts. This puts the burden of addressing a male problem on women.

My take is, welcome to reality where you can get raped for wearing your favorite sexy dress. It happens. And in South Africa, the danger is exponentially higher. You don’t always get your ideal government who’s aggressive in protecting women’s welfare. Or at least, not quickly enough. You want a male morality overhaul, you won’t be getting it on time, at 1.7 M rape cases annually.

Logically, this does not and should not derail whatever legislative action is being undertaken in repairing this social atrocity, but merely provides an option of protection or, at least, deterrence. Feminist groups should be badgering and reprimanding the government instead for its apathetic stance on the issue. Then maybe one day it would be ridiculous for women to even consder an invention like this.

“She believes the product, priced at one Rand, will be particularly useful for poorer black women who walk long distances to and from work.” I think the possibility that a potential victim is wearing one of these will serve as a significant deterrence. On the question of victim safety, they argue that it could provoke further violence once the contraption takes a bite. Although the level of pain is untested on a real member, assuming the microscopic barbs inflict enough pain, I would bank greater on the possibility that the perp would be more concerned about his appendage than retaliating. Besides, a defensive claw across the face, kick in the jewels or drawing out a gun, mace, or pocketknife from your purse equally presents a deadly retaliation.

Ideally, I wish there was no need for it, but there is. I do not consider myself less of a feminist by welcoming this option on the shelf. At the least, I would be more concerned about the (dis)comfort it gives the wearer.

However, further product efficacy testing would be most welcome

H/T and more interesting info on David Boles’ post.


90/90 Vision

September 9, 2007

The Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum (NY) is showcasing life-changing works from designers out to make a difference. The exhibition Design for the Other 90% features innovative designs from individuals, organizations and private companies with the objective of providing most needed solutions to underserved populations, especially from Third World countries.

Modern design largely benefits people who are in the position and opportunity of access, unfortunately, this is a minority as 90% of the world’s population stuggle even with the basics to survive, such as food, shelter and livelihood. Admirably, a movement has been gaining steam as more and more designers desire to address this imbalance and invent products that not only would be gratifying, but sustainable and productive.

Six areas are covered by the exhibit: Shelter, Health, Water, Education, Energy and Transport. Start here for the product briefs.

Three favorite picks:


Q Drum: “Millions around the world, especially in rural Africa, live kilometers from a reliable source of clean water. Water in adequate quantities is too heavy to carry. The Q Drum is a durable container designed to roll easily, and can transport seventy-five liters of clean and potable water; rather than lifting and carrying it, this eases the burden of bringing water to those who need it.”


Pot-in-Pot Cooler: “Consists of two pots, a smaller earthenware pot nestled within another pot, with the space in between filled with sand and water. When that water evaporates, it pulls heat from the interior of the smaller pot, in which vegetables and fruits can be kept. In rural Nigeria, many farmers lack transportation, water, and electricity, but one of their biggest problems is the inability to preserve their crops. With the Pot-in-Pot, tomatoes last for twenty-one days, rather than two or three days without this technology. Fresher produce can be sold at the market, generating more income for the farmers.”

Best of all, a product designed in 2005 and has been reaping awards left and right since then for its revolutionary application:


LifeStraw: “About half of the world’s poor suffer from waterborne diseases, and more than 6,000 people, mainly children, die each day by consuming unsafe drinking water. LifeStraw, a personal mobile water-purification tool is designed to turn any surface water into drinking water. It has proven to be effective against waterborne diseases such as typhoid, cholera, dysentery, and diarrhea, and removes particles as small as fifteen microns.” And this nifty gadget costs only $3.00 each!


July 30, 2007

The International Design Excellence Awards released its 2007 IDEA Winners.

Some picks:

e-Sullivan by the Institute of Design, Illinois Institute of Technology: “This portable handheld communicator for deaf-blind people, who rely solely on tactile sense to acquire information, can convert all types of printed material into Braille. It can also provide assistance with such computer-related tasks as instant messaging and Web browsing.


Stanley® MaxLife™ 369™ TriPod Flashlight by Stanley Works: “Offers you the convenience of a typical flashlight and the option of hands-free lighting.” (No more holding you penlight with your mouth or by the crook of the neck if you need both your hands. Something so simple, yet so useful. I can’t believe it took this long to think of this.)


Stanley® FatMax® Xtreme™ FuBar™ Utility Bar by Stanley Works: “FuBar combines the four most-needed tools—hammer, crow bar, board bender and splitter—into one solid, properly weighted, ergonomically correct tool. Unexpectedly, FuBar has also become popular with fire and rescue professionals as an effective life-saving tool.” (It may not address the kazillion types of wrenches I can never keep track of, but this definitely unclutters the toolbox. Neat tool.)

And my favorite:

HomeHero™ Fire Extinguisher by Arnell Group for Home Depot: : “Most importantly, because of its fashion-conscious array of materials, colors and finishes, homeowners won’t want to keep the HomeHero hidden out of view, ensuring it will be in reach when seconds matter.” (True dat. So pretty.)

Rummage through the winning entries via a more convenient slideshow on Business Week.

Morning Hustle

July 15, 2007

I’m a bad wake-upper. For some people, eyelids automatically flutter open at the faintest break of light. Jeez, even without a clock. I’m not one of them. Snooze is my best friend. A highly abused friend. If I have to wake up for a really really really important gig, I require three alarms. Two clocks (most likely snoozed through) and my phone (the official call that I’m shit behind schedule and should be panicking) . I tried everything. Radio, wet towel, glass of water, even cookies at my bedside table to jumpstart a first-ring rise. Nada. I think I need a clock that’ll set my bed on fire if I try to stall for some shut eye. Or find one with a horrifyingly obnoxious ring.

Speaking of clocks, this is a pretty nifty gift. Once it rings, it shoots off four puzzle pieces from its top. The only way you can turn it off is by setting the pieces back together. Cute. And most likely annoying a 6:30am. But cute. I hope this is shockproof.

Snipped from CubeMe

Feed Me!

June 6, 2007

Call it a quirk, but I’m a bills person. Even if I have enough loose change, I pay for things with notes and save all the coins. I dislike having to bring them out, to sort them on my palm and stack them up. Whipping out a crisp bill is just easier (and yes, I arrange them facing the same way and by increasing denomination). Also, I tend to spend less when I see the number of bills left in my wallet dwindling, despite the alarming accumulation of coins. My wallet management teeters on the brink of psychosis. It’s not unusual for my bag to be five pounds heavier by the end of the week. And I already have a heavy bag to begin with– a whole ‘nother issue that requires a post of its own. Anyway, what do I do with those chunk o’ change? Mostly they sit in jars, coin dishes and in my 18″ slim can and, by the end of the year, I marvel at how much I saved. Given my penchant for coins, I should probably get one of these. I am hypnotized by its lips.

Toast 2.0!

May 17, 2007

I’d be happy if my kitchen consisted of this nifty thing and a spoon… so pretty…
Great work, Mr. Fancypants!