Innovative Designs and Devices


Steve Jobs stated once that the “design is not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works.” While this statement has proven to be crucial over thousands of years, one shouldn’t misinterpret it by emphasizing the functionality despite the design. When it comes to product design, the significance of aesthetics of a given device, the way its design looks and feels, determines the choice of the customer once the functionalities of multiple devices are more or less similar. If supported by sound user interface and a well-tested, clean implementation, innovative design solutions can drastically enhance the user experience.

This article presents innovative, futuristic gadgets, devices, designs and concepts. Unless explicitly specified, none of these cut-edge concepts is currently being manufactured. None of them is available for end-users which is why neither the price nor links to the stores are mentioned.

Please keep in mind that the main idea of this article is not to do the sell-talk for trendy products, but to showcase innovative design solutions and futuristic devices which can become reality in 2008 or over the next few years.

Sony’s Apple Remote Control

Sony’s Apple Remote Control2
Is there any place for innovation when it comes to the design of remote controls? Apparently, there is. This Sony’s”apple” allows users to perform basic functions like changing channels, volume etc. with simple motion gestures (see image below). Once “apples” are placed on the bowl, the remote control is being recharged. Neither price nor production dates are known.



Optimus Tactus & Optimus Maximus

Artemy Lebedev’s Optimus keyboards offer an unusual approach for a traditional input device. A small OLED-display (Organic Display) is placed beneath every key to enable users to define displayed characters and the keys’ functionality manually. In other words, with Optimus the placement of labels on the keyboard can be varied at any time.

Optimus Tactus5 does not have physical keys, which means there are no restrictions on their shape and size. Any part of the keyboard surface can be programmed to perform any function or to display any images. Production date and price: unknown.

Maximus Keyboard6

Maximus Keyboard7

Optimus Maximus8 (Demo9). Each of the 113 keys is a stand-alone display that shows the function currently assigned to it. Optimus’s customizable layout allows convenient use of any language — Cyrillic, Ancient Greek, Georgian, Arabic, Quenya, hiragana, etc. — as well as of any other character sets: notes, numerals, special symbols, HTML codes, math functions and so on to infinity. Production date: the end of January 2008, price: 460$.

Maximus Keyboard10

Maximus Keyboard11

Maximus Keyboard12
The Keyboard Configurator. You can assign any images and characters to display on your Optimus keyboard.

Nonobject Behind the Scenes Camera

The Nonobject Behind the Scenes Camera13 (Video14) has “lenses and displays on both sides for simultaneously recording what you’re aiming at, and what you’re not.” Behind the Scenes Camera is designed to capture what’s going on behind our back, beyond our control, while simultaneously capturing the scene in front of us.

Object Camera15


The main idea behind Duofone16 is the possibility to put multiple devices together to combine their screen real estate. The battery power can be shared, and a movie can be watched on a larger screen.



Toast Messenger

Toast Messenger19 incorporates a little message board where one can write quick notes and then instantly print them on the toaster. Simple, yet innovative.

Toast Messenger20

Toast Messenger21

Dual Music Player

Compared to traditional music players, this Dual Music Player22 is different. It is a portable solution that supports both CDs and Flash-memory. You can listen to MP3s stored on your Flash-drive and copy music via USB while once you need to play your old CDs you can simply open both sides and let the player do the rest.



Vaio Zoom

The Vaio Zoom notebook25 takes everything we know about holographic technology and squeezes it inside a thin glass form factor. When off, the screen is completely transparent and the keyboard goes opaque. Turn it on and the touchscreen holographic festivities begin. Even the mouse buttons are holographic! [via Gizmodo26]



Visual Desktop Charger

Quite often the details are not the details. They make the design. Saying that, Charles Eames was right: the beauty of Visual Desktop Charger29 lies in its close attention to small details. The device is a visual indicator of the charge status of a mobile phone. It is supposed to like like a “bird bath-like charger, complete with radiating rings of light to indicate charge status and to top it all off, thirsty birds that glow once the rings of light hit ‘em.” [via YankoDesign30]

Bird Charger31

Bluetooth Laser Virtual Keyboard

This is reality. This BlueTooth Laser Virtual Keyboard32, a laser projection keyboard, allows you to type on any flat surface. You can use it to compose an e-mail on your Bluetooth enabled PDA or Cell Phone. With 63 keys and and full size QWERTY layout the Laser Virtual Keyboard can approach the typing speed of a standard keyboard. Size: a little larger than a matchbook. Already released. Price: $150.

Bluetooth Laser Virtual Keyboard33

Omaura HTPC

Omaura Home Theater Personal PC34 is a new face in HTPCs. “When we first opened the PDF containing the concept images of Omaura’s concept TT chassis, we thought for a second it was a large, TV-stand-ready all-in-one PC whose display had a seriously distorted aspect ratio. We’ll confess to a little disappointment once we realized it was simply an upright case, but that shot of its interior got us excited again. Imagine sticking the TT on a low-profile table under your wall-mounted LCD or plasma screen.” [via CNet35]


Hi-Tech Office: Eclipse Partitioning System

Eclipse Partitioning System37 (Video38) includes a desk, task chair, expandable hood, integrated speakers, and power all set on casters for true mobility. The central idea behind this hi-tech office is versatility. Its retractable hood allows for various levels of privacy and access to accommodate to the changing work flow of one’s daily job. You should really take a look at the video39. Neither price nor production dates are known.


EmTrace’s PS100 Photoskin Frames

EmTrace PS10041 offers one single dock station for all your personal needs and interests. Looking like a digital photo frame, it fits into a wallet and syncs data for stocks, weather and other information via Internet. You can load whatever information you’d like on your personal dock station and take it with you — in your wallet. Neither price nor production dates are known.




iRing44 is a control playback for your Apple media devices. As a simple ring which fits on a finger, it has a wireless Bluetooth connectivity with iPod and iPhone. “iRing features a bright OLED status display with touch-sensitive function strip, and a rechargeable battery life of up to 2 days. Conveniently recharge your iRing using the included cradle.” Neither price nor production dates are known.




So simple, yet so effective. Pock-It47 is a simple design concepts that allows you to use a little pocket instead of usual stick-it-notes.


Bonus: “sQuba” Diving Car

Rinspeed’s sQuba Diving Car49 is the “first real diving car designed to autonomously turn into an amphibious vehicle at the push of a button — can submerge up to 10m (33ft) under water.” Powering the concept is an electric motor mated to the rear wheels.

The propulsion on the water is ensured by two propellers in the stern and two powerful jet drives in the bow to propel the vehicle under water. The body is constructed from light weight components made of Carbon Nano Tubes and contains an on-board air-filling system. Neither price nor production dates are known.



  • YankoDesign.com51
    Form Beyond Function. A weblog dedicated to introducing the best modern international design, covering from industrial design, concepts, technology, interior design, architecture, exhibition and fashion.
  • ProductDose.com52
    Style, technology, design, substance
  • Techeblog: Concepts53
    A number of recent technology concepts, designs and unusual approaches in the “Concepts” category on


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Vitaly Friedman loves beautiful content and doesn’t like to give in easily. Vitaly is writer, speaker, author and editor-in-chief of Smashing Magazine. He runs responsive Web design workshops, online workshops and loves solving complex performance problems in large companies. Get in touch.

  1. 1

    That CD player/flash memory device is really useless. CDs stop playing as soon as they’re touched. I’m sure it has no built in skip protection because you’d be crazy to carry it, which means breathing on it will screw up playback. The only way I can see a minimal design like that being cool is if it instead ripped the CD to its memory. If it did that, I would seriously consider one, as it would make ripping my CD collection a thousand times easier. Assuming it used LAME and customizable settings of course :)

  2. 52

    wow..what is that…is it what we called it..hi tech?wa…so impressed..if I can have one of that…lol

    thanks for the good how do you trace that stuff?In magazine?

  3. 103

    Optimus Maximus has to be my fav.

  4. 154

    The keyboard is awesome. The price is the only downside of it.

  5. 205

    Some amazing concepts there :drool:

  6. 256

    Absolutely impressing. Where can I find any in-future interface samples just for mindwork?

  7. 307

    This might be my favourite Monday Inspiration thusfar.

  8. 358

    Go eat your Waffle!

  9. 409

    WoW, men this is absolutely amazing stuff

  10. 460

    holly mother

  11. 511

    All great designs! :)

  12. 562

    Inspirational stuff.

  13. 613

    promosyon forma imalat

  14. 664

    for great web designs visit:

  15. 715

    totally cool stuff

  16. 766

    I dont see a problem why the Optimus Tactus wouldnt be possible. Apple already made this in their iPod Touch and iPhone. Just need to make a bigger format for the keyboard.

  17. 817

    awesome list. very inspiring.

  18. 868

    I have to say I’m lovin’ the toast messenger! It’s probably the most not-needed thing on the list, but yet I’m thinking it would be a great gift. The hi-tech office is awesome for someone who works in a gray cube all day, with gray carpet underneath and no window for at least 150 feet. The changing scenery would definitely lift my mood in the middle of the day when I want to be outside!

  19. 919

    I have seen the Laser keyboard but I love the idea of an iRing that would be so cool if it worked like the remote function on an iPhone or iPod touch.

  20. 970
  21. 1021


  22. 1072

    lovely gadgets .. so techie

  23. 1123

    gr8 and kicking. would have to wait till my grandsons come into this world. my country still running into NOKIA’s 8870, 6670, and what not. still a dream for me and perhaps my sons(2). gift either of them to me and i am on the toppa world.

  24. 1174

    Love it man . I have bookmarked your site. Keep updating!

    Live on in these crazy times!

  25. 1225

    die Bilder scheinen tot zu sein
    (auch im anderen browser wird nix angezeigt)

  26. 1276

    doch, jetz gehts
    scheiße =))

  27. 1327

    very interesting idea Toast Messenger :P

  28. 1378

    I wish those apples were edible, coz an apple a day keeps the doctor away!

  29. 1429

    The virtual keyboard is fan dangle fabulous! All these inventions thrill me to eeny weeny pieces. Like, I’m just, crazy about these wonderfully wild objects, where do I pay?

  30. 1480


    I now have a very long and expensive Christmas list !

  31. 1531

    I love them all…
    Great Innovative Thinking and Designs…

  32. 1582

    i want to burn messages into MY toast!

  33. 1633

    ROKIN STUFFF!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  34. 1684

    Promosyon güneş yağmur bahçe şemsiyeleri satışı

  35. 1735

    wow!! that was just amazing!! I have fallen in love with the apples i-ring, itz the best of the best innovative idea and whoever is the designer for such an innovative product, my hatsoff to that guy(professional designer). Keep up the good work….


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