Gross ideas to improve our lives

Check it out: Robot fish that nibble at dirty laundry and sweat-powered watches.


At our sister pub Stimulant, we are constantly grazing through inspiring, potentially life-changing ideas and products. Sometimes, though, those ideas just gross us out, no matter how they can make our day-to-day easier. For example, the thought of itty-bitty fish nibbling on our skin to get rid of dead cells gives us the heebie jebbies.


So you can only imagine how we’re feeling after learning about this contraption from Korean industrial designer Chan Yeop Jeong, who was inspired by doctor fish to recreate little robots that look just like them and which can be used to feed on the dead skin and dirt left on our clothing. His idea came out of the Electrolux Design Lab 2014, a global compition for design students. The plus side is that there’s no more need for laundry detergent. Oh, and you can finally say yes to the nagging kids who won’t give up on begging for a home aquarium.

Meanwhile, researchers at the University of California, San Diego are turning our sweat into electricity. They have come up with this neat little temporary tattoo-style sticker that can both measure a person’s lactate, a chemical released in sweat (and which can be used to test for heart and lung disease), and potentially power wearables. A sensor in the tattoo strips electrons from the lactate in order to create an electrical current, and that is then stored in the patch to be used to power small devices, such as a watch and hopefully one day, a phone. It sounds a bit stinky but the thought of self-powering a phone while jogging sounds pretty slick. We predict sales of deodorant brands sky-rocketing if this little contraption is a success.

via Stimulant.