Ikea's not the only company that knows modular design. The latest invention from social-design site Quirky is a modular storage system that seems like a dead ringer for an Ikea, Container Store or Target product. Well, that last part is true: since July 1, Target has been selling Crate and its accessories in the company's brick-and-mortar stores. Crate is Qurky's most ambitious project to date. It's a system of modded milk crates that can be paired with nine different accessories, some of which can dramatically alter the crates' function. But even more impressive, every single part was made here in the U.S. of A. — a dramatic move for Quirky, which has in the past relied on Chinese manufacturing. The decision was partially driven by timing, but it is also one that will lay the groundwork for more domestic production, the company hopes.
The elegant bamboo box before me looks like an heirloom passed down within a family for generations. Among the engravings in the blond wood is a dragon, a Chinese symbol of prosperity. When I open it up, I'm greeted with a lovely soft black pouch that surely holds something precious and delicate. Reaching in, I pull out a pair of Bruce Lee-branded steel headphones, leading me to wonder: Are these high-end cans that pack a punch like the action star they were named for, or are these something I can pick up at Chinatown?
If you live in an urban jungle, it's easy to forget the natural wonders of the world. Fear not, for we have scoured the Internet to present timelapse videos that truly highlight Earth for what she is: our majestic, breathtaking and beautiful home. Will these videos make you want to quit your job to travel? To move to a place where you can see the stars? To find your inner explorer? We hope so.
The Pebble smart watch epitomizes the crowd-funding success story. After the creators raised $375,000 from angel investors, the flow of money came to a halt, with venture capitalists wary of financing a hardware startup. That's when the team — the same guys behind the Blackberry-compatible InPulse smart watch — decided to turn to Kickstarter for funding. Their goal was ambitious: $100,000 to produce a slick smart watch compatible with iPhone and Android devices. An elegant watch face, integration with email and social networks, fitness tracking features and an open SDK inviting new apps appealed to the crowd. A little after the first day, the project reached its goal and then some, raising $1 million. Thus far at over $7.5 million (and counting), it is the highest-grossing Kickstarter project ever. Users have put their faith backing numerous useful, innovative and quirky projects since Kickstarter's founding three years ago. That's saying a lot because there's no such thing as a guarantee on the crowd-funding website. We've rounded up 10 well-designed Kickstarter blockbusters that far exceeded their funding goals. Got a favorite Kickstarter success story of your own and don't see it here? Let us know in the comments below.
The Internet's marijuana sites never left the '90s. They're exemplar of the Web from an earlier time, with tiled clipart as backgrounds and pixelated ads that scream, "Buy now!" The type of folks who frequent these sites tend to meet the How High or Half Baked movie stereotypes: glazed eyes, short attention span, empty bags of Cheetos all around. But today's stoners run the gamut. With the legalization of medicinal marijuana in 16 states and Washington D.C., many more Americans know their way around a bong than ever before. To the unacquainted, websites such as the epileptic High Times can be intimidating. This new generation of pot smokers are looking for a safe, clean website to learn about their medicine. This is where Leafly comes into the picture. To commemorate the tech side of 4/20, we spoke with Leafy's CEO Brendan Kennedy and co-founder Scott Vickers about the company's beginnings, getting Apple to approve a weed app and the reaction the pair gets when they tell people they work for a pot startup.
You'd be hard pressed to find a canister vacuum in American households. It's exceedingly rare, making up only one in nine full-size vacuum sales in 2011, according to NPD Group. In contrast, canisters are still a favorite in international markets. 98 percent of vacuum sales in France were canister models, for example. This leads me to wonder: Is there something wrong with the canister, or with the American perception of what makes a good vacuum? In short, it's both. Though they dominate European homes, canister vacuums are incredibly clumsy. They're awkward to store. They're bested by corners and furniture. They fall over. Bottom line: They're a hassle. It'd make sense that James Dyson — famous for his well-engineered, pricey eponymous machines — would introduce the iconic ball design found in his uprights to the canister. The popular design solves the steering problem, but has Dyson found a way to make this convenient for storage? Read on to find out if this is the canister vacuum for you.
With the weather starting to warm up and allergies going into overdrive, one tradition will soon take hold of households nationwide: spring cleaning. Let's admit it — we'd all prefer to lounge outside basking in the sun, but after being cooped at home all winter, it's time to repay your shelter with some deep cleaning. That means floors, windows, mirrors, file cabinets — even gutters, if you have those. If spending an afternoon scrubbing makes you cringe, we have good news: Getting a spotless apartment doesn't have to be a back-breaking experience. With the help of technology (in particular some robot friends), cleaning doesn't have to suck. We present 10 tools to make spring cleaning a tolerable, maybe even fun, experience.
Once upon a time, hanging an SLR around your neck was a status symbol that told others you were serious about photography. But with improved smartphone camera specs and fun photo-sharing apps such as Instagram, we've seen the rise of a new type of photographer: the iPhone documentarian. The trend isn't surprising. Sporting an 8-megapixel sensor, the iPhone 4S can take stunning photographs and even HDR in one fell swoop. Not to mention, the best camera isn't necessarily the most expensive one; it's the camera you bring everywhere. The iPhone fits the bill. Like an SLR, you can end up with quite a bit of gear to capture the money shot (never mind the fact that such equipment cancels out the smartphone's portability). For the aspiring iPhoneographer, here's some hardware to add to your arsenal.