NED (NOT BREAD)

A few summers ago we were on a camping trip with another couple and one of the partners  had a gluten allergy. We had stopped  at drive-thru for a quick refuel on the way back. The gluten free friend (GFF) had ordered a vegan burger with a lettuce wrap to avoid the bun. What a mess! There were condiments all over her hands and  subsequently, my car!   Not only is the gluten a problem, it’s also the high carbs of that bun. A typical burger bun is some 40 grams of high glycemic index refined white flour. There had to be a better way.

When we got back to or studio, I grabbed ( hang on, not physically)  a colleague and  we brainstormed. I always loved the genius of the edible ice cream cone, especially the  one inaccurately named the “cake” cone.  I did a little research  and these wonders of industrialization, a literal injection  molding  of water and flour are only 6 grams of carbs and that’s with rice flour. And, it gets better…, if you use almond flour, you can bring the carb count down to zero! Not to mention how brilliant the whole  family of edible  packages are!  Taco shells! Sushi! And then.. wholly cow ,  and  start digging in more,  and  did you know  the average common restaurant – remember those , burrito  flour tortilla  can be 80 grams of  carbs!!!

The big idea was to make a small edible piece of luggage, kidding, not luggage but a bread or tortilla  replacement that could be gluten free if needed  and lower carb. This is good for celiacs, diabetics and everyone that wants to lower their ingestion of high glycemic  index carbohydrates.  By the way,  the term “Keto” was Google searched for more than Subaru in the Pacific NW.

In terms of design,  this concept  allows  almost infinite shape, color, texture and flavor. This concept can replace anything where bread is simply a carrier. Think pizza, tacos, burritos, all the bread shapes,  even low carb snacks like crackers can be NED. Best of all if you were brought up by TV like some of  us were, then  you’ll love  the brand-ability of this concept. See the images above.

Knowing there’s a fair amount of tooling (though relatively inexpensive per mold) to make these things, we approached the Joy Cone company with NED. They are biggest  ice cream cone maker in the U.S.  with plants in Pennsylvania and Arizona. Joy makes special branded cones for  some of their largest customers.

I don’t  want to say we’re brilliant, but I think  given the hand friendliness, this qualifies as thumbelievable!

Ok, shutting up now –  have a look!

 

ANAND SPORT POD

Serial entrepreneur and avid competitive tennis player, Dr. Rahul Anand (he’s an anesthesiologist),  was annoyed when he saw  college and pro tennis players throwing sweat laden towels on the court after wiping off. Initially, he had hoped this was just a rare occasion, but it continued to happen. Dr. Anand even contacted the players and/or their management teams to make them aware of the hygiene problem this towel discarding was causing.  Still, no change.  Exasperated, Dr. Anand decided to take this problem on. This is where FUSE comes in.

Armed with the problem Dr. Anand  was trying to fix, FUSE got to work.  FUSE retraced the research, and for sure, this problem is a new animal. Not that it’s rare, just that its not been recognized. Lots of products start  this way,  we as humans adapt to  situations. Look at what TESLA is trying to do  with the removal of stalks.

After numerous concepts and a couple of full scale prototypes.  A tight production budget started to provide clarity.  Our team and Dr. Anand settled on the Rocket concept.  Initially the Rocket was a single  part roto-molded creature. It  would hold towels, warm-up clothing, balls, hydration and personal items (phones, keys , wallets, etc.).

While initially designed for tennis,  our team imagines the pod being valuable in multiple venues. The Sport Pod is at home pool side, beach side, in the gym and in the world of hospitality. With available accessory trays, the Anand Sport Pod is the perfect guest at your next barbecue.

In order to ship around the country, the world, and not ship air (or cost more than the product), we  worked with the molder to make the the legs  snap on. It fits into a FEDEX and UPS friendly box and sets up in minutes with no tools.

 

ARIEL CHAIR

When they go low, we go high.

The Ariel chair is an update to the Crane chair. This new version  adds a visually thicker mold-able cellular structure that conforms to the  users’ body.

The Ariel Chair  features that same elastomer powered lift mechanism that allows users to set up standing desks and sit only when needed. Users can sit and lean against the Ariel with its easily locked casters. Ariel’s more minimal i-Back encourages active postures.

Complex only 3D printable structures are super intriguing, but really hard to make. At the moment, 3D printing while compellin,g is unbelievably slow compared to modern injection molding. This design  creates a thermally neutral  cellular surface that is cleanable and most importantly, mold-able.

Sciatic Stretcher

Athletic Trainer Taylor Peasha and  professional Deep Sea Diver Steven Macdonald  came to FUSE for help designing a super versatile training aid. Combined with some simple exercises and stretches, the medium density elastomeric ball provides just the right amount of point load to massage  knotted muscles and compressed nerves.

On the engineering front, the big innovation is we use a single injection molded part that is simply flipped over to  hold the strap securely.  This part features a snap finger that  locks to itself.

OTTOLOCK PRO MOUNT

The OTTOLOCK has been a break away success for OTTO, but the company was looking for a more stable mount for their coiled genius. OTTO came to FUSE with a  physical model that was  pretty close and FUSE worked with OTTO to refine their idea and prototype the refined design.

FUSE  refined and simplified the design to separate the mounting to the bike function and the securing of the lock to the mount function.

ABOM HEET GOGGLE

The ABOM Heet is the newest snow sports goggle from ABOM Labs.  The Heet is incorporates the latest fog eviscerating technology from ABOM. A built in moisture sensor  auto magically eliminates the fog creating condensate from inside the goggle. The Heet is sleeker and offers a better fit for both men and women. The tighter chassis also fits most snowmobiling  helmets so those riders can enjoy a clear, fog free ride as well.

 

BIP Concrete Chairs

Slabtown In Stumptown

A very clever guy came to FUSE with an idea.   A better way to set up a grid of rebar that floats within a slab of concrete. This wasn’t a totally new idea,  but Kerry, the guy, had a host of improvements he wanted to add and he had a plan to make these really sell. These concrete chairs turn the  painful time eating chore of setting up a grid of rebar into literally a snap. The rebar just pops into place at just the right height.Our job was to make them super strong and super cool. We made them feel like the super utilitarian future  by instituting this octogonal theme throughout the structure.  The octogonal base not only provided visual branding  but also helped with keeping the  rebar layouts in the field  straight. FUSE  designed all 27  variations that accomodate different sized bar and different heights. FUSE also redesigned the BIP logo along the way.

Crane Chair

Sitting Is The New Smoking

This project was born within FUSE  during the time when became widely recognized that standing was better than sitting. This period saw the advent of work surfaces that raised and lowered. These were expensive desks and the other thing is it’s hard to love a desk or at least want to spend big money on a desk. We know you can make a desk from an inexpensive door and sawhorses and most importantly you can put the desk up high to support standing. What is needed is a chair that can support this  posture.  Even better would be a chair that can go from traditional task height to stool height, maybe even allowing a worker to perch or lean against that chair.  Easily done with locking a few casters!

Also, for the facilities  managers who must purchase chairs for an organization the Crane chair supports all the work surface heights a facility may have.

We submitted this design to  premiere  office seating manufacturer Herman Miller (HM) and they picked up on it, flew our principal to HQ and launched a project to build a prototype. The project hit a snag when the HM design manager went on maternity leave  but this led to our participation in multiple projects at HM.

REMORP – Orp’s remote

 

When we built Orp, the super smal really cool bike horn/ bike light, we built it to be Remote Ready. Meaning: make a small wired switch that cold be placed under thumb that could go wherever the rider wanted.  This simple product  makes the Orp experience that much better as you never need to lift a hand to actuate either of Orp’s horn sounds.  The REMORP uses a slick dual action switch. Press lightly on REMORP’s bulbous swelling to fire Orp’s loud sound and then press a little harder to fire Orp’s 96dB loud sound.  The  other cool thing about  the REMORP is it provided an update to the Orp product line  that worked for all Orps and Orp owners. It’s super neat and you should go to Orpland.com to get one… now!

Portable Outdoor Lighting Series

Light Me Up!

Gerber came to FUSE with the problem they wanted to create a line of portable outdoor lights but not include the standard flashlights, headlamps, or microlights.  They were looking for provocateurs (or disrupters if it were today). There was also no restriction on the technology other than it had to be readily available. The latter requirement quick solved itself to be battery powered  LEDs, but the first requirement would take a great deal of collecting of user experience, brainstorming and conceptualization. Fortunately, we are prolific ideaters (if that’s even a word) and we generated over 150 ideas. With Gerber’s help, we winnowed these down to 5 and came up with a common  battery cartridge component that all could  use.

Visually all the designs had a common design language built around a hexogonal shape and all them included some sort of dual or multiple purpose that was reinforced by a physical transformation.  For example the Hornet Micro Lantern could retract its beehive  head into its body and turn into a handheld torch. Also of note is our Hornet Micro Lantern was  ahead of its time. This idea of a small LED based lantern is now more commonplace.

Beyond the concepts, we provided surface models for the exterior control for all products,  created a few proof of concept physical models , conceptually engineered the mechanical details and also helped name the products.