At FUSE we’re always dreaming of ne new products or product attributes. Making big things smaller when not used is always a good thing. Smaller for packaging and shipping reduces cost. This sled features a textile bucket with internal rips or rings. Four black supports hold up the structure. The Payload bucket of the sled is like a collapsible cup, This was the big idea we were playing with. We put this one on a sled, though IT could easily be the payload area of a wagon. FUSE sent this out as a holday card in 2021
STEW is a place for ideas, drawings, models, oddities, musings, national emergencies* and more. These are not necessarily associated with a destiny of commercialization. They, hopefully, have a smidge of creativity
Walker, Texas Ranger
A successful real estate tycoon came to FUSE to design a better cane. He had pals that were getting to that age and he disliked the choices they had for this additional stability. Our benefactor wanted something that did not say “disabled or feeble”. Something that was more akin to a piece of sports equipment. He and we wanted something its owners would love and rely on like a favorite tool or tennis racquet. We know the best products are not just trophies, but also tools.
FUSE understood the styling problem but certainly wanted to do more by adding functional attributes to the product. For example can it stand up on its own, i.e. self-balance? Provide a better smoother gait? Offer greater mechanical advantage? Be lightweight and not cost a fortune?
FUSE generated several concepts and here below is the Blade Runner concept that we and a focus group of users liked the most.
The Blade Runner (or Riddler?) can balance on its foot, provides shock absorption, adjust for height, collapse for storage and provide a better ride due to its curved foot. This concept is inexpensive to manufacture with a telescopic aluminum shaft and injection molded handle and foot structure. A rubber outsole grips the ground and its design is easy to clean.
BE EVEN MORE SPLATTERPROOF
Orp Industries has always talked about building a running version of their innovative bike horn/ light product, and finally with our help, they’ve done it.
The Runners Orp or “Rorp” is for runners, walkers, hikers and boarders of all types. The big idea, of course, is to make pedestrians more visible by being more hearable, but the Rorp can do more. Runners and walkers who use nights or dark early mornings to run and walk not only have a beacon to be seen but also a very loud horn to let any would be attackers know their attention is unwanted, and if that’s not enough, an accessory cranulator (machined aluminum) is available to cause more serious damage.
The Rorp has a gumby-like malleable metal armature in its body so it holds on to you, works for small and large hand sizes and features a dual tone horn, just like the bike Orp, and the actuator is always under thumb. The Rorp is symmetrical so works on either hand. Multiple light modes including highly visible green LEDs. The LEDs fire every time either horn is fired. Newest versions incorporate a 180 degree Chip On Board (COB_ LED array. This new LED offers better visibility.
ABOM won a prestigious government contract to leverage their fog fighting technology across multiple military optic platforms. Beyond the more protective war fighting goggle, the SBIR project included the undercover operator. This is the individual that may appear to be a good looking Russian speaking petroleum engineer, but is actually a lethal CIA operative.
The military was looking for slicker design that could go from the urban cafe to the battleground. Military operators call these “spectacles”. This product, of course, can be used in low temperatures, but also in high temperatures where the wearer may be sweating. The wearer’s head is radiating heat at a temperature higher than the ambient air. The result is condensation, fogging. ABOM’s moisture sensing system will automatically turn on and eviscerate the fog. Because the system is only on when needed, less energy is required so the product is feasible even with the required smaller batteries. That said, an external battery pack can provide additional runtime.
Hey batter, batter!
Wilson Sporting Goods owned DeMarini, came to FUSE to to get concepts for a batting glove. Batting gloves do a few things to make batting better for the batter:
1. The batting glove adds a protective layer of skin, like a callus, to protect the player from the friction injury caused by wielding a bat. The injury is usually just blistering, but this is painful, can keep a player from participating and becomes and entry point into the body for more lethal bacteria.
2. An errant pitch can hit the dorsal surface of the batter’s hand. Injury can range from bruising to real broken bone and nerve damage. Putting protective armor and or energy absorbing materials on this dorsal surface can mitigate this problem.
The less great aspects of the batting glove is the reduction of feel and the increase in heat or rather hand heat.
The challenge of creating a good batting glove is to provide protection, not impede articulation and keep them as thermally neutral as possible. Below are the more traditional winners.
FACE – ON
FUSE was contacted by a team of seasoned product marketing professionals at the onset of the pandemic. They wanted help designing a face mask for professionals working the front line in health care, teaching and emergency services.The team had identified that seeing the facial expression of these first responders and front liners would be valuable to reinstate the calm and confidence these pros always want to communicate to the people they’re helping. The team was also obsessed with minimizing the waste associated with disposable masks. While the filters are not washable, they are recyclable.
To achieve the crystal clarity, the mask would need to be silicone injection molded. This lower durometer material and process also allowed for the undercuts we needed for a clever face seal and the nesting of the replaceable filters cartridges.
Keen viewers will recognize the Iron Man inspiration in the chin area of the mask. Actually, what we were doing was reinforcing the chin to keep it stiffer so we could achieve greater elasticity in the jaw for mouth opening and talking while still maintaining a good seal to the face.
A couple of entrepreneurs came to FUSE with a big idea: they wanted to reduce all the CO2 and waste created by single use disposable containers. They wanted to replace all these earth killing, land-filling, leaky containers with a collapsible silicone container that diners could bring with them. This sounded good, but these containers exist. The pandemic certainly didn’t help either.
We thought, “This isn’t good. We can’t take their money to make another plastic container….”. We brainstormed. We drew concepts. Like we always do, we explored. We also knew the pervasiveness/success of all the insulated water bottles. Could we bring this insulated utility to food?
We hated all the fussy bento box-like little containers. Who eats like that? People are eating bowls of low glycemic index carbs and proteins. Or, imagine if you’re a frutarian, wouldn’t cold watermelon be good at noon? Yes it would. Do you really want to risk that thirst quenching red goodness to the office fridge? No you do not. You know your so called trusted office mates are food thieves! Maybe it’s a sign of security that they know you well enough to eat off your containers. Beyond food security, we also imagined other uses (e.g. a nice product to take on day hikes, a way to carry temperature sensitive medicines, etc).
We did some concepts and shared them with our world saving duo. The team liked it. Now we had to find a way to make this product something other than cylinder shaped. I’d get into the details, but you’ll notice almost all twin-walled, vacuum sealed stainless steel containers are cylindrical. There are lots of You Tube videos on how these are made, but our soon to be Marwall Pod would require a new path towards commercialization. This was a problem.
We scoured the world and located a company that believed in our team’s vision and they found a way. Armed with this confidence and this new factory partner, we forged ahead. FUSE did multiple thermal studies and realized we needed a twin walled lid to achieve the insulative properties we wanted. We added utensils (keen observers will recognize this as giving a nod to ancient Inuit tools) and stored them on the inside of the twin walled lid. We sealed the pod and the twin walled lid with a silicone gasket. Sliding latches with rotatable carabiner-able loops lock the lid to the base.
We imagine the metal part can last a lifetime or more (barring a fall off a cliff), but the plastics (don’t worry — they’re BPA-free Tritan) while tough, may succumb over time. All these parts are replaceable, so your pod will last a lifetime (if not cut short by a climbing accident and we know you’ll only be thinking about your Marwall Pod in that event…). We are so confident this is a lifetime-plus product, inside the metal container there’s an area to engrave to whom you want to bequeath your Marwall to.
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!
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.