By: Willis Whiteside, M.S., IDSA

Issue 130101 1st /2nd  Quarter 2013

Design into the Future

From an Industrial Design perspective, we monitor the markets for new product development, trends and technologies. Our goal is to help you design into the future.  Even in the bad economy, some 38,000+ new products were released in 2012, slightly down from 2011.  However, most established product manufacturers are extending or enhancing existing brands, rather than new product innovation.  If you are an inventor or entrepreneur, here are a few product areas to consider for opportunities in new product development or product innovation.  

Today’s population wants to get smart and rich quick and it’s all in the thumbs.  We have more access to information, smart phones, large and small pads than ever before.  Bringing power and control to your fingertips is the future.  Smartphones are not so smart when they run out of power.  The future..no more cords, low power wireless is here. Lay your phone on a pad and it’s charging.  From smart phone to pad to cloud, we want the answer now.  Why not, it comes to us as fast as we can type. Google, Bing, Wiki, or new App, bring it on, the more local, personal the better. Hold on the Apple map.  With the “on the go” come the need for the healthy snack food diet. Personalized and energy snack food offerings will only increase.  Healthy alternatives and green is in but it comes at a price. Only so many people can afford the green milk.  Fitness is in but food is bigger.  Pet care is king but overpopulation is still requiring kill shelters.

Anti wrinkle, age defying is in. Hair is everything, make it thicker or make it go away.  The new human factors is the population has a rising median age or proportionally old to young population. Obesity is a big management problem in healthcare. Healthcare, retirement and assistance facilities are becoming big business.  But with it also comes cost management with increasing gaps and lapses in healthcare quality, meaning people suffer unnecessarily.  Eye sight and vision enhancement problems are on the increase with a trend towards techie glasses and the needed straps for head or neck attachment.  Walking safety is a rising concern, given more walk off the curb accidents, while looking at email.  The arm rotated 45 degrees up in the listen or reading, standing position or sitting crouched in the input thumb position will result in increasing muscular and tendonitis health problems and remedies.   

The temperatures and seas are rising  combined with natural events, the resulting destruction is increasing.  Disaster preparation, relief and recovery is big business.   Fresh food and water will continue to be the commodities of necessity.  High energy costs are driving the need for better energy management systems.  New EPA controls of incandescent lighting options and replacement with improved LED lighting products will continue to be implemented.  The conclusion, there are still many opportunities out there, but access to information and intelligence is the wave.  If you have a brilliant idea, pick an area to concentreate on and let’s start shining!

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