Smartphones? Can’t live without them. 3D printers? Why not. When it comes to bringing the extraordinary into homes and workplaces, ideas are never in short supply.
Even still, it’s amazing how many devices we rely on daily that seem like they are stuck in decades past.
“The most awesome stage”
Last year, Facebook's VP of Design thought the TNW Conference main stage was the best she'd ever been on.
With that in mind, I asked a panel of 12 successful entrepreneurs from Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) the following question:
What is one everyday device or gadget you’d love to see totally re-engineered by a startup and why?
Their top picks are below.
I’d love to find a startup that creates form-fitting glasses that are affordable and stylish. One of the cooler companies I’ve seen working on this is Protos Eyewear. It does 3D-printed eyewear. The next step would be to add simple technology.
2. Mobile Web Push Notifications
To get more engagement, the mobile Web needs a push notification service that is equal to a mobile application push notification. If a startup created an easy API that was effective and tracked open rates for mobile sites to send notifications, it would be rich.
– Adam Root, Hiplogiq
3. Copy Machines
How is it possible that in 2014 the copy machine is still as faulty and unattractive as it was 15 years ago? Since “Office Space,” the copy machine has been vilified — and for good reason. We need a more simple, beautiful and functional printing solution.
– Michael Parrish DuDell, Race + vine
4. Water Bottles
We all know we need to drink more water, and we all know we feel better when we do. I want a smart water bottle to give me push notifications of how I’m doing and track my progress online to make sure I’m staying hydrated.
– John Meyer, Lemonly
5. Noise Cancelling Headphones
Bose Noise Cancelling headphones were great in the ’90s, but I want to see an in-ear device that not only cancels noise, but also puts me to sleep when I want to be asleep. How great would that be on airplanes?
– Rameet Chawla, Fueled
6. Household Electronics
I love how Nest has been bringing technology into the home in a seamless way, and I’d love to see more of that same mindset and aesthetic carried over into more household electronics.
I’m not exactly sure what should be next, but I’m completely enamored by its strategy of injecting connectivity and design into what had been basically commoditized household appliances.
– Emerson Spartz, Spartz
Put watchers in control of how they spend their time in a thoughtful way. All the pieces seem to be there, but no one has pulled it all together. If I want to improve myself, where is the button I press to start a set of videos that will help me achieve my ambition?
– Kuty Shalev, Clevertech
I am so sick of cable companies offering terrible service with an extremely poor product just because they provide access to content we love. The mega cable companies will ultimately be disrupted by startups looking to provide the same content paired with a better experience for a fraction of the cost. I can’t wait for that day.
– Adam Lieb, Duxter
I’d love to see a more intuitive car developed. I’d like something electric, but with a long range that is incredibly easy to operate and has very low maintenance. It should also be fun, easy to drive and park and great for families — without resembling a minivan.
10. QWERTY Mobile Phones
The popularity of the iPhone and other touchscreens is squeezing out the QWERTY keyboard mobile phone to the detriment of people using phones for business. People who rely heavily on the phone as the pocket computer need a great typing experience so they are not left henpecking at touchscreens.
– Ty Morse, Songwhale
Someone should really invent the smart bed. Beds haven’t evolved for years. They are still archaic and not even connected to the Internet.
In the future, sleeping time will be used as diagnosis time. It will collect data from our bodies and analyze it by some device in the cloud.
When we wake up, we’ll know what nutrients/vitamins/chemicals our bodies are low on, so we can customize our diet or get medication if the smart bed has detected an illness. We’ll start our day with a health report so we know what diet we need and whether that involves more exercise or a trip to the drug store.
– Xenios Thrasyvoulou, PeoplePerHour
12. Remote Controls
I have no idea what half the buttons on my remote control do, and we have three remote controls. A startup coming into this space and completely re-engineering it would touch not only those in the U.S., but also those across the world. It will also leave everyone in its wake needing less AA batteries.
– Kim Kaupe, ZinePak