Innovative Ideas

userpic=soylent-greenTodays, umm, dinnertime news chum brings together three stories marked by unique ways of thinking and approaching problems:

  • Introducing… Microsoft Bra. You’ve heard of Google Glass, right? Microsoft has a better idea: The Microsoft Bra. Yes, Microsoft has developed a smart-bra that its researchers say is used to help prevent women from stress eating. According to the LA Times, the device, detailed in a research paper titled “Food and Mood: Just-in-Time Support for Emotional Eating,” features multiple sensors to detect when women might want to eat because of stress. The bra monitors heart rate, respiration, skin conductance and movement. The device sends the data to a synced smartphone app that attempts to stop users from eating when they feel stress. As for men, Microsoft also tried a version of the device using underwear, but, predictably, it didn’t work as well. Bras are closer to the heart.
  • A Lending Library… in a 7-11. In central Fresno, public libraries are few. So an innovative owner of a 7-11 came up with a neat idea: He put a lending-library inside his 7-11. Kids who read get a  free Slurpee or hot chocolate for every book read and summarized in a short book report. The library, which started Aug. 1, already has about 200 books. Teachers at a nearby school volunteer to label books by grade level — which has helped deter older youths from reading far below their grade level as a ploy to snag an easy Slurpee. The owner, an avid reader, came up with the idea for the library — the first of its kind in 7-Elevens nationwide. The company’s vice president visited two weeks ago to explore how other libraries might be added in stores around the country.
  • A Bridge to An Airport. San Diego has a problem with its airport. It’s too small. It’s dangerous to fly into. On the other hand, Tijuana has a lovely international airport just on the other side of the border, with loads of space to expand. So… some enterprising folks have gotten approval to build a bridge from the San Diego side to the Tijuana airport — effectively, a mini-border-crossing just for air travelers staffed with appropriate customs folks from both sides. The San Diego-Tijuana Airport Cross Border Facility, or CBF, will permit passengers on the U.S. side to pay a roughly $13-$17 fee to cross a 500-foot-long pedestrian bridge that arcs over the Mexico/U.S. border, depositing them inside the Tijuana airport. Likewise, passengers flying into Tijuana will be able to walk directly onto U.S. soil.