Five things I want someone to invent

A fresh new year and a fresh new blog to do some commentary on innovation, inventions, collaborations and other things that come to mind. In Australia, people are slowly drifting back from summer holidays, so that might influence this list. Some of these things might already exist of course.

  1. A piezo that lasts as long as the barbeque. Every time I barbeque, I click and click away on that piezo, hoping the lack of a “whoompf” doesn’t mean I’ve run out of gas. Almost always, it’s just that the piezo doesn’t spark up – they are like the erectile dysfunction of barbequing, giving out when the hard structure still has years to go.
  2. An aggregator that knows what I’ve looked at. Have you seen that video of the college guy from Iowa that was raised by lesbians, but has turned out incredibly smart and articulate? He’s very impressive and has made me vow to stop my unreasonable prejudices against Iowans (Iowians?). But I don’t need to see him over and over on my Twitter feeds, Facebook and half my Flipboard pages. I already agree with him. I love snippets of information, but I hate getting the same stuff 15 different ways.
  • Voice recognition software that works with Australian accents. In January most years, I resolve to make an effort to become more productive by speaking into my computer more. It never lasts till February. Am I too impatient? Do I use too many big words (“big” defined by most voice software as more than three letters)?
  • A decent pen-style input to my iPad. While we are on more efficient input to computers, why did the iPad take such a massive step backwards on inputting writing? Half a decade ago I had a Fujitsu tablet that I could write notes into really nicely – it just had a battery that felt like it was having a nuclear meltdown for the hour or so it lasted. I love the iPad but carry a normal pad still to meetings. I’ve tried a series of “pens” for iPads but they are more sausage-like than pen-like.
  • Sunscreen that doesn’t feel icky. We have to force our kids to put sunscreen on. They don’t like the stuff. They know about cancer but it isn’t going to make them feel like they just covered their face in a mixture of milk and lard today. I sympathise because I don’t like it either, and I’ve got more skin exposed on the head.

Obviously, these aren’t my very top priority inventions. A malaria cure and a few other things obviously rate higher. But they would at least be cool to have. Can anyone help me?