As I am perpetually in child-like awe when seeing gigantic ships float and huge planes fly (despite my fundamental awareness of the science of displacement, lift, drag, etc.) I keep an eye out for new and amazing innovations.  In this day and age we are spoiled for choice and bombarded with new technology that would have seemed “out of this world” just 50 or 75 years ago.

I stumbled across a couple of tiny innovative contributions recently which grabbed my attention.  The first was while shopping for a cheap replacement watch band.  As Photo 1 shows, if you’ve ever tried to change your Timex watch band (Rolex may be different, I wouldn’t know) the band is held on by a spring-loaded pin.  You have to find a tiny screwdriver or other object to compress the pin, release it from the hole, and slip your band out without the pin springing loose and shooting halfway across the room somewhere, resulting in a micro-search second only as difficult as looking for a dropped contact lens.  Replacing the pin and band is nearly as difficult as you have to compress the pin, slip it in the side of the watch, and find the hole to release it into.

Lo and behold, imagine my child-like wonder when I looked at some watch bands such as the one I bought in Photo 2.   Some clever person (a man or a woman no doubt) somewhere on Planet Earth (perhaps confined to a dismal dungeon and assigned to changing 500 spring-loaded watch bands per day) invented a built-in spring-loaded band with a small protrusion for compressing the spring.  WHAT A NOVEL IDEA!  Pull the latch with your fingernail, remove the band.  (Photo 3.)  Pull the latch, reinsert the band.  (Pity the person who bites their nails.  Discrimination is just everywhere, but it’s still easier even with the tiny screwdriver.)

Have pity on me too, dear reader, but this kind of thing just amazes me.  And all for a watch band which still costs less than 9 dollars USD in 2009.  OK, so it doesn’t do windows or provide whirled peas (world peace), but it’s pretty neat.

The other item I noticed is a little more high-tech and more logically innovative, I just hadn’t seen it before.  I was at my allergist’s office the other day and went to throw my breath-test tube in the waste basket as I usually do.  There was a new waste basket with a lid (more sanitary I presume) but there was no handle or foot pedal with which to lift the lid.  (Photo 4.) I couldn’t figure how to open it so I asked the nurse.  She told me to wave my hand over the little red area on top of the lid.

Lo and behold, imagine my child-like wonder when I broke the infra-red beam and the lid opened electrically.  (Photo 5.)   It stayed open long enough for me to discard my trash, then closed again to lie in wait for the next unsuspecting victim.  “Feed Me!  Feed Me!” you could almost hear it saying, like some reprobate from the Little Shop Of Waste Basket Horrors.

Oh well, I am easily amused and thus easily entertained.  What WILL they think of next!

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