Best of CH 2009: Top Five Design Innovations

The relentless pace of innovation constantly inspires us, both with form and function, in this still new century. While the pace isn't without its hazards, as we step lightly into the new decade, we see plenty of room for optimism. Below, we selected the designs covered on Cool Hunting this year that speak to the reason why.


Plastic Logic Reader
The Plastic Logic Reader (now being marketed under the name QUE) received plenty of media attention earlier this year, and for good reason. The QUE uses E-ink, so its battery lasts days, it has a glare-free display, incorporates touchscreen technology, weighs less than most business periodicals and measures as large as a standard sheet of paper. Plastic Logic also has the benefit of partnership with some serious newspapers (Financial Times, USA Today) and magazines (Popular Science) and has inked a distribution deal with Barnes & Noble. The QUE proReader premieres on 7 January 2010 at CES.


IF Mode Folding Bike
A surprising number of years passed before someone backed the development of a full-size folding bike that's both functional and good-looking. Finally, we've got a winner in the IF-Mode, designed by Marc Sanders for Pacific Cycles. Now, if they could only find a way to shave off at least a grand from that $2,200 price tag.

Gaetano Pesce x Meritalia
While many young designers and seasoned professionals got swept up in the frenzy of limited edition work that has bloated the furniture industry in recent years, old-timers like Gaetano Pesce quietly did their thing. Pesce's newest collection of furniture for Meritalia was poetic, joyful, inventive, and quite possibly, one of the best at this year's Salone del Mobile.


Window Farms
Launched by artists Britta Riley and Rebecca Bray in February, the Window Farms project aims to create a viable model for hydroponic edible gardens in urban windows. Relying heavily on crowdsourced innovation, the project has already garnered 29 unique design improvements and raised nearly $17k in pledges through KickStarter. Growing your own food is one of the most significant ways to help the environment. With that in mind, we give a big green thumbs up to this endeavor.


Lightlane Personal Bike Path
Though still in development, the Lightlane Personal Bike Path promises a brighter (and safer) future for night riders. Designed by Alex Tee and Evan Gant, the Lightlane employs two high-visibility DPSS (diode-pumped solid state) green lasers mounted alongside a rear blinking light to project a bike lane and offer some much-needed visibility to those cycling on darkened streets.

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