I Want This Seatbelt Chair! (And 4 More Genius Inventions)

Megan Van Schaick

yougoods designOne of my fave retailers, UncommonGoods (full disclosure: I have no affiliation with them, other than the charges on my credit card), has just extended the deadline for their annual design competition, YouGoods. On August 24, their panel of judges will select an original design or invention out of thousands of entries. That person will win $1,500 -- but more importantly, their design will be produced and sold by UC.

This year’s contest is in honor of National Inventor’s Month; they have also teamed up this year with Quirky.com for a contest called Compostapalooza (I really love this contest idea but oh.em.gee. it's time to let "palooza" die).

Check out some of these past winners and finalists -- hopefully you’ll be inspired to finalize that obscenely cool product idea you’ve had sketched out on a napkin for 2 years.

scrap-cyclerCompostapalooza -- I know, it’s not the contest I started out talking about, but this product is way cool. I’ll be snapping one up as soon as I can. Gail Loos won for her Scrap-Cycler, which takes kitchen composting bins to a whole new level by shredding and grinding the scraps you put in. And it’s completely enclosed, so no more stink!

YouGoods Year 1 --
It’s too bad that UncommonGoods doesn’t have more information out there about the first year of this competition, because based on the winner, I would have loooooved to see the other finalists. MultiBlocks (originally called Brainy Blocks) are the brain child of Brad Singley -- with inspiration assistance from his kids and his civil-engineer father. The blocks not only allow kids to build dimensional structures, but the units marked on the blocks teach math in about a zillion different ways.

YouGoods Year 2 -- The first themed year had designers submit products made out of recycled and reclaimed auto parts -- any kind of product, made out of any part. The finalists included two pieces of jewelry: earrings made from smashed windshields and cufflinks constructed from the timing chain. My favorites, of course, were two home décor products, one of which ended up winning.

Yougoods TaillightJanet Lewis came up with this tail light paperweight and pencil holder set. Sounds pretty mundane, but what I really love is that she’s taken the colored lens out of its element and encased it in a very sleek aluminum. She was inspired by the clean lines of vintage cars -- and you can definitely see that inspiration in the shapes of her pieces.

seatbelt chairAnd this! Oh, I so want a set of these for the deck! (I already have a DIY table made from a gas sign -- it’s the perfect match!) Adam Barron was still just an industrial design student when he submitted his winning product, the seatbelt chair. He used powder-coated steel for the frame, and busted out his weaving skills to bring all the belts together for the seat. He used screws and bolts to create details almost like those of upholstery tacks, and added the actual belt buckles to the back as well. Every last one of his materials came straight out of the junkyard (though he does admit to washing the belts before using them … thank goodness).

Pretty amazing stuff. If you're interested in entering, check out the UncommonGoods site

Or, just let us have it here -- what inventions have been rattling around in your heads lately?


Images via The Goods

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