Glass cars, sentient spoons, and an inventor who's challenging our idea of normal.

What is normal?

Many designers create products that are normal but better — or "super normal," as a Japanese design philosophy calls it.

Dominic Wilcox, a designer and inventor from northeast England, has turned this philosophy on its head by using normal items and twisting them into something whimsical. By using everyday items, he takes things we understand and twists them into something "surprising and inventive."


The results are often playful and humorous, like a tummy-rumbling amplification device:

GIF via Dominic Wilcox/YouTube.

Wilcox explained why playfulness opens up the creative process in an interview for design publication Cool Hunting:

"Sometimes there’s a temptation to think, 'What does it do? How do we sell that?' That closes the idea down. I try to keep it open and push it as far as possible. It’s about playfulness, open-mindedness and taking risks, the freedom to make mistakes, whatever they are."

Many of his playful inventions are actually kind of useful.

It's not all tummy-rumbling amplification devices; many of Wilcox's inventions are designed to solve minor inconveniences with whimsical solutions.

Like a nose stylus for hands-free scrolling:

All images via Dominic Wilcox, used with permission.

Shoes that light up to point you in the right direction using built-in GPS navigation:

Stickers to make your shiny car or bicycle look like junk to would-be thieves:

A spoon that "wakes up" as you eat with it, then "loses energy" and goes to sleep after four hours to let you know it's time for a snack:

A teacup with its own mini cooling fan (sadly, this one's only a prototype):

For Wilcox, it's about playing with our idea of "normal."

At last year's London Design Festival, Wilcox showcased his invention for the future — a future where our roads will be so safe that cars could be made of glass. He created a driverless car prototype with colorful stained glass that includes a comfy bed nestled inside:

Passengers would simply relax or take a snooze in their beautiful car while they're safely whisked to their destination.

It completely reimagines what a "normal" driving experience could be. Wilcox mused to Cool Hunting:

"[In my imagination] the future is super safe, so why not have a glass car? Some people might think it’s ridiculous, but why not?"

Wilcox is even twisting what it means to be an inventor.

Stephen Colbert invited Wilcox to appear on "The Late Show," where he tested a number of Wilcox's inventions, including a cereal-serving head crane device:

GIF via "The Late Show with Stephen Colbert."

When Colbert asked Wilcox, "Are you a sculptor or are you an inventor? Because these things seem like conceptual art at the same time as being inventions," Wilcox replied:

"I just like being imaginative and creative. It doesn't matter how I express it. ... I've tried [to invent a word] many times. I did my business cards ... and underneath my name I [put] 'inventurer' — half adventurer, half inventor — but then I scrapped that one."

Here's to the "inventurer" in us all.

More
True
The CW
via bfmamatalk / facebook

Where did we go wrong as a society to make women feel uncomfortable about breastfeeding in public?

No one should feel they have the right to tell a woman when, where, and how she can breastfeed. The stigma should be placed on those who have the nerve to tell a woman feeding her child to "Cover up" or to ask "Where's your modesty?"

Breasts were made to feed babies. Yes, they also have a sexual function but anyone who has the maturity of a sixth grader knows the difference between a sexual act and feeding a child.

Keep Reading Show less
popular
Instagram / JLo

The Me Too movement has shed light on just how many actresses have been placed in positions that make them feel uncomfortable. Abuse of power has been all too commonplace. Some actresses have been coerced into doing something that made them uncomfortable because they felt they couldn't say no to the director. And it's not always as flagrant as Louis C.K. masturbating in front of an up-and-coming comedian, or Harvey Weinstein forcing himself on actresses in hotel rooms.

But it's important to remember that you can always firmly put your foot down and say no. While speaking at The Hollywood Reporter's annual Actress Roundtable, Jennifer Lopez opened up about her experiences with a director who behaved inappropriately. Laura Dern, Awkwafina, Scarlett Johansson, Lupita Nyong'o, and Renee Zellweger were also at the roundtable.

Keep Reading Show less
popular

Life for a shelter dog, even if it's a comfortable shelter administered by the ASPCA with as many amenities as can be afforded, is still not the same as having the comfort and safety of a forever home. Professional violinist Martin Agee knows that and that's why he volunteers himself and his instrument to help.

Keep Reading Show less
popular
Courtesy of Macy's

In many ways, 18-year-old Idaho native, Hank Cazier, is like any other teenager you've met. He loves chocolate, pop music, and playing games with his family. He has lofty dreams of modeling for a major clothing company one day. But one thing that sets him apart may also jeopardize his future is his recent battle against a brain tumor.

Cazier was diagnosed in 2015. When he had surgery to remove the tumor, he received trauma to his brain and lost some of his motor functionality. He's been in physical, occupational, and speech therapy ever since. The experience impacted Cazier's confidence and self-esteem, so he's been looking for a way to build himself back up again.

"I wanted to do something that helped me look forward to the future," he says.

Enter Make-A-Wish, a nonprofit organization that grants wishes for children battling critical illnesses, providing them a chance to make the impossible possible. The organization partnered with Macy's to raise awareness and help make those wishes a reality. The hope is that the "wish effect" will improve their quality of life and empower them with the strength they need to overcome these illnesses and look towards the future. That was a particularly big deal for Cazier, who had been feeling like so many of his wishes weren't going to be possible because of his critical illness.

"In the beginning, it was hard to accept that it would be improbable for me to accomplish my previous goals because my illness took away so many of my physical abilities," says Cazier. His wish of becoming a model also seemed out of reach.

But Macy's and Make-A-Wish didn't see it like that. Once they learned about Cazier's wish, they knew he had to make it come true by inviting him to be part of the magical Macy's holiday shoot in New York.

Courtesy of Macy's

Make-A-Wish can't fulfill children's wishes without the generosity of donors and partners like Macy's. In fact, since 2003, Macy's has given more than $122 million to Make-A-Wish and impacted the lives of more than 2.9 million people.

Cazier's wish experience was beyond what he could've imagined, and it filled him with so much joy and confidence. "It is like waking up and discovering that you have super powers. It feels amazing!" he exclaims.

One of the best parts about the day for him was the kindness everyone who helped make it happen showed him.

"The employees of Macy's and Make-A-Wish made me feel welcome, warm, and cared for," he says. "I am truly grateful that even though they were busy doing their jobs, they were able to show kindness and compassion towards me in all of the little details."

He also got to spend part of the shoot outdoors, which, as someone who loves climbing, hiking, and scuba-diving but has trouble doing those activities now, was very welcome.

Courtesy of Macy's

Overall, Cazier feels he grew a lot during his modeling wish and is now emboldened to work towards a better quality of life. "I want to acquire skills that help me continue to improve in these circumstances," he says.

You can change the lives of more kids like Cazier just by writing a letter to Santa and dropping it in the big red letterbox at Macy's (you can also write and submit one online). For every letter received before Dec. 24, 2019, Macy's will donate $1 to Make-A-Wish, up to $1 million. By writing a letter to Santa, you can help a child replace fear with confidence, sadness with joy, and anxiety with hope.

Believe
True
Macy's