Innovations for 2008 and beyond

Local innovators tackle problems of paper waste, yellow jackets, short-lived batteries and more

Eric Shrader, Jennifer Morrill and Yi Cui may not be household names. But what makes them tick is a familiar thread in the fabric of Silicon Valley. Shrader of Palo Alto Research Center, Inc., Morrill of Adiri and Cui of Stanford University and others featured in this cover story are innovators: people who aren't content to let things be. Like William Hewlett, David Packard, Steve Jobs and a host of others in the Valley over the years, they are following an impulse to do something better or to solve a problem.

The Weekly sent its staff out to find people who -- in their own ways, large and small -- are trying to create something new. Here are their stories.

Inventor says 'g'bye' to yellow jackets

Printed documents may self-erase in future

A better baby bottle?

New battery lasts 10 times as long

Preventing AIDS through animation


Posted by Parent, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 2, 2008 at 4:07 pm

Any local inventor type like to come up with the solution to something I think every home may use.

I have been looking for a home cell phone recharging center which does not seem to have been invented. We have 4 phones in our family, all with different types of recharging ports (even though they are within the same service) and we need to use 4 different power points to recharge them. What I envisage is something about shoe box size containing a device something like a power surge strip which the four chargers could be plugged into with four holes (or more) out the top which the ports could be pulled through to enable the individual phones to be placed on top of while recharging. Ideally, this unit needs to be able to have individual switches on the ports which can be turned on or off from the outside. It would also need some form of ventilation to prevent the power charges from overheating. Something like this would be placed at a central point in the house for charging each phone without the need for individual power points to be used for each phone and without the long lengths of wires that tangle if left on a counter together.

Any ideas?

Posted by Keith, a resident of Stanford
on Jan 3, 2008 at 9:39 am

They already sell something like this. Look at Sharper Image or in some of the product magazines on any airline.

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