Steven M. Johnson's Patent Depending Designs

Steven M. Johnson's Patent Depending Designs

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Regina Yunghans
Aug 18, 2009
the News Nook

Here's a designer who's acting on whimsy and utter freedom. Many of Steven M. Johnson's illustrated inventions come across as humorous, but they're also laced with a hint of real-world problem solving. Take the News Nook, for instance...

It's a breakfast table that's screened off by a sliding computer screen. Depending on how your morning's going, you can choose to open the screen and talk to the loved one sitting opposite you or slide the screen shut and simply peruse the 'net in solitude.

Johnson is able to set aside the constraints of practicality and function to come up with ideas that can sometimes seem, well, pretty useless. But then he hits a nerve of truth and his audience does a double-take. Isn't that the stuff of true invention? See more of Johnson's whimsical designs and half-serious products at his website, Patent Depending. And read more on Johnson in the New York Times' Searching for Value in Ludicrous Ideas.

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