From monitors for heart patients to stink-free socks, these creative products, devised by Inc. 500 companies, solve problems big and small.
#41 Speck Products
Getting Groovy The SpeckTone Retro iPod stereo takes your digital music old school. Stick an iPod in the dock on top, and the wood casing and analog circuitry provide a rich sound. The single knob, for volume, should put technophobes at ease.
#7 Method Products
Clearing the Air With a smooth, simple shape, the Aroma Pill is clearly no Glade PlugIn. Plus, it can permeate a room with a subtle scent without adding propellants or commonly used toxins such as ethylene glycol.
#444 Correct Building Products
All Decked Out Composite decks, made from wood fiber and plastic, are popular with homeowners--but they are susceptible to stains and mold. This CorrectDeck CX plank has polypropylene and antimicrobial coatings baked in to keep that stuff out.
Cut the Cords Install the XBee-Pro on almost any electrical device and it can wirelessly connect to a computer up to a mile away. Manufacturers use the XBee, which is about an inch wide, to monitor, say, a pump on the far side of a factory.
#489 Alere Medical
We Heart Technology The DayLink monitor is a heart patient's ounce of prevention against a second coronary. Patients use the DayLink at home to answer yes-or-no questions about their health. DayLink uses a phone line to send the data to a nurse.
#84 iLight Technologies
Rather Brilliant Plexineon looks like neon, but it's safer. Instead of heated gas, it uses bright LED lights in plastic. So it stays cool and there's no risk of shattering. Plexineon can be bent into signage and used outdoors.
No More Funk It turns out that silver is great at destroying the bacteria that cause odor. Using silver nanoparticles embedded in fabric, the company is able to make antimicrobial, stink-free socks, part of a full line of apparel for hunters.
On the Clock This device for construction sites helps contractors track attendance electronically. Workers get electronic keys that they touch to the Jobclock to clock in and out. At payroll time, it beams the info to a supervisor's PDA.
Baby's First Computer Many preemies get stuck in the neonatal ICU because they have problems eating. The Active Bottle, a computerized baby bottle under development at Children's Hospital Boston, senses whether the baby is breathing and swallowing.
I Thee Wedge Yeah, it's a book light, but it's also a relationship saver. Using a tapered sliver of acrylic, the LightWedge directs soft beams of LED light onto a page without any of it escaping into the eyes of someone slumbering nearby.