Underrated Inventions that Deserve More Recognition

Underrated Inventions that Deserve More Recognition

Some inventions you have never heard of, but you definitely should.

Organization and efficiency have a way of scratching an itch we didn’t even know we had, be it searching through hundreds of boxes in your storage unit for your high school yearbook or having to squeeze in all your makeup and skincare products in your bag before a business trip. At those moments, you’d wish there was a particular product that could make your life so much easier. Well, in the hopes of saving you from any struggle, we have compiled a list of a few underrated modern inventions that we feel deserve some hype. 

1. Smart storage labels

Smart storage labels
Image Courtesy of ToteScan

Feeling overwhelmed after a move and not sure in which box you packed your kitchenware? Instead of creating chaos by haphazard rifling through your storage and cluttering your space, try investing in smart labels. These QR code-based labels will direct you to a mobile app to help you keep track of what you have put in a particular storage unit. Some of the companies that cater to this need are Elephant Trax and ToteScan.

Simply place the scannable QR code stickers on the box and upload pictures of the items before placing them in the box. To make cataloging and locating an item easier, you can also add a few keywords for each item on the mobile application. When you want to see what’s inside each box, you can scan the QR code sticker on the box to get a detailed, pictorial list of items inside it. 

This manual filing system may seem slightly input-intensive at first, but it certainly makes for convenient retrieval. For instance, ToteScan has the option of adding the location information of your storage box (e.g. garage, living room and closet) as well as transferring an item in-app from one storage unit to another. Both apps offer a layer of security by linking the QR codes to your account, which prevents others from snooping to see what is in your box. This also means that your inventory is stored in the cloud, and you don’t have to worry about losing all your storage information if you lose or damage your mobile device. This invention could definitely be a boon for small businesses trying to efficiently organize their inventory and speed up packing orders with zero guesswork involved. 

2. Makeup stacks

Makeup stacks
Image Courtesy of Kaja

Looking to be sustainable by cutting down on cosmetic waste or simply tired of carrying a multitude of makeup products everywhere you go? Portable makeup stacks might be the solution for you. 

Compact stackable makeup has recently been gaining popularity, especially with individuals living busy, fast-paced lives and seeking to downsize their makeup routine. 

Kaja and Subtl Beauty are some of the makeup brands well known for their stackable makeup products. While Kaja offers premade sets of multi-use cream products known as Bentos, Subtl allows you to take a quiz to customize your makeup stack to best suit your individual needs. These stacks can contain cream contour, foundations, concealers, cheek and lip tints, press powder, lip balm and eyeshadows. You can put anything you need for your go-to makeup look into a palm-sized product that you cab simply throw into your bag as you rush out of the house. 

Another major selling point of these makeup stacks is the predominantly cream-based formula of their products. This makes it easy to apply them to your face with only your fingers. In other words, you can just leave your brushes, sponges and blenders at home!

Custom kits like these could definitely make one’s life much easier. Moreover, the niche is largely unexplored, indicating an immense potential for popular brands to create stacks of their popular products.

3. Female urination aids

Female urination aids
Image Courtesy of Sirona

Who in this day and age hasn’t encountered a toilet they really didn’t want to use but had no choice? For women in many parts of the world, this is a daily reality. Unhygienic washrooms can pose a major health hazard, and the squat-and-hover method only gets you so far. As it’s not likely that clean and safe washrooms can be made accessible to everyone overnight, we need to find alternatives.

Personal hygiene companies, like Sanfe, Sirona and Pee Safe, have come a long way in developing tools that can help women traverse this issue and do so while standing up. While most female urination aids are made to be lightweight and disposable, companies like Sirona (formerly Pee Buddy) have also developed reusable silicone aids for more regular use. Others, like Pee Safe, have also created cleaning products, like handy sanitizing sprays for disinfecting a toilet before use.

This market is massive, especially in countries, like India, Bangladesh and Pakistan, due to the lack of public infrastructure. Beyond that, with the increasing popularity of outdoor sports, these products will definitely be welcomed by backpackers, hikers and campers! 

4. Contact Paper

Contact Paper
Image Courtesy of Freepik

Having some amazing ideas ready for your dream home renovation project, but you don’t want to break the bank for it? Contact paper might be your new best friend.

Contact paper is essentially a big roll of peel-and-stick, self-adhering vinyl that you can apply to any clean and smooth surface. It requires no painting or carpentry skills to install; all you need is a scraping tool (plastic cards work just fine) and an exacto knife. 

They are available in various colors and textures, many artfully imitating various materials, like wood, marble, quartz and brick. You can use contact paper on distempered walls as wallpaper or on surfaces, like kitchen counters, dressers, table tops and laptops. The product gives the surface the desired look without being permanently altered.

What’s more, you can peel contact paper off easily without damaging the original surface, making it ideal for renters. The product is available in heat-proof, dust-proof and waterproof varieties, so it will be safe to use in kitchens and bathrooms as well! At the cost of about US$5-12 per roll on Amazon, contact papers are a pretty good deal.

5. Digital Marker/Highlighter

Digital MarkerHighlighter
Image Courtesy of Connects Pen

Students have enough on their plates. You have to spend hours on projects and assignments, and if you have to retype highlighted sections from physical textbooks onto your laptop, your study hours can easily double. If only your highlighted text could automatically make its way onto your Notion or Evernote… 

Introducing the ScanMarker Air and the Connects Pen. They are Bluetooth-enabled hand-held scanning devices that can copy text from your textbook directly to your laptop, tablet or smartphone. Just like using a regular highlighter, all you have to do is glide the scanning tip over the text you want to highlight, and the text will then appear on your device. You can store the created documents on a drive or send them to your email. Not only can the digital marker copy text, but it can also instantly translate the text into a variety of languages.

One of the plus points of these digital highlighters is that they will not cause any damage or marking on your notes or books, making it especially convenient to use on library books. Besides, the device’s companion application has the option to read out the copied notes like an audiobook. The scanning tools can also work on handwritten texts, so you can compile your notes straight from your notebooks. 

Having more agency over how we can improve small and simple aspects of our lives can make a world of difference in our overall well-being. As the saying goes, time is money, and these time-saving, high utility products are definitely a bang for our buck. We hope that you found some underrated gems to add to your collection of efficiency boosters! 

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Banner image courtesy of Freepik

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