Peter Dunne has spent the last 19 years working with, testing, selling and creating accessories for wine. His latest passion: Figuring out how to get that well-aerated taste from a bottle that has just been opened.
The English inventor’s latest product, Rouge 02, is a small cap-like fixture that gets put on top of a bottle of wine. Turn it on and it pumps oxygen into the bottle for one minute.
“The wine will taste as though you’ve aerated it for an hour instead of a minute,” said Dunne, whose Rouge 02 retails for $25 when it gets into stores later this year. “You get better-flavored wine.”
Dunne is also marketing Therm au Rouge, which is a gel pack that going around a bottle of red wine. You program the pack according to what kind of wine you’re having, and the pack automatically warms the wine to the exact perfect temperature.
“You get perfectly warmed red wine and it never over-heats it,” he said.
Finding a product that can make someone’s life easier is the genesis for many of the inventors at the 2006 Housewares Show, held recently in Chicago. Often, the product came from something the inventor did to solve his or her own problems.
Guanwoo Yoon, an industrial designer with Daewoo, created his latest prototypes to solve a problem his mother had with a gift he had given to her.
“She is my mother and I love her and she is good to me. So, I bought her a new washing machine and dryer,” he explained. “The next day, she calls me up and says, ‘Son, I love the new machines. Can you come over and show me how to use them?'”
When Yoon got to his mother’s house, he realized that all of the buttons on the machine were confusing to her. So he went home and starting tinkering with computer programs that would allow someone to talk to his or her appliances, and have the appliances answer back.
At this year’s show, Yoon showed off the voice recognition system built into a microwave and a washer and dryer.
“You say ‘cotton’ and the machine washes for cotton clothing,” Yoon explained.
He turned on the microwave, which prompted him to ask him what he was going to cook.
“Frozen pizza,” Yoon said.
“Frozen pizza,” the microwave answered. Yoon placed a box of frozen pizza into the microwave, which turned on and cooked it.
Yoon says the company is creating several products with voice recognition software, which will be available in several languages. The microwave will eventually recognize up to 40 commands, although only 8 were working at the show. The talking microwave will retail for around $150, he said. The washer/dryer have not yet been priced.
In addition to solving problems for his mother, and all of the seniors in the world, Yoon says another houseware trend is the conversion of products.
He showed off another invention, which married a working DVD player and television set and a microwave. The entire front of the microwave was a television set, with the controls for the DVD and television below. The TV/microwave will retail around $500, Yoon said.
Yoon’s final offering at the show was is a two-sided microwave. The microwave box opens at the front and back, which Yoon said is perfect for a kitchen island.
“Mommy is on one side and the children are on the other,” he said. “This way, they don’t get to the other side of the island where the mother may be cooking.”
Got a picky eater? LC Premiums introduced a product that would appeal to parents and children: the Pop Art Toaster and its companion, the Pop Art Toaster Creative Coloring Kit.
According to Jodi Murphy, LC Premiums director of marketing, based in New York City, metal plates with kid-friendly cut-outs slide into a specially designed toaster. Turn it on, and the metal plates toast a special design or message onto the toast.
Some of the messages include “I’m toast,” “Chicks Rule,” and “I’m Hot.” There are special holiday plates that include a Christmas tree, a snowman, a Santa Clause, and a stocking, and then there are design icons like a smiley face, snowflake, birthday cake, flowers and hearts.
You can eat the toast with the saying or buy the Creative Coloring kit, which allows kids to use edible markers to color their food.
The toaster and coloring kit will be available this summer, priced from $25 to $45, according to a company spokesman.
Next week: more products and innovations from the 2006 Housewares Show. To see photos of these and other products, log onto the blog at www.ThinkGlink.com.