2015 was a very good year for aficionados of form married to function. To the ranks of Eames chairs and Oxo kitchen implements were added a number of innovative new products in spaces that have been desperately in need of a UX upgrade. From toothbrushes and mattresses to peripherals and vaping devices, here are four products that pushed the design game forward.
Toothbrush > Quip
There should be a middle ground between the freebie toothbrush you get from your dentist and some $200 contraption that feels more like buying a TV than a simple oral-hygiene device. And now, with Quip, there is. The compact, clean-lined Quip follows the subscription-based model that’s become popular of late, wherein every three months you receive new bristle heads for your reusable, AAA battery–powered Quip handle, which comes in metal or plastic and electric or manual models. Plastic/electric kits start at $25, and $10 every three months after that gets you the aforementioned new bristles, as well as mint toothpaste in travel and full sizes.
Vaporizer > JUUL
Until now, one impediment for smokers who want to try e-cigarettes has been the lack of an option that is simple to use, fits in your pocket, and is satisfying like a cigarette. Enter the JUUL, a solid little metallic obelisk that combines the best of all vaping worlds into one chic package. JUUL, invented and designed in San Francisco by the same startup that developed the PAX vaporizer, is ingenious both for its e-liquid nicotine experience and its unique micro-tank vaporizer device. $50 gets you a complete JUUL kit, which contains a JUUL, USB charger, and a multi-JUULpod pack, which includes one each of JUUL’s four distinct nicotine flavors. The company stands behind its product, too, offering an industry-leading warranty as well as zealous live customer support to answer any questions about vaping.
Ready to start vaping? Get yourself a JUUL now.
Mattress > Casper
Certain products — desk chairs, home lighting — seem to lend themselves to technological innovation, to forever be approaching an event horizon of perfection. Others, like mattresses, remain mired in a pre-Victorian past, all springs and horsehair and rust. A new mattress called Casper, looking for all the world like the raw material from which iPhones are hewn, changes all that. The medium-firm slab ($850 for a queen) features layers of latex foam, memory foam, and support foam, all wrapped in a removable woven cover. Best of all? No more sweaty sleep: The top latex foam layer’s open-cell design allows air to circulate underneath while you sleep.
Keyboard > Phorm
Portable touchscreen devices are the closest (non-hoverboard) harbingers of an idealized future that humanity has yet been granted. However, the tech industry still hasn’t devised a seamless non-keyboard way to make your tablet good for typing-centric work. Phorm, a clever new case for your iPad, steps into that void with panache. The $99 product consists of a case backing along with a transparent piece that fits over the screen. When you move a slider on the caseback, raised dots appear as if by magic over your keyboard’s “keys,” allowing you to type without losing track of where your fingers are. Though this might seem minimal, the effect is dramatic.
Hunter Slaton is the Content Director for Studio@Gawker.
Illustration by Jake Inferrera.