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Balsa Wood and Architectural Modeling Contest Winners Announced

Ever see those really cool models of cities like the one in “Die Hard” where Alan Rickman unsuccessfully tries to get the password from the Nakatomi Corp. President. I love those things, and contests for architectural models are always on the very high end of cool. The Association of Professional Model Makers set up a web page to announce the winners of the latest contest, and the pictures there are amazing.

National Balsa Wood Company, in Ware, Massachusetts, makes the base laser-cut balsa wood and basswood pieces that architectural students and model airplane makers use to build their planes and cities. I spoke to the owner of that company the other day and he said that architecture students from all over the country order specially cut pieces from his firm to build their scaled-down cities, like the one shown below.

Balsa Wood Architectural Model

Vibram Fivefingers

Filed under: Innovations,Products,Sports — Tags: , , , , — Positronic Dave @ 11:54 pm August 19, 2010

Vibram FiveFingers KSO

Vibram Fivefingers” is neither a porn name, nor the Dick Tracy villain the name would suggest (if you don’t get the “Dick Tracy” reference… google it) but it is a great object lesson in knowing how and when to follow-through on a good idea, before greedy people steal your design out from under your genius fingers.

Let’s not much about here: the Vibram Fivefingers is one ugly shoe. Really ugly… like it should’ve been just a horrifying mistake, but instead its an actual innovative design for ergonomic running shoes. Looking like beefed-up (and heavily rubber-soled) pair of toe-socks, the Vibram Five-fingers was praised in both popular books and actual scientific studies. Throw is some tributes and testimonials from professional athletes and soon the demand for your product far outstrips your ability to supply it.

This is the predicament of the Italian company Vibram. Known for almost 100 years for their expensive, but top-of-the-line hiking boots. Then a few years ago one of their designers, having heard of the benefits of barefoot running, came up with the idea for the Vibram Fivefingers “shoe.” As I said before, it looks more like toe-socks with rubber soles, but these barefoot running shoes have the running sports world all a-tither over it.

While Vibram tries to keep up with other companies (like the Nike Free, as well as designs by New Balance and others) competing designs as they try to expand their factories making the Vibram Fiverfingers shoe, the worst damage is being done by counterfeiters

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