What are the best business ideas you heard of in 2012? And the worst? Please tells us about them, post them in the comment box below. You might first want to know some of the best and worst ideas according to Australia’s startup.com (www.startup.com.au)
Virtual tape measure
Earlier this month, we wrote about a “virtual tape measure”, which aims to reduce the return of clothes bought online by 30-60%.
The tape measure, known as Body Shape Recognition for Online Fashion, takes detailed body measurements via webcam or smartphone.
All it needs is a photo and height measurements. It then produces a three dimensional image advising which size to buy at participating stores.
“The potential benefits for the fashion industry and for shoppers are huge,” says Philip Delamore from the London College of Fashion.
Given the uptake of online shopping over the last few years – and the rate at which it is expected to grow – we’re tipping this sort of technology will become increasingly common in the future.
Urine-powered electricity generator
Last month, we wrote about four Nigerian teenage girls who have invented an electricity generator powered by urine.
This idea might not sound like it deserves to be on the list, but it has the potential to aid people in third world countries.
Urine is placed into an electrolytic cell, which cracks the urea (a chemical compound found in urine) into nitrogen, water and hydrogen. The hydrogen goes into a water filter for purification, which gets pushed into the gas cylinder.
The gas cylinder pushes hydrogen into a cylinder of liquid borax, which is used to remove the moisture from the hydrogen gas.
This purified hydrogen gas is pushed into the generator, with one litre of urine providing six hours of electricity.
More than half of Nigeria’s 162 million citizens have no access to electricity, and even those who do can’t guarantee having power every day, so this idea is sure to be a success.
Silliest start-up ideas of 2012
Twitter toilet paper
Back in April, we wrote about an app that transfers tweets from a user’s Twitter profile and prints them on toilet roles.
Twitter is synched via the app, with consumers able to choose whether they want to wipe the content from their profile or someone else’s to line their tweet-embroidered toilet paper.
The selected tweets are spread across 40 centimetres of standard ply, with four personalised rolls shipped internationally for about $35.
While Twitter is one of the world’s biggest social media platforms, we doubt many people have a real desire to read tweets – either their own or other people’s – while they’re on the loo.
$19,000 cardboard bracelet
Would you pay $19,000 for a cardboard bracelet? Californian jewellery designer Keariene Muizz hopes so. Muizz has created a one-off cuff out of salvaged industrial cardboard.
Muizz says the piece is “more or less a work of art” and will appeal to those who want to save the planet but embrace luxury.
Paying $19,000 for a bracelet is a big ask – even more so when it’s made out of cardboard.
While we don’t doubt Muizz’s artistic ability, the fragile state of the economy suggests not many people have a spare $19k to spend on a cardboard bracelet.