untitled 3Where would we be without great inventions?  Without the lightbulb?  Without airplanes? Or silly putty? Chicago can take credit for many innovations including the zipper, the skyscraper, and the Ferris Wheel!  At Catalyst Ranch, we are always exploring new ways to deliver the best possible meeting services to our clients, so they will be inspired to think outside the box and come up with the next great idea!  American inventors inspire innovation in all of us.  A recent article, “Bright Ideas,” in Austin Monthly highlighted fifteen of Austin’s most exciting contemporary inventions and inventors.  Here are three examples of using the power of imagination to fill a void and change the world!

“Think of it as the difference between oil painting and taking a Polaroid.”

Chris Slaughter is 25 years old and the co-founder of Lynx Laboratories, inventors of the Lynx A Camera.   This new camera actually looks more like a tablet and can record the shape, scale, and color of an object in the time it takes to point and shoot.  Within a few minutes, the image can be converted into a 3-D model on the camera’s screen.   Rather than taking out an old-school measuring tape, architects, designers, and engineers have all the information they need at their fingertips within moments.  This crazy cool camera can also record movement which may become a very helpful tool for video game designers.

blueberry custard cake“If you want something done, you’ve got to do it yourself!”

Karen Morgan was diagnosed with Celiac disease in 2002 and as she looked for delicious gluten-free food choices, she found a huge void which she decided to fill herself!  Morgan spent over five years perfecting her recipes, even serving as a pastry chef at a B&B in France where her treats were so delectable and popular, no one even knew that they were  gluten-free!  Along her journey, Morgan also discovered that there was not a good all-purpose flour for gluten-free chefs so she developed – not one but six! – different types of flour to make everything from cookies to pizza dough.  At the Ranch, we work with clients who have a wide variety of dietary restrictions and allergies.  Luckily, our caterer, Big Delicious Planet, offers plenty of tasty, fresh vegetarian and vegan options and other great dishes to accommodate every diet.  Their gluten-free desserts are so fantastic, you’d never know they were gluten-free!

DJI Phantom“We’d have a photographer hanging out the back of a helicopter with a camera—the whole thing seemed ridiculous to me.”

Colin Guinn was marketing custom home builders when he had his Aha! moment.  To take an aerial photo of a home, photographers rode in helicopters to get the best shot, and Guinn knew there had to be a safer, more efficient way to capture these beautiful aerial views.  Guinn is now the CEO of DJI Innovations, a leader in the development and manufacturing of unmanned aerial cinematography systems.  Guinn’s goal is to make aerial photography and videography equipment accessible for professionals and hobbyists.  Some of these devices can fly for a full 25 minutes on a lithium polymer battery and are operated like remote control airplanes from a smartphone app!

To learn more about inspiring inventors, entrepreneurs, and events in Chicago, check out Blue Sky Innovation, a new section of The Chicago Tribune. You can also read the wisdom of experts in the field, like the clever minds behind Chicago Ideas Week!  Know of a cool invention?!  We want to know about it!  Leave us a note in the comments!