SAN FRANCISCO – Sand that can’t get wet, intelligent rope and ink with a sense of smell were a few of the innovative products at a hands-on demonstration of new inventions at Real Estate Connect 2005 on Wednesday.

Keith Schacht, CEO of Inventables, and his partner Zach Kaplan, the company’s president, used video, slides and hands-on demonstrations – plus some performance art with an audience member – in their “Innovation in Action” session at the conference.

The presentation was designed to help audience members think outside the box, Schacht said. The Connect convention focuses on innovation, as well as trends in the real estate industry.

Inventables publishes DesignAid, a one-of-a-kind magazine that contains samples of 20 new materials and technologies. The magazine is shipped to subscribers every three months. The idea is to exhibit new materials and technologies to companies that might have a way to use them.

A volunteer from the audience took a few blasts from an industrial-strength squirt gun to help demonstrate the properties of a liquid developed by technology company 3M that evaporates 25 times faster than water.

“This is a dry liquid developed by 3M,” said Schacht. “It has been used to cool computers that ran hot by submerging them in the liquid. Now, its most common use is fire sprinklers in an office.” The liquid is also tasteless, colorless and odorless.

The Inventables came up with a new proposed use for the liquid: to spray basketball players on the court and cool them off. “Since it dries so quickly, it wouldn’t leave puddles or create other problems,” Kaplan said.

Instructed to reach under their chairs, audience members found another unexpected product – soft magnets. Resembling small, round conventional magnets, the freebies are “gel magnets from GelTek,” explained Kaplan. “It’s a jelly with magnetic material infused into it.”

The pair has several proposed uses for the magnets, including keeping cabinet doors closed, holding shoes together and in a proposed waterslide.

The two showed a fast-moving concept film for the “Aqua Rocket,” the pair’s name for their proposed waterslide, made with Roman Coppola.

Another new product, intelligent rope, has connective strands that sense when the rope is being pulled. “One use for this would be to tie cargo down on a semi. The rope would sense if cargo was breaking loose,” and programming could be added to notify the driver, Schacht said.

Other products include sand that doesn’t get wet even when dropped into water, thanks to protective coating, and sensing ink that can discern odors.

“We call this the ‘paper nose,'” Schacht said. “Isn’t it strange to think that a piece of paper can smell better than a human nose?” The comment drew good-natured laughter from the audience.

“We asked the fire department how they check the quality of the air when they arrive at a fire. They told us, ‘We rush to the scene and check for dead policemen,'” deadpanned Kaplan, sparking more laughter. “This product could give them a better way to check air quality.” Other proposed uses include food packaging that would change color when the contents went bad.

Bidding the group goodbye, the duo had one last suggestion. “Don’t put the gel magnets in your pocket with your room key. The last time we handed them out at a convention, they demagnetized everyone’s keys,” Schacht said.


Send tips or a Letter to the Editor to or call (510) 658-9252, ext. 140.

Show Comments Hide Comments


Sign up for Inman’s Morning Headlines
What you need to know to start your day with all the latest industry developments
Thank you for subscribing to Morning Headlines.
Back to top
Inman Connect Las Vegas is back and there are only a few presale tickets left! Register today before they're gone.REGISTER×
Log in
If you created your account with Google or Facebook
Don't have an account?
Forgot your password?
No Problem

Simply enter the email address you used to create your account and click "Reset Password". You will receive additional instructions via email.

Forgot your username? If so please contact customer support at (510) 658-9252

Password Reset Confirmation

Password Reset Instructions have been sent to

Subscribe to The Weekender
Get the week's leading headlines delivered straight to your inbox.
Top headlines from around the real estate industry. Breaking news as it happens.
15 stories covering tech, special reports, video and opinion.
Unique features from hacker profiles to portal watch and video interviews.
Unique features from hacker profiles to portal watch and video interviews.
It looks like you’re already a Select Member!
To subscribe to exclusive newsletters, visit your email preferences in the account settings.
Up-to-the-minute news and interviews in your inbox, ticket discounts for Inman events and more
1-Step CheckoutPay with a credit card
By continuing, you agree to Inman’s Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.

You will be charged . Your subscription will automatically renew for on . For more details on our payment terms and how to cancel, click here.

Interested in a group subscription?
Finish setting up your subscription