Inventor portrait: Alan Adler

6 minutes

What connects flying discs and good coffee? A lively mind fascinated by physics

You’re probably familiar with both of the US inventor Alan Adler’s most famous innovations, but considering how seemingly different they are, it’s easy to be surprised that they’re products of the same mind. That is, until you hear Adler explain his lively thinking process. Designed in 1984, the Aerobie flying ring has become a toy icon, selling roughly 10 million worldwide. The AeroPress, designed in 2005 to make single-cup servings of coffee as convenient as possible, quickly became Adler’s second great success. Inventor Portrait: Alan Adler reveals how Adler found the inspiration for his clever and hugely successful inventions.

Director: David Friedman

Get Aeon straight
to your inbox
Join our newsletter Sign up
Follow us on
Facebook
Like

‘Aeon’s combination of intelligence, integrity and flair is vanishingly rare – and I am very grateful for it. It is becoming an indispensable presence in the digital world for those who believe that ideas matter.’

Tom Chatfield, writer and commentator on digital culture

‘Aeon is one of the most consistently great publications on the internet.

My life would be poorer without it.’

Assistant Professor Lee Vinsel, Virginia Tech

‘Every morning I look forward to seeing what’s in your email and there isn’t a day that goes by without reading or watching something you guys have published.

It’s like an oasis of sanity in a world gone mad.’

Jack D, USA, Friend of Aeon

‘Aeon is one of the liveliest, most wide-ranging and imaginative sources of good content on the web.

A fabulous resource for the intelligent and curious.’

Professor Barry C. Smith, University of London

‘I read one article and decided that I wanted to support an organisation that promotes critical thinking around ideas that affect our everyday lives.’

John T, Canada, Friend of Aeon

Aeon is a registered charity committed to the spread of knowledge. Our mission is to create a sanctuary online for serious thinking.
But we can’t do it without you.

Aeon is a registered charity committed to the spread of knowledge and a cosmopolitan worldview.
But we can’t do it without you.

Essay/
Future of Technology
Fuelling the future

Fantasies about new power sources for human ambitions go back a century or more. Could these past visions energise our own future?

Iwan Rhys Morus

Essay/
Future of Technology
Algorithmic wilderness

Robo-bees and drone-seeded forests: can technology mend our broken relationship with the natural world?

Henry Mance