Problem 29 – Carrying Heavy Luggage with Nowhere to Sit

Problem

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Queuing up to check-in at the airport is a common place where we can wait for a long time without being able to sit down. Quite often we are also carrying heavy luggage.

Possible Solution

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At the airport many people will be carrying suitcases with them. They are usually quite cumbersome, especially on crowded public transport. However if they can be converted to become a seat when required then it will give them another function instead of getting in the way.

This can be done by having the wheels further from the front of the suitcase to provide a wider and more stable base to sit on. The wheels will also have to be able to be locked to stop the suitcase moving when the user is sitting on it. The handle can be used as the backrest if it is wider and with more horizontal struts. The main suitcase body will also have to be reinforced to support the weight of a person. This will also give it more strength when in transit and protect its contents better.

As always, if you think you have a solution or if you have a problem you would like me to try to solve then please feel free to comment it.

Problem 28 – No Time to Plan

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Problem

Sometimes, things happen quite spontaneously, or there might be things you forgot to consider. For example, you could suddenly decide to visit a friend one day and then realise you haven’t got anything to eat. You could then use the personal assistant on your phone to find places to eat, but it will only show you the places closest to you at that time and it won’t necessarily be places you like. A place you like might then be too far away and a compromise will have to be made.

Possible Solution

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I think that artificial personal assistants can get a lot smarter and that they are only just in their premature stage at the moment. One way I think they can get smarter is by getting the ability to plan your entire day ahead for you.

This can start by just asking the user what their plans for the day are after they wake up, perhaps when they’re having breakfast. Over time it can learn any potential patterns the user has, for example working 9 to 5 on weekdays or doing grocery shopping every Saturday.

It can then tell the user things like traffic information, weather and even possible places to eat or things to cook. In the evenings it can then recommend films or TV series to watch. If the user does something spontaneous, they can either tell the assistant or the assistant can detect that they are going to a specific location and then suggest places to eat along the way, or things to do when they get there.

Just telling the assistant that you plan to get to a specific location by a certain time can then allow it to calculate the exact leaving time to account for other activities such as eating. It can then help you build a schedule that fits comfortably around what you want to do while also allowing you to get what you need to do done.

Of course there is the issue with privacy if the device is constantly listening and sending the data to a server to analyse. Some people might also dislike the intrusiveness or dependence we will have on technology if it decides everything that we do.

As always, if you think you have a solution or if you have a problem you would like me to try to solve then please feel free to comment it.

Problem 27 – Blocked Sink

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Problem

Kitchen sinks can get blocked quite easily as waste food can build up by the drain.

Possible Solution

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Instead of having one drainage hole, having multiple or a larger drainage area would allow the water to drain quicker and reduce the chance of a blockage. One possible drainage method would be to have a gap between the base and sides of the sink. This would mean that the middle of the sink is raised slightly and the water can run off in any direction. There can also be another drainage gap further up the sides of the sink to prevent it overflowing.

To block the drainage, it can be as simple as pushing the centre of the base of the sink and allowing it to flatten. To allow drainage again, it would just involve pulling the centre of the sink back up slightly.

As always, if you think you have a solution or if you have a problem you would like me to try to solve then please feel free to comment it.

Problem 26 – Getting the Microwave to Heat My Food Properly

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Problem

I am rarely able to heat up my food properly in the microwave first time. Sometimes, it stops too early, other times the food gets hot on the outside but is still cold on the inside. The amount of time that is set is usually a guessing game.

Possible Solution

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If instead of setting the time, the temperature is set, then we can get more precise control of our food. This would involve having a temperature sensor, perhaps in the form of an infrared sensor, inside the microwave that can detect the temperature of the food contents. It can then also focus the microwaves on areas that are heating up slower, and allow a more consistent temperature increase in the food.

Sometimes, we need to stir thick food before continuing to microwave it in order to get the contents to heat up consistently. If the microwave could stir the food automatically then it would mean that we would not have to interact with the microwave apart from putting the food in and taking it out.

The microwave can also have a ‘keep warm’ function where it keeps the food inside at a set temperature.

As always, if you think you have a solution or if you have a problem you would like me to try to sovle then please feel free to comment it.

Problem 25 – Learning How to Play the Piano

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Problem

Learning how to play the piano can be difficult and many people pay a lot of money to get taught.

Possible Solution

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Piano design has not changed much since they were introduced. Technology has been implemented in some pianos to create electric and self playing pianos.

I have always thought that the music stand is not in a very good position in relation to the keys, as you cannot look at the music and the keys at the same time. This is especially difficult for people who are just starting to learn how to play. If the music was closer to the keys then it would be easier to look between the two.

One place the music can be positioned is the inside of the lid that covers the keys. Trying to squeeze sheet music onto there will be difficult, however if a screen ran along the length of it then the music can be displayed at any size and brightness. The music can then scroll along following the notes the user is playing. This takes away the need to turn pages of sheet music, and large collections of music can be downloaded to it.

A piano tutor can be implemented into this screen as well by displaying all the keys of the piano, and then showing how a piece is meant to be played by also showing someone play the piece. A camera located above the keys of the piano can then overlay the user’s hands on the screen and allow the user to see the possition of their hands compared to the tutor’s hands. Alternatively, the user can record their hands when playing a piece and watch it another time.

This design will mean that everything the user needs to look at is located near the keys, and should make the piano more ergonomic.

As always, if you think you have a solution or if you have a problem you would like me to try to solve then please feel free to comment it.

Problem 24 – Running out of Money

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Problem

Getting into debt can be very easy nowadays. The ease of getting a credit card and paying for most things on it can sometimes make us forget about how much money we’re really spending until we see the bill.

Possible Solution

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Staying out of debt is all about watching the amount of money we’re spending compared to the amount we’re earning. It can be quite easy to lose track of this, however if we let technology keep track for us then it will take the stress out of it.

It could be something as simple as an app that we tell the amount we earn, and the bills we pay. It can then tell us the amount we have remaining that we can spend on other things. If we are spending less than we earn then it can recommend putting the spare money into a savings account. If we are spending more than we earn then the app can suggest areas we can reduce our spending.

Banks can incorporate this feature into their apps and then it can also automatically track our ins and outs. Over time, it can even learn when we get money into our account and when money leaves through direct debits or other forms. It can then warn us to not spend a specific amount of money if we have a bill that is due soon.

The main problem with an app like this would be privacy, however if all the data on the app is stored locally on the device it’s on and encrypted then it will be safer.

As always, if you think you have a solution or if you have a problem you would like me to try to sovle then please feel free to comment it.

Problem 23 – Dirty Toilet Brushes

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Problem

Toilet brushes are probably one of the dirtiest objects we will have in our households. They are usually kept in a small container that can get just as dirty as well.

Possible Solution

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The main problem will be the bacteria transferred from the toilet to the brush when cleaning. A simple way to kill bacteria is to use UV light. If the brush was exposed to UV light when stored then it will stop bacteria cultivating on it. However, although the brush should be free from bacteria, it will still not be fully clean.

A simple method of washing a brush is to clean it with water, therefore if the brush was connected to a moving body of water then it could be enough to clean it. A place on a toilet where there is a moving body of water is in the water tank behind the seat. The brush could be inserted into the tank from the top, and the moving water combined with UV light should keep it clean.

The brush could also be rotated if the holder had a motor, which could increase the cleaning rate.

As always, if you think you have a solution or if you have a problem you would like me to try to solve then please feel free to comment it.