Problem 33 – Cooling Without a Fan

Problem

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Using a fan is the most common method of cooling, however it is not always the most practical or elegant. Fans are usually not very practical, although there are portable fans, they are usually not very elegant to carry around and can run out of battery in less than a day of use. They can also be quite noisy and disruptive, which can put people off using them when trying to sleep even if they feel hot.

Possible Solution

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The ideal method of cooling would involve a device that does not have to be held, and can provide discrete cooling at all times. This can be in the form of a wearable on one of the places of our body that produces the most heat.

One method of cooling is the Peltier effect, which absorbs heat when an electric current passes through a junction. If this could be small enough to be worn and also have enough power to run wirelessly for about a day, then it can prove to be an alternative cooling method. As it will have no moving parts, it will have a silent operation and be more efficient than a fan. It could also be useful when exercising and could even be built into smart watch bands and be powered by the watch. This device can also potentially be connected to the watch itself, via bluetooth, to set the temperature we want.

There are potential problems, such as the safety of passing an electrical current on or near the surface of the body, and the effects when in contact with water.

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 31 – I Forgot to Take the Trash Out

Problem

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We can easily forget to take the trash out on a collection day or overfill our bins. Dealing with trash is also generally an unpleasant task anyway.

Possible Solution

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The bin can automatically close the bag inside and have it ready for us to take out. This can be done when it detects that the trash has reached a particular height of weight. It can also do it at a scheduled time – before a collection day for example. This can be set on our phone via an app.

The bin can automatically close the bag if bags with tie strings are used, as it would just need to pull the strings. It can then open its front and allow the filled bag to fall out. Spare bags can be stored in the lid, and it can replace them by blowing them open into the bin. We can then get notified on our phone when it has dispensed a filled bag.

As bins usually stay in one place, they can be plugged into an outlet to provide power. We would only be required to replace the bags and dispose of the dispensed bag, however it should prevent the problem of forgetting to take the trash out.

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 21 – What to Wear?

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Problem

Sometimes we just can’t decide what to wear and it might take a long time to lay our clothes out in front of us just to pick one and put the rest back.

Possible Solution

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If artificial intelligence could help us pick sets of clothes that match, and even learn from our style then it could take away the need for us to decide what to wear. In order for it to be able to do this, it will have to know what clothes we currently have. It can do this by taking a photo of the clothes we put into our wardrobe and drawer. It will then require an algorithm to determine what colours and styles match.

Once it has determined how it could match the clothes it will require an interface to display the results to us when we want to know. This can be done on our phone or tablet, but we will not be able to see how it looks on us. Another possibility would be to show it on a mirror that has a camera which can track the user. It can then overlay the clothes on the user’s body in the display on the mirror. The user can then use gesture controls to switch between different outfits. The problem will be that the user will still have to find the clothes after picking a set.

The user can also specify the occassion the outfit is for and the AI can then adjust its recommendations based on this. It also means that outfits can be picked ahead of time and then reminded to the user when the time comes.

Clothes shopping can also be built into this if retailers allow their clothes to be able to be downloaded and tried on by users in their own homes. It can then also work out the user’s size and even order the clothes straight away.

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 20 – How did I Cook that Last Time?

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Problem

It can sometimes be difficult to cook something exactly the same as before. The timing and amount of heat applied can have a big effect, but are not always the easiest to control.

Possible Solution

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Nowadays, technology is present in almost every product, however it usually attempts to be one step ahead of us and give us what we want before we even know we want it. I think there might be some things that technology will ever be able to master like humans and cooking is one of them. Therefore, instead of technology trying to teach humans how to cook, why couldn’t humans teach technology how to cook and then it can just help us cook more efficiently next time?

Cooking can involve a bit of luck sometimes, perhaps we think we apply too much heat or take it off the heat too soon, however it can sometimes produce surprisingly good results. However trying to remember all the small details that made a dish good last time can be difficult.

If our cooker and oven could remember exactly how long we left a pot or pan on, exactly what heat it was on as well, and remind us next time then it can reduce the stress we can experience trying to remember what we did last time.

We can tell the cooker when we start cooking and when we finish, and it can remember how we used it and even automatically do the same thing the next time we choose to cook the same thing. It can link to our phone or tablet and each session can be renamed to the name of the specific dish that we made. If we want to cook the same thing again then we just have to select the dish and either have it remind us what we did or automatically copy what we did.

Perhaps a camera can even be added to the extractor fan above to record exactly what we did, which can then be replayed when we cook it again.

Of course there are other factors that can affect cooking such as the amount of each ingredient, however just getting reminders sometimes can prove to be quite useful.

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 18 – Bike Thefts

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Problem

Bike thefts are a common problem, particularly with parts being stolen. Quite often, even if the bike frame is locked, the wheels can still be stolen and vice versa.

Possible Solution

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Some people use 3 locks when securing their bike; one lock per wheel and one on the frame. The locks will also have to be strong enough to stop theives cutting through them. This usually involves the cyclist having to carry 3 heavy locks with them whenever they use their bike.

I think the locks can be more integrated with the bike, so the cyclist will not have to carry them separately and they will always be ready to be used. Two locks can be secured on the bike by the front and rear wheels and lock the wheels when the cyclist activates them. Another lock on the body can then secure the bike to a railing.

Adding connectivity between the locks and the cyclist’s phone will mean extra functionality can be put on the locks. They can contain GPS for the user to locate their bike if it has been stolen. They can also contain a remote locking feature so the user can lock the wheels and prevent the bike being used if it is missing.

These locks will have to be made out of a very hard and tough material to prevent it from being broken by thieves. They might also have to be recharged or have batteries replaced if it has the extra functionality with a phone. However they could encourage more people to cycle if they know that they can track their bike, and know that it will be very difficult to steal.

Problem 14 – How Much Electricity does Everything Use?

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Problem

I recently got a bit of shock when I saw my electricity bill, as it was quite a bit higher than I expected. I am not able to see my meter where I live, so am not able to track how much electricity I am using. Even if I had a meter, I wouldn’t be too sure what is really using the most energy.

Possible Solution

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There are smart meters that can track energy usage in real time and how much it is costing as well, however they are unable to track individual products. A solution would be if a product could connect to smart meters and phones, and give the ability to see the energy usage of individual products.

A method to measure the energy usage of products would be to have a measuring device between the plug and wall socket. This method could be quite discrete and just involve a slim ‘puck’ that slots onto any plug. The ‘puck’ would have to contain the measuring element and also a chip to transmit the data. It also cannot be too thick to prevent the plug from being plugged into the socket. Using this method would also mean that these ‘pucks’ can stay on all plugs and become a semi-permanent feature.

The data from the ‘puck’ can then be transmitted to a phone and smart meter, and then individual breakdowns can be accessed. However, the user will have to manually name the product that each ‘puck’ is connected to, which can be edited when it changes.

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 12 – When do I Water My Plants?

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Problem

I never know exactly when my plants need water and how much water they need. Sunlight is also another factor I don’t know if I have gotten right. A lot of the time it’s a lot of experimenting and seeing how a plant copes in certain conditions.

Possible Solution

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Unfortunately, plants can’t tell us how they’re feeling until they begin to wilt or grow, however the plant pot is an artificial object so can be made to tell us what the plant cannot.

A variety of sensors can be built into the pot in order to tell us the moisture content, nutrition level and light level. If it’s connected to our phone then we can tell the pot what plant we have put in it. It will then know the optimal water, nutrition content, light level and temperature for the specific plant. As it is connected to our phone, it can then also alert us when we need to water our plants. With a light sensor built in as well, we can move the pot around until it is in a position where the app can tell us if it is getting enough light.

The main disadvantage of this is of course that our plant pots will require charging or plugging into a power outlet. Perhaps it will also take away some of the fun of owning plants, as it then becomes an exact science. Alternatively, it can be used in greenhouses where it is probably more important to get the plants growing well.

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.