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What do you need invented?

  1. May 10, 2009 #1
    So I know that for one of my final projects I will need to design something. A machine of sorts that helps someone. Basically the only criterion is that it has a power train.

    So my question is: What do people need? What do you do at work or at home and find yourself saying, "I wish someone would invent something to make this easier.."

    One example I am thinking of is some kind of lift that helps people who live alone that are confined to wheelchairs with getting in and out of the bath tub (though many probably have custom showers, but that's beside the point :smile:)

    So what do you think should be invented?
  2. jcsd
  3. May 10, 2009 #2

    Math Is Hard

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    Something that will open a can of cat food twice a day while I'm on vacation.
  4. May 10, 2009 #3
    Someone needs to invent something to put into a toilet that will absorb or filter out pharmaceuticals that people excrete. Pharmaceuticals contaminating waterways is becoming a huge problem. If someone designed something that could do this, the government could mandate that they be installed from now on, and the person who designed it could make a filthy amount of cash.

    As for a machine... I dunno.
  5. May 10, 2009 #4
    also make provisions so that the machine can jam :)
  6. May 10, 2009 #5


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    Do you mean helping someone in a direct physical way, or a machine that reduces the cost of living or increases comfort in some manor?:smile:
  7. May 10, 2009 #6

    Ivan Seeking

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    What do you define to be a "power train"?
  8. May 10, 2009 #7
    Yes :smile: Not sure, but I think direct is best. Think simple. Like a kitchen-sink that pops out of the counter and lowers such that a an elderly person could sit and do the dishes.

    I think the objective is to properly design a gear box. So I will define it as anything with a gear box.
  9. May 10, 2009 #8


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    We should be able to to program a PC's start time, from a full shut down.

    As far as I know, the little button has to be physically pushed to get the works going. Of course, if I'm wrong about this, someone here will let me know :smile:.
  10. May 10, 2009 #9


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    Having just spent the most part of the last seven months working in the disaster recovery efforts after Hurricane Ike, there was a thought of something that might be of some use to first responders in a disaster.
    A hand wind power unit for keeping small batteries charged, and computers, radio equipment working even if it is for short durations of an hour or two.
    In many cases there is no fuel powered equipment to be had, or the expense of running generators, if on hand, gets quite high.

    The start of an idea would be using an overhead door clock spring, built inside a case and geared to drive a small generator head not much larger than a coffee cup. The case can be clamped to a flat surface (table top or bench) and a lever handle is used for the wind process.
    The entire unit will weigh less than 50 pounds.

    You now have at least one thought:redface:
  11. May 10, 2009 #10

    Ivan Seeking

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    A mini-escalator for porch steps. Porches are a real problem for people with limited mobility.

    Not for me, yet. :biggrin:
  12. May 11, 2009 #11
    Some sort of elaborate rube goldberg machine.
  13. May 11, 2009 #12
    a device that will, without jackstands or ramps, slip under the front of my car, remove both oil plugs, catch the oil, and replace the plugs.
  14. May 11, 2009 #13
    auto pet food opening = BBBBaccckkk tooo theee fuutttuurree!

    Otherwise, hmm.. An automated breakfast making machine? mm.
  15. May 11, 2009 #14
    Now that would be a tremendously useful invention!! Good thinking!
  16. May 11, 2009 #15
    An e-book reader for math and physics texts. For hardware, all that is needed over existing e-book readers is pen input so the reader can annotate the text. The big difference is in the books themselves. They should have no page numbers nor any concept of page. Instead it should be a scroll. The table of contents would have no page numbers of course. When you touch a line in the toc, you would be taken to that section of the book. The index would work the same and you could next, next, next through the various references. Instead of a glossary, you would touch a word and be taken to the definition. When the book says "See eqn. (12.7), you could touch the reference and be taken to that eqn. And it should have a power train.
  17. May 11, 2009 #16
    Or you could just install a lower sink for elderly people to do their dishes, or give them a dishwasher :wink:

    I think inventing something for the sake of inventing something is sometimes frivalous, without first looking at other possibilities to use current solutions.

    The cat food one is pretty cool though.
  18. May 11, 2009 #17
    a robotic vacuum cleaner (already out there, but could be improved upon and could have a power train :smile:)
  19. May 11, 2009 #18


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    I want an extendible periscope for my car, so when I'm parked between huge hulking SUVs / pickup trucks / whatever that block my view almost completely, I can look over or around them and be able to back out of my parking space without risking an accident.
  20. May 11, 2009 #19
    The purpose of the movable sink is so that the kitchen does no have to appear designed for the elderly. This would be it easier to resell. :wink:
  21. May 11, 2009 #20


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    I definitely like the cat food idea. Along the lines of the moving kitchen sink, I'd like kitchen cabinets that could lower for me to reach more than the first shelf and then raise back up so I can use the counter top. Of course, they would have to do that without knocking over the contents inside them. That, or a step stool that slides under the bottom cabinets and at the press of a button, slides out and opens up so I don't have to find a place to store a step stool or always have it out where I trip over it when I'm not using it (can you tell I've been putting a lot of stuff into new cabinets?).
  22. May 11, 2009 #21
    Something that lifts heavy cases of beer so I don't have to strain my back filling up the fridge at my store. It kills your back quickly.
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