We live in an age of constant technological disruption. On the surface it all seemingly started with computers. First they made simple tasks a breeze, such as keeping track of accounting in spreadsheets, sending mail, and communicating information. Then it took off, and the world as we know it has changed so much in that past few decades that it would be unrecognizable to our former selves.
The big talk in the technology business has been the concept of disruption – harnessing this new found plethora of technology to rethink and revolutionize the ways that products are designed. Some perfect examples are smart TVs, robot vacuums, and of course the smart phone – the pinnacle of all completely disrupted consumer goods.
The world that we live in has changed in so many ways, and as a society we have become so much more capable than ever before – that is, if we have the drive and the wherewithal to make the most of it. It leaves you to wonder, are there even any consumer products left to revolutionize using the technology that we currently have at hand?
The answer is a resounding yes. While we may need to be a little more creative these days to build upon the existing products and bring them to the next level, there are simply some technologies that are begging for an overhaul. Here are just three examples to put your creative mind in overdrive:
Garage Door Openers
The first on the list may seem a little innocuous. Why would we ever need to improve on a garage door opener? It’s such a simple device that serves a basic purpose, why fix what isn’t broken?
A lot of this is true, they are rather simple devices that are generally dependable. Today’s designs are robust enough to stand up to years of use and they really are quite well suited to their primary form and function.
What if they could be more than that though? What if the garage door could open and close as you enter and exit the garage without you even pushing a button? The required technology is fairly easy to imagine and design. How many times have you driven away from your home and wondered if you actually had closed the garage door? A smartphone app could update you with it’s current status, and alert you every time it opens and closes for security purposes. There’s a lot of room for improvement in even the most simple of devices, you just have to be creative.
People have been working on self driving lawn mowers similar to the Roomba for quite some time already. That said, there aren’t self driving lawn mowers available at this point. It may be due to a safety hazard, or it may be due to developers trying to overcomplicate the matter. That was a stumbling point for vacuum robots at one point in time by the way. The programming got too complex and hindered the flow of progress. Once the logic was simplified, the whole project became much more simple.
If you think about it, the job of a lawn mower is fairly straight forward. If you’re a mechanical engineer or someone who can create funding for a project and motivate a mechanical engineer, then this is certainly a product that is not currently dominated by any one competitor in particular.
To be honest I’m kind of shocked that kitchen ovens haven’t seen a complete overhaul in past decades. Not only has our knowledge of technology increased dramatically, but our knowledge of cooking and cooking techniques has followed suit. Cooking in an oven is a relatively hands-off process. You cut the food, oil and season it, set a temperature, and put the food in the oven for a set amount of time or until the food reaches a set temperature.
Any creative engineer could have an absolute field day with this automation task. The outputs are simple – time, or better yet internal temperature. Once a desired output is achieved, you’re done cooking and you shut the ovens off. The best part? The inputs are even simpler. You only have one – the oven set point temperature. Just think of how easy it would be to have set programs for all different types of cooking styles, and a central smart phone app that controls the whole apparatus. Why isn’t anybody doing this?
Hold that thought, I have to sign off now. I have a great idea for the next smart kitchen oven. Let’s see if you can beat me to it!