- Garden/Home improvement tools - lawnmower; chainsaw; hedge trimmer
- Camping equipment
- Yachts, boats, canoes
- Any hobby-related kit
- Workshop space (and tools)
Tuesday, 31 May 2011
I would guess that winding would be an easy job for a robot, particularly if permanently connected (perhaps via a rubber grip) in an asthetically neutral manner. The robot may need a few sensors: to prevent overwinding (measuring torque); and to rewind at the right time (perhaps measuring the vibrations of each tick and determining when the mechanism is loosing power - or more simply, just rewinding after a set period of time).
It may be best to house both the clock and the robot in an asthetically neutral glass case.
Google isn't a lot of help. Here are some hit returns from Google (I'll leave it up to you to decide which is the cooler):
How to get this data? Perhap look at the frequency of the word's use on sites focused on entertainment rather than those focused on business (and other serious endeavours)? Or perhaps look at the word's frequency on Twitter (likely to be more "cool" than business)?
Also, it would be useful to assess phrases or word combinations, e.g. "mission accomplished".
...and on the pirate vs ninja debate:
Saturday, 21 May 2011
- PageRank - the number of links to a particular page (and the authority of each of those links)
- The searcher's previous search history
- What previous searchers have clicked on in response to the same or similar search
- Trend info (perhaps from Twitter)
- The searcher's location (as indicated by the IP address)
- Other data on the searcher
- time of year (for example, when searching for "tree" around Christmas, are you more likely to be shown results for Christmas trees, and if so, is it the time of year that is taken into account or just the trending information mentioned above)
- time of day
- what previous searchers of the same location have clicked on in response to the same or similar search
Sunday, 15 May 2011
The other possible area of extension is to extend their coverage of the home improvement market by offering greater home improvement services. This could range from maintenance (e.g. plumbing), through small home improvement (e.g. painting/decorating, odd jobs), to building extensions.
The advantage for the DIY/hardware store is increased (and diversified) revenue, and promotion of their brand outside the DIY community. Additionally, as the DIY/hardware store already buys materials and tools in bulk, the cost discounts are already in place. The benefit to the consumer is a one-stop-shop for home improvement, and the reliability/quality-control that would necessarily come from a high-brand-value DIY/hardware store.
Obviously, due to the danger involved in operating equipment, access would need to be controlled (by membership) and training given. The hardware store would need to employ staff to supervise (and support customers). Some level of charging would probably have to apply in order to make it economic.
The kind of equipment that the workshop would house would range from standard workshop kit such as band saws, sanding machines, vacuum forming machines, welding kit, drill presses, lathes, etc to more exotic tools such as CNC routers and 3D printers.
The obvious benefit from the hardware store is that when their customers come in to use the workshop, they will likely buy materials and smaller equipment from the store.
DIY/hardware and tool rental stores also need to expand beyond their current offering, focused on home improvement and gardening, to being part of all home (and community, cottage industry and small business) hardware projects. Perhaps longterm there is even room for them in the software arena, as they support their customers with software for their hardware projects.
Note: whilst some commentators have suggested a future with 3D printers in every home, I doubt this model as the level of use will not justify the cost. Having 3D printers in every shop, however, might well happen.
The setup would probably be a flatbed printer, with a printing mechanism like the felt tip printer. Obviously a large flatbed would be ideal to account for different sizes of chalk boards.
Colour could either be delivered using different coloured chalks, or perhaps through combinations of primary colours (or would it be CMY?).
The advantages of this is are: the reusability - a display that can be wiped clean and reused; the end product is cheap enought to be left outside (unlike LCDs or eInk displays); the display doesn't require power; easier to produce high impact designs over hand drawing (for those without such a skills set).
I'm sure that this would not need to be on the contact point, but just attached to the metal to absorb some of the vibration.
Wednesday, 11 May 2011
Another potential benefit is that the working parts are more accessive for servicing.
The input and output funnels could for example be put at the top of a tall building. It should be possible to use fins to angle the funnels to catch the wind.
I did try to do this with Outlook VBA, but no luck so far...
Saturday, 7 May 2011
Makes appliances smart is not about bolting a computer onto the appliance – putting a computer in the door of the fridge – it has to be about integrating the computer and the appliance. The key to achieving this, and to begin opening up the possible benefits of smart appliances, is sensors (data input).
Some potential sensors for fridges:
- Internal thermometer
- External thermometer
- Door open/closed sensor
- Power usage meter
- Cameras (perhaps per shelf) covering the inside of the fridge
- Electronic noses (perhaps detecting off-milk?)
- Pressure sensors (in shelves)
Note, the cameras should facilitate: measuring how full the fridge is; object recognition; barcode scanning; etc.
The second, and perhaps more complicated stage, is linking this data with the functions (activities) of the appliance, and perhaps extending the functions. The functions of a fridge:
- air circulation within the fridge
- ice maker
The potential extensions are:
- An automatic door