Thursday, April 19, 2007

Flexible bathroom scale

Here's another old idea that just came to mind. I was once thinking about TRIZ and the innovation trend where things go from rigid to flexible, and I applied it to bathroom scales. Current bathroom scales are firm and rigid so that the weight of an individual is fully transmitted to the measuring element (commonly some sort of spring mechanism). Unfortunately this also makes them bulky and difficult to stow away when not it use.

My idea for a flexible bathroom scale would basically turn a silicone mat into a bathroom scale. Within the mat, metal capacitor plates are embedded such that the plates are stacked vertically, and connected to a small capacitance meter. The idea is that as a user squishes the elastomer mat down, the distance between capacitor plates changes and thus the capacitance changes. This wouldn't be ueful if the measurement was taken at just one point, so of course, a matrix of these capacitors will populate the mat, and luckily we have convenient electrical engineering equations which tell us how capacitors in parallel should behave. Sum all the capacitance changes up, and the weight should then be easy to calculate.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

In-Store Product Reviews

Bryan Kennedy and I had this idea we half-pursued a few years ago (summer 2005), but we were ahead of our time, and we really had no protectable IP.

We called our idea reviewo, and it was basically a mobile application that would allow users to take online comparison shopping into the real world. The original idea was to allow users to use camera phones (that were becoming ever so ubiquitous) to receive online reviews of products they encounter in brick and mortar stores. If for example, I was at Barnes and Noble, and I see an interesting book on the shelves, I could simply snap a photo of the book's ISBN or barcode, send it to reviewo, and then receive a text message with a star rating and excerpts from the most helpful Amazon reviews. Cool right?

I think currently apps are being touted that allow people to buy things using their cell phone cameras, but I have still yet to see online comparison shopping done in this way.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Long-Distance Vibrator

This idea is for an industry not typically covered by my blog, the sex industry. Remember though, that this blog is really just for spouting ideas I have that I will not personally pursue, so it's entirely appropriate (even if the idea is not).

I was inspired when I saw a link to the OhMiBod, a vibrator accessory for the ipod, that vibrates to the sound of your music. While I'm not a woman and can't really say how I'd feel about such a product if I were, it made me think aout what might happen if I plugged an OhMiBod to a telephone. Could the sound of my voice activate and control the accessory for a would-be long-distance lover? Better yet, could I use the touch tones on my telephone to control the intensity of stimulation?

It seems like an easy hack, since dial tones are very commonly detectable. Perhaps this could be the start of Phone Sex 2.0.