Russell (zimzat) wrote,

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Efficiency and Innovation

I've become more and more annoyed at the lack of regular innovation in the world, or at the very least the speed of that innovation. People seem more interested in maintaining the status quo. As a co-worker put it, not very many people seem interested in asking the question of 'How can I make this better, more efficient, or easier?'

  • Keyless entry and start on cars have been out for a long time yet only very new (thus expensive) and/or still relatively expensive older cars have either or both of them. Another feature I would find very useful in a car is the ability to press one button and have all windows roll down or up.
  • Houses are still just standard houses. Small incremental improvements have been made to insulation materials, construction techniques, material strength, etc, yet very few features of the house itself have been changed. The common house doesn't have automatic electronic locks or automatic room-by-room temperature modulation. These are things I've imagined being standard in a house since I was 13 yet no effort has been made to make them standard in existing or new houses. The only places that are even remotely like to have them are extremely expensive houses.

    We could probably significantly lower the amount of electricity used if each area in a house had a sensor or two (~10$ each) and the vents could be remotely opened or closed. Estimate a house with a kitchen, dining room, living room, two bathrooms, and two bedrooms had 2 sensors in each room (one on the floor and ceiling, even that might not be necessary). It would only cost a couple hundred bucks. Then the central system could be programmed to only turn on the AC when certain rooms reached a certain level and it would only cool those rooms. It could be regulated so that no single room got too hot or cold and ignore rooms that weren't necessary depending on the time of day. There are so many options. The electric bill for a single month at my current place, due to extremely badly placed thermostats, would actually cover the entire cost of implementing the system.

It wouldn't surprise me if most of these ideas are already patented by people (or businesses) that have no intention of developing a real-world product. There are simply too many people in the world to lock a simple idea down to the first person to patent it. It is a waste of human ingenuity and resources.

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