Log in

No account? Create an account
entries friends calendar profile It's Me Previous Previous Next Next
The Autobiography of Russell
Life from a different perspective
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.

Current Mood: annoyed annoyed
Current Music: "Truly Madly Deeply (Uk Club Mix)" by Cascada on Truly Madly Deeply

4 comments or Leave a comment
raist_ From: raist_ Date: September 18th, 2009 07:22 pm (UTC) (Link)
It comes down to this:

- What's tried and true, produces a guaranteed income.
Corollary: If something sells really well and becomes popular, expect to see many clones of it.

- Innovation is non-guaranteed income. Noone's sure if it's going to fly well with its niche or target audience, so who really knows how it will sell?

The current economy just makes this worse and more pronounced, but it's always been a problem. People laughed at mass production until Ford started turning out craptons of product and making profit off it.
zimzat From: zimzat Date: September 18th, 2009 10:45 pm (UTC) (Link)
I have a theory that a lot of our current economic situation, and the build-up to it, is due to exactly that. As a product gets more popular and wide-spread the process to create it is refined to a point it needs less and less people to create the same number of products. By this relation those people will change position or be let go. So the bigger a company gets in a single market the less people it needs on product-to-person ratio. If the only thing happening is mass production then the number of people being employeed will only shrink. It takes new businesses and products to employ more people. If the current situation continues then eventually the people who can buy a product goes down, less of that product will be sold, and the business behind it will die. Yet very few people are willing to take the risk required to change that. *shrug*
raist_ From: raist_ Date: September 19th, 2009 05:25 pm (UTC) (Link)
Even Blizzard just got done doing exactly that.

WoW is now run by their "Team B" dev group, which is basically the people who aren't quite as creative that just kinda keep things going.

Otoh, a given (software) product has a finite life cycle. You can revise it all you want but eventually the existing tech is going to be at the point where you just have to overhaul everything.
wickeddude05 From: wickeddude05 Date: September 22nd, 2009 06:17 am (UTC) (Link)
my Honda civic actually can roll the windows down with the keyfob by pressing the unlock key twice. but it doesn't roll them up, which could be useful.
4 comments or Leave a comment