Where the bleep can I tell people about my ideas?!

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Where the bleep can I tell people about my ideas?!

Postby jedi-rodent » Fri Jan 20, 2012 1:36 pm UTC

Hello All,

I'm just starting here on the XKCD fora, and have always been interested in science.

I'm not particularly good at math, but I do have interesting (at least to me) ideas, and sometimes, I would like to bounce them off smart people who are good at math but less imaginative. =)

I have sent emails to MIT, the Israeli University recently known for its experiments with quantum locking, whirlpool, etc, and never hear boo. I'm sure they are busy, but ideas are ideas, and at some point, I might come up with some that are actually worth something.

Where do you guys (who don't work at a university) submit your ideas, or do you just try to patent them?

Any discussion is appreciated...

Thanks,
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Re: Where the bleep can I tell people about my ideas?!

Postby gmalivuk » Fri Jan 20, 2012 2:36 pm UTC

Hate to break it to you, but if you don't know math, and are merely "interested" in it and science, you don't have any patentable ideas.
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Re: Where the bleep can I tell people about my ideas?!

Postby jedi-rodent » Fri Jan 20, 2012 3:01 pm UTC

Well, the only answer you have given me is that you're definitely not the person to talk to.

Come on here, the fact that i'm "merely" interested in science, and not proficient at math should not preclude me from coming up with patents, or even have my ideas used somewhere.

How many patents have happened "by accident" simply through observation, specifically, I'm thinking of post it note adhesive, goretex, etc.

Math is necessary for implementation, yes, but for inception, no.

So, my question still stands. Where can you take observations, or theory's and turn them into practical ideas?

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Re: Where the bleep can I tell people about my ideas?!

Postby Drumheller769 » Fri Jan 20, 2012 3:12 pm UTC

So this is completely my opinion and has no basis in fact, but from the few patents that I have read, you need to include a lot of technical information. You can say you want to patent the idea of making oreo cookie flavored hamburgers...but unless you actually have a detailed description of the process(involving lots of technical steps that may include math/science), somebody else can come along and say I am going to patent that idea with my process that actually describes the steps needed to make it, and their patent could be more valid than yours.

If that is completely BS and not correct then please, somebody correct me.
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Re: Where the bleep can I tell people about my ideas?!

Postby Zarq » Fri Jan 20, 2012 3:16 pm UTC

Drumheller769 wrote:So this is completely my opinion and has no basis in fact, but from the few patents that I have read, you need to include a lot of technical information. You can say you want to patent the idea of making oreo cookie flavored hamburgers...but unless you actually have a detailed description of the process(involving lots of technical steps that may include math/science), somebody else can come along and say I am going to patent that idea with my process that actually describes the steps needed to make it, and their patent could be more valid than yours.

If that is completely BS and not correct then please, somebody correct me.


This. You can not patent an idea. You can only patent products and processes.
Last edited by Zarq on Fri Jan 20, 2012 3:35 pm UTC, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Where the bleep can I tell people about my ideas?!

Postby jedi-rodent » Fri Jan 20, 2012 3:34 pm UTC

Ok, that gets me somewhere.

But I think that the conversation is getting away from me, so I'm going to bring it back a little.

I don't necessarily want to patent something.
I don't necessarily want to profit from my ideas.

I do want to offer my ideas to someone who may or may not patent my idea, but just simply add to the human experience.
I want to offer ideas related to some bigger issues (energy production/storage, etc) that may or may not help, but might (I emphasize MIGHT) haven't been conceived of before.

And what I keep running into, is either apathy (that because I'm not offering a fully developed idea), or condescension.

We all have super computers between our ears. Just because mine might be running Windows ME doesn't mean I can't contribute something useful... =)

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Re: Where the bleep can I tell people about my ideas?!

Postby Zarq » Fri Jan 20, 2012 3:35 pm UTC

So we what we're dealing with: can you give us one of your ideas?
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Re: Where the bleep can I tell people about my ideas?!

Postby gmalivuk » Fri Jan 20, 2012 3:41 pm UTC

The reason you're often faced with condescension is that everyone who receives your ideas has probably had to deal with dozens or hundreds of crackpots who all think their ideas are the great ones that will overturn physics and change the world.

So yeah, share some of your ideas with us, and we'll have a better idea whether you're just another one of them.
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Re: Where the bleep can I tell people about my ideas?!

Postby jedi-rodent » Fri Jan 20, 2012 3:42 pm UTC

A recent one is this:

You know how microwaves have the shielded window, so sometimes it's hard to see if your cheese steak is on fire or not.

With how thin LED screens can be, why not position a camera in the "Chamber" and make the door a screen which shows a much cleaner version of what's happening to your food.

Now, this is where it gets crazy.

Make the screen a touch screen.

Now all your controls happen on the door, you see your food much clearer, and while your waiting for your burrito to finish, you can read slashdot.

Many people have their microwave over their stove, you could bring up a recipe right there, and how useful would that be. Also, you wouldn't have to have 1/4th of the microwave's width be devoted to the control panel, so you are opened up to more efficient packaging.

Does that sound like an interesting idea that would help with everyday life?

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Re: Where the bleep can I tell people about my ideas?!

Postby Drumheller769 » Fri Jan 20, 2012 3:46 pm UTC

It does....but my first thought is that microwaves and delicate electronics don't mix. In college I couldn't talk on the phone and use the microwave at the same time because of that.
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Re: Where the bleep can I tell people about my ideas?!

Postby Hawknc » Fri Jan 20, 2012 3:46 pm UTC

jedi-rodent wrote:I do want to offer my ideas to someone who may or may not patent my idea, but just simply add to the human experience.
I want to offer ideas related to some bigger issues (energy production/storage, etc) that may or may not help, but might (I emphasize MIGHT) haven't been conceived of before.

Start a blog.

No, seriously. I guarantee you are not the only person who sends their ideas to researchers, which means that aside from all the time they spend on their own work, they have to trawl through a heap of emails from strangers about ideas that may or may not be poorly thought out or simply impossible.

If you put your ideas up on your own site, anyone with the inclination and resources can take your ideas further. That's about the best you can expect.

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Re: Where the bleep can I tell people about my ideas?!

Postby Zarq » Fri Jan 20, 2012 3:47 pm UTC

That sounds like something I've already seen a diagram of. I think some company is already developing something like that, or at least considering it.

edit: I might be mistaken, but isn't the 1/4th of space the control panel consumes also the part where the magnetron is?

edit2: I second Hawknc's blog idea.
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Re: Where the bleep can I tell people about my ideas?!

Postby Yakk » Fri Jan 20, 2012 3:50 pm UTC

jedi-rodent wrote:Well, the only answer you have given me is that you're definitely not the person to talk to.

Do you believe that it is possible that your ideas are nearly worthless?

If not, have you heard of:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dunning%E ... ger_effect
by any chance?
Come on here, the fact that i'm "merely" interested in science, and not proficient at math should not preclude me from coming up with patents, or even have my ideas used somewhere.
Ideas are a dime a dozen. Implementing ideas is hard.
How many patents have happened "by accident" simply through observation, specifically, I'm thinking of post it note adhesive,
So, a highly skilled chemist, in a very controlled manner, mixes various substances in an attempt to make a glue with some specific properties. The chemist makes a glue that has different properties.

Without the chemical skills, reproducing what the chemist did would be hard. Knowing what kind of substances to mix (and how to mix them) to make a glue like substance would be hard. Figuring out how to produce it in large quantities, or if it is possible to do so, would be next to impossible.

Note that Spencer invented the adhesive (pressure sensitive, low-tak), spend years trying to find a use for it that was commercial viable. After years of coming up with ideas, and trying to get colleagues on-board, finally one actually worked -- well, sort of. (Using it a bookmarks in a hymn book). You'll note that this is one invention and dozens, if not hundreds of ideas. The "idea" wasn't the key component, as many of them where discarded. Even then, together with a medium-scale industrial work to put it in production, the launch didn't initially work.

On top of all of that, both Spencer and Fry where chemists who knew lots about how the product would work, and where it wouldn't work. They where not just merely "interested" in science.
goretex

So, what are the odds that goretex came out of the mind of someone who knew next to nothing about science? Let's check!

Both John W. Cropper and Bob Gore figured out how to produce ePTFE independently. Neither where "merely interested", they both did the legwork. The inventors (whose bios I can find) seem to all be professionally trained scientists and/or engineers. I don't see any evidence that someone sent a letter in with a great idea that magically made gore-tex work.
Math is necessary for implementation, yes, but for inception, no.
Math, engineering and science is necessary to distinguish "I want a flying car, wouldn't that be cool" from "I can make a flying car, wouldn't that be cool".

Look: the less you know, the less you realized that you know very little. In order to know enough to know you don't know enough, you have to know a lot.

Professors at universities actually get tonnes of crackpot mail, where people who don't know enough to know that they don't know much send in really stupid ideas on things like "how to trisect an angle". Some try to respond to it with "here is how you are wrong", but it rarely works -- the people sending in their ideas think that their ideas must be worth something -- but bad ideas have negative net worth, as it takes effort to show why they are bad, and people who know very little spew out tonnes of bad ideas.

Now, maybe you are the one magical person whose uneducated ideas are not junk. But there are a myriad of people who all think they are that one magical person whose ideas (without any foundation) are not junk. Other than cognitive biases, what makes you think that you are that rare magical person whose ideas are not junk? You don't know enough to tell if your idea is junk, because you lack the mathematical, scientific and engineering knowledge to evaluate your ideas and determine if they are junk, so why do you think your ideas are not junk ideas? And if you don't know it, then the odds are so much in favour of your ideas being junk, that why should anyone listen to your ideas, when they are almost certainly going to be a waste of time?

That step -- filtering junk from non-junk -- is key. You need to learn more in order to be able to do a pass on your own ideas, instead of having people who aren't being paid by you do the hard work of filtering the wheat from the chaff. Coming up with ideas is important -- but you should be coming up with dozens before breakfast, and discarding every one of them as being impractical, and by the end of the year (after thousands of such ideas have been come up with, most instantly discarded, some tested on the back of napkins and discarded, others tested in a lab/computer/blackboard and discarded), maybe a handful will be worth exploring if you are really, really good at generating ideas and your problem area is non-trivial.

Then you can work out if the costs are going to be worth the demand.

On the other hand, you could find a area where the costs of implementing ideas is really low, and with a modest amount of skill (a few 1000 hours of practice and education) you can become competent enough to implement your own ideas (at least in a half-assed manner), and then start producing. (An example of this is computer programming)
So, my question still stands. Where can you take observations, or theory's and turn them into practical ideas?
Easy. Learn a bunch of engineering, mathematics and science, and figure out how to do so. Alternatively, make a few million dollars (doing whatever you like) and hire people to implement your ideas. I am aware of very few millionaires who have no engineering/mathematics/science background who have successfully done so -- even the famous dropout tycoons where seriously skilled in their areas of expertise before they went off and founded their companies.

So sure, talk about your ideas -- but don't assume that just because you find them neat, that they are worth anything. By talking about them, you might learn something -- but don't expect that the people you are talking to will learn something. If your goal is to learn, go ahead: if your goal is to education, you first need to learn.

---

So, your microwave screen idea. Your camera would have to be protected from damage by the relatively high-energy microwaves -- maybe by using a small hole. Next, you'd have to stick a touch-screen surface with a relatively high resolution display, backed with computer power. An iPad or clone (7" diagonal) costs on the order of 200$ to 400$, with relatively thin margins. So this would add about that much to the cost of a small microwave, more than doubling its cost.

So before your idea could come to market, the price of making a relatively high resolution touchscreen would have to come way down.

And note that the same idea (with fridge replacing microwave) already exists in production:
https://www.readwriteweb.com/archives/i ... ridges.php

So your idea is not new (the vast majority of competent people that engineer flat screen devices would have heard of it long ago), and is impractical (at this time).
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Re: Where the bleep can I tell people about my ideas?!

Postby Azrael » Fri Jan 20, 2012 3:51 pm UTC

jedi-rodent wrote:Also, you wouldn't have to have 1/4th of the microwave's width be devoted to the control panel, so you are opened up to more efficient packaging.

It isn't. 1/4 of your microwave's width is devoted to the magnetron -- the thing that makes the microwaves. The control panel is just conveniently located on the operator end of the space claim.

As for your "accidental" discoveries earlier: Those specific ones, and piles and piles of others, were made by people who were gainfully employed in a some form of R&D department for a company -- not to say that independent inventors no longer exist, but that the vast majority of (physical) innovation is done in some form of corporate environment where the capital and resources are available.

Emailing MIT with consumer electronics ideas is unfruitful because MIT is not in the business of developing consumer electronics. The way to see your ideas through is to take the time to develop lots of them further. This will require some modicum of science/engineering background or instincts plus the know-how to make the mock ups, cut sheets, proposals etc that form a portfolio; Use that portfolio to get hired by, or as a contractor to, a true R&D house that has the connections, resources and credibility to bring things to market.
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Re: Where the bleep can I tell people about my ideas?!

Postby jedi-rodent » Fri Jan 20, 2012 3:56 pm UTC

Zarq wrote:That sounds like something I've already seen a diagram of. I think some company is already developing something like that, or at least considering it.



I hope so! It's a really good idea, and I have no qualms about me being "the one" who came up with it.
Here is how I feel: We were promised flying cars in the 1950's and hoverboard's in the 1980's, and look, we don't have them.

Who knows what would happen, if instead of trying to patent EVERY BLEEPING idea people thought might make them some money, they just put it towards the collective?
Think about software 25 years ago, before Microsoft started slurping up every good idea, and putting a price tag on it. We made some great progress!

I think it would be a worthy cause to start a foundation that was purpose built towards the future.
Making ideas a reality, and only making enough $$$ to keep the lights on...

I think a blog is a good start...

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Re: Where the bleep can I tell people about my ideas?!

Postby Azrael » Fri Jan 20, 2012 4:16 pm UTC

jedi-rodent wrote:Here is how I feel: We were promised flying cars in the 1950's and hoverboard's in the 1980's, and look, we don't have them.

I really wish people would stop saying this. No, you weren't promised any such things -- those were spiffy shit that someone made up for a movie. You weren't promised them anymore than Issac Asminov promised you robots, Wells promised you world-invading aliens or Clarke/Kubrick promised you interstellar travel.

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Re: Where the bleep can I tell people about my ideas?!

Postby jedi-rodent » Fri Jan 20, 2012 4:26 pm UTC

U mad bro? =P

So, the gist of what you are saying is:

Shut up and stop giving out your "ideas" until you have something to back them up with.
Until then, you're just wasting our time...

I'd better start cleaning out my basement then...

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Re: Where the bleep can I tell people about my ideas?!

Postby bentheimmigrant » Fri Jan 20, 2012 4:31 pm UTC

The thing is, the computer/microwave is not really a new idea. People were pushing internet enabled refrigerators years ago.
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Re: Where the bleep can I tell people about my ideas?!

Postby Hawknc » Fri Jan 20, 2012 4:34 pm UTC

Well, yeah. Everyone thinks they have a great idea but very few people want to put in the effort to convert an idea into reality. Those of us who are paid to do exactly that don't always take kindly to people waltzing in with their great idea and expecting someone else to do all the thankless work.

Thankfully, the miracle of the internet means you don't need to run your ideas past a university science or engineering faculty - if you have an idea, you can teach yourself everything you need to find out whether or not it's feasible. Learn to weld, solder and code and make your own prototypes. Rather than asking the world if your idea will work, prove that it does.

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Re: Where the bleep can I tell people about my ideas?!

Postby jedi-rodent » Fri Jan 20, 2012 4:35 pm UTC

bentheimmigrant wrote:The thing is, the computer/microwave is not really a new idea. People were pushing internet enabled refrigerators years ago.


Refrigerators, yes. And I have seen them in production. But they failed. You know why?

How often do you stand in front of your fridge?

Now, how long do you stand in front of your microwave? Popcorn anyone?

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Re: Where the bleep can I tell people about my ideas?!

Postby Azrael » Fri Jan 20, 2012 4:37 pm UTC

jedi-rodent wrote:So, the gist of what you are saying is:

Shut up and stop giving out your "ideas" until you have something to back them up with.
Only if you chose to view your own hobby in a lazy, defeatist way.

What I'm saying is exactly what I said: If you want to be heard, you have to do the hard work to build them into credible ideas that you present to interested and relevant parties.

Cocktail-party conversation wondering why no one has invented the next best consumer widget doesn't gain any credibility just because you emailed it to someone 'prestigious' at an unrelated institution.

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Re: Where the bleep can I tell people about my ideas?!

Postby Zarq » Fri Jan 20, 2012 4:42 pm UTC

jedi-rodent wrote:
bentheimmigrant wrote:The thing is, the computer/microwave is not really a new idea. People were pushing internet enabled refrigerators years ago.


Refrigerators, yes. And I have seen them in production. But they failed. You know why?

How often do you stand in front of your fridge?

Now, how long do you stand in front of your microwave? Popcorn anyone?



I do not stand longer in front of my microwave than in front of my fridge.
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Re: Where the bleep can I tell people about my ideas?!

Postby jedi-rodent » Fri Jan 20, 2012 4:45 pm UTC

Then you are more patient than I am...

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Re: Where the bleep can I tell people about my ideas?!

Postby bentheimmigrant » Fri Jan 20, 2012 4:51 pm UTC

jedi-rodent wrote:
bentheimmigrant wrote:The thing is, the computer/microwave is not really a new idea. People were pushing internet enabled refrigerators years ago.


Refrigerators, yes. And I have seen them in production. But they failed. You know why?

How often do you stand in front of your fridge?

Now, how long do you stand in front of your microwave? Popcorn anyone?

2 minutes and 37 seconds? That's hardly a lot of time, considering I have an internet enabled device in my pocket pretty much any time I have pockets. Besides, the idea is still more than a decade old.
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Re: Where the bleep can I tell people about my ideas?!

Postby Zarq » Fri Jan 20, 2012 5:03 pm UTC

jedi-rodent wrote:Then you are more patient than I am...


How does that make me more patient? If anything, that makes me less patient. I put my stuff in the microwave, and then I go back to my computer/tv/book.
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Re: Where the bleep can I tell people about my ideas?!

Postby eSOANEM » Fri Jan 20, 2012 5:07 pm UTC

The main reason why it is necessary to learn before you start expecting your ideas to be taken seriously is that, quite often, people's "revolutionary" ideas are based on misconceptions and it is necessary to educate yourself before you realise what these are and so can avoid them when you do come up with your genuinely revolutionary ideas.

The internet is a great place to do this educating as it makes it incredibly easy to find the necessary sources. Seriously, there's no reason for not educating yourself here.

Zarq wrote:That sounds like something I've already seen a diagram of. I think some company is already developing something like that, or at least considering it.

edit: I might be mistaken, but isn't the 1/4th of space the control panel consumes also the part where the magnetron is?

edit2: I second Hawknc's blog idea.


Having recently taken a microwave apart and removed the transformer, AC cap and magnetron, I can vouch that, in at least one case it is. The magnetron's pretty big (about a cuboid with a square cross section about 3" wide and about 2" thick) so there isn't really anywhere else to put it.

Another problem would be that adding a touchscreen on what is a very thin surface will drive the price up enormously and microwaves aren't cheap to begin with so it could easily drive it out of the price ranges people could afford.

That said, that's an engineering problem.

jedi-rodent wrote:
bentheimmigrant wrote:The thing is, the computer/microwave is not really a new idea. People were pushing internet enabled refrigerators years ago.


Refrigerators, yes. And I have seen them in production. But they failed. You know why?

How often do you stand in front of your fridge?

Now, how long do you stand in front of your microwave? Popcorn anyone?


I spend just as much time in front of my fridge as microwave, in fact, probably less. I'll only be standing there in front of it when I put in/take out/program the thing, whilst it's doing it's magic, I'll find something else to do.

Zarq wrote:
jedi-rodent wrote:Then you are more patient than I am...


How does that make me more patient? If anything, that makes me less patient. I put my stuff in the microwave, and then I go back to my computer/tv/book.


Likewise.
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Re: Where the bleep can I tell people about my ideas?!

Postby scarecrovv » Fri Jan 20, 2012 5:22 pm UTC

My standard response to unsolicited ideas from unknown people is "good idea, I can't wait to see it when you're finished." If you have an awesome idea, you are the one expected to put in the blood, sweat, and tears to make it happen. Because it does take blood, sweat, and tears, and all the other people who are willing to put in the blood, sweat, and tears to make ideas happen already have ideas of their own. Everybody else is already busy, so the onus is on you to show them that your idea is more interesting to them than their idea is to them.

While writing this post, I had an idea that might help you. I don't much care whether you put it into practice, so I'm not going to bother proving it's a good one, but if you want people to pay attention to you, look for people who aren't already busy. Look for unemployed people. Find engineers who are looking for work, because they're more likely to pay attention, and if your idea really is worth anything, you're going to need their help almost immediately, especially if you're not already an engineer yourself. But remember, running a start-up isn't for everybody, it's very risky, it takes personal investment of time and money, and you're going to lose a lot of sleep over the next several years.

Good luck to you!

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Re: Where the bleep can I tell people about my ideas?!

Postby Zamfir » Fri Jan 20, 2012 5:33 pm UTC

I'd like to hear more of your ideas.

Also, shouldn't a few lenses and a mirror work to keep the camera shielded?

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Re: Where the bleep can I tell people about my ideas?!

Postby Steax » Fri Jan 20, 2012 6:11 pm UTC

I'll do my own take on that idea, starting with the technical aspects first.

That idea is made up of 2 components: the idea of a camera monitoring the contents, and the idea of having a touchscreen for controls and video on the outside.

Monitoring the contents is far less of a concern than you make out of it. There are two target groups of microwaves: household and professional kitchens. Households don't use microwaves enough to save much effort over just peering into the screen, or simply stopping, checking, and popping it back in. Professional kitchens rarely use microwaves, and when they do, they usually have routines on how long each particular kind of food spends in there (they don't have time to play around as stuff heats up), so that's moot as well. Additionally, visual cues are rarely enough to judge food cooking in one; moisture content is often the best indicator.

As for touchscreen controls: why? You can just grab your tablet and read it as you wait near the microwave. You don't need yet another touchscreen on a microwave, because good old controls work just fine. And yeah, they already exist.

As for the commercial applications, it makes even less sense. A touchscreen and the required electronics to run it is not worth the average amount of time people spend in front of microwaves. Additionally, microwaves aren't designed for people looking into them - they're usually placed at a level where it's easy to take stuff in and out, which isn't a good level for reading a screen.

jedi-rodent wrote:
bentheimmigrant wrote:The thing is, the computer/microwave is not really a new idea. People were pushing internet enabled refrigerators years ago.

How often do you stand in front of your fridge?


Have you wondered why people put their to-do notes on refrigerators and not microwaves?

Internet-enabled refrigerators failed because people don't see much purpose in them - they were fidgety and could only do a few set things. In this day and age, nobody will shell out more money just to read the web in front of an appliance. That's what the whole tablet thing is all about.

--

Here's the thing about ideas: we all have them, but they tend to break down once you do actual market research and ponder how feasible it is. That said, xkcd is a relatively good place to get feedback on ideas, because there are a lot of highly technical and critical people from many different fields. It would be better if you simply toss out your thoughts and see what we make of them.
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Re: Where the bleep can I tell people about my ideas?!

Postby Zarq » Fri Jan 20, 2012 6:26 pm UTC

The whole camera idea makes more sense in an oven actually. And instead of putting the video on a screen on the oven, stream it to another device, say a tablet or pc. Then you'd be able to see if the cheese on your lasagna bubbles without getting up from your computer. But even then the price of it would not be worth the tiny advantage.
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Re: Where the bleep can I tell people about my ideas?!

Postby meridian » Fri Jan 20, 2012 6:32 pm UTC

Personally, I just miss devices that would tell me the internal temperature of the food I'm cooking. I'm tired of cooking something that is bubbling on the outside, but still frozen in the center.
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Re: Where the bleep can I tell people about my ideas?!

Postby Yakk » Fri Jan 20, 2012 6:38 pm UTC

Zamfir wrote:I'd like to hear more of your ideas.

Also, shouldn't a few lenses and a mirror work to keep the camera shielded?

MW wavelength is relatively long. The grill holes in the door are so small that the MW basically bounce off the wall as if it was solid. So if you stick your camera behind a hole that is that small, the MW won't be able to (effectively) penetrate. No lenses/mirrors required.
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Re: Where the bleep can I tell people about my ideas?!

Postby Steax » Fri Jan 20, 2012 6:38 pm UTC

Zarq wrote:The whole camera idea makes more sense in an oven actually. And instead of putting the video on a screen on the oven, stream it to another device, say a tablet or pc. Then you'd be able to see if the cheese on your lasagna bubbles without getting up from your computer. But even then the price of it would not be worth the tiny advantage.


I don't even think it's worth the cost of just the WiFi card.

Yeah, the issue is that there's little to gain, and much to buy. Overcooking or undercooking your food isn't annoying enough to have to stare at the contents of the microwave.
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Re: Where the bleep can I tell people about my ideas?!

Postby sardia » Fri Jan 20, 2012 6:53 pm UTC

meridian wrote:Personally, I just miss devices that would tell me the internal temperature of the food I'm cooking. I'm tired of cooking something that is bubbling on the outside, but still frozen in the center.

Those are called instant read thermometer, temperature probes. They don't work in a microwave because they involve a probe that leads back to the actual device. I really should read up on what materials are heated up at what rates in a microwave. I only remember that it affects water molecules because it's polar/asymmetrical or something like that.

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Re: Where the bleep can I tell people about my ideas?!

Postby Adacore » Sat Jan 21, 2012 1:00 am UTC

I know they've already been invented, but I kinda like the idea of having some kind of durable touch screen in my kitchen, and the microwave is the kitchen appliance with a screen-sized space which is likely to be nearest readable height* and in a useful place for cooking. I don't want to take my expensive tablet/laptop or smartphone into the kitchen when I'm working on a messy recipe, and I get almost all my recipes online - a durable display in the kitchen that could take a bit more punishment without potential damage and just wipe clean could be pretty useful.

*The combo microwave convection oven at my parents' house is actually at head height, above the normal convection oven which is at waist height. Much more usable than having to bend down to the floor to use the oven.

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Re: Where the bleep can I tell people about my ideas?!

Postby Steax » Sat Jan 21, 2012 1:19 am UTC

May I interest you in a tablet wall mount, in the range of $15-100? You can just use a screen cover to protect it so you can wipe clean whenever you need to.

Not saying a touchscreen appliance isn't useful, but I still feel uncomfortable with the implications. Yet another device to look after, maintain, manage software, etc etc. Typically these sort of embedded things are rather "dumb", so you probably can't install much of your own stuff, meaning you have to manually type in recipe URLs or search for them entirely on that device, unlike you would do with a tablet in which you can browse for it with your favorite app/browser and just leave it open as you work. Also no bookmarks, etc etc. You could use android on it, but that sounds like a hassle to maintain. Additionally, having it fixed vertically makes it a pain to use the touchscreen for anything that's not a swipe (like typing).
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Re: Where the bleep can I tell people about my ideas?!

Postby Copper Bezel » Sat Jan 21, 2012 1:36 am UTC

What would be really, really slick is for someone to un-invent the microwave keypad. I really don't know how anyone became convinced that pressing a series of three or four buttons was more convenient than turning a single dial, or why a person would need a (very obtrusive) auditory cue to indicate every time they'd done so.

Edit: Yeah, I don't have any problems using my netbook for recipes. If I had means and motive to spend $300 on a kitchen computer, I'd just buy another netbook. A touchscreen would be slightly more splatter-proof, sure, but it still won't work if your hands are wet, etc.
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Re: Where the bleep can I tell people about my ideas?!

Postby Dason » Sat Jan 21, 2012 1:55 am UTC

Copper Bezel wrote:What would be really, really slick is for someone to un-invent the microwave keypad. I really don't know how anyone became convinced that pressing a series of three or four buttons was more convenient than turning a single dial, or why a person would need a (very obtrusive) auditory cue to indicate every time they'd done so.

Precision? I don't like it when things beep with every button press but then again mine doesn't do that.
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Re: Where the bleep can I tell people about my ideas?!

Postby The Mighty Thesaurus » Sat Jan 21, 2012 2:13 am UTC

I refuse to use timers unless I can set them to a palindrome
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Re: Where the bleep can I tell people about my ideas?!

Postby poxic » Sat Jan 21, 2012 2:31 am UTC

You refuse to do anything you can't make difficult somehow, so I'm not surprised. :wink:
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