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

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

Dason wrote:Precision? I don't like it when things beep with every button press but then again mine doesn't do that.

Mine does, in the piercing shrieks of the damned, so I might well be biased against the whole thing. The precision is arbitrary, though. You don't put a precise amount of food in and calculate the exact amount of exposure required to heat it to the intended temperature at the specified power level. You just tap in a round-number guess based on past experience. It's precisely what you tapped in, but that precision has nothing to do with what it's actually meant to accomplish. As long as the space between zero and one minute is bigger than the other spaces, it's fine. (And evenly spaced marks at 0, 1, 3, 7, 15, 31, and 1:03 would kick ass.)
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Steax
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### Re: Where the bleep can I tell people about my ideas?!

Copper Bezel wrote:You don't put a precise amount of food in and calculate the exact amount of exposure required to heat it to the intended temperature at the specified power level.

You mean you're not supposed to use an analytical balance and estimate the water content and the required energy required to evaporate the exact amount of water, then figure out the energy transfer from microwaves?

... well yeah. Sometimes I wish microwaves just had, like...

Code: Select all

`HOT | MEDIUM | MILD+30s | +1m | +5m | RESETSTART | STOP`
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Copper Bezel
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### Re: Where the bleep can I tell people about my ideas?!

Ooh, yeah, I like that even better. You win. We could even leave out "Start" if it starts running as soon as you hit the first button (and just adds to the counter when you hit subsequent ones.) "Stop" can be the door release.
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Steax
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### Re: Where the bleep can I tell people about my ideas?!

We can leave out the temperature from the main interface because most people don't actually use that a lot (I tend to just compensate for it in time). That can be a side-switch. Then remove the RESET button because you can just open the door and close it again to reset the whole thing. START goes when you hit the button, and STOP controls the door... that's down to 4 buttons. If you want to be really minimalist, just remove the +1 minute button because you can compensate with two hits of the 30s one... That's three buttons! STOP could also be made mechanical (i.e. tugging on the door) instead of a button, so that's two. Don't see how we could possibly simplify that any more. Too many foods require 5 minute times.
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lightvector
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### Re: Where the bleep can I tell people about my ideas?!

Two buttons is pretty minimal.

But there are microwaves already out there whose interfaces about as minimal, and arguably moreso. The kind where there's just a single analog knob that you twist and point to the appropriate time, and the microwave starts as soon as you twist and stops once the knob has unwinded itself back to zero.

Of course, many such microwaves do have other buttons and controls to do other things, but really you only need the knob.

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

Yeah, I happen to have one of those too. For some reason, though, they seem to be going out of fashion. And there tends to be a bunch of other cluttering controls. A knob works. Or a couple buttons. I think the issue with the analog knob is lack of feedback on exactly what amount they're dialing in, since you have to look carefully at the numbers on the knob.
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Copper Bezel
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### Re: Where the bleep can I tell people about my ideas?!

Yeah, a knob is definitely not, by itself, as simple as a single button. I was all for the knob a few posts ago, and I do lament their passing, but a seven or eight button system optimized for fewest button presses seems even better.

We can leave out the temperature from the main interface because most people don't actually use that a lot (I tend to just compensate for it in time). That can be a side-switch. Then remove the RESET button because you can just open the door and close it again to reset the whole thing. START goes when you hit the button, and STOP controls the door... that's down to 4 buttons. If you want to be really minimalist, just remove the +1 minute button because you can compensate with two hits of the 30s one... That's three buttons! STOP could also be made mechanical (i.e. tugging on the door) instead of a button, so that's two. Don't see how we could possibly simplify that any more. Too many foods require 5 minute times.

Yeah, that might be taking it a bit far, but I like it. = ) (I'm always surprised more people don't use the power level controls, though. I've found it impossible to do so much as successfully warm a frozen burrito without switching to defrost.)
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Gagundathar The Inexplicable
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### Re: Where the bleep can I tell people about my ideas?!

Ok, now ya'll are getting close to how we imagine Star Trek technology scans things and then replicates them.

That is how I have always visualize a microwave.

Curiously, in a ST novel, they have Kirk using a 'quickfreeze', the very opposite of a microwave.
Reference: <total fail here... I am certain I read this in a ST novel, but can't find it...>
But, THAT, my fellow humans, would be an amazing gizmo.
Imagine you just put your food in a box, push a few buttons, and then a few second/minutes later your item is frozen.
Or, alternatively, your drink and that of your lovely companion has been chilled to the perfectly proper temperature.

And then, of course in the Next Gen, we have replicators that can do anything.
(Well not replicate gold-plated latinum, but you can't have everything, because danggit it where would you PUT it?)

This is the key point; they didn't use a visual display for interaction.
They TALKED to the computer. I don't remember anytime when the food dispenser / replicator displayed anything verifying the order.
In fact, the system didn't even tell Jean-Luc that his 'Tea, Earl Grey' was on its way.
It took 2 seconds maybe 3.
I guess, why bother.

This may be WAY off topic.
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Steax
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### Re: Where the bleep can I tell people about my ideas?!

Gagundathar The Inexplicable wrote:Curiously, in a ST novel, they have Kirk using a 'quickfreeze', the very opposite of a microwave.
But, THAT, my fellow humans, would be an amazing gizmo.

It's completely feasible. Just pour liquid nitrogen on it. The issue is then why you would need to do something like this, since removing heat is not cheap. Hence...

Gagundathar The Inexplicable wrote:Imagine you just put your food in a box, push a few buttons, and then a few second/minutes later your item is frozen.
Or, alternatively, your drink and that of your lovely companion has been chilled to the perfectly proper temperature.

They're called ice cubes. Or dry ice, if you like that variety better.

Gagundathar The Inexplicable wrote:This is the key point; they didn't use a visual display for interaction.
They TALKED to the computer. I don't remember anytime when the food dispenser / replicator displayed anything verifying the order.
In fact, the system didn't even tell Jean-Luc that his 'Tea, Earl Grey' was on its way.
It took 2 seconds maybe 3.
I guess, why bother.

It's called voice control, or if you don't follow tech news, you may know it as Siri on Apple devices (they've been around for a lot longer than that, however). Already feasible today. The constraints are battery/power use, and processing voice commands. Doable, but not yet practical enough for everyday use like flipping on lights.
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Zamfir
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### Re: Where the bleep can I tell people about my ideas?!

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.

How perfect is that shielding? Especially near-field? If you place a CCD directly behind a hole, I assume that a weird evanescent wave every once in while might degrade the circuit over time, or single unlucky spike might knock some critical part out.

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

I have a microwave with knobs. I hate it. It is so inaccurate in when it stops that I can't tell wether my food will get half a minute or two and a half. That means I just have to set it to "enough" and then manually keep an eye on it. Of course that is just a shitty oven, you could make an accurate knob timer, but a digital timer is alway accurate to the second.

About microwaves and ideas: I had the idea of making a microwave oven with tunable frequency in addition to power and time. Then for big, possibly frozen food you could set it to a frequency with a greater penetration depth avoiding having to set the power low and wait to thaw out the center by conduction. For small food you set the penetration depth lower to get higher absorption, and you do the same if you want to crisp the surface before serving It might make a wealth of new options available to the creative cook.

One problem is immediately apparent: It would require some serious education of the average users, otherwise people are going to put it at maximum depth and power with only a single meatball in there, frying the magnetron.

Another less apparent problem as I looked into it: The frequency is pretty much hard wired into the magnetron by the physical dimensions of the cavities. Changing this either requires some complicated moving parts probably being prohibitively expensive or an entirely new way of generating microwaves. I am definitely not going to invent this before I finish my thesis.

Gagundathar The Inexplicable
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### Re: Where the bleep can I tell people about my ideas?!

Steax wrote:
Gagundathar The Inexplicable wrote:Curiously, in a ST novel, they have Kirk using a 'quickfreeze', the very opposite of a microwave.
But, THAT, my fellow humans, would be an amazing gizmo.

It's completely feasible. Just pour liquid nitrogen on it. The issue is then why you would need to do something like this, since removing heat is not cheap. Hence...

Gagundathar The Inexplicable wrote:Imagine you just put your food in a box, push a few buttons, and then a few second/minutes later your item is frozen.
Or, alternatively, your drink and that of your lovely companion has been chilled to the perfectly proper temperature.

They're called ice cubes. Or dry ice, if you like that variety better.

Gagundathar The Inexplicable wrote:This is the key point; they didn't use a visual display for interaction.
They TALKED to the computer. I don't remember anytime when the food dispenser / replicator displayed anything verifying the order.
In fact, the system didn't even tell Jean-Luc that his 'Tea, Earl Grey' was on its way.
It took 2 seconds maybe 3.
I guess, why bother.

It's called voice control, or if you don't follow tech news, you may know it as Siri on Apple devices (they've been around for a lot longer than that, however). Already feasible today. The constraints are battery/power use, and processing voice commands. Doable, but not yet practical enough for everyday use like flipping on lights.

Oh goodness, I was probably misunderstood.
I write software for a living and wrote a voice response system many years ago when you had to train it for each word for each user.
I am quite literally laughing out loud because of how badly I presented my idea.
It was, after all, almost 1 in the morning my time.

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

Gagundathar The Inexplicable wrote:
Steax wrote:
Gagundathar The Inexplicable wrote:Curiously, in a ST novel, they have Kirk using a 'quickfreeze', the very opposite of a microwave.
But, THAT, my fellow humans, would be an amazing gizmo.

It's completely feasible. Just pour liquid nitrogen on it. The issue is then why you would need to do something like this, since removing heat is not cheap. Hence...

Gagundathar The Inexplicable wrote:Imagine you just put your food in a box, push a few buttons, and then a few second/minutes later your item is frozen.
Or, alternatively, your drink and that of your lovely companion has been chilled to the perfectly proper temperature.

They're called ice cubes. Or dry ice, if you like that variety better.

Gagundathar The Inexplicable wrote:This is the key point; they didn't use a visual display for interaction.
They TALKED to the computer. I don't remember anytime when the food dispenser / replicator displayed anything verifying the order.
In fact, the system didn't even tell Jean-Luc that his 'Tea, Earl Grey' was on its way.
It took 2 seconds maybe 3.
I guess, why bother.

It's called voice control, or if you don't follow tech news, you may know it as Siri on Apple devices (they've been around for a lot longer than that, however). Already feasible today. The constraints are battery/power use, and processing voice commands. Doable, but not yet practical enough for everyday use like flipping on lights.

Oh goodness, I was probably misunderstood.
I write software for a living and wrote a voice response system many years ago when you had to train it for each word for each user.
I am quite literally laughing out loud because of how badly I presented my idea.
It was, after all, almost 1 in the morning my time.

It's probably just worth noting that there's a huge plethora of startups trying every trick in the book to future-ize the world. Everything from virtual reality to mind-control computers to wireless electricity to insanely high memory transfer rates. The issue is rarely about the capability or technology, but about how well it works, or how cheap it is.

This means that (and this is also for jedi-rodent) if you can dream of it, someone somewhere probably already has the idea, and it's probably not very far from being developed (or is being developed). This is why tossing out random ideas will tend to get a 99% rate of "already exists". When this happens, it's almost always a problem with the implementation, not the idea, that's an issue. This is why one can't just say "I can't work out the implementation, but ___ is really cool".

That said, you may have the 1%. Feel free to toss them out to us.
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Gagundathar The Inexplicable
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### Re: Where the bleep can I tell people about my ideas?!

Gosh, I have already invented something and had the fruits of my loins captured by a giant multinational.
When you work for a corporation, that is what happens.
Am I irritated?
Somewhat, yes, but also humbled. I thought I was irreplaceable.
I was not.

But, hey, that was happens when you climb high in the tree.
You fall and then you start over.

That is what I am doing now.

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

That's kinda why you need to study those work contracts.
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WINNING
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### Re: Where the bleep can I tell people about my ideas?!

Anyone feel that when they think of an idea then that idea is then thought of by a large company and become a large hit, unfortunately this has happened more than once to myself. Anyways, an idea I have had is could we possibly modify the genome of many common crops in order to "adapt" them to different climates, I hope that this idea would help end poverty in areas such as Africa, what you guys think?
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bentheimmigrant
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### Re: Where the bleep can I tell people about my ideas?!

...

Well played, sir.
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### Re: Where the bleep can I tell people about my ideas?!

Tass wrote:I have a microwave with knobs. I hate it. It is so inaccurate in when it stops that I can't tell wether my food will get half a minute or two and a half. That means I just have to set it to "enough" and then manually keep an eye on it. Of course that is just a shitty oven, you could make an accurate knob timer, but a digital timer is alway accurate to the second.

About microwaves and ideas: I had the idea of making a microwave oven with tunable frequency in addition to power and time. Then for big, possibly frozen food you could set it to a frequency with a greater penetration depth avoiding having to set the power low and wait to thaw out the center by conduction. For small food you set the penetration depth lower to get higher absorption, and you do the same if you want to crisp the surface before serving It might make a wealth of new options available to the creative cook.

One problem is immediately apparent: It would require some serious education of the average users, otherwise people are going to put it at maximum depth and power with only a single meatball in there, frying the magnetron.

Another less apparent problem as I looked into it: The frequency is pretty much hard wired into the magnetron by the physical dimensions of the cavities. Changing this either requires some complicated moving parts probably being prohibitively expensive or an entirely new way of generating microwaves. I am definitely not going to invent this before I finish my thesis.

There's also a regulatory issue with this. Microwaves aren't perfectly shielded, and tend to throw EM interference all over the place (~1kW is a very powerful RF source to have around the house!). Because of that, they more or less need to stick to bands where it doesn't matter if it causes problems (or, more accurately, where people can't complain when it does.) The ~2.4Ghz ISM band is a handy dumping ground for such things that also happens to work well for heating food. The other nearest ISM bands that could be used are ~5.8GHz and ~900MHz, and serious power output at 5.8GHz sounds like it's hard.

It looks like commercial operations already use 900MHz for heating food, so a dual mode microwave isn't entirely out the question. 900MHz should also be shielded by the existing cage in most microwaves, and I'd think you'd get substantially better penetration. Throw in some kind of direct-IR for browning (which has already been done), and you might be on to something. Engineering something that will give you decently even cooking at both frequencies might be a little tricky, but that's 'just' an engineering problem

Only thing to watch out for is that you can't make a global model. While 2.4GHz is a global standard (centered on 2.45GHz), ~900MHz isn't - it's at 915MHz in the Americas, 866MHz in Europe/Africa/Former-Soviet-Asia, and not permitted in Australia and the rest of Asia.

For a high end, luxury model approach, I can actually see this being viable. Hmm...
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### Re: Where the bleep can I tell people about my ideas?!

jedi-rodent wrote:Now, how long do you stand in front of your microwave? Popcorn anyone?

You don't want to stand in front of your microwave. Stay back at least a few feet, as they can leak radiation. http://www.wikihow.com/Check-a-Microwave-for-Leaks
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Steax
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### Re: Where the bleep can I tell people about my ideas?!

But clearly the point of a microwave is you can stick stuff in and watch stuff happen while staring inches away from it.

"Duuuuuuuuude."

I think modern microwaves are less susceptible to leaks, though.
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Gagundathar The Inexplicable
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### Re: Where the bleep can I tell people about my ideas?!

One of my closest friends put some food into a regular off-the-shelf microwave, turned it on and then (because he was stoned) leaned his forehead against the window to watch the food being heated.
He fell asleep, and because he had mistimed his entry, the microwave was set for 30 minutes, not 30 seconds.

So, he had the most amazing hexagonal pattern burned into his head for several weeks.

I suppose his cerebral cortex was not compromised, but it is difficult to tell.

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

Only update we need to microwave ovens is the ability to quick-freeze stuff...sure it wouldn't be "microwave oven" anymore but you get the idea...sometimes putting your hot coffee cup into freezer (because you're in hurry) just doesn't cut it.
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Tass
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### Re: Where the bleep can I tell people about my ideas?!

YoungStudent wrote:Only update we need to microwave ovens is the ability to quick-freeze stuff...sure it wouldn't be "microwave oven" anymore but you get the idea...sometimes putting your hot coffee cup into freezer (because you're in hurry) just doesn't cut it.

And that is the type of "that would be cool" idea that is less than a dime a dozen unless you can propose a physical method of achieving this.

Like "you should develop a method to turn a light beam solid so that the enemy airplanes crashes into it"
"and how do you propose we do that?"
"I don't know. I got the idea, you do the rest."

Gagundathar The Inexplicable
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### Re: Where the bleep can I tell people about my ideas?!

Tass wrote:Like "you should develop a method to turn a light beam solid so that the enemy airplanes crashes into it"
"and how do you propose we do that?"
"I don't know. I got the idea, you do the rest."

Hey, you just invented the light saber!
Can I subscribe to your website?

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

wouldn't a hot/cold contact be better at transferring the heat to/away from food? I'm thinking electric blanket style. This should be faster than cooling the air as per freezers?(for the idea of quick chilling individual items). But then you have the issue of the cooling device freezing to the food/container.
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bentheimmigrant
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### Re: Where the bleep can I tell people about my ideas?!

Yeah, basically use a freezer. If you're desperate to have cold coffee soon, use ice. Or if you can't handle that, use an ice bath, and add some salt water. These solutions are simple and easy, and require minimal effort.
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### Re: Where the bleep can I tell people about my ideas?!

Yeah, it's not that much effort to just have a heatsink that we always keep cold (i.e. frozen stuff), for those times you want to cool something quickly. If heating foods similarly only required a 20-30C change in temperature, we might do the same with hot things.
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Whitebluur
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### Re: Where the bleep can I tell people about my ideas?!

If YOU have an idea for something, YOU have to try and implement it. There are not many people out there who invest in people WITH the knowledge and technical skills, so someone with no knowledge is up the creek, so to speak...

To patent something you need to basically have built a working model with all the specs documented in a very specific and technical way. someone who has the knowledge and technical skills needs to be able to take your spec's and RECREATE it.

This is the reason I am killing myself through college! Lord knows I have ideas and hypothesis', but very few people will even take the time to listen. It is a bit different because there are people who have listened to my ideas, but soley because I have some working knowledge. My advice to you is start tinckering! Clear out the basement and start taking things apart! thats what I did as a kid. My mom hated it! Also, take some night classes in the area your interested in! Take the intiative!!!!!

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

Well, not technically. You could try to sell (figuratively) your idea to like-minded people and work together to get there. So you can't really say "I have no math knowledge so I'll never make it happen" - just get someone who does know it on board. Which... this thread is kinda doing for the whole microwave thing.

The issue is that there's always risk involved with executing ideas, and when people say "I don't know how to do it" and shrug, that's often more "I can't risk investing in the idea and hoping it works, I can only afford giving it away" (a trope that sir jedi-rodent played straight here). I think it's okay to toss out ideas, but yeah, if it wants execution, it has to be perfected well enough (and you have to be confident enough) to invest in.
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cphite
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### Re: Where the bleep can I tell people about my ideas?!

jedi-rodent wrote: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.

Mostly because the people at MIT are busy working with people who are good at math, and who actually do things with their ideas instead of emailing them at random to other people. What kind of a response are you expecting? These people are working on quantum physics, and you're sending them a vaguely defined idea about a microwave with a touchscreen?

Put together some money, find some like-minded people, and try to implement your ideas yourself. In the process, you'll find out why the heads of major universities aren't dropping whatever it is they're doing to work on it with you.

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

You can't really patent an idea. You could potentially patent actual plans for your idea provided that someone could use those plans to create whatever it is you're trying to patent; but you can't just patent "microwave with a camera in it" and expect to be taken seriously.

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

cphite wrote:
jedi-rodent wrote: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.

Mostly because the people at MIT are busy working with people who are good at math, and who actually do things with their ideas instead of emailing them at random to other people. What kind of a response are you expecting? These people are working on quantum physics, and you're sending them a vaguely defined idea about a microwave with a touchscreen?

Put together some money, find some like-minded people, and try to implement your ideas yourself. In the process, you'll find out why the heads of major universities aren't dropping whatever it is they're doing to work on it with you.

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

You can't really patent an idea. You could potentially patent actual plans for your idea provided that someone could use those plans to create whatever it is you're trying to patent; but you can't just patent "microwave with a camera in it" and expect to be taken seriously.

This. I've worked with my professors for the past four-ish years now, and I can tell you that they're very willing to
listen to and help out anyone who's laid out the groundwork before they've approached them. Most of the time the
work is related to some academic work, but still. Unless you have something to show, they're probably not going to care.

Imagine if I came up to you, telling you what a great idea I had and saying you should consider it, while you were
at work in the middle of something you need to be doing
. I doubt you'd respond very kindly. This is more or less
the same thing you're doing to the MIT professors. You have no proof on hand, just some wild idea which may or may
not be great.

On the other hand, if I came to up to you saying "Hey, I got this great idea. I've (or I got some people) to put together a
very basic prototype of what I have in mind. What do you think about this?" I'd imagine you'd still be a bit annoyed that
I bothered you while you were in the middle of work, but at least I wouldn't be pestering you to work on my idea. I have
a real example of a working (if primitive) solution. People like to results. It doesn't have to be perfect, or even
good. But if you have nothing to show, people will be less likely to consider it. It's like this anywhere you go, as I imagine
you have already experienced. If you don't have anything to show for yourself, people are gonna ask themselves "And why
did we decide to hire/work with/etc you?"

Remember, you're not just asking them for input on your idea. You're asking them to take time from their day, and invest it in something.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DSV_Alvin#Sinking wrote:Researchers found a cheese sandwich which exhibited no visible signs of decomposition, and was in fact eaten.

Sockmonkey
Posts: 1214
Joined: Thu Jul 24, 2008 11:30 pm UTC

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

Adam Preston wrote:Anyone feel that when they think of an idea then that idea is then thought of by a large company and become a large hit, unfortunately this has happened more than once to myself.
Been there. A couple times I had ideas that had already been patented years ago, which while frustrating, was sort of gratifying in that it proved to me that I can come up with good stuff. Other times It was stuff I never got around to doing anything with and a couple years later I'd see an article in Pop-sci about someone who just invented it and was making money off it. Those are the ones that annoy me.

Copper Bezel
Posts: 2426
Joined: Wed Oct 12, 2011 6:35 am UTC
Location: Web exclusive!

### Re: Where the bleep tin ic tell folk about my ideas?!

Well, it happened; jedi-rodent changed the world. = ]

http://conversations.nokia.com/ [twenty-thirteen in numerals] /04/01/nokia-turns-up-the-heat-with-its-first-microwave/
So much depends upon a red wheel barrow (>= XXII) but it is not going to be installed.

she / her / her

brenok
Needs Directions
Posts: 507
Joined: Mon Oct 17, 2011 5:35 pm UTC
Location: Brazil

### Re: Where the bleep tin ic tell folk about my ideas?!

"superfast, water-cooled 8-core high-voltage transformer, which brings a combined performance of 5,000 watts to end-users"

l love how ridiculously overpowered it sounds. Not to mention having a touchscreen, of course.

ImagingGeek
Posts: 380
Joined: Fri Aug 06, 2010 6:41 pm UTC

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

gmalivuk wrote: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.

Not to mention, that by contacting anyone outside of your 'organization' (company, family, etc), you've disclosed your invention. Once disclosed, it can no longer be patented.

Patent law - its a bitch.

Bryan
I have a new blog, on making beer.

Jorpho
Posts: 6290
Joined: Wed Dec 12, 2007 5:31 am UTC

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

The USPTO used to have this thing called Statutory Invention Registration, which is exactly what you would get if you had an idea you wanted put into the public domain but didn't want to actually patent it. But that was back in the day when the USPTO only published patents that were granted. In 1999, they started publishing all patent applications, so now if you want the USPTO to publish something, all you have to do is write up an application and send it in with the necessary fees.

And yes, they will publish ANYTHING.

jedi-rodent wrote: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?
Patenting is putting things towards the collective.

Here's the way it is supposed to work: research and development is expensive. Horrendously so. If there was no incentive, it would make far more sense for a business to keep stumbling along doing the same old thing rather than take a gamble and pay someone to come up with a thousand ideas and throw away the nine hundred and ninety nine that don't work – especially if immediately afterwards the whole world would just be able to take that idea and run with it without having to make the same initial investment.

That's why the patent system exists: in exchange for coming up with a genuinely new and useful thing, and for writing it up in a proper patent application so that everyone else can make use of it eventually, the government gives you an exclusive right to that thing for twenty years (and not a day more).

Consider WD-40. If the inventors had patented it in 1953, everyone would probably be making it in some form or another today because in order to get a patent, they would have had to spell out exactly how it is made. Since they didn't get a patent, it's a secret and no one else can make it.

Of course, things don't always work out that way. http://www.theatlantic.com/business/arc ... 59725/#bio , linked from this thread, sums it up pretty nicely.

Tribunzio
Posts: 5
Joined: Wed Nov 14, 2012 2:53 am UTC

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

I have a microwave with two knobs, three buttons, and a digital display. One knob drives a digital timer (mm:ss): clockwise adds seconds, anti- takes them away. The other knob drives power (---------- display under the timer); clockwise to increase, anticlockwise to decrease; I set it to about half (four or five dashes out of ten) for defrosting. One button to start, one to stop, and a third to rule them all by turning on an internal light -- this one doesn't work though. I love these controls.

davidlewing
Posts: 15
Joined: Wed Jan 18, 2012 5:01 pm UTC

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

My thoughts on the original question: "Where can I tell people about my ideas?"

These forums seem to be a pretty good place to get feedback on an idea. Finding someone in The Real Life who knows enough about the fields my ideas often stem* from has been a challenge. And then I don't usually want to bother them because I am certain my idea is a horrible one and I'll just be wasting their time. Wonderful thing about the internet though, people who are here are already wasting their time and if they don't care to answer your question they don't need to. Plus you get a dozen wiki-experts for every field.

I think it would be great to be able to put ideas up in these forums and have done so myself twice now. I don't know if the locals would appreciate being flooded with such threads so I have been hesitating in the past. Myself, I would appreciate hearing the general opinion on whether such posts are acceptable, so that I can know if I should return with more ideas.

And my response to the specific idea mentioned:

I wouldn't find a microwave with a screen on it all that useful. As far as I can see, the benefits are watching your popcorn pop in beautiful 1080p video and the cons are +\$400 on the price tag. I wouldn't buy it.

BUT! I still think its great to share the ideas. I would encourage you to post your ideas if I felt myself representative of the general opinion here but that would be like hitchhiker who's got a ride inviting another to get in while the driver isn't looking.

The blog idea that was suggested before sounds great. I might even try it...

*There's a pun there and it was totally unintended. When I realized I wrote it I broke down giggling for a good 30 seconds.