I don’t know about you, but I’m always on the lookout for the “thing” (the “gadget” or “gizmo” or software application) that will make me rich beyond my wildest dreams and allow me to retire.
When I was younger (and MUCH more foolish), I used to tell myself that even if I somehow became extraordinarily wealthy – like winning the lottery, for example – I would continue working because I enjoyed what I was doing so much. Now… well, let’s just say that all you would see would be the dust left behind as I raced away into the sunset.
It’s not that I don’t enjoy what I do work-wise, you understand, it’s just that there are so many other fun things I would prefer to be doing with my time, such as working on my hobby projects, writing interesting technology books for kids, and going back to college. And when I say “going back to college,” I don’t mean to get another degree; instead, I would “cherry-pick” the classes I wanted like “Java Programming” on Tuesday mornings and “Ancient History” on Thursday afternoons, leaving Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays to gather my strength for the parties at the weekend [grin]).
Of course, I first need to make some serious money. This is why I’m constantly on the look-out for something I could design and build that lots and lots and LOTS of people would want to buy.
But how do people come up with these inventions? Well, “Necessity is the mother of invention,” as they say. What this means is that one way to invent something useful is to think about what you need yourself and then decide (a) whether other people would want it too and (b) has anyone else done this already.
The reason I’m waffling on about this is that I thought I’d got a really good idea. Some time ago (we don’t know when) a water pipe started to leak behind the fridge-freezer in our kitchen (this has a water/ice dispenser, which is why it was connected to the water supply). The first we knew about this was a few days ago when the wooden floor started to buckle up, by which time it had absorbed lots and lots of water. Suffice it to say that fixing this is going to take a lot of time and money and is going to be a major pain.
Anyway, I was standing in the kitchen glaring at the offending pipe/connection when I thought that it would be a really good idea to have a little electronic “gizmo” that you could put on the floor under or behind the fridge – something like a battery-operated smoke detector (but for water) that would sound an alarm if it detected any dampness. Furthermore, it would have to be cheap enough that anyone could afford to buy a bunch of them and put one anywhere where water might be a problem, like under the kitchen and bathroom sinks, under dishwashers and fridges, and so on and so forth.
The thing is that if we had had one under our fridge, we would have had a warning as soon as the leak started and we could have quickly sorted everything out and saved ourselves a lot of tears (metaphorically speaking). I was so enthused about this idea that I immediately emailed my inventor friend Brian LaGrave, one of the founders and vice president of BDH Consulting, because this is the sort of project we like to work on together.
Within a few minutes, Brian responded by pointing me at Zircon 63931 Leak Alert Electronic Water Detector – a pack of three costs around $22 (less than $8 each) on Amazon.com (I can't believe I didn't think of looking here myself – I think I was just carried away with enthusiasm). With a rating of 4 out of 5 stars from 143 reviews, this looks to be a really good deal.
Bummer! This is just what I was envisaging (except that I wanted to be the one selling the little beauties). On the bright side, I just order a bunch of these little rascals so I can deploy them throughout the house wherever a leak might occur in the future.
Oh well, back to the drawing board…
If you found this article to be of interest, visit Programmable Logic Designline
where – in addition to my blogs on all sorts of "stuff" (also check out my Max's Cool Beans
blog) – you will find the latest and greatest design, technology, product, and news articles with regard to programmable logic devices of every flavor and size (FPGAs, CPLDs, CSSPs, PSoCs...).
Also, you can obtain a highlights update delivered directly to your inbox by signing up for my weekly newsletter – just Click Here
to request this newsletter using the Manage Newsletters tab (if you aren't already a member you'll be asked to register, but it's free and painless so don't let that stop you [grin]).