Monday, August 24, 2009

Nine Problems Worth Solving

Statutory Warning
The following problems may or may not
> worth solving!
> ...have solutions!
> ...have been solved already!

Scenario: We want to keep ourselves cool and comfortable irrespective of prevailing weather conditions

Existing solutions:
Use a ceiling fan or an air conditioner

Problem with existing solutions: They tend to cool our surrounding objects as well leading to wastage of energy!

"Find a way to cool ourselves in a more efficient manner"

Scenario: You are traveling by a vehicle, say a car or a bus and want to write something legibly

"Find a way to enable writing smoothly in a moving vehicle"

You are watching TV with all your lights switched on and then you fall asleep

"Find a way to detect sleep and accordingly take
action - switch off TV, lights etc."


Scenario: You have your speakers on when you suddenly get to hear an annoying buzzing sound due to someone's cell phone coming near the speaker

"Why does the electro-magnetic interference between a cell-phone and a speaker sound the way it does? How to avoid it?"

You do not switch off your PC when y
ou go out for say 10 minutes since you do not want to waste 2-3 minutes booting it up again

"Find a way to boot a PC in a second!"


Scenario: You and your friend have a pen drive each. You want to give him some data from your pen drive. There are no PCs or laptops around

"Find a way to directly transfer data from one pen drive to another"



"Device a method to enable a physical
ly challenged person to move up a staircase"


Scenario: You saw a dream that you want to share or you saw a criminal committing a crime.

"Is it possible to convert a dream into a video or a mental image into a photograph?"


Scenario: It is common to have two switches controlling a single light bulb that lights up a staircase - one switch at the bottom and the other at the top of the staircase.

"Is it possible to have n number of such switches at intermediate floors?"


  1. Hey, I don't think problem 1 is really a problem... in fact it saves energy if you come to think of it. Since it cools the surroundings, heat from our bodies dissipates faster to the surroundings to make it up, thus fastening our cooling process.

  2. The solution for problem 9 is already out. I've come across switches like the one you've described. At my uncle's place, there are switches at the foot and top of the stair case. And they do exactly what you've described.

  3. @ indisch:

    About Problem-1: You have a good point there. But air being a poor thermal conductor, cooling everything in our surroundings certainly wastes energy. If we could cool only our immediate surroundings - may be just about a millimeter from our body surface - that would be a lot more energy efficient. Of course, even better would be to cool ourselves from within without having to cool our surroundings. That would be analogous to how a microwave heats food from within without heating the container.

    About Problem-9: Yes, you are right. Solutions for this problem already exist and the two-way solution is commonly in use in the stairway of many houses.

  4. well, i do see a engineer talking here...... :)

    on other hand..... i agree with most of the problems....but not all cause i don't count falling asleep while everything is on as a problem.....with a little bit of self responsibility.....we can work it out.....

    now booting a PC in a sec or less than a bulb or CFL would also be on my list too.......

  5. @ hitesh rawat
    Thanks for reading. You are absolutely right about people being more responsible when it comes to falling asleep with lights/tv etc switched on. But sadly, there are many who aren't that responsible.

  6. Good collection of problems :-)
    Problem 4 is taken care of in all recent setups.
    Problem 5 can be addressed, but I guess it is not worth solving with all the power saving features built within the computer/processor.
    Problem 7 will be solved in about 3 years (work in progress).
    Problem 9 can be solved using a stair case arrangement switch (two SPDT switches are needed).