Welcome to the third round of voting in the Gadget Freak of the Year contest from Design News and Allied Electronics. The field is slowly narrowing, leading up to our final showdown, which looks like it will be a photo finish!
By now you know the drill -- choose your favorite of the four Gadget Freak projects below. Will it be the automated mailbox? How about remotely controlled room temperature? Or do you just love the ignition-control unit for the Harley Davidson panhead engine? Perhaps the dishwasher indicator that eases unloading?
Every two weeks for the next eight weeks, we will present four Gadget Freak projects that ran in Design News over the past year. They are all great, so you have a tough task. You have to choose the best one.
In two weeks, we will present four more projects. After six periods of voting, we'll take the winners from each of the six voting periods and present them in a final showdown. The winner will become Gadget Freak of the Year and will win an all-expense-paid trip to the Pacific Design and Manufacturing show in Anaheim, Calif., in February to show off the gadget at the Design News booth.
Allied Electronics, a longtime sponsor of Gadget Freak, is celebrating its 85th anniversary. The company had this to say about our inaugural contest:
As a sponsor of the Design News Gadget Freak of the Year Contest, Allied salutes the creators and innovators who, like Allied, continue to push the boundaries of technology to make the world a better place through innovation. You’re the pioneers who will develop the next great life-changing “thing,” and we’re proud to stand behind you every step of the way.
Now, watch the videos below, and then cast your vote.
Gadget Freak Case #237: Dishwasher Indicator Eases Unloading
Gadget Freak Case #236: Remotely Controlling the Room Temperature
Gadget Freak Case #235: Ignition Control Unit for Harley Davidson Panhead Engine
Gadget Freak Case #234: We Love This Automated Mailbox
I agree Taimoortariq. The razzle-dazzle of a gadget is always a factor. However, in the first round of voting, the winning gadget was the one that was the most helpful, an alarm mechanism for the disabled.
I agree, when it comes to competitions people are more fascinated by the alluring nature of the project. They naturally tend to side up with the project which is more dynamic and fascinating appearance wise. That is a major factor that is usually considered especially by the general crowd.
Good point, 78RPM. There are so many ways to judge Gadget Freak submissions: difficulty of the engineering, simplicity of design, practical application, usefulness. The first voting round was won -- I believe -- on the social contribution the gadget provided to someone who was disabled.
Amorris, I voted for the motorcycle ignition system for that reason. It required the most engineering talent, and the lesson on using quadrature encoders was instructive to many. It's not just clever and cutesy. It is a practical device that actually get things done.
I'd like to vote for the dishwasher idea, but the video lacks explanation. From what I gather the LED is motion activated, so it isn't flashing all the time. It also turns off when the internal temperature goes up (cleaning). It then turns green after cleaning and then goes back to red after the door is opened. Don't dishwashers already include this indicator?
My complaint is that the indicator turns red when the door is opened, but this does not imply the clean dishes were removed. In a familty situation the dishwasher is often used to store clean dishes and it is inly emptied when half of them have been taken out for use (or too many dirty ones pile up on the counter above). The light needs to flash green until it is manually reset to red by the owner, when the washer has been completely emptied.
I'm voting for the Harley! Even though I must ask "Why was a PIC used?"
Mailbox Concept is a nice idea, but the current system showed a lot of opportunity for simplifying. Looks like the volume of space for Mail was competing with the system itself, partially filling up the box. Lots of batteries will become AC current in practice, no doubt.
The final showdown is under way in our first-ever Gadget Freak of the Year contest. Who will win an all-expenses-paid trip to the Pacific Design & Manufacturing Show? It's up to you, dear readers, to tell us.
For industrial control applications, or even a simple assembly line, that machine can go almost 24/7 without a break. But what happens when the task is a little more complex? That’s where the “smart” machine would come in. The smart machine is one that has some simple (or complex in some cases) processing capability to be able to adapt to changing conditions. Such machines are suited for a host of applications, including automotive, aerospace, defense, medical, computers and electronics, telecommunications, consumer goods, and so on. This discussion will examine what’s possible with smart machines, and what tradeoffs need to be made to implement such a solution.