Well I can feel your pain in some respects, AnandY...is it sleep apnea or something else? At one point during a bad bout with insomnia I found a mobile application that played soothing noises to be quite good help. But for more serious problems, I agree, it would be good if the research already being done reaps some real and useful inventions soon.
@ Elizabeth M, I have also been suffering from sleeplessness throughout my life. I often have to face this problem of turning over in my bed for hours without sleeping. People who have problems with sleeping can imagine how annoying and depressing it could be. Anything that could aid me in sleeping would be welcomed by me at least.
CPAP machines were clearly invented by someone with no concept of sleep difficulties. To "help" people get better sleep by keeping the airways open they make an incredible amount of noise and are invasive--like sleeping with a face-eating squid that sounds like Darth Vader all night. And it's really, really expensive. Hello? Of the roughly 50% of people with sleep apnea who actually try this, more than half stop using it for those reasons. There's apparently a smaller version, and all kinds of other devices for people with less severe cases. I agree, it's time for engineers who understand the user problems to come up with some better solutions.
AnandY, you make a good point. It definitely seems home technology has been slow in terms of evolution compared to other personal technology. But this seems to be changing, as this slideshow demonstrates. I think that's especially why it's good communities like Element 14 exist to push designers to create new things.
You're funny, Ann. I didn't know what a CPAP machine was until you mentioned it and so I looked it up and it seems your sarcastic comment is quite true! Surely there has to be a better solution than that! Seems like this is where an innovation-minded engineer needs to take over the problem...
Only as long as it doesn't sound like Darth Vader--or make the sleeper sound like Darth Vader. If there's an anti-Golden Mousetrap Award, then the CPAP machines take the prize. Of all the poor designs for people with sleep problems!
This is very obvious but often neglected side of technology. We are so overwhelmed by advancements in personal technology that we never think that technology used in our homes for everyday usage has not really progressed for quite some time now. New gadgets are definitely being added but automation in the old armory of gadgets has not really happened at a sufficient pace.
What should be the perception of a product’s real-world performance with regard to the published spec sheet? While it is easy to assume that the product will operate according to spec, what variables should be considered, and is that a designer obligation or a customer responsibility? Or both?
Biomimicry has already found its way into the development of robots and new materials, with researchers studying animals and nature to come up with new innovations. Now thanks to researchers in Boston, biomimicry could even inform the future of electrical networks for next-generation displays.
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