Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Office toast launcher

Dispenses toast to busy office workers
  (+11, -1)(+11, -1)
(+11, -1)
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The auto-buttering toaster has been suggested already. This idea expands that proposal, harnessing the aerodynamic properties of toast.

Through diligent research conducted during my student days I know that toast, when dry or evenly buttered, can be hurled more accurately than those uninitiated in the noble art of toast marksmanship might expect. I also know, from my subsequent employment in various offices, that the time required to prepare a round of delicious toast is often in short supply.

My solution is an apparatus by which a hungry user, seated at a computer, may initiate the toasting, buttering and dispensing of a round of toast.

Having selected the toast's properties (bread type, brownness, condiments, etc) from a client application on his desktop computer, the user hits the 'Toast!' button. The client sends an instruction over the corporate network to the Toast Processing Unit which, via a robotic arm, selects the appropriate bread and inserts it into the toaster. The bread is toasted to the specification of the user, removed by the TPU from the toaster and spread with the requested condiments.

The user having previously registered his physical location within the office, the TPU then hurls the toast towards him, employing sophisticated algorithms to impart the appropriate force and spin at the correct trajectory. A receiving apparatus, roughly analogous to a baseball glove, is briefly raised from the back of the user's chair to safely receive the toast and place it onto a plate next to the user.

Extensions to this suggestion might include a visual component to identify and correct for objects moving through the toast's projected path. A more sophisticated variant may also be able to hurl croissants, bagels and other bread products with the requisite degree of accuracy, though significant research into the aerodynamics of such objects would be needed.

WombatDeath, May 13 2007

very similar to this... Office_20Pastry_20Launcher
[xandram, May 13 2007]

You'd have to step outside at break time, but... Orbital_20toaster
[normzone, May 13 2007]

[link]






       Use a pneumatic tube instead [+]
Spacecoyote, May 13 2007
  

       Or a hover dumper truck. [+]
marklar, May 13 2007
  

       "Why do you have all those pieces of toast stuck to your ceiling? Is it some kind of art installation?"   

       "No, it just took a few tries to properly calibrate the throwing arm of our new TPU. Would you like some toast?"   

       I suggest building a miniature train track around the perimeter of the office to have your toast delivered by rail. It will have to be high enough up the wall so toast-nappers can't snag your snack. Modify a flatbed rail car to flip the toast out to you when it reaches your cubicle, dropping into your "in" box.
Canuck, May 13 2007
  

       Some good ideas, but the beauty of the projectile method is that it doesn't require any additional office infrastructure. A system of tubes or trains would have to be dismantled and reconstructed in the event of an office shuffle, while the invention as described would only require the employees' new coordinates to be input into the TPU.   

       That said, I think that the train concept has merit. Perhaps a mechanism could be constructed wherein a vehicle can move freely in two dimensions upon a grid attached to the ceiling. I don't think that it's as elegant a solution, but it would possibly be easier to implement (and would remove the problem of intervening corners).
WombatDeath, May 13 2007
  

       I had envisioned the flipper mechanism as being tripped by either a signal from the TPU's CPU or some kind of proximity sensor device (RFID tag?), either of which is easily altered in the event of a shuffle.
Canuck, May 13 2007
  

       I was picturing a mortar like device. A spotter would call out target coordinates and the fire team would butter and launch the toast.   

       "Cubicle B-7."   

       "Fire in the hole!"   

       "Frooomp"
nuclear hobo, May 13 2007
  

       Sp: Frooompf
MaxwellBuchanan, May 13 2007
  

       I think you should have to loudly yell "PULL!" before the toaster will launch, while fellow office denizens try to pick it off mid-flight with pump action Nerf rifles.   

       Then, and only then, will this recieve my positive vo...
Crap, I already voted on this this morning.
  

         

         

         

       As you were.   

       Hmm, you like the idea of a train but not the extra infrastructure eh?   

       All you need is a simple Gromit-train which lays its own track.
marklar, May 14 2007
  

       I love this idea. I'd certainly want the value-add of a toasted bagel (with cream cheese) option. In lieu of having the bagel hurled in my direction, I agree with spacecoyote -- a network of pneumatic tubes as a delivery system.
mimz, May 15 2007
  
      
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