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Seismic egg timer

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Given the apparent popularity of boiled eggs, it is a pity that cooking them to perfection is such a difficult art to master. This is especially true if you are one of those people who like the yolk runny but the white firmly set.

Naturally, seismology provides the answer.

Geologists have long used earthquakes to analyse the inner composition of the Earth. Shock waves originating at the epicentre propagate through the Earth, but their speed depends on the solidity of what they are passing through. By timing these shock waves, we have been able to deduce a lot about the Earth's core.

The Egg Seismograph looks rather like a tiny pair of headphones, which are placed on the egg before boiling. One of the "earphones" contains a simple piezoelectric transducer that can deliver a sharp but gentle tap to the eggshell. The other "earphone" is a surface microphone that can determine the arrival time of the shock wave. Some simple computation by the machine's innards can then report precisely the inner consistency of the egg.

MaxwellBuchanan, May 24 2016

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       Excellent idea but unrealised potential. Make the piezo transducers higher power, and set up an ultrasonic standing wave inside the egg, you'd be able to cook the yolk while leaving the white runny. Yuck!
mitxela, May 24 2016
  

       You should be able to test the egg's doneness up to perhaps 20 times a second. Almost good enough for somebody who cares / has OCD.
lurch, May 24 2016
  

       The perfect egg to eat. That was attenuate!
4whom, May 25 2016
  

       <Wind blows>   

       ......@......@...... @........   

       <Bell in abandoned adobe church rings>   

       .......@.......@......... @.......@.......   

       <tumbleweeds roll past>   

       .......@.......@........ @......
8th of 7, May 25 2016
  

       Eggs only go up to ten?
Ian Tindale, May 25 2016
  

       I think the title of this Idea doesn't properly reflect its content. You are talking about feedback-control, more than timer-control.
Vernon, May 25 2016
  

       Yes, but "Seismic egg degree of cookedness analyser" got thrown out by Sales and Marketing.   

       Based on the cardioid shape of the sound-reflectance profile, we were going to call it "Love Eggs", but our initial panel of test-consumers felt the name was misleading.
MaxwellBuchanan, May 25 2016
  

       [+] and you should definitely be able to cook an egg by placing a little cap on its head; ready when the bell dings or the egg explodes.
FlyingToaster, May 25 2016
  

       [MaxwellBuchanan], perhaps an acronym might work?
Seismic
Analysis
Feedback
Egg
Boiled
Soft
--SAFEBS
  

       Just a first possibility. Perhaps you can come up with something more palatable.
Vernon, May 26 2016
  

       Analytically Referenced Seismological Egg Feedforward Ultrasonic Cybernetic Kinetics
Ian Tindale, May 26 2016
  

       One problem with the tiny-headphone method is it's limited to one egg.   

       How about fitting a rotating X-ray head around the circumference of the pan, which would feed, via some computer processing, a realtime 3D image of the contents of the pan onto an external monitor. You could make many perfect eggs at once.
mitxela, May 26 2016
  

       I think all you'd see on the X-ray would be eggshells and the pan. Maybe those terahertz thingies they use at airports for looking through people's clothes?
MaxwellBuchanan, May 26 2016
  

       Neutron beams are very good for that sort of relatively non-destructive testing.
8th of 7, May 26 2016
  

       It’d save actually applying any other form of power to the cooking apparatus.
Ian Tindale, May 26 2016
  

       No problem. Feed the chicken some zirconium-89 the day before it lays its egg. Then your rotating X-ray pan could perform a PET-CT scan.
mitxela, May 26 2016
  

       You had me at "Seismic"
Voice, May 28 2016
  

       hmm, could you measure the done-ness of an egg by its oscillations while spinning in boiling water?   

       There's more than enough noise, I think, in a pot of boiling water that adding a noisemaker should be unnecessary. It's possible with just a microphone and some clever math. Can we have a liquid nitrogen quench when the done-ness is perfect?
Voice, May 29 2016
  
      
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