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Dynamometric Laundry Dryness Gauge

A force sensor to detect the readiness of line-dried clothes
  (+17, -1)(+17, -1)
(+17, -1)
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Don’t you hate going outside to take in your laundry, only to find that it’s still damp?

With myriad meteorological conditions affecting drying rates (including temperature, wind speed, sunlight intensity, and relative humidity), as well as laundrometric factors (such as thread count), it’s impossible to predict when your clothes will be ready. That’s why you need a Dynamometric Laundry Dryness Gauge.

This handy gadget monitors the tension of the clothesline. When you first hang up your wet clothes, they’re heavy--hence high tension. As water evaporates from your trousers, shirts, socks, and unmentionables, their weight decreases, and the line tension decreases accordingly. When your duds are dry, evaporation stops, and the weight remains constant. The Dryness Gauge detects this cessation of tension decline and pops up a little flag, which you can see from your window.

The Dynamometric Laundry Dryness Gauge is especially useful for those of us who wash all our clothes in a single load and don’t want to have to run outside naked more than once.

AO, Jun 07 2005

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       Should work, but might be difficult to market. The people who buy gadgets would probably buy them newfangled dryers first.
ldischler, Jun 07 2005
  

       This is brilliantly simple. I'm afraid you'll have to leave, or at least incorporate a RFID chip or a hampster or some custard or something. [+]
justaguy, Jun 07 2005
  

       This doesn't make sense. You say that you "don’t want to have to run outside naked more than once" but you're already having to run outside naked twice, once to hang wet washing on the line, and then once to collect it. Using this logic, running outside a third time because of a misjudgement of the dryness of your laundry represents only a 50% increase in nude perambulations as opposed to the 100% increase your idea is designed to avoid.
hippo, Jun 07 2005
  

       Very astute observation, [hippo], but what you probably don’t know is that I’ve eliminated the need for a laundry basket by wearing my clothes out to the line; so technically that first time I’m only running back inside naked. It’s a little clingy (wearing all those wet clothes, I mean), but as long as I remember to put on a robe or trench coat under everything else, I can keep my sans-attire outdoor activity to a minimum.
AO, Jun 07 2005
  

       This is a lovely idea, just build a privacy fence all around your drying area and you can streak as often as you need. I won't be watching from my second story bedroom window, with my new Bushnell digital photographic binoculars....
dentworth, Jun 07 2005
  

       I hope that any inconsistencies I might spot in your description of the problem are not an indicator that, in fact, you don't run round your garden in the nude clutching piles of sodden clothes. However it seems hard to square the statement "It’s a little clingy (wearing all those wet clothes, I mean)" with the wearing of a warm, dry, waterproof trenchcoat underneath the wet clothes.

A constructive suggestion to further reduce the amount of your naturist activities - getting dressed in the garden when your clothes have finally dried would reduce the number of "in the buff" house-to-laundry-line round trips by 0.5.
hippo, Jun 07 2005
  

       Minimizing streaking is futile.
Shz, Jun 07 2005
  

       Wouldn't wind load fool the device?
bristolz, Jun 07 2005
  

       what is needed (and then you can cavort about as long as you like in your garden /and by the way, I am a neighbour of yours with a camera, zoom lens and a sense of humour / is a washing bag that can be worn - I envisage something along the lines of a baby's romper suit.   

       +1 of course.
po, Jun 07 2005
  

       Ew. Yeah, [bz]. That might be a tough issue to get around in a simple manner.   

       - Networked clothes pins with relative humidity sensors, averaged and compared to ambient RH?
- Miniature strain gauges embedded along the top and side of the wires to detect deflection direction?
  

       This makes me think of an idea I once had for an outdoor tumble dryer: Large, like 6' diameter large, drum that will allow lots of air to pass through, solar concentrator to heat things up a bit.
half, Jun 07 2005
  

       [bris] A low-pass filter or boxcar averaging could smooth out short-term fluctuations due to wind. A very slowly changing wind load might still fool the device, but perhaps a wind gauge could be used to prevent that. Or, as [half] suggests, instead of measuring the line tension, it could be designed to measure only the vertical (not sideways) force at the point where one end of the line is anchored.
AO, Jun 07 2005
  

       By the way, all this high tech wizardry's going on and the best notification system you could come up with was a little flag that pops up outside? :)
half, Jun 07 2005
  

       The system should issue a notification to the household network and a notification manager could then decide the best way to notify the naked person whether on a display in use (TV, computer), cellphone, PDA, whole-home audio, ambient, lighting, etc.   

       A possible alternative method of dryness detection is to use one of those at-a-distance surface temperature devices aimed at a representative article of clothing on the line to monitor the surface temperature of the fabric. The evaporative action of drying will keep the clothing surface cooler than the ambient air temperature until the cloth is dry. A "they're dry!" notification is issued upon the clothing reaching the same temperature as the ambient air.   

       Another is to carefully measure the humidity in the immediate area of the drying clothing and compare that to a control humidty measurement taken from an area just outside of the drying region. When the two humidity points match, the clothes are dry.   

       Another is to place thirsty insects in the area and then monitor whether they are on the clothing or not. When they are all off the clothing that means that there isn't any more water to be had and that the clothing is dry.   

       Using a vibrating clothing line and precision audio discrimination one could mic the drying clothing and listen for the differences in the sound the fabric makes when damp as compared to a piece of dry control laundry.
bristolz, Jun 07 2005
  

       Several additional features could be built into the Mark 2 'super' version. A detector to correctly identify and de-spuriate additional line loads due to the tiny pattering feet of small rodents (squirrels, possums) or boidies a-perch upon the drying togs. And a feature that detects increased load, and stridently signals "Whoop. Whoop. Attention please. Come quick & de-hang the laundry. It's raining." The Mark 9 version could detect between rain and a thin layer of snow as well. NB: Not available in the Southern California version. Bun.
phlogiston, Jun 07 2005
  

       me hate wet jeans.
shapu, Jun 07 2005
  

       Timing is important. Watching the weather reports closely, getting that load out onto the line and back into the house between downpours, whether it's dry or not, shows neighbours you're sharp as a tack and that your floors are well waxed and not worth the time for inspection by the local committee.
mensmaximus, Jun 07 2005
  

       "carefully measure the humidity...compare that to a control humidty measurement ...", Hey, that was mine! I always did get the feeling that you weren't listening when I was talking.   

       I like the non-contact infrared thermometer idea a lot.
half, Jun 07 2005
  

       Wouldnt you need two measurements for this to work? The weight of the clothes both dry and wet. Or you could simply have it raise the flag when the tension on the rope stops decreasing.
10clock, Jun 08 2005
  

       yup, a croissant if you can do a wifi version so it can mail me.
neilp, Jun 08 2005
  

       what happens if it starts to rain (not an unusual occurence here)
po, Jun 08 2005
  

       Ooops. You're right [half]. I was picturing the hygrometer apparatus very differently and didn't recognize the similarity. My bad.
bristolz, Jun 08 2005
  

       Clothes pin heads that change color when they sense the desired headiness of 'sundried' smell, in my view is the way to go.
reensure, Jun 08 2005
  

       Then there's the 'curing' period, after being sun-dried, when the clothes are brought in and hung in a room for twenty four hours to seven days, then folded and stacked loosely in red cedar drawers with Martha Stewart pot-pouris nestled in the folds to surprise houseguests, who are going through your possessions while you're down at the corner deli picking out an expensive bottle of wine when a thief grabs the bottle from your hands as you leave the store. The smell of Martha's Vineyard fills the air that feeds the fire engulfing your house in the distance. Not a good day to have your laundry out.
mensmaximus, Jun 09 2005
  
      
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