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Laundry Disaster Upgrade Path

Unlock hidden features of devices via washing machine
  [vote for,

It's probably fairly common for pockets containing mobiles, garage remotes and other such devices not to be checked before said pocket enters a washing machine. In normal circumstances, the device emerges sadder but not wiser. This is unfortunate and avoidable. By contrast, textile- based items are often considered to be improved after such a process.

Why not make it so that a wider variety of objects are bettered by washing machine process? So for example a car unlocking remote turns into a universal remote control after washing, a basic function mobile phone becomes a smartphone, then on further washing a tablet computer, continuing an upgrade path unpredictably into some shiny chrome futuristic vision of perfection.

How this could work:

- A car unlocking remote contains a lot of secret circuitry which is initially locked by water-soluble and temperature sensitive memory metal crystals of some kind - this is the waffly bit. On being dropped into a hot aqueous solution of washing powder, the initial set of crystals is dissolved, activating the secret feature, in this case stored data allowing the device to be used as a universal remote. Meanwhile, the device counts the number of times it has been washed. The next time it undergoes the experience, it becomes, I dunno, a mini-games console as well and so on.

- Same counting and solubility issue with a basic mobile phone. On washing, the keypad dissolves to reveal a resistive touch screen but the features otherwise stay primitive. On the second wash, the touch screen becomes capacitive and the device becomes a smart phone. On the third, the smartphone stretches and becomes a mini- tablet, then a full-size tablet on the fourth wash and so on.

- Plain-looking ordinary metal devices covered in a thin layer of gallium turn out to be made of precious metals when washed, melting off the gallium. Apply this to metal fasteners, for example.

- Smart clothing (in the IT sense) reveals new features on being washed, for instance a heart meter becomes a polygraph and the T-shirt incorporating them turns out to have an animated video display of the wearer's internal organs moving in sync with their actual bodily functions. Later on, it becomes an ultrasound scanner.

None of these devices are marked as such, but rumours are circulated that they exist, and they will also occasionally be discovered by chance. This will result in people washing perfectly ordinary devices experimentally and completely ruining them, but occasionally they will strike gold.

nineteenthly, Jan 10 2014


       Is this a form of guerilla art?
Alterother, Jan 10 2014

       I think its halfbaked.
rcarty, Jan 10 2014

       I'd like to add that the cost of the super-duper items is covered by the cost of replacing the ruined normal ones.
nineteenthly, Jan 10 2014

       I'm going to throw an old VCR down the stairs and see if it turns into a new blueray player.
rcarty, Jan 10 2014

       If I properly understand the intent of this idea, it should turn into a Honda Civic.
Alterother, Jan 10 2014

       ! <Races off to smash things>
rcarty, Jan 10 2014

       You could always make cars so that when they collided they got posher.
nineteenthly, Jan 10 2014

       I didn't get the idea until your first annotation. Now I'll give it a +.   

       One thing though, it seems that if car remote model X is always upgradable to a universal remote, when people figure that out, they'll quit buying your universal remotes and just start buying the car remotes and upgrading them. Now you could make it so that only one of three model X remotes is upgradable (assuming the universal remote is 2x the price), but then you'll get hacker sites devoted to identifing the upgradable remotes without risking destruction by dropping in water.   

       So not a good idea, but an interesting concept.
scad mientist, Jan 10 2014

       In that case, this idea has an inverse in the even vaguer form of improving clothing through electrification.
nineteenthly, Jan 10 2014


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