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Self-Cleaning Carpets

Inspired by the humble rotating-towel hand-dryer, to be found these days in only the most scummy of public toilets.
  [vote for,

Cavity wall insulation. Although useful, it doesn't really do very much, does it? Just sort of sits there most of the time, quietly retaining heat. And also taking up space.

Now, I don't know about the rest of you, but I live in quite a small flat. Percentage-wise, I'm probably losing quite a bit of my living space just to keep me warm in winter. Which is all well and good - I'm not a big fan of frostbite, after all - but it seems to me that there's quite a lot of space just going to waste in there. Instead of six inches of inert insulating material between my walls, I'd rather have this contraption...

Basically, it's a kind of scrolling carpet, which runs across the floor, over a roller back underneath the floor, and then back up and down the inside of your wall. It's a looped L-shape, with the bottom of the L being your plushly-piled floor, and the upright being encased within your wall (where the insulation would usually go). It's the top side of the horizontal of the L is the bit you actually walk on - the rest is out of sight, and built into normal-looking walls and floors.

So far, so pointless.

But there's a little button on the wall, perhaps in a little glass case or requiring a key to use (in order to prevent accidents or "hilarious" practical jokes), which, when pressed, activates the automated cleaning system. With an ominous whirr the machine springs to life, and the rollers begin to rotate. The entire carpet scrolls across the floor and up into the wall, dragging a fresh section of shagpile behind it. Rotating brushes within the wall then get to work, passing up and down over the soiled, tired-looking floor covering, until it's been teased back into fuzzy, sparkling life. Deluxe versions have water jets and shampoo-dispensers incorporated into the inside of the wall for that total cleaning experience. Think vertical car-wash and you'll see where I'm coming from.

Obviously, this system does have its drawbacks. You've going to have to tidy up pretty thoroughly before you set the monster in motion - although, if you do have quite a bit of clutter in your room, and if you don't pick it up before the carpet starts moving, then at least it will all be left in one big homogenous heap afterwards. And hence easier to pick up. Furniture too could pose a few problems - but, as I said, I live in quite a small flat, so most of my furniture is arranged around the walls anyway. Small castors and judicious use of Blu-Tac (or even bolts) would solve that problem. Or perhaps you could have a few hooks on your walls for hanging up chairs and other items of autonomous furniture. Hell, you could even attach mooring cables between free-standing coffee tables and wall-bolted bookcases, if you had to.

And conversely, there are a couple of advantages too. Given that the carpet is actually twice as large as your floor and twice as long as the hight of your wall, you could probably have about three different colours/patterns of cyclic floor decoration. And there's also a fitness benefit - activate the mechanism while you're still in the room, and suddenly TV watching is no longer so passive, as you have to periodically slide backward into order not to be (literally) sucked in to your favourite programme.

God, but I hate hoovering. With a vengeance bordering on the Biblical.

lostdog, Oct 28 2003


       Why not have it loop the room? The initial expense would be high, but you would always have a clean patch of carpet to roll out. In fact, I bet people would save a room's worth for when they were going to sell the place.   

       Note that if the carpet loops the room, you get insulation on two walls and the ceiling. Place adjacent rooms properly and you can butt insulated walls against uninsulated walls.
phoenix, Oct 28 2003

       I like it. But I forsee a few issues. One is that non-rectangular rooms would be difficult. You also need one wall that has no doors or windows in it to hold the mechanism, and it will be difficult (but not impossible) to run any plumbing or electrical fixtures in that wall.   

       But + from me anyway because I don't like vacuuming either.
krelnik, Oct 28 2003

       //So far, so pointless.// for that alone +1
po, Oct 28 2003

       You need a Roomba.
waugsqueke, Oct 28 2003

       My word, but you did try hard! *applause*   

       Now then, let's get to business. Since you hate hoovering you should consider wood floors next time which don't require hoovering, only sweeping and the occasional shine (if that). In fact sweeping can be left off for months until the dust bunnies stage an uprising.   

       I applaud your laziness, though, which has engendered this wildly implausible construction. A new excuse for lost homework is born. +
k_sra, Oct 29 2003

       Very Nice. You could still have studs, electrical, & h20 if you just add width. This preserves all the other benefits of the invention, but sacrifices the width issue.   

       Other drawbacks, though would be that you're buying 4x more carpet.   

       And the insides of walls usually are great little homes for bugs, who will greatly appreciate (and reproduce) if you periodically bring in food on dirty carpet. You'd definately need the cleaner / brush to be positioned just before the carpet came out, or else your "new" roll will be covered with bugs & dust.   

       All things considered, I think you might instead go with a concrete floor with a drain, and just hose it down. Of course, your cheap flat has waterproof, plastic furniture, eh?
sophocles, Oct 29 2003

       Good point about the bugs, Sophocles, but then again - what self-respecting cockroach couldn't do with a shampoo and a blow-dry? You would at least have the shiniest beetles in town.
lostdog, Oct 29 2003

       dude, I think you blew my mind. but I think what you need to do is come up with some anti-gravity sistem able to hold your furniture for you while the carpet cleans itself, and so, you could keep it rolling for ever. you could also do some exercise on your rolling carpet, ofcourse, and while you're walking/running on it (a speed switcher would come in handy too) you could also get the illusion your room is bigger also.. (ofcourse, you would only get the big-room illusion when you walk one way...) Furthermore, you could have something written on your carpet, and READ it ! while you walk out of it, and, instead of a carpet-washer you could get a hudge rubber-gum and a printer, so you can walk AND read at the same time; if you ever want to stop reading further and want to dig a certain passage, you just stop walking and stare... duude !!!!!
sweet, Oct 30 2003

       //Note that if the carpet loops the room, you get insulation on two walls and the ceiling.   

       note that the walls, and the floor, and the ceiling need something to stand on... otherwise you wouldn't have a room in order to use a carpet
sweet, Oct 30 2003


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