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Another geographically inspired idea. This time I've left St. Lucia for North Dakota. Due to the temperatures and blowing snow, and the fact that I'm from the south, I'm freezing. I bought a Russian "Ushanka" earflap hat but encountered a flaw; when it gets cold enough to require that the earflaps
be worn down you have to take off your gloves to untie cords, pull down the now snow-covered flaps, and retie them under your chin while your hands freeze.
Why not [besides cost] insert a strip of temperature sensative shape memory material into the earflaps? In warm weather the strips will keep the earflaps on top of your head. As the temperature drops below freezing the tension is relaxed and the flaps bend down under the chin for warmth.
[spidermother, Nov 16 2011]
||//Why not// Because memory metal only returns to its original shape when heated _above_ a certain temperature. You'll need a different mechanism, such as a bimetallic strip.
||I can imagine a complicated lever device, like those things that automatically open greenhouse windows.