Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Solar Incense Burner

Concentrated sunlight burns the incense fast. Solar powered sun-tracking, too.
 
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Take a parabolic mirror and aim it at the sun. Put the end of a stick of incense in the focal point. The incense will smoke like crazy, giving off all the aroma at a fierce rate. It will, if you do it right/wrong, light the stick of incense, and you can then transfer the stick to a holder, where it will cool the heck off and give off a faint amount of smoke in a sulky little stream, which is no fun at all.

This idea is to make a widget that holds the stick in the mirror's focus, feeds it further into the focus as it gets consumed, and that uses any of several sun-tracking methods to keep the whole thing oriented. And never take the stick out to put it into a weeine little holder to smolder by itself.

The incense is the rectangular core-less sticks pressed out of paste, about six inches long, not the foot-long sticks rolled around a bamboo splint.

The engineering is trivial, but some folks may prefer balance tanks to solar cells and electric motors. Some versions could have a spring to feed the stick into a tiny metal cup at the focus, others a sensor and a motor.

Keeping the smoke from gumming up the mirror can be done by making a flatter mirror with a longer focal distance.

(I found a box of incense sticks just after I accidentally broke a flashlight, on a very sunny day with no matches available. I had spots before my eyes for the rest of the day.)

baconbrain, Jul 25 2010


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