Floating Mini Sonar Ball

26 July 2008 at 0:59 | Posted in Floating Mini Sonar Ball, Inventions | Leave a comment
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[Category: Inventions. If you are new to my blog please read the “About itimes3” page first]

Recently we had flowers in the house in a big, non-transparent vase. The flowers drank a lot of water, we forgot to fill up the vase and they dried out suddenly.

This made me think: what if there were a tiny device in the vase, floating on the water, that would “scan” for the water level and beep for example every hour if the water were below a certain threshold.

The device could be made as a floating ball, with a diameter of around a centimeter and a half or smaller, which would stay “same side up” at all times due to a small ballast weight at its bottom.

It would be equipped with a tiny sensor using sonar or similar technology to “scan” for the bottom of the liquid it is suspended in, and start giving off beeps once the level of liquid is below a certain threshold.

The ball would be constructed of two halves, with a scale printed on one half, and the halves turned against each other to set a liquid level in inches or centimeters at which to start sounding the alarm. There would also be an “off” position to set the ball to when not in use.

In case of an error, such as the ball getting stuck (between flower stems for example) or not pointing in the right direction, a special alarm could sound such as two or three rapid beeps.

The device would be powered by a small “button” battery, the likes of which are found in tiny devices such as blinking party decorations, musical postcards, etc.

Variants of the device could be made that would not beep but instead flash a bright LED light – these for example could be used in transparent bottles to alert people to purchase new ones or refills (liquor bottles in bars and restaurants or the home, medicine bottles, etc. – many other uses could no doubt be found).

Another variant could be equipped with a tiny transmitter (rather than a beeper or a flashing LED) that could transmit a signal over relatively short distance to a receiver which in turn would then issue an alert.

Due to the low equipment cost (plastic ball, some small electronics and a tiny battery) these balls could be mass produced and once development costs are recouped could be sold cheaply and in bulk. Balls could be made in different colours, including multi-colour and transparent, depending on their use. They could be branded with small logos.

Balls with different scan-intervals could be sold (some would scan once a day, some twice, some once an hour, and some could scan more frequently depending on type of usage; the downside of balls scanning more frequently would be a lower battery life).

If you like this idea and you work in a type of industry where this is relevant, I would be happy to discuss in more detail, answer questions or assist in other ways. For details and contact information please see the “About itimes3” page.

George Spark

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