I was recently brainstorming ideas for useful gadgets that I could patent and become fabulously wealthy from. Pipe dream, I know. It didn't go extremely well. The two viable ideas I managed to come up with were the milk kettle and an oven/ac/light and heating system that can be controlled remotely by internet/mobile phone technology. It turns out that there is already a patent out on the milk kettle, which I thought would be useful for hot chocolate drinkers like myself and possibly for parents of young babies. The kettle, rather than boiling milk, would stop at the required temperature to heat milk without boiling over.Now, I know this won't happen because you'd have to clean the thing out every time you used it or risk your kettle becoming a giant sour milk container but it was a start!
The second idea is also in the early stages of coming into being. I happened upon this website, where the moderator has taken it upon himself to install webcams in most of the rooms of his house and to wire some of his household appliances up to be controlled remotely by people visiting the site. This means that I can turn his christmas lights on and off despite being on a different continent to him. This, frankly, scared the crap out of me (too much power!) and I did have to question why he would want this. I can only imagine people coming over and lights flickering on and off at random like something out of the exorcist.
But you can see how something like this might be useful. I'm not suggesting you let others control the workings of your house but what if if it was just you that had access to this? You could turn some lights on in your house if you were going to be home late or if you were on holiday and wanted to discourage burglars. With advances in the technology you could turn the heating on while on your commute home so the house would be warm to greet you. You could put a roast in the oven in the morning and control its cooking time from your desk at work.
I think changes like this are a very real possibility and am quite excited by the prospect.I'm off to do more research into how exactly it works.(Rather than doing college work or anything of immediate value...)
Slán go fóill!