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Shower Thoughts
digimind
thwack
I've often thought about how a shower faucet could be improved to solve common temperature-related problems. Today I thought I had it all figured out. A simple arrangement of water temperature sensors and computer-controlled valves could automatically maintain a constant shower temperature regardless of changes in temperature or pressure of the feed lines.

So, I was about to contact Invention Submission Corporation (ok, not seriously, but their commercial came to mind just now and I thought it would be funny) but first I thought I'd check and see if something like this already exists.

Thanks, Google, for ruining my dreams of financial independence. http://www.moen.com/Consumer/press/Article.cfm?ArticleId=67

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but do they have a patent on it? *evil grin*

True, their system is integrated into a $1000 vertical spa assembly, and I'm thinking of a simpler product that just replaces a common set of shower knobs. Would that be different enoughf or the patent office? :)

Here's what I'm thinking...

Hot and cold feed lines pass through a common (but still separate) valve controlled with a single knob by the user. From there, each one passes through its own water temperature sensor and servo-controlled valve, and then they join. After the joint is a water temperature sensor connected to the computer. A second knob for the user is a potentiometer that provides a value to the computer indicating the desired temperature. The computer simply compares the read water temperature with the desired temperature and makes adjustments twice per second to the servo-controlled valves. The knob is of course labeled with temperature values, and it contains an indicator light to signal when the desired temperature is not possible. (Such would be the case if hot water has not made its journey from the water heater yet, the water heater has been emptied, or the cold water isn't cold enough for those in warm climates.) The master knob would hit a kill switch in the fully-off position that turns off the computer. So to the user, it functions like preheating an oven. You leave the temperature setting wherever you like it. When you turn on the master knob, the indicator light will come on initially if you requested a hot shower but the hot water isn't there yet, and then it will go out when the temperature is what you requested. If the hot water runs out while you're in the shower, the computer's adjustments will automatically correct for it by turning down the cold to match. If it turns off the cold fully and it's still too cold, the indicator light comes on to tell you you're screwed. :)

Shouldn't post your ideas... someone might steal them and submit them. :) The patent process allows for hundreds of different kinds of Paper Clips to each have their own patent... I say go for it!

So then what's the point of getting a patent for anything if someone can get away with making something exactly the same except for the shape of one knob? :-P

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