Saturday, February 12, 2011
The prompt over at Write Anything this week asks us to identify a challenge within our society and to offer an invention which will solve or ease this problem. Its our "Million Dollar Idea". As always, this is in first draft format.
All eyes tracked the slender figure at the end of the boardroom as pulled at his ill-fitting off the rack suit. He shuffled his papers and nodded to the technician to begin the powerpoint presentation.
Mr McDonald wriggled in his chair sighing dramatically and wished he’d never volunteered to be on the Industry Innovations Panel. Most of the inventions presented were ill researched and prototypes shoddily built. He rubbed his eyes trying to focus on the last presenter, ignoring the grumbling in his stomach. The perks kept him attending; an expensive lunch once a month and direct contact with the attractive head of research at their rival company.
The run of the mill video presentation gave little away and appeared amateurish at best. McDonald yawned loudly and winked at the executive from Merc Electonics, hoping his posturing has impressed her. She had steadfastly refused to look in his direction all morning.
Carl pushed his fingers through his hair and smiled nervously around the room, gauging he had lost the interest of most of the audience. He picked up the small box and opened it, dropping some of the plastic envelopes onto the polished wooden table. “The kit contains enough for most items an owner would reasonably lose. The usual car keys, mobile phones, wallets. But it can also be linked with larger items such as the car.”
There was a murmuring of muffled laughter.
With boosted confidence, he continued. “I mean, how many times have you parked in a large multi-story car park and forgotten after an hours meeting or shopping where it is and then spend half an hour looking for it?”
Nods round room sent a fresh boost of bravado through Carl.
A manicured hand rose. “ Hi, Carl. Tracey Goodshaw from Merc Electronics. I’m still a little confused as to how this chip works?”
“These chips carry are individualised codes and are held on file by our company.”
She shook her head and frowned at Carl as she closed her folder, keen to get to lunch and away from the leering eyes of Mcdonald. “This is hardly new technology - there are many microchipping companies all offering similar services.”
“True, Ms Goodshaw, Those companies supply tiny chips to the pet industry through to mobile phones; but they only record the information. They can’t help you find your lost item. We have pushed that idea further.”
Carl nodded to the technician for the lights to turn on again and focused his audience toward his smartboard. “The chips are married to a single sensor which is embedded into the owners finger. Its a painless ten minute surgery, which can be conducted by a suburban GP. This is inserted under the fingertips into the hypodermis - the third layer and one which will not interfere with your ability to touch or feel.”
The previously disinterested group has collectively sat up and leant forward studying the enlarged photo of the chip being surgically inserted into a fingertip. “Each item has a code number and is entered into your iphone app here.” Carl demonstrated the codes on the projector linked to his iphone.
He continued. “You touch the item icon you wish to locate on the iphone and then press your finger and thumb together. Its that simple.”
Traceys frown had not lifted but she had reopened her folio and picked up a pen. “So what happens then?”
“There are two settings - hot/cold or a pip” Carl pointed to the oversized iphone screen.
“A single touch of the finger and thumb together will create a hot or cold sensation, telling you if you are close or far away from the item. You can customise the range using your app.”
A low murmur of interest emitted from the back room as lunch was forgotten and rumbling stomachs ignored.
“The pip setting will set off a small sound from your item, responding to your searching. I’ll give you an example.” Carl gave his keys to Tracey. “Please hand these around the table and at some point would someone please put them under your folder or into your pocket while I turn around.”
Carl turned and hummed softly to himself, waiting for his car keys to be neatly hidden, before turning around.
“So lets imagine, I’ve put my keys down at home and am looking for them. I bring up my app, select car keys and then the range and press go.”
Carl began to walk around the table slowly, tapping his fingers together every so often. “As I walk around the table I am feeling a slight cold sensation. That tells me the keys are not on this side of the table.” He tapped again. “Warmer , so its around this way.” Carl tapped again and grinned. “Hot - I believe you have it on your person?” He held his hand out to the astonished executive.
“Lets look at the pip option now.” He held his keys out again, smiling at Tracey. She returned it with a coy half smile. “ One of you please hide the keys in one of the cupboards or drawers, or behind one of the pot plants while I go outside and get a cup of coffee.”
Carl walked outside, and like children, the executives chattered and chirped as a hiding spot was found.
He walked back in, steaming coffee in hand and. took a sip before continuing. “So using my app again, I select the pip option and press my fingers together.”
A tiny pip sounded from behind a cushion on the armchairs beside the windows..He pressed it again and as he walked closer, the pip answered clearly.
He turned and looked at the gathered board. “Although I now know where it is, I’ll press it again, so you can hear how loud it is when you are close.”
It piercing pip left no doubt as to its location.
“Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you my new nanotechnology - Found. What you've lost is at your fingertips.”
Carl smiled broadly and took a short bow to a resounding standing ovation. Tracey clutched her portfolio as she strode over to where he stood, beating the other executives and ignoring McDonalds glowering dark looks.
She put her hand out and smiled more shyly than she had meant. “I’d like to speak to you more about your Found technology Carl. Are you busy for lunch?”
This is a first draft.
This story will be recorded and posted up for Spoken Sunday via Audio Boo