Usability improvements in an iron

September 24, 2007

I burnt my t-shirt last weekend. I was ironing it and in between I had to run to the door and then I got a call and thus completely forgot about my t-shirt until I smelt something burning and there was my dear GAP t-shirt with a nice big shape of an iron embossed right in the middle. This will definitely serve as a grim reminder to not leave the iron face down on anything.

This made me wonder why people never thought about this while designing an iron. This is a very common scenario – that the iron must not burn the cloth under if left unattended.

Couple of ways by which I think this can be tackled

  1. Having a temperature sensor in the surface that touches the cloth to detect the common burning (ignition) temperature of fabrics so that the iron can shut itself off within a predetermined range of temperature values.
  2. Detect human presence, mainly by having some kind of pressure sensors in the iron handle, and if there is no touch detected for more than ‘n’ minutes or seconds, have the iron shut itself off.
  3. Have the iron automatically change orientation when burning/charring is detected.

This led me to search for some commercial products which suffice this need. Well, I did find an iron by Oliso, which uses an Auto-Lift System™ to prevent burning.

I am thrilled.

Any other ideas to solve this problem ? Let me know, leave me a comment.


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