|Hmmm - one for the laboratory|
I almost digressed there - anyway, well and good: the electronic handwashers are OK - chalk another one up for the gizmos, and be grateful - remember that there are people in the Third World who are so poor that they have to wash their hands without the help of such leading-edge technology. No wonder there is so much disease around.
Alas, one of our machines has developed some kind of headache. I have never really thought about how these things work, but a simple experiment has revealed in the past that, while placing a hand under the spout will produce a measured splot of liquid soap, it does not work with, say, a wooden spoon, so anyone with wooden hands is going to be at an unfair disadvantage in our house. Thus I deduce that the device uses some kind of infra-red detecting diode as a switch - as I say, I have not really thought about it, though you may be impressed that I got as far as trying the wooden spoon.
The kitchen machine is misbehaving - there have been embarrassing puddles. At first we wiped them up and did not discuss the matter. However, I have now discovered that switching off the room light activates the soap dispenser - I realised this when I turned off the lights to leave the kitchen and I could hear the idiot soap pump working. So that explains the puddles, but it is an intriguing malfunction. I have been reading about the various adventures of quantum particles of late, so I must be careful not to read too much into this - maybe I should offer a prize for the most unlikely explanation? On the face of it, the dispenser appears to be confused - not only is it activated by detecting infra-red, it has also shifted its attention to the visible spectrum, though it is the removal of the supply of photons which fires it up. It will happily sit quietly in the dark or the light, and switching the light on is met by total indifference.
I am proud to report that I have resisted the temptation to test to see if it is affected by flashlights, or by placing a bucket over the device - though if I had more time I might have, of course.
I have a faintly disappointing suspicion that a fresh battery might cure the headache - I haven't tried it - where would be the fun in fixing it? No doubt we'll fix or replace the soap machine quite soon, because (interesting or not) in its present state it is not much help.
|A picture of a defective security light|
I am still in the middle of an open-ended campaign of hospital visiting (my mum appears a lot better in the last few days, I am delighted to note - thanks to all who got in touch - though I don't think she'll be home before Christmas), so don't really have the time to fiddle around with soap dispensers, and especially not with Blogger, but I'd be interested in any proper Professor Stink theories about the deranged soap machine, and would be thrilled to hear of your own favourite gizmo failure - the greater the resultant domestic catastrophe the better.