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My Gadget Idea: "Timestamper Disc"

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So I have had this very simple little gadget idea for years: A "Timestamper Disc"

And i cannot for the life of me understand why it doesn't exist yet.  It seems like it would make a perfect kickstarter project.

The Timestamper Disc:

The device would basically be like the watch face of a digital watch -- small, round, thin, powered by watch cell battery.

In its simplest form it would have a single "NOW" button on the front, and would simply display the date and a time that the button was last pressed.

If you had room you might display an additional line showing an natural approximation of the time since the last button push, like "13 days ago" or "6 months ago." If space was tight, you could have the button that cycled through the display of last pushed date, time, approximation, and hold button to trigger the NOW timestamp.

So, what would this device be used for?

You'd want to have several of these around the house -- you could use them to keep track of the last time you changed your water filter, the last time you took your medications, the last time the dog was walked, the last time you called your mother, the last time you used the exercise machine, the last time you cleaned your room, the last time the smoke detector batteries were changed, the last time you ate a snack, the time you woke up, the time you went to sleep, how long ago you put on the last coat of paint, when the lassagne was baked, etc.

You'd just place one of these Timestamping discs on or near the object you want to keep track of (velcro, magnet, band, etc.), and just hit the button when you use the object or perform the task.  Now whenever you come back to it, you can see how long it's been since you last performed the event.

They'd be cheap enough that people would buy them in packs of 5 or 10.  With watch cell batteries they would last decades.  You could probably use watch parts and manufacturing machinery.  It's basically a glorified simplified, half-watch.

Additional features:

If you wanted to get fancier, you could put a micro-usb port on it and let users connect to pc/mobile and get historical timestamps of every button press.. And i'm sure you could come up with additional ideas, like being able to set alarms to trigger automatically after the elapse of X amount of time since last press.


Great idea! I would buy some of those devices.

I've looked for a good Android app to do something similar but haven't found a perfect one yet (all the ones I tried involved too many steps for the basic actions). A physical display at the location of the thing you want to keep time on is very practical!

An alarm feature would be very useful. You'd set up a time interval and once it runs out a small red LED would go on.

Re a possible fancier version: a NFC tag could also be used, since most newer smartphones are NFC capable and you wouldn't have to connect a usb cable to the little device.

Good ideas.

I definitely think a physical little disc that you could keep in the places you would use it would be most convenient, and that getting out a phone in each place you would want to use it would be inconvient, but a mobile app has some advantages, like a central location for all items, and no manufacturing issues.  So a simple mobile app would make sense too.

Come to think of it, I think I might be equally happy with a setup that only uses regular NFC tags together with a new android app. You'd put NFC tags on the things you want to monitor. Hold the phone next to the tag (and, depending on your phone setup, press some button) to trigger the app. The app itself would be similar to your the progress bars of life. When a timer runs out the progressbar turns red and (optionally) the user is notified (notification field, sound alarm, email, etc). Longpress a timer to reset it. Press a timer for setup (name, duration, alarm). Keep it minimal and show all timers on the same screen without a need to scroll around.

I can see the drawback with getting the phone out. But I think many people, especially younger ones, have their phones out more often than not so...  :)  Furthermore there is much tech buzz about "smart watches" soon to be launched. They'd interface with your phone and show notifications. I bet many such watches, once they're out, would have the capabilities to interface with the NFC tags. So in that scenario you'd move the arm/watch near the tag and press a watch button. Your phone in your pocket could then read the timer data out loud.

Anyway, I think enough people would be interested in all these alternatives. Hundreds of millions of people aren't going to get a smartphone anytime soon and I bet many of them would have use for small smart hardware timers.

I can see this being pretty useful.

Needs to be very thin, almost film-like and allow for a bit of bending. If it could cling both magnetically and with static, it'd be the best. Needs to be washable. Just think - peeling it off a container of leftover pasta *after* taking said container out of dishwasher :)

NFC is nice and so is extended single-button interface (with long-presses, multi-taps and Morse code text entry), but I'd say these are secondary to the hardware hotness. For every thick extended version I bet you could sell a dozen of simpler thin ones.



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