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Solve a puzzle to unlock frequently used household items every time you reach for them

Image credit: Raspbery Pi

Darko Savic
Darko Savic Nov 10, 2021
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A device that requires you to answer a question or solve a puzzle to unlock frequently used household items. A fun way to keep yourself mentally sharp while running on auto-pilot.
  • Select the correct answer to unlock the fridge (useful to students cramming for exams)
  • Identify the person on the screen to unlock the door (early Alzheimer's patients)
  • Solve a puzzle to release the locking mechanism covering the toilet paper (anyone)
  • A way for old people to keep exercising their brains and stave off cognitive decline.
  • A way for students to memorize important stuff (spaced repetition).
  • A way for anyone to internalize mental models, specific principles, etc.
How it works
A device that contains a lock, paired with a mini android computer with a touch screen. It runs the questions/puzzle app.
When the answer is correct, the lock releases. When the door/mechanism closes, it auto-locks again.
Multiple devices are placed around the home (doors, fridge, washing machine, toilet paper holder that can be closed, etc.).
Depending on the purpose, the devices can be configured for simple puzzle/memory games or study.
Spaced repetition study method explained:

There is a free android/desktop software that is popular with students that need to memorize a lot of information. This could be used to operate the locking mechanism:

Devices throughout your home would strategically repeat questions to answers you are trying to internalize. When you get a question right several consecutive times, it would come up less frequently. Other new questions would take its place.
Creative contributions

Solving puzzles to unlock addictive apps

Povilas S
Povilas S Nov 12, 2021
As discussed in this idea session it would be best to use some sort of challenge-based lock for each separate app that the user spends the most time on during the day. Those apps that are not addictive to the user would be left alone and preferably those who he/she spends the most time on would require more effort to unlock than those who they just use for a minor or moderate amount of time.
So instead of answering questions as proposed in that idea, the user could be asked to solve a puzzle. The user would opt for this themselves as means for lowering their screen addiction, they would define in the settings of the designated software the difficulty of the challenges, the time spent on certain apps after which those apps get locked with a puzzle-lock, etc. Or they could simply choose general difficulty level depending on how much they want to be distracted away from addictive apps and the software would configure the rest automatically.
Say you are using Facebook app for 10 minutes, then the app gets locked with a rather easy puzzle and you can either solve it and continue using the app or exit the app and open it after some time when the puzzle-lock time expires naturally (e.g. few hours). If you solve the puzzle and unlock the app, you can use it for 10 more minutes before it gets locked with a harder challenge and this goes on.
Using puzzles for this would be good not simply to distract the user from addictive apps, but also to promote mental clarity and cognitive functions. I think the latter and screen addiction is reversely proportional, unconscious scrolling dulls the mind.
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Shubhankar Kulkarni
Shubhankar Kulkarni25 days ago
For those who like to solve puzzles, it might be more of a motivation. They might look at the puzzle as a challenge and the use of distracting apps as a reward for solving the puzzle correctly.
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Povilas S
Povilas S25 days ago
Shubhankar Kulkarni I think it would still be beneficial even in that case. You'd still get distracted from the addictive app and spend time more productively (training your cognitive skills). Also, the puzzles can be made increasingly hard to solve even for those who like it and are good at it. If you spent 20 mins to solve a puzzle and then the system lets you use Instagram for 10 mins before locking it again, this perhaps wouldn't seem like a worthy reward.
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