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17 comments

Over-Engineering

Posted July 30, 2012 8:47 AM by Baxter

Would you buy air-conditioned pants?

Not pants that use a more breathable fabric, but literally air condition? Me neither. Many people wear shorts to fight the heat during summer months. Others apparently need air-conditioned pants and shirts. But don't worry, these sweet stylish air-conditioned pants will only run you $206.

Image Credit : Gizmag

At first when I thought about over-engineering safety was on my mind. Modern transportation came to mind specifically. A modern car contains tons of features engineered with passenger safety in mind. But then I started to think about non-safety features over-engineered into cars. A good example is the 2013 BMW M5. The M5 has a beautiful twin-turbo V8 producing 560 hp. But when the accelerator is pressed the sounds that fill the cabin are not from the engine, but rather a recording. That's right, a lip-synching 560hp $100,000 luxury performance car.

Image Credit: BMW

Or how about the $150 Oral-B Triumph electronic toothbrush. Sure it takes a lot of effort out of brushing, but does it really do a better job than an old-fashioned manual toothbrush? Some dentists aren't so sure.

Image Credit: Oral-B

So in your opinion is there such a thing as over-engineering? Do you think products are still being designed that are overly complicated?

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#1

Re: Over-Engineering

07/30/2012 9:08 AM

This japanese company seems to think the air conditioned clothes will help with global warming concerns. Despite the really puffy look, they actually seem really comfortable and.. and.. and.. I want one!

My big concern is, "What happens when I wash these pants?". I can't imagine a rinse cycle will be too good on the fan / wiring of these.

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#2

Re: Over-Engineering

07/30/2012 9:54 AM

Yes, some people 'need' to use electric toothbrushes. This would include anyone who has suffered from broken, sprained, infected arm(s) or hand(s), has carpal tunnel syndrome, or has any one of hundreds of medical conditions where holding/moving/pressing a toothbrush is difficult.

And no, you don't need to spend anything near $100 for an electric toothbrush. decent battery powered toothbrushes with rotary or sonic action can be bought for under $10.

By the way, I've always thought that 'over engineered' meant that a 'gadget' was designed to meet a performance limit well in excess of the highest limit that the 'gadget' would ever actually experience during a normal lifetime of use. Like building a house in North Dakota that could withstand a category 5 hurricane, or a house in Florida with a roof designed to support 3 feet of snow.

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#10
In reply to #2

Re: Over-Engineering

07/30/2012 3:34 PM

" Like building a house in North Dakota that could withstand a category 5 hurricane"

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saffir%E2%80%93Simpson_Hurricane_Scale

Given that a category 5 is around 157 MPH wind speeds and higher our stuff is built to handle that already.

A common good windy day around here is already well into the tropical storm level with wind gusts regularly getting well into the category one hurricane speeds.

Category 5? Puny southerners. We call that good Kite flying weather.

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#12
In reply to #10

Re: Over-Engineering

07/30/2012 8:03 PM

Yep. I knew someone would bend my ear about the high winds in the high plains.

So, about those snow storm in Orlando...

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#14
In reply to #10

Re: Over-Engineering

07/31/2012 6:30 AM

In Alaska, we used to make kites out of sheet metal!

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#3

Re: Over-Engineering

07/30/2012 12:38 PM

None of these are examples of over engineering imo, which is all about redundancy...

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#8
In reply to #3

Re: Over-Engineering

07/30/2012 1:50 PM

SolarEagle: None of these are examples of over engineering imo, which is all about redundancy...

Baxter: My understanding was when a product is more complicated than necessary for its application.

This is a good topic for discussion.

Probably most 'more complicated than necessary' designs implement redundancy in some form. But not necessarily all redundant designs are more complicated than necessary. There are lots of things out there that are redundant and it's a good thing. Redundancy is often built into designs such that if one component fails, the other two or three override it. All components must fail before the system fails.

I think what Baxter, and correct me if I'm wrong, is trying to get at is the products out there that are over designed and make you question if it really needs to exist. I think the Honda CR-V is overdesigned:

What's going on???

I don't think Baxter was trying to say that electric toothbrushes are unnecessary. But do we really need ones with Bluetooth connectivity, etc? Or air conditioned pants, it does get out of hand.

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#9
In reply to #8

Re: Over-Engineering

07/30/2012 1:55 PM

I need air conditioned pants.

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#11
In reply to #9

Re: Over-Engineering

07/30/2012 4:49 PM

"I need air conditioned pants."

Wonderful! Global consumerism at its finest. Are you gonna get the stylin' tunic shirt as well? Might have to, it's probably a set. Apologies to George Carlin

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#4

Re: Over-Engineering

07/30/2012 12:55 PM

My understanding was when a product is more complicated than necessary for its application.

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#5
In reply to #4

Re: Over-Engineering

07/30/2012 1:06 PM

That's called the deluxe version....

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#7
In reply to #4

Re: Over-Engineering

07/30/2012 1:45 PM

But I -need- my refrigerator to have a television! Television on my toaster! On everything! MUST. NOT. BE. DISCONNECTED!

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#6

Re: Over-Engineering

07/30/2012 1:16 PM

Where does one draw the line on over-, under- or 'just right-' engineering? Two examples ..(a) Transparent toaster,

(b) Laser guide scissors

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#13

Re: Over-Engineering

07/31/2012 2:44 AM

Over engineered or over stated?

Those pants weren't airconditioned they were simply fan ventilated. Ho hum, I get better cooling action by going Commando.

Real airconditioned garments, as in chilled, are not new and aren't luxuries when used for their intended purpose eg mining, foundries, spacesuits...

I have a real airconditioned hat. I put a bag of ice on my head under the hat. Try it next time you think you need it. Instant long term relief.

Onto car gadgets now. Electric windows are the dumbest thing to have especially on a 4x4. Good luck opening your window to get out in an emergency when the car is under water and the battery has died. Power windows are nice in urban or highway conditions but surely you figure they'd have a manual opening winder as well. That would be a case of too much bling and not enough engineering.

Over blinged not over engineered. The salesmen have taken over the asylum.

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#15
In reply to #13

Re: Over-Engineering

07/31/2012 2:02 PM

Emergency window breaker....

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#16
In reply to #15

Re: Over-Engineering

08/01/2012 1:05 AM

I wish I had that earlier this week.

I was at a toll both and the window wouldn't wind down.........

(client's car)

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#17
In reply to #13

Re: Over-Engineering

10/05/2012 3:52 PM

Good point about the electric windows. I wonder if anyone has ever done a study on drownings in vehicles with electric windows? Seems to me there should at least be an emergency cable release similar to the trunk release, that would detatch the window from the cables, so it will just slide down.

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Users who posted comments:

Baxter (1); Doorman (1); kvsridhar (1); Mizuti (3); nfhiggs (1); Rixter (1); SolarEagle (3); tcmtech (1); Usbport (2); Wal (2); yamdankee (1)

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