My final major project will be starting very soon and for sometime now I have been looking for a topic or design problem to tackle. Up until recently I have been thinking about looking into an inclusive media system; incorporating digital television on a live and download basis, browser access to the internet, use of media found on a hard drive (i.e. m-peg, mp3, wmv, etc), a games console platform in which users download games and a communication system (i.e. email, phone, skype etc) For my project I would take the idea through the design process and apply marketing research and strategy to see if it would become a viable and profitable product. My concerns with the project were that I could not go into enough technical depth in regards to the electronics and system involved and how viable the product was in regards to what media companies would take the system on and produce streaming TV or produce video games for it.
My current line of thought for a project came while I was trying to solve a problem with my computer overheating. Since I got my laptop, like many other laptops, it has constantly struggled with keeping cool. The laptop has been taken apart a few times to remove the dust inside the fan system, I have been blowing in the fan regularly to keep it clean and allow it to breathe and I always use it on a hard surface. But only recently have I downloaded fan control software, below is a screenshot of the software in action, note the CPU temperature section as well as Hard Drive temperature.
Both My CPU and Hard Drive have peaked at 46 degrees, yesterday my hard drive reached 51 degrees. Thankfully the software is reducing the problem and everything is cooling down with increased fan speed sessions. But basically I was thinking about the problem more and found out “The more powerful and faster computers become, the “hotter” they get. The modern Pentium IV 3 GHz processor radiates more than 50W of heat!!! Other hardware is not far behind…According to manufactures, the normal recommended working temperature of a hard disk is 35-40°С. Once it rises by just 10°С – from 40°С to 50°С, the safety of its work becomes more than two times less!” Link
The majority of laptop owners I know, who often are unaware of the overheating problem, experience the problem. The heat generated could potentially melt components of the laptop and damage or corrupt data. Just recently I visited IOM3’s Materials Laboratory in London for a packaging project, the majority of the materials there are smart materials which basically means they have a specific or unusual property or characteristic. I’m thinking of looking for a smart material for application in a new cooling system for laptops and possibly desktops, games consoles, Hi-Fi equipment, etc.
Any thoughts, information or comments on the idea and problem in general would be greatly appreciated.