I made the mistake of being at a conference the other day in which industry gurus pontificated about forthcoming commercial opportunities for technology.
One comment that did make me sit up and take notice was that consumers now have an expectation that even mundane products will need to entertain to be commerciallly competitive. One way to achive this would be to turn even boring tasks into a form of game (people already watch the tumble dryer, play with the programmable vacuum cleaner and communicate via the message-writing toaster).
You don’t want to just clean up the dirt, you want to zap it in some kind of challenging shoot-em-up.
I’ve noticed that it’s often quite hard, when using e.g. a vacuum cleaner, to be clear about what parts of a floor have been effectively cleaned.
Today’s invention is an attachment to such systems which distributes (spatially randomly) a quantity of high visibility particles onto a carpet. These act as tracers so that when they have been all recovered (to be scattered again elsewhere later) the carpet will have been effectively visited everywhere and therefore cleaned.
Unpleasant employers of domestic cleaners could use the returned particle count as a measure of diligence.