#1377: CarouSell

Manufacturers of eg edible goods are obsessive about understanding what we like best. Today’s invention is a box for chocolates or biscuits which allows communication about our preferences.

It consists of a (grey) annular box, like a slide carousel, in which eg biscuits are arranged on their sides and visible through a transparent, annular lid.

The lid must be rotated so that a slot in it corresponds with the biscuit of one’s choice. As this happens, a small (red) pen leaves a line on a roll of paper wrapped around the outer face of the carousel. When the pen stops, it leaves a small blot.

Microscopic analysis later of the blots and the line’s local ink depth allows interpretation of the order in which biscuits were visited.

Consumers could be offered a small incentive to mail the paper sheet back to the manufacturer to aid product development.


  1. On further consideration, I suspect that the pen would need to contain stratified ink of different colours so that the trace would change colour according to when it was made. Probably better done with a pencil whose ‘lead’ varied in colour with length.

  2. If a manufacturer wanted feedback on what products (biscuits)were most preferred, they could set up a ‘Free Sample’ machine in markets. Customers would rotate the carousel to make their choice, press a button, and one would be dispensed. Only one per minute, so they have to choose wisely. The biscuit that was vended most is most preferred. Added bonus, after a free sample, the customer may be more likely to buy a package.

    • Why didn’t I think of this? 😉
      It would be very cool if you could say “Now fill me a packet with 50% of this type, 20% of this type…etc”. Just like those fabled old days of personal service at the general store…

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