Stupid Design: Sensor-Based Paper Towel Dispenser

I’m sure it’s not just me. How many of you have been frustrated by one of these sensor-based paper towel dispensers? Whether you are in between meetings or classes, bathroom is a place you want to get in and out as quickly as you can and here, this stupid machine stands in your way. Why do we have to wave our hands tirelessly to get the paper? Also, some of these machines do not dispense enough in one shot and you have to do this thing all over again.

I think the good old mechanical lever would serve me just right. I can pull the lever without any delay and I can quickly get the right amount of paper towel, wipe my hands, toss, and get out.

If you really want to think about touch-free dispensing mechanism, what about something that automatically and quickly pulls out the paper towel when it gets cut out? So, this would mean that whenever somebody takes the paper towel, the machine will pre-dispense for the next user. The designer has to also consider the performance over time. For some reason, these sensor-based paper towel dispensers get slower over time; the speed at which the paper rolls out degrades over time.

A more annoying use of motion-based sensor is on the toilet seat. Yes – the one that flushes on you three, four times while you are in the middle of it. Wouldn’t it be nice if these devices had a ‘like’, ‘dislike’ mechanisms and the designers of the devices will get flooded by the user feedback? I don’t know where the designers of these things are, but they certainly don’t deserve the salary they received for their work.

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