“What if we could avoid lifting it?”

Equipotentiality: Redesign an object or its environment so the need to raise or lower is eliminated or performed by the environment.

Less ups and downs

To avoid lifting and lowering things from a delivery truck, loading docks are arranged at truck deck height so that items can be rolled on and off.

Instead of lifting and carrying luggage, add rollers to the luggage.

A tool chest with drawers makes it easier to find tools without lifting and lowering trays to get to the bottom row of tools.

A spring added to a pickup tailgate or garage door lowers the effort to lift them.

The folding legs on a gurney allow it to be rolled straight into an ambulance.

In a canal, instead of lifting boats from a lower body of water to a higher one, raise the level of the water until the two bodies match.

Elevators employ counter-weights so that the load pulling the elevator car is almost equal up or down.

Curb cuts allow easy movement from road to sidewalk without having to lift wheelchairs or strollers.

Less temperature changes

Other instances of equipotentiality involve preserving temperature.

For example, rather than rolling steel at high temperature, then letting it cool, then heating it up for another process, make the two steps adjacent so that they can be done while the steel is hot the first time.

More examples

As I stumble across real world examples of this Inventive Principle in action I add them here.

Your turn

What problems do you face that this inventive principle could help solve? Have you used this principle before?