“Can we eliminate moving parts with electronics?”

Body scan

BMW has developed a new technique that avoids the need to tear down sample cars to see if their production line is accurate.  The system uses sensors to create a three-dimensional image of the entire vehicle. The resulting 3D data model has an accuracy of less than 100 µm and can be used to scan successive vehicles to identify barely visible deviations at an early stage.

Drop the needle

Record players relied on a needle in contact with the record disc. The inevitable result is wear on the record. In contrast, a CD player relies on a laser to read the disk, avoiding wear.

Magnetic switch

Older alarm systems often relied on small switches being opened when windows and doors opened, completing triggering the alarm system. These switches were prone to failure. If you have an alarm system installed in the last couple of decades, chances are that it relies on magnetic switches instead.  These switches close when in near-contact with magnets inserted into the mating surface of the door or window.

Lacklustre video

With online video (an electromagnetic medium) we eliminate the need for stores to lend out tapes and disks.

Magnetic dampers in cars

Rather than using a mechanical method to adjust the damper rate, the shock or strut can be made stiffer or looser by applying electromagnetic force to a ferrofluid in the strut fluid.  Not only does this allow a higher degree of control (smaller, faster adjustments) it wears better.

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?