I like LED candles because I don't like being inside flaming buildings. My college dorm caught fire twice because of unattended candles. (Not mine.) Neither time was fun.

Some LED candles have 5-hour timers. That's a nice touch, but you never remember which button to push for the timer, or how long to hold it. And sometimes you might only want the candle on for an hour or two.

My solution (which probably already exists) is an LED candle with a base that is similar to wind-up kitchen timers. Just twist the base until an arrow lines up with the number of hours you want your candle to stay on. The candle will slowly turn as the timer winds down and eventually stops.

This seems like the easiest possible interface.

Now you tell me who is already making this exact device.

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Feb 28, 2014
Is there any reason you didn't post this on Quirky.com?

In case you haven't heard of Quirky ... It would only take you a few minutes to post your idea, you don't have to be involved after that, and if they decide to make it and sell it you get a cut of gross sales just for posting the idea. If you post a link to your idea on your blog, I'm sure you'd easily get the 200 votes needed for the quirky team to review it so you have a much higher chance of getting your idea made into a real live product than most ideas that are posted.
Feb 23, 2014
I see a glorious if slightly irresponsible marketing opportunity: Batteries intentionally designed to die after a couple of hours, precisely for simple items people forget to turn off, or toys you don't want the kids to mess with too long, or fire/carbon/burglar alarms for people you don't like.
-1 Rank Up Rank Down
Feb 23, 2014
What's wrong with having a simple on-off switch? Surely THAT is the easiest possible interface?
Feb 22, 2014
I realize this is not what you're describing:


but have you considered something like this - you then just plug in a light, and it switches off after the set period of time.

No, it's not wireless. But it does exist, and it's cheap.
+2 Rank Up Rank Down
Feb 22, 2014
Um, if the 'candle' needs a battery, then powering the timer is no problem. Conversely, if a spring 'motor' can generate enough power to run an LED, then the whole device doesn't need a battery.

You're welcome.
+11 Rank Up Rank Down
Feb 22, 2014
I'm glad you included the drawing for people who couldn't understand such a complicated device.
+3 Rank Up Rank Down
Feb 21, 2014
Regarding your aversion to being inside flaming buildings - that is a primary reason I will only live in a detached home. I do not want to trust my neighbors not to burn down my dwelling when they burn their own down. I've watched an apartment fire from my own apartment in my younger days, and I've put out a fire in the office kitchen due to the careless placement of plastic next to to burners. That said, Scott's LED candle is a good idea. Related - my wife recently bought some contraption that melts scented wax without the use of a flame.
+2 Rank Up Rank Down
Feb 21, 2014
Don't know if anybody is making one, but the base could have a touch strip like a progress bar with a small circle to the right of it displaying the number of hours. Think phone. And/or a phone app to act as timer. Should keep the cost down.
+4 Rank Up Rank Down
Feb 21, 2014
Moving parts cost more than electronic ones. Your moving indicator would probably quadruple the cost of the candle.
Feb 21, 2014
Why not just create a Bluetooth candle that comes on when you're in close proximity but turns off when you leave the room. You could have a toggle switch icon on your phone to override it.
Feb 21, 2014
Scott's idea of having an indicator on the bottom and a twist-to-set the duration interface is great. But I don't see a need for the candle to turn. When you hit zero, the candle shuts off, and that's fine. You don't need a visible indicator of how much time is left. The next time you turn the candle on, you can look at the timer setting (where the arrow from the base points to the number on the candle itself) and decide whether you still want that much time. If not, you turn the base until you hit the correct duration and then hit the ON button. If you later decide you gave the timer too much time and you want to turn the candle off, pick it up and hit the OFF button.
Feb 21, 2014
Scott, the LED candle idea is brilliant. And no batteries needed (spring-activated should do it).

I wonder if you or anyone will run with it.
Feb 21, 2014
[ Yeah nothing better than the serene glow of a candle in a dark room, accompanied by the "TICK, TICK, TICK!" of a mechanical kitchen timer. ]

It's no problem. You can't hear it over the noise the CPAP machine makes.
+13 Rank Up Rank Down
Feb 21, 2014
Yeah nothing better than the serene glow of a candle in a dark room, accompanied by the "TICK, TICK, TICK!" of a mechanical kitchen timer.
How about a simple digital timer on the bottom of the base that with a simple button push lets you turn on the candle and set the duration of the timer?
Feb 21, 2014
Wouldn't it be better if, as you twisted the candle, it grew (perhaps telescopically)? Then as the timer went down, the candle would shrink, like a real one?
Feb 21, 2014
Did the math now... well, never mind :(
-1 Rank Up Rank Down
Feb 21, 2014
Another idea - why not make that spring a little tougher than needed to only rotate the candle, and use the additional energy to either improve battery life, or even to make batteries unnecessary at all. This might be impossible because of some reason, and I haven't calculated how much energy would it get you, but the idea seems cool to me anyway.
+5 Rank Up Rank Down
Feb 21, 2014
Uhhhh...errrrrr......ummmmmm.......NO. To be consistent with many of your previous blog entries about hi tech homes....you need a candle that can sense from your watch when you have been motionless for 20 minutes....and hence asleep. They already make such motion sensors and attach them to guinea pigs (lab technicians) in chemistry labs. The idea is that if someone has passed out from fumes, the rest of the building wants a warning. They don't want to go charging into a lab that has bad air just because someone is lying unconscious on the floor.
Feb 21, 2014
"Turn clockwise" is too complicated? How the hell did you sign up to leave a comment? Did someone help you with that? -- Scott"

No need to insult me for having an opinion. But yes, in my opinion this is a too complicated interface for a candle. I will give you some reasons:
- You cannot give the candle a fixed position as you will have to pick it up to rotate the kitchen timer. A switch on top or on the side would be easier.
- If there is little light, often the case when you use a candle, it will be hard to see the position of the kitchen timer. Especially since the light is at the top and the kitchen timer is at the bottom.

But feel free to prove me wrong by making billions selling these.
-4 Rank Up Rank Down
Feb 21, 2014
The mechanical movement of rotating the candle as it counts down will greatly reduce your battery life. Otherwise it seems like the next common-sense evolution to the timed candle.

[Kitchen timers aren't powered. They work on some sort of spring that gets wound when you turn the dial of the timer. -- Scott]
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