A twelve-year-old boy from Nanning, China has managed to win the first prize at a regional science and innovation contest by creating automatic clothes drying rack that is capable of retracting itself once it detects rain and can extend back again after the sky has cleared. The incredible contraption by Lu Jiezhen has had people talking, but much of the hype is because of the inspiration behind creating this device.
Lu Jiezhen is a sixth-grade student at North-East Women’s Education Center in Nanning, China’s Guangdong Province. He came up with the idea for the automatic drying rack after getting yelled at by his mom. She had to leave the house one day and told Lu Jiezhen to look after the clothes that she had hung out for drying. She reminded him to take them inside if it started to rain. The 12-year-old Lu Jiezhen ended up playing in the house and completely forgot about the clothes even when it started raining.
As was expected, upon mom’s return; Lu Jiezhen was given a proper scolding. Instead of looking for excuses, Lu started working on a solution that would keep him safe from such scolding in the future. The smart sixth-grader got feedback on his automatic clothes drying rack idea by his father and some of his teachers. All of them agreed to help him build it. The team worked for several months on the idea and was able to unveil a completely functional version of it at the 34th Guangxi Provincial Youth Science and Technology Innovation Contest. The judges were so impressed that Lu Jiezhen ended up earning the first prize.
The amazing invention has built-in sensors that are capable of detecting raindrops and then retract the rack under a tarp that is waterproof for making sure that the clothes remain dry. However, the device is much smarter than just retracting the rack. It also features a light-sensitive sensor that can detect when the sun starts shining again to retract the tarp and extend the drying rack. The rack is also capable of determining when the clothes have dried, and retracts itself under the tarp.
The smart drying rack is only a prototype at the moment, and Lu Jiezhen has no intention of creating a commercial version of the device.