Pedestrian Crossing Buttons

Have you ever lowered the temperature of your hotel air conditioning system yet still felt hot? That must happen a lot, considering that many hotel thermostats do not work. Hotel operators only put them there because you’ll ask them to change the temperature in your room otherwise. Besides, they don’t want you to leave a negative review on TripAdvisor.

Hotel thermostats aren’t the only fake ones out there. Office thermostats don’t work, either. Estimates vary wildly, but anywhere from two to 90 percent of office thermostats do not work. Interestingly, many offices once had working thermostats, but they’ve been removed because the tenants could not determine the best temperatures for them.

Tube trains operating in London have “open” buttons that passengers can press to open the train doors. Some even have a “close” button that supposedly allows the passengers to close the train doors right before it begins its journey. We say “supposedly” because the buttons do not work. The doors are controlled by the train drivers.

Those progress bars that show the percentage or time left to complete a file transfer or download on our phones, computers, and other electrical gadgets don’t really work, at least not in the way we think. For instance, a progress bar at 50 percent does not mean half of a file has been downloaded. Almost all of the file could have been downloaded—or none at all.

This problem is one that even affects high-end fitness trackers and smartwatches, including the Apple Watch, Fitbit Surge, Microsoft Band, and the Samsung Gear S2. A 2017 study by researchers from the Stanford University School of Medicine revealed that fitness trackers and smartwatches have error margins of less than five percent when measuring heart rates. This is pretty much okay.

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