Radiator Food Warmer - A case of perceived practicality...

There's something about the perceived practicality of a product which adds to its value - that is, if the user can easily rationalize the product in terms of saved space, saved energy, or any other "more for less" way, it'll be much more satisfying to use. This psychological effect can exist even if the perceived value doesn't really exist, or if it's offset by larger inconveniences.

With that prelude, check out the The Natural Wave, from designer Byung-seok You at Yanko Design via BoingBoing Gadgets. This ceramic plate is designed to fit on top of and use the heat from old-school steam radiators, in order to keep your hot drink and pastries toasty. Perceived to be practical and/or efficient? Definitely. Actually practical? Well, that depends on a lot of things: the shape of your particular radiator matching the fins on the underside of the Wave, the radiator actually being on a heating cycle when you're looking to use it, the radiator and atmospheric conditions interacting with the plate's thermal mass so that it's hopefully at the right temperature for use, and of course, where the radiator is located in your house or room. It's a lot of things to have to get just right - but when you do, I bet there's a wonderful perceived practicality and added value to the product!

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