"My feeling is that the chance of our surviving into the twenty-first century as working civilization is less than fifty percent but greater than zero."
Here's another handy device, one that could be implemented in real life in a variety of ways. For example, how about a theater ticket that actually helped you find your seat. It could be implemented with a system of scanners, with an embedded RFID tag in the ticket itself. Ushers - enjoy your sinecures while you can! The fact that they are lighted would be of help also.
Another example of a device that gives you valuable feedback is a battery that has a test strip built-in. I don't know how cheap the test strip has to be before it makes sense to put one on every battery, but I'll bet theater tickets are expensive enough provide the necessary margin. Maybe the ticket itself doesn't light up, but when you pass through a set of gates, a sensor in the gate tells you if you are going in the right direction.
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