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Last Updated: Tuesday, 6 September 2005, 10:09 GMT 11:09 UK
Smart pegs keep rain off washing
Student designed clothes peg
The clothes peg was part of a final year student project
Hanging out the washing only to witness a downpour five minutes later has long been accepted as one of life's little bugbears.

But a final year student at Brunel University has come up with a weather-predicting clothes peg he hopes could solve the issue.

The peg holder can sense changes in air pressure and send electrical signals to metal strips on household pegs.

If rain is forecast within the next half hour, the peg will lock itself.

The lock-down prevents the washing being hung on the line.

It could prove a more scientific gauge than the time-honoured method of assessing the amount of cloud in the sky directly above the washing line.

In the shops?

Student Oliver MacCarthy, from Great Barr, Birmingham, wanted to take a fresh look at a household object for his final year design project at Brunel.

He was inspired by his own personal frustrations with soggy pants.

"I thought of clothes pegs because so often I hang washing out, only to take it in five minutes later, absolutely soaked," he said.

Unfortunately the system has no way of protecting clothes from the rain once they are hung. Equally they will not lock to prevent the clothes being removed in the event of a downpour.

Paul Turnock, design director at Brunel's School of Engineering and Design, is confident the smart pegs will make it into the shops in the future.

"Oliver has very cleverly taken a well established consumer item and re-designed it to be intelligent and user-friendly," he said.

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