10 Everyday Technologies You Don't Realize You Use


You might laugh, but springs surround us. And they're not just supporting our beds, either: Springs are an integral part of really complicated technology and basic products we use constantly. So let's go through a few things you couldn't do without springs.

For one, you couldn't drive to work. Springs are used in your car's suspension system so that when you get in, hit a bump or carry a heavy load, you aren't bottoming out. You might not have been able to safely heat up your lunch in a microwave, either; snap-action switches are used in the door. These micro-switches (a popular name for them, trademarked by Honeywell) are made up of a plunger that harnesses the stored-up energy in a spring to snap, causing a movement. These switches are especially useful because they can be controlled by temperature or position.

Your thermostat, for instance, might employ a snap-action switch to turn the furnace on or off. When the temperature reaches a certain point (and our friend the spring is wound tightly), the plunger snaps, making the mechanism turn on or off. Your microwave uses it when you open the door as your pizza rolls are cooking; the snap-action switch uses our little spring to automatically cut power to the microwave so you aren't given a radiation dose.