Category: Feasible inventions
June 9, 2013
Most military organisations run an escape-and-evade course, during which their personnel are trained to avoid getting caught by forces in pursuit of them.
Today’s invention is for anyone being chased by a team of trackers with dogs, eg downed pilots…
It consists of a small, silent catapult with which the user can fire clay pigeon-like projectiles in random directions.
As each one lands, its thin outer skin cracks and releases a taught rubber band so that additional, internal clays spring out and fly for perhaps 10m in random directions.
The clays are nested to several levels so that they end up a long way from the user.
Each clay is heavily impregnated with human scent compunds.
The effect is that a pack of hounds is effectively misdirected away from their quarry.
June 6, 2013
You can now buy a typing tutor program which allows you to identify your individual error rate per finger, over a period of time.
The only data I can find indicate an error distribution of 2,4,1,2,0, 0,1,2,4,14 %.
I’m guessing this may vary significantly between individuals but it is an interesting measure of one’s physiology, which might in itself allow identification of an individual. Perhaps the motor homunculus in one’s motor cortex reflects these figures.
Today’s invention however is to gather the information for an individual who has not yet learned to type and then reprogram their keyboard so that the most frequently typed letters in one’s language, eg E, are placed close to one’s most accurate fingertip (and vice versa).
(There would be little point the indvidual whose map is shown above using his right, little finger to type E, for example).
May 30, 2013
I’m regularly driven to distraction when trying to close up my coat in a sudden rainstorm.
The main difficulty is that the moving zip part (carriage?) and the retainer get misaligned and/or separated by even a small amount.
This makes it impossible to insert the other side of the zip properly, thus causing me to have to bend over and watch what I’m doing in some detail.
Today’s invention is a pair of small magnets to remedy this situation (shown in yellow).
Simply moving the zipper down as far as it will go will automatically attach and align the zip and retainer, allowing the wearer to avoid spending crucial seconds getting wet.
May 28, 2013
I can’t be the only person who finds self-checkouts intimidating.
It’s not just the hectoring tone of voice -every store that has these uses a radically different interface. All of them are confusing and ugly with no sense of process built in (Look at all the green boxes in the photo). Frequently, they require interventions by the few human store staff left, just to correct the inevitable errors.
Assuming that retail chains have invested such huge sums that these systems can’t be fixed or scrapped, today’s invention is a simple online training simulator.
Each different type of machine in use could be selected by a customer in advance of going to a particular store. The website would reproduce all the ridiculous interactive elements -including the noises.
This would make mildly Aspergers people like me, who get overwhelmed by the horrible, illogical detail, slightly better prepared.
May 23, 2013
Today’s invention is a bicycle saddle with an elongate saddle post.
When the saddle is removed from the bike, two small posts fold out, forming a tripod.
This allows the bike seat to act as a stable seat…so you can watch as the Tour speeds by.
May 21, 2013
Manufacturers still make sports cars with two absurdly small seats in the back.
Today’s invention is an alternative.
Such cars would have an aftermarket module available containing one, adult-sized seat and designed to drop into the vehicle, facing sideways, as shown.
This would contain several airbags, so that the travelling position need not pose an extra risk in an accident.
May 17, 2013
When you load the panniers of your bike before a long trip, it’s difficult to ensure that the weight is equally distributed.
This is also important, so that the machine is safely rideable.
Today’s invention is a balance for the parcel rack on a bicycle.
This has a fulcrum and a lever arm.
The panniers can be filled and the arm slid from one side towards the other until the bags exert equal turning effects clockwise and anticlockwise.
The arm is then locked in place before cycling off.
When I travel on planes or trains, the range of stable seating positions is very limited.
This means that it’s hard to sit comfortably, let alone fall asleep.
Today’s invention is for restive and ill-fitting passengers such as me.
It takes the form of a padded loop wrapped around a variable-geometry frame, the legs of which curve around so that they can be pinned in position by one’s thighs.
This allows a passenger to select a number of comfortable, forward-leaning positions in the course of a long journey.
May 14, 2013
Today’s invention is a SeatGuru for hotel rooms.
Since most ‘cheap’ hotel chains have internal layouts that are almost identical, when booking a room, it would help determine the relative noisiness of different room numbers.
These data could be based on crowdsourced feedback, from previous guests, as well as a model which would include the (weighted) effects of eg proximity to the lift, firedoor, ice machine, family rooms, kitchen etc.
This invention was inspired by a conversation my wife had with discerning traveller Steve Cook.
May 11, 2013
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I have lashed out lots of cash, historically, on various bits of kit to make the vibram soles on my boots less gripless.
These faux crampons either snap off on tarmac surfaces or simply fail to cope with leaves and mud on the same trip.
Today’s invention is therefore variable shoe spikes.
A small array of cams is fitted to the inside of one’s heel, as shown.
By pulling the orange handle, the cam blades rotate to allow the wearer to set the degree of bite required (from snowdrift to parquet floor).
Naturally I’d like a set with a motor and remote control.
They could also be fitted to the toe end of one’s boots, of course.