#2850: Aerobooster

Some racing cars have aero features, such as a large inverted aerofoils, which can generate enormous (100s of kg) downforce, for eg acceleration and cornering.

Today’s invention is a wing which can use this downforce, when it’s not required for accelerations, to pressurise eg gas in a piston/cylinder.

This gas can then be used to supply extra pressure in eg oil supply, turbocharger or braking systems.

#2849: DivanDivide

Guesthouses have a problem with flexibility. Often they can’t supply separate beds for people who need them.

Today’s invention is a divider that bolts to a double bed to allow two unrelated people to share it…but without ever coming in contact with each other.

This could be made to any height and constructed of soundproof material.

The lower edge is bowed downwards to press down into the mattress so that no gap appears underneath, even if your bedfellow is heavy.

#2848: PetalProps

Three bladed propellers on planes are more efficient but are less effective than four bladers as altitude increases.

If you want to have a prop-driven aircraft which can deal with both these competing demands, then today’s invention should help.

On the left, a twin bladed propeller is shown. On the right, it has rotated (and locked) two blades from behind the initial two, so that it now has four.

The same kind of arrangement could be made to work with 3->6 etc.

This switch between propeller numbers could be made to happen in flight.

#2847: ShaMeter

“Smart” electric meters, if not properly secured, allow criminals to sit outside your house and detect, via the wifi, whether you are at home or not by monitoring electricity usage.

The same is true, to a lesser extent, for water meters.

Today’s invention is to make these devices truly smart by having them send signals which say ‘electricity is being used’ in ways that mimic the detailed usage patterns of a particular household. These could be labelled, so that the homeowner wasn’t billed for energy use which didn’t occur.

In cold countries, you might actually want to run many of the devices as normal in order to maintain their functionality when you are away.

#2846: Electrickery

I’ve been thinking about electric car conversions. They seem pretty complicated.

Here is a quick and dirty idea that I’ve suggested to my heroes at Garage 54

Throw away every part of a petrol engine apart from the crankshaft and the generator. Attach a big battery to the generator and run it backwards as a motor, driving the prop shaft(s).

We might need to duct some more air over the generator, maybe 😉

There you go. Will it work? Over to you Товарищи!

#2845: Trailever

Many of us were taught to operate the front brake on a motorcycle only in an emergency and only when not leaning and only using all four fingers.

This is hard to recall when you need to brake suddenly on a bend.

Today’s invention is a brake lever which is attached to a lean angle sensor.

When the bike is leaning, only a short length of brake lever is exposed (blue). As you straighten up, so all four fingers can grab the brake (green).

This also helps with trail braking, which is a skill I think is important.

#2844: CaressCot

It seems that babies stroked at a speed of 2.5cm per second, stop crying and calm down.

What’s so special about 2.5 centimeters a second? That’s the speed at which our primate cousins groom one another. These neurons have been around far far longer than we have. They’re waiting for that signal that says somebody else is looking out for you, that they care.

So today’s invention is a robotic cot base, suitably upholstered, but along which small vibratory ripples would be made to pass at 2.5cm per second.

This would be felt by a baby lying in any orientation and help it to sleep.

#2843: Stresshow

Today’s invention is an application of swapping reels of 3-D printing material automatically, so that the resulting print can consist of different colours.

These colours would be dictated by the Finite Element stress model of the structure in question.

Areas of predicted high stress could be coloured eg red, so that such areas would be more readily inspected for signs of wear or fatigue in use.

#2842: Dampatches

The Millennium footbridge in London gave engineers pause for thought when it was found to have a natural frequency close to that of human walking. This caused the bridge to move in response to people’s steps, which, in turn, caused people to synchronise their gaits, exacerbating the problem.

Big dampers have since been affixed at significant cost.

In order to allow architects to do their usual pushing the envelope, today’s invention aims to reduce the sensitivity of narrow bridges to the energy inputs from feet.

A version of this type of energy absorbing surface could be developed that extracted a larger fraction of energy from walking (using heavier, small-scale dampers). This would reduce the energy available for unfortunate bridge vibration (and slow walking speeds too).

Areas of the surface which made bigger contributions to bridge movement could be identified and programmed to have stiffer dampers.

#2841: Disgustopper

In the sphere of non-lethal weapons, I want to create something that will make an assailant think twice, but not actually kill them.

One way to achieve this would be to make a blank round to be used in a conventional firearm but with very little propellant on board.

This would also incorporate a plug of heatproof wadding and some form of food substrate for insects.

When the gun is fired, the wadding protects a small package of insects (eg lice, fleas, ticks or small cockroaches) as they are thrown at the body of an attacker.

This would so distract them, via disgust/itching that the person under attack would gain crucial seconds and be able to sprint away to safety.

(This might also be achieved using a can of compressed air and a small reservoir of insects driven by entrainment into the air flow).