#2672: HeatDump

One of the biggest costs in running a ground heat pump is in drilling the required hole to insert the heat exchange pipework.

Landfill fire is a problem because it can result in dangerous fumes and groundwater contamination.

Today’s invention seeks to deal with both these issues. It is in the form of several ground heat pumps located at the tops of towers on land designated for landfill.

As the landfill material rises over time, bacterial action can create enormous amounts of heat. This would be extracted for use elsewhere by the heatpumps -without any digging costs.

The process would also reduce the subsurface temperature, so that fires would be much less likely to break out.

#2671: SoftShooter

Firing a shotgun can be difficult, even for those trained to do so.

The recoil from such a gun can cause bruising and it tends to make the users tense, which affects their aim adversely.

Today’s invention is a recoilless shotgun. The diagram shows a plan view of a double barrelled gun (with the butt to the right).

One of the barrels (red) has been flipped about the turquoise axis, so that it now points over the user’s right shoulder.

Pulling the trigger fires both barrels simultaneously -thus there is no kick.

The red barrel would use cartridges with gunpowder only in, so that no-one standing farther than a metre behind could ever be hurt.

#2670: TunedCars

Today’s invention is to have several special recordings made of many pieces of music so that they sound optimal (to a panel of hi-fi snobs) in the hushed atmosphere of a limousine.

Ideally these variants could be created using a combination of expert listening, in-car recording and software processing. The recordings for a Bentley Continental would be very different to those for a Mercedes S class, so that the internal acoustics of each car, at different speeds, would be taken into account.

There would also be specific, choosable versions for different situations -perhaps one for each different motorway driven down regularly.

In addition, here might be a driver-only version, a four-passenger version or a sitting in the back with the driver screen up, recordings. All of these would come at a high price, of course.

#2569: Steereflex

Formula 1 drivers are accustomed to having their reaction times measured and honed. One machine for this purpose is the BATAK device.

Today’s invention is to equip road vehicle steering wheels with a scaled down version of this test. There would be touch pads positioned around the wheel which light up randomly.

Although the required movements and peripheral vision demands would be less stringent than in the racing version, such a test could perform many functions.

Failure to achieve a high enough score might be indicative of drunkenness and thus disable the ignition. One’s reaction times before driving might be used to reduce or increase the performance of the vehicle (or the insurance paid). Finally, such a test could help people improve their vision and responsiveness when driving.

#2568: Soapurifier

Many people prefer to use a bar of soap, rather than a liquid alternative.

If you have to share facilities with people you don’t know, today’s invention offers a way to ensure that the bar gets cleaned before you apply any soap to your body.

The soap is placed in a perforated tray beneath the flowing water. This helps ensure that any germs and skin cells of the previous user are washed away.

You could choose to wash the soap in this way and then use it as normal, or just stand under the water flowing over the surface of the bar.

#2567: TankerAnchor

I’ve been reading a lot lately about how supertankers and massive container ships may take two miles to slow to an emergency halt (even with the engines full astern).

Today’s invention offers a way for ships to stop much more rapidly (if they are travelling in a canal).

On the left, we see a ship in cross section moving down a canal at say 10 m per sec. This vessel has strong beams built in which are wider than the canal.

When an emergency stop is required, the beams are allowed to make contact with reinforced ramps on either bank. The kinetic energy of the ship is exchanged completely for potential energy, as the ship is lifted higher in the water (right hand image).

A simple energy-based calculation shows that a ship which engages with ramps angled at 10 degrees to the horizontal will be brought to a stop in about 12m (with no reverse thrust or anchors).

#2566: RepeatDelete

Today’s invention is a bolt-on feature for YouTube comments (although this still looks like a great option to me).

When you start typing your witty, well informed remark, an automatic search is performed of the comments section for the three comments which best match what you are writing.

If your pearl of wisdom has essentially already been typed by someone else, then at least you are aware of that before persisting in sharing it with the waiting Interwebs. With any luck, this will limit the number of duplicated comments.

In a more draconian mood, I’d be inclined to use this search/comparison tool to simply delete any comments which were found to have been substantially repetition.

#2565: PolePulls

When taking down one’s tent, it’s a pain not to be able to pull the poles out (because they separate and get lost or jammed in the fabric).

Today’s invention is to provide each section of tent pole with a very simple lock and key (outlined in green).

The lock would be made by just sawing halfway through the metal end of a pole junction and breaking one end of the material out (left end). This key would need an L-shaped slot cut in the corresponding end of the next section (right end), so that it was always kept away from protruding through any fabric.

This simple bayonet-fit would allow the poles to be joined before putting the tent up and then happily pulled out of the fabric retainers when taking the tent down.

#2564: CentriFlog

I understand that separating certain chemicals, at the molecular level (eg lipids) is very difficult.

One way is to use normal chromatography, but to do this in a centrifuge: but this is very expensive equipment.

Today’s invention is to attach something like a chromatography column to the end of a carbon fibre whip.

As the whip is cracked, its far end undergoes a massive acceleration, thus forcing different molecules to respond differently and separate out.

It might be possible to make this happen in sections of a hose, so that this performs a continuous separation process.

#2563: Mobilayby

In the future when autonomous vehicle dominate, road transport will need to be smarter.

Road trains, which may need to be very long compared to current trucks, will still have to use the winding country roads which are most common.

So imagine today’s invention – a series of carriages, linked by A-frame connectors. These will be pushed and pulled by autonomous tractors at either end (blue). These vehicles will be capable of steering this train of carriages both forwards and in reverse.

When another vehicle appears (human driven or autonomous) and wants to overtake (red oval), the tractors will signal the A-frames to stretch and/or contract, so as to create gaps and allow the overtaking to occur safely.

Imagine the complexity and precision of one train overtaking another.