People who drive race cars understand that they are hard to enter and exit. There may be roll cages and carbon fibre tubs to negotiate as well as seat bolsters and head restraints.
Much of this driver packaging doesn’t work very well in a road going sports car. Not only do race cars offer a restricted field of view, but ordinary drivers are a good deal fatter and less mobile than the average track pilot.
Yet, roadgoing sportscars tend to mimic the features of their racing brethren. This means that the ‘racing’ seat option will often have side and leg bolsters which rise high above the seat surface to provide some bracing as you enter the Mulsanne straight (in your dreams).
After a short while, the leather or alcantara gets so badly scuffed here that it looks like an old teddy bear’s paw. This is costly to fix/replace.
Today’s invention is therefore sportscar seats whose bolsters hinge out of the way to allow the driver/ passenger easier access (along axes A-B and B-C) (There would need to be a locking mechanism too).
Yes of course these can be motorised (at the usual enormous cost of options).
I live in a house with lots of books (good) and dogs (not so good).
Animals create a lot of dust and this clogs the outer page surfaces of books, even when stored in a bookcase.
Today’s invention is a better dust cover. It comes with an extra flap on one side (a) which can be folded into the other side of the cover (c), leaving a roof over the page edges (b).
A similar flap could be made to wrap the front edge of the pages (opposite the spine).
Although marginally more expensive, this dust cover could be filled with even more breathy praise for the work inside than normal…(or just ads for the next book).
(I didn’t like yesterday’s lens cap thing, on further reflection, so I just replaced it…)
Hospitals, labs and kitchens are badly affected by micro-organisms on many working surfaces.
Normal taps are in contact with infected hands, and may act as a source of cross contamination, if they not cleaned frequently.
Today’s invention is therefore a tap shaped so as to ensure that the touched surfaces, and the user’s hands, get washed every time it’s used.
Garden hoses look very unnatural and out of place in a garden of which you are at all proud. Manufacturers seem to go out of their way to make them in primary colours (even the bright green versions are highly visible).
Today’s invention is therefore a garden hose with an exterior texture and bunches of simulated leaves that make the humble hose look like a natural vine or creeper.
The hose can then either be laid along a path or draped around your country cottage, once it has been used (thus not detracting from the look of your perfect lawn and weedless flowerbeds).
Call me an intellectual snob if you like, but I mistrust eg hotel ratings which are made by people who can’t write reasonably well.
Today’s invention is therefore to re-evaluate the ratings which people apply to products and services inversely in proportion to the calculated reading age of writers of the associated comments.
It seems that it’s not to hard these days to compute reading age, based on smallish numbers of words.
(I talked this idea over with some of the good folk at Google, but they didn’t like it).
It’s been a while, but now IOTD is back. The truth is, I’ve been just about bursting with ideas and I simply don’t have enough time to turn them all into products myself.
In the interim, I’ve rediscovered how little I like cold calling, created many working prototypes, played with online marketing and completed a handful of product development projects. There have been a few ridiculous forays into the world of product telesales, lots of articles about inventing and several pro bono startup adventures.
All of this experience will eventually feed itself into this next phase of IOTD. There may even be a video or two. I really hope you enjoy this material and if you decide that you need any inputs to your own product ideation, please get in touch via my commercial site www.hawkshawinnovation.com
About seven years ago, I began posting a new idea here almost every day.
I expect to continue to have and record new ideas, but sadly these must remain unpublished -at least for the forseeable future.
This results from my need to avoid commercial conflicts with a forthcoming business venture I’m involved in.
I’d like to express my sincere thanks to everyone who has commented on this work (even those who had better ideas than me!)
If you’d like to remain in touch, do please do so via email@example.com.
I leave you, for now, with the important words of Alan Kay:
The best way to predict the future is to invent it.
Who would have thought that insects could affect the economics of air travel. I’m still not really convinced by this article.
It did, however, inspire today’s invention.
Imagine coating a light aircraft in a form of lightweight, spray-on glue.
If you then fly through dense clouds of insects, a proportion of them will end up trapped by the adhesive but in an orientation which still allows them to flap their wings.
Let’s assume that insects have a mass of 0.1g and can exert a maximum upwards force equal to twice their bodyweight.
This means that a 5000kg aircraft would need about 26 million such insects to provide enough lift to allow it to hover.
Even if that is unattainable outside a locust swarm, insects could still provide a substantial proportion of the lift required to sustain an aircraft in flight, thus increasing fuel economy (albeit in a stupidly cruel way).
If you appear in some team photo or other multi-person image, today’s invention allows you to differentiate yourself (and perhaps some friends) from all those other people whose names you may never have known anyway.
It consists of a small, self adhesive plastic lens which you can stick to the glass of a photo frame -over your own, minute facial image.
This allows you to become much more recognisable and thus prove that you were actually on that 2nd XI team in 1984; right next to old whatshisname.
Today’s invention is a name badge or other physical label which can be created, modified or recycled very rapidly.
Imagine a mat of stiff, open-weave fabric, about the size of a business card.
This can be fed into a small embroidery machine which will loosely sew a user-specified message.
An algorithm works out the most legible way to reproduce some text and/or graphical elements, using a single strand of colour-contrasting thread. When you leave a meeting, simply pull on one end of the thread for the message to disappear (thus avoiding the confusing experience of having strangers address you later using your first name).
As well as name badges for conference-goers, this could extend to the creation of one-off messages on T shirts or tents.