#2781: Eggbox tank

Today’s invention is an outline for a new form of ultra survivable tank.

It consists of a cylindrical module for each crew member (green), as well as one for the main gun.

These modules (except for the sealed weapons modules) each contain the controls for all the main functions of the tank and are individually armoured (small spheres are much harder to crack open). They can rotate and vary their height using hydraulic rams (red). This allows the vehicle to go into low-profile or conning tower mode.

As well as enabling a tank to continue operating if one or more modules are damaged, each of them will have an ejection device(turquoise) with parachute, so that crew members can exit and disperse if their systems are broken or they themselves are injured.

#2780: BroadsideBrake

When a battleship fires its guns, the momentum exchange is enormous.

Today’s invention makes use of that fact to help a ship perform emergency manoeuvres.

When a ship needs to stop urgently, it will attempt to run the propulsion units backwards. In addition to this, imagine it firing all of its guns forward simultaneously or in a very highly controlled sequence (this could be achieved electronically).

Such an action would greatly slow even a battleship.

With modern weapons such as railguns, it might be possible to fire them all in a coordinated way, in order to make sharper turns than would normally be achieved using just rudders.

#2779: Oxterarmour

Young women learning Scottish Country Dancing tend to get gripped hard by the upper arm when inexperienced male partners are too rough.

Today’s invention is a set of reinforced pads for the upper arms which allow their partners to hold onto them during the inevitable spinning process, but without causing the usual bruising.

#2778: MotoMachete

This week, I watched a documentary about some adventure motorbike riders. They were confronted by trees blown down across their path…but had no chainsaws with which to fix the obstructions.

Today’s invention is a set of sharp teeth which can be fitted through a motorcycle chain. Each tooth is retained using a circular spring clip, that stays out of the way of sprockets.

If you get stopped by a large branch, first place the bike on its centre stand.

Fit say thirty teeth to the chain. Push the chain into contact with the wood, engage first gear and open the throttle.

#2777: Autoptions

Many people envisage their ideal car online by using a manufacturers’ ‘configurator’ -even if they sometimes have no way to actually buy the car in question.

Today’s invention takes the data from these online tools and uses them in different ways. This is especially aimed at companies who are attempted to sell cars without dealerships.

1. The manufacturer gets to understand what features many people like and which ones are almost never adopted. This helps prioritisation with future designs.

2. If someone has configured a new car, but then left the website, they could be sent a link automatically to a secondhand or lower-price model, which they might consider buying…with a specification as close as possible to the one they set up.

3. For each choice made, the design interface could say eg ‘98% of people choose this’ or ‘2% choose that’. In this way, the manufacturer could influence, using ‘nudge’ techniques, which variants actually get bought, since it’s in their interests to be selling many examples of a smaller range of elective components.

4. When someone selects eg a carbon fibre wing mirror housing, some celebrity influencer could pop up on screen and say ‘good choice, I went for that too…have you also thought about…?’

#2776: RaceFace

Racing drivers make a brave attempt to promote their personal ‘brand’ at every possible opportunity.

This is thwarted a bit by having to wear a helmet which hides their face.

Some of the ‘special’ helmet designs are seriously ugly and most are almost unrecognisable, especially with the drivers seated so low in their cars.

Today’s invention seeks to help poor, underexposed racing drivers. It consists, for each driver, of a large scale caricature made of skin-coloured foam rubber, stuck on the outside of their helmet.

This avoids obscuring their view any more than the various visors and cages currently do.

It also allows the crowd to recognise drivers by their face so that whatever they are selling, in the paddock, or on TV gets better identified with them as a personality.

#2775: MineMat

For people who genuinely feel that their home may come under attack, today’s invention offers some extra support.

It consists of a regular car airbag (cost: £200) which is placed under a foot scraper outside the front door.

Anyone who appears brandishing a weapon or acting aggressively can be blown off their feet by the homeowner remotely triggering the pyrotechnic element in the bag.

This would almost certainly be non-fatal but would be very disorienting for the would-be assailant. Several such devices could be buried under the gravel on a driveway and thus the need for gun ownership would be lessened.

#2774: SuitsYou

Today’s invention is a way to help shops sell clothing by letting window shoppers see themselves apparently wearing the outfits on display.

People (pink), walking by a shop, step onto a ramp (red) and face the window (blue).

Inside they see some (headless) mannequins (turquoise), facing outwards, as you might expect. A pressure pad that a person is standing on, rotates the mannequin in front of them, so that it faces the mirrored back wall of the window display (green).

The ramp allows a person to adjust their face’s reflection height, so that it appears directly above the reflection of the outfit they are interested in, so that they can imagine themselves wearing it.

#2773: FireFlock

In a fire, it’s often very difficult to get a crowd of people to act calmly and escape effectively (from either a building or an aircraft).

Today’s invention is to use some robot sheepdogs to herd the people into making an orderly departure.

These synthetic animals, acting as a coordinated team, would be equipped with jaws capable of growling and nipping at people who were slow or getting in the way or heading in the wrong direction.

#2772: SoundSteps

People are highly attuned to sensory cues. This means that they are influenced, at an unconscious level, by things they see or hear.

Today’s invention is to equip a pair of boots with a speaker system which is connected to pressure sensors in the soles.

As each foot hits the deck, the corresponding speaker issues a recorded footstep sound. This allows someone to send the subliminal message that they are much heavier than their normal tread would suggest.

I could imagine eg a small security guard in rubber shoes wanting to communicate that he had a massive body supported by hobnailed boots. Or perhaps an actor on stage would want to emphasise a simulated limp or the noise of walking through mud.