#2540: FriendFender

There is a growing penchant among motorcyclists, especially females, for hugging each other.

Sometimes this will happen after a ride, when they are all still wearing helmets.

The result can be a clashing of helmets (people tend to forget that they are wearing them).

Aside from slight embarrassment, this has the effect of potentially damaging their life saving equipment.

Today’s invention is therefore a gel pad with an adhesive backing which can be attached to one’s helmet in the collision-prone zone.

In the event of a carpark hug, no damage will be done.

The pads could even have a large set of lips marked on them. Over time, the wearing off of this symbol could become a treasured sign of one’s popularity.

This idea could be extended to American football, where helmet butting is a sign of congratulation/affiliation.

#2539: Slakeboard

It seems that surfers, when they find themselves carried out to sea, are in much more danger from dehydration than sharks.

Today’s invention is therefore a surfboard with a built-in recess which would accommodate a plastic bowl and a portable desalination pump.

A surfer who drifted away from shore could therefore make enough drinking water to stay alive for a much longer time. I’d recommend some energy bars, some uv protection and a few shark repellent tablets as well.

#2538: Tworoofs

Today’s invention combines the use of a vehicle sunroof (red) with its roofrack (green).

When the vehicle is stopped, the sunroof is opened and a pneumatically driven column (grey) extends upwards through it.

This engages with a sheet of stiff aluminium cell board which is then lifted off the sunroof.

The column is also free to turn, as shown, providing a platform or roof with many possible uses (eg instead of umbrellas for people entering a hotel, or for someone fixing the engine in a storm).

A board with the ability to fold down its ends might provide an armoured carapace for vehicles vulnerable to attacks by shopping trolleys. A street trader might use this to hang their wares from.

#2537: NoTowplane

It seems odd that I haven’t thought this one up before. Odder still that I can’t find it anywhere else.

Imagine a glider which embodies an electric motor with a propeller attached.

In today’s invention, the motor runs the propeller hard enough, in a single burst, to discharge the battery and get the aircraft in the sky (say 100m).

At that point, the engine and propeller unit is jettisoned, whilst the prop continues to spin.

The engine would also have plenty of padding, so that when it autogyros back onto the landing strip, it can be recharged and used in another engineless glider.

#2536: SnapSpecs

Today’s invention is, I believe, a wholly new application for an established technology.

I’m sick of glasses which are held together using some kind of screw. This is supposed to hold the leg to the eyepiece whilst also providing some frictional resistance -so that the legs are angled inwards and the glasses stay on the face. Of course, this usually fails, when the screw starts to disengage.

The technology required to fix this situation is to injection mould the glasses’ eyepiece and both legs as a single unit. Each leg would join the eyepiece using a ‘living hinge’ (as discussed by some experts here).

It’s really a plastic mechanism which snaps between two stable positions…one ‘closed’, so that the leg would be against the frame and the other open at, say, 80 degrees from the frame, so that just enough pressure would be exerted on the head to hold them in place.

Bistables can be made much more robust and fatigue-resistant than the fine bottletop version indicated in the picture.

#2535: BumperCart

Dings and dents on the side of a car most often come from people behaving carelessly with shopping trolleys or flinging their doors open wide when the parking spaces are just too cramped.

Today’s invention attempts to help with the first of these issues.

Supermarkets would provide each visiting car owner with a foam liner box for the inside of their shopping trolley (red). Shoppers could be convinced to use these because a) the foam keeps any cold products cold whilst they browse and b) the box has handles which make transferring their shopping to their car easier. These would be reusable.

The real purpose though is car door protection.

Putting things in the box requires a user to fold out three foam curtains (yellow) which are attached to the front and side edges of the top of the box. These flop over the trolley sides and form a continuous barrier between the trolley’s metal parts and a parked car’s paintwork.

When the foam boxes are in transit home, the trolleys can be nested, as usual.

#2534: FlakeFilter

A search for replacement dishwasher spray arms reveals that none of them have what I need to be incorporated.

Whatever other filters exist within these systems, oat flakes from breakfast cereal bowls manage to get into the spray arms, clog the jets and leave all the dishes unwashed.

Today’s invention is a simple fix: a small mesh filter at the inlet to both spray arms (I made mine from an old stocking…it doesn’t impair the water flow but makes it so much easier to remove errant flakes than having to poke wires through the spray arm jets).

#2533: StillShot

Consider the high-accuracy bolt-action rifle. It has very few moving parts (the bolt + firing pin and the spring). This makes for a short lock time (the time between trigger squeeze and firing), and thus less chance of being thrown off target and/or malfunctioning.

The problem is that when the bolt drives the firing pin into the firing cap on the bullet, all of that moving mass, restrained only on the underside by the marksman’s hands, has a tendency to force the barrel to point initially downwards a little and the bullet’s accuracy is unnecessarily compromised.

Today’s invention is therefore a reaction-free firing pin mechanism (yellow) (restrained in the middle by a rigid bar (red).

The pin is double sided, so that when the trigger is activated, one side hits the bullet and the other hits the body of the rifle. This maintains stillness -at least until the gunpowder in the bullet ignites.

(From that point, established set up and sighting mechanisms can be used to limit the inaccuracy caused by any large unbalanced torques).

#2532: MATrix

Various sports are performed on giant gym mats. These tend to be only liftable by a team of people and thus very hard to stack up at the end of a class.

They rely on their great weight to stay put, although that doesn’t always work (I once broke my ribs on a gym floor when the mats parted during a vigorous tae-kwon-do session (white belt, yellow tab ;).

Today’s invention is gym mats which are only say 1m long and wide. These are small enough to be put away by one competitor.

To avoid them slipping around, due to their light weight, each mat has a recessed groove set into its perimeter.

This allows a rectangular array of mats to be corralled by a strong nylon belt (the buckle of which also fits into the groove, leaving nothing to fall on or trip over).

#2531: ArchAnchors

Even when cars become autonomous, there will still be situations where an old-fashioned emergency stop is required.

Today’s invention offers a potentially life-saving extra level of braking for just such an eventuality.

In the top half of the diagram, a vehicle is shown braking. It is equipped with areas of reinforced brake pad material in its wheel arches.

If conventional, sharp braking (including ABS etc) is not going to avert a disaster, then, the second diagram illustrates what would happen.

The suspension units for all the wheels are automatically and simultaneously blown, so that the bodyshell collapses onto the tyre surfaces, boosting the last-ditch stopping power.