#2697: PushingCushion

Today’s invention is a playpark swing which incorporates a small automotive type airbag on both the left and right edges of the seat.

The swing seat would also incorporate a small camera, so that each bag would only fire if a face was detected within say 20 cm.

The edge-mounted bags would inflate without impacting the swing occupant’s legs.

This would reduce the number of head injuries caused to children when running in front of moving swings.

#2696: DescentDrone

Now that even middle eastern police forces are using flying bikes, today’s invention makes use of this general concept in connection with ejection from aircraft.

When a pilot decided to eject, his cockpit cabin would be blown clear of the fuselage, as usual.

After a few seconds, instead of a parachute, a small set of rotor blades would deploy.

This would allow the pilot to steer his craft nearer to his own lines, before making a soft(ish) landing.

At no point would he be left conspicuously dangling under a canopy, a target for anyone below.

#2695: VacuuMoto

I’ve been watching racing motorcyclists take on racing car drivers. The major performance advantage which cars have is stable braking. In addition, race cars have enormous downforce.

Bikes could go faster if we attached inverted wings, but that would make overtaking hazardous and probably not work well on street circuits (Like the TT).

So, today’s invention is a downforce generator for racing bikes.

This would consist of a large fan attached to a duct held very close to the track (flexibly fringed, like a hovercraft skirt).

The fan would be driven off the engine to generate a low pressure region beneath the machine. Air would flow upwards through the duct and be exhausted behind the rider, as indicated.

#2694: SpillWell

Every petrol station I use has a small beach of sand on the forecourt, following spillages.

I hate walking in greasy sand and then dragging it into my vehicle. Not to mention the danger posed by half a gallon or so of 95 octane slopping about the pumps.

Today’s invention is a retro fit device for each pump.

A low tray with a steel grid on top (red) is driven up onto by pump users, using a shallow ramp at either end. Under the grid would be a steel mesh intended to limit the escape of vapour from beneath.

This tray contains a sloping bottom surface which directs anything liquid into a well, away from the paying public. The contents of this well (green) are pumped into a secure container, for later use as a very low-grade, supplemental fuel (for eg heating boilers).

#2693: RainDrain

Today’s invention is my submission to an online contest for ‘designers’. I don’t stand a chance in this, because I’m not spending two days rendering the required images, off fees -but the idea, I think, is sound.

The brief was to design an umbrella for people in crowded spaces.

My approach has the following features.

A funnel-shaped parasol/canopy (in the shape of a water vortex). This is inflatable, using the bicycle pump in the handle. This avoids any sudden expansion of eye-poking spokes. It would be translucent, so that crowd members don’t get submerged in total darkness.

The profile of the funnel presents a low-drag shape to the oncoming wind, so that inversion can’t happen and buffeting about is reduced. This structure is further stabilised by being held up on the bicycle pump, as well as a flexible tube (red).

The tube allows the rainwater to avoid dripping all over your neighbours and instead dribbles out onto the ground (directed to miss everyone’s feet).

#2692: Gasorter

People put the wrong fuel in their cars all the time.

One reason for this is that sometimes a person will be filling a can with unleaded at the same time as topping up their diesel car. Somehow, the nozzles get put back in the wrong holsters.

Today’s invention is a simple fix, which would also make life hard for mischevious folk who swap nozzles around purely for amusement.

Each nozzle and holster would have male and female features which prevented, say, the diesel nozzle ever being put into the hi-octane holster.

#2691: ShowTimer

Slideshows are a technology which has really run out of steam, but which has not yet been superseded.

Today’s invention offers a small way to augment slideshows by improving their automatic timing using content sensitivity.

The basic idea is that each slide would have the number of ‘items of interest’ in it counted, by software, and then its duration on-screen would be calculated to be in proportion.

A team photo with 30 faces in it would be on-screen for longer than a single portrait.

This works particularly well for faces, now that selfie culture and its associated software are everywhere. The approach could be applied even to technical presentations, so that a lecturer could simply label slides of greatest importance with eg ****, so that these would stay on show for longer than those labelled *.

#2690: CompresSeats

Seats which nest together are common in schools, auditoria etc.

Today’s invention extends that to vehicles.

Imagine a plane or a bus or even a domestic people mover in which all the back seats can move forwards or backwards on rails (I’d like them motorised).

The seat parts would be horizontal and set at slightly lower heights towards the rear of the vehicle.

This would allow for much more flexible loading of people and/or luggage, without the need to remove seats. It would also enable seat spacing to be programmable, depending on the needs of a particular journey.

Shorter people could opt to sit at the rear, so that their feet could reach the ground more easily.

#2689: Motorubber

Today’s invention is a supplementary form of drive and braking for a motor vehicle.

It consists of one or more autonomous vehicles operating inside the tyres.

These vehicles would be inductively powered, via the wheel hubs, and would have sprung rollers, above and below, to ensure good contact with both the wheel surface and the tyre inner surface.

These motors would talk to each other, as well as the suspension, to coordinate cornering and road holding. The tyre stiffness could be augmented, for example, by stiffening the springs of the in-tyre vehicle during a journey.

#2688: TurnToFace

If you are building a website for a team who try to avoid hierarchies, one way to represent this is via photographs of the people involved.

Rather than the usual five white guys in suits sitting in front of a bookcase, today’s invention allows team members to appear of equal status.

Everyone gets, say, a dozen headshots taken, each with their gaze (and maybe even their face angle) in a different direction.

When a website visitor clicks on the face of person X, the page refreshes to show an image of X looking straight ahead and all the other people in the matrix of faces looking directly at her.

In addition to this, clicking on a face at, say, the top right of the array might cause that face to migrate to the middle of the crowd, with all those eyes following her progress to the centre of attention.