Archive for: May 2009

30th May 2009

#911: ShuffleBox

Filed under: Feasible inventions - 30 May 2009

I get irritated by finding all the big bits in my cereal box lying near the top. I’ve written before about the size stratification which occurs when collections of particles get agitated in a gravitational field.

Today’s invention attempts to overcome this.

box

Cereal (or any granular mix) is decanted into a box consisting of two joined halves. Each half has an openable lid and base. The combined box is shaken (perhaps using a mechanical buzzer device) so stratification occurs.

Then one half of the box is detached, inverted and reattached.

This allows small particles from one (A) and big particles from the other (B) to be mixed when pouring them out…thus maintaining a consistent distribution of sizes in one’s breakfast bowl.

#910: BrakeBlades

Filed under: Possible inventions - 30 May 2009

If it’s good enough for Bugatti, then air brakes should be tried on other vehicles too.

Rather than using the crude flap approach, today’s invention takes the form of ‘petals’ which hinge outwards from a lightweight disc secured in place by the wheel bolts.

wheel_airbrake

When the (conventional) brakes are applied, the petals would be actively driven outwards from their parked position, overlapped across the wheel hub. This would significantly increase the drag force on the vehicle, slowing it down and also providing a ‘cool’ visual effect.

On a left hand bend, for example, opening the petals on the left wheels would also serve to increase the turning effect and partially unload the steering.

27th May 2009

#909: ScareShots

Filed under: Possible inventions - 27 May 2009

I’m very keen on stopping fighting…especially by psychological means.

Today’s invention is a bullet design which is fired in a short burst at the walls of an enemy fortification. Each round contains a chip with sounds recorded on it, a small speaker, a battery and a light-sensitive switch.

marcin_wojciech_bulletholes

At night, these bullets begin to emit an intermittent chirping sound which can’t be stopped because they are embedded in wood, masonry etc. Sleep would become difficult and nerves strained. The bullets would be hard to locate or muffle -both because of the frequencies employed and because they are within sight, and range, of the opposition.

The rounds might even squeak certain words and phrases like ‘retreat’, ‘fear’, ‘I’m scared’ -whatever it takes to encourage a peaceful withdrawal. In addition, some of them might contain a secondary charge, timed to go *bang*, right next to where personnel are sheltering.

#908: StickStick

Filed under: Possible inventions - 27 May 2009

Someone I know was recently playing golf when the rain got so heavy that the course was closed. Apparently, their Club’s insurance policy didn’t cover them for the possibility that a swinging stick might slip from a wet hand and collide with a wet head.

Today’s invention is a simple wrist strap for golfers which they would attach securely before playing a round. This would have a short lead ending in a plastic clip. The clip would be attached to one fitted to all clubs (bonded securely into where the endcap normally fits). This would allow normal grip of the club and the absolute minimum strap length to avoid interfering with one’s swing.

benjamin_earwicker_club

Exclusive golf clubs might also offer GPS tracking, information/alerts and clubhouse access facilities embedded within such a band.

25th May 2009

#907: SiteSync

Filed under: Feasible inventions - 25 May 2009

I have two separate collections of bookmarks: one I consult every day and the other once a week.

Today’s invention is a bookmarking tool which creates a folder of bookmarks and opens these for viewing as often as the average frequency with which these sites have been updated.

benjamin_earwicker_bookmark

(I really don’t want to know every time an update has occurred, so that’s why there’s a need to match the viewing frequency to the average updating frequency).

If, for example, a website I have bookmarked has been updated about once a day for a week, it will appear in the ‘Daily’ folder. If it has been updated only once or twice a week on average, then it will be placed in the ‘Weekly’ folder. Another folder might be labeled ‘Monthly’, because its average page content is rarely changed.

In this way, sites would move occasionally from folder to folder, providing a refreshing, non-routine sample of interesting web experiences.

24th May 2009

#906: RecordBraker

Filed under: Possible inventions - 24 May 2009

There are numerous systems in which disc brakes indicate that they are approaching their wear limit by making a screeching noise.

Today’s invention resembles this technique but is in the form of a recordable surface on one’s brake discs, not unlike an old LP record played by a stylus.

peter_hostermann_bike

As an electric vehicle or bicycle nears pedestrians standing on the pavement it should slow down. The braking would thus alert people not to step off the pavement.

Drivers and riders could record a personal message, in their own voice, saying eg “My blue bike is approaching. Look both ways!”

23rd May 2009

#905: ChargeAge

Filed under: Possible inventions - 23 May 2009

It’s a stupid disgrace that we have so many different, non-standard batteries for everything from laptops to cameras. Having found hardware I’m happy using, I want to do so for much longer than the manufacturer would probably like.

This urge to hold on to quality products, rather than pitch them out early like fashion items, is surely set to continue in these increasingly frugal times.

witold_barski_cell

So, today’s invention is a software tool which recognises the type and condition of one’s laptop battery. Since it won’t be possible to buy a new one of these in six months’ time and since they cost a lot too, the program calculates exactly what usage/charging pattern is allowed to maximise the overall life of the battery unit.

This would probably mean that it would demand occasional stoppages in work together with instructions to connect or disconnect from the mains.

These hiatuses might be turned to advantage -especially if they could be coordinated with a low-power screensaver indicating one’s offline todo list.

#904: FastFrame

Filed under: Possible inventions - 23 May 2009

Today’s invention is a snooker/pool table which collects the balls at the end of a game, beneath the playing surface, as usual, but then detects which balls are which by running them past a camera with appropriate recognition software on board.

It then pumps the balls back onto the playing surface via a tube.

karl_mooney_break

The tube has a whole-table-sized frame (not just the usual triangle) attached to its outlet end and this directs the balls to their correct starting positions for whichever type of game is about to be played next.

The frame is automatically withdrawn beneath the table and a new game can commence.

#903: Automobius

Filed under: Whimsical inventions - 23 May 2009

Given that F1 race cars can generate greater aerodynamic downforce at 200kph than their own weight, today’s invention is a Mobius strip-shaped racetrack.

It would be easy enough to create a track and support it on pillars, so that cars could pass each other side by side or belly-to-belly. See this to help visualise the event.

andy_barrass_scalextric

The start would have to be on a conventional, right-way-up section and the radii would have to be big enough everywhere to avoid braking to speeds less than 200kph (look out for that first corner).

Perhaps it’s therefore more a hybrid Nascar/F1 opportunity.

20th May 2009

#902: PlugPark

Filed under: Feasible inventions - 20 May 2009

I understand that a significant number of injuries is caused simply by people standing on the blades of electrical plugs…even when wearing shoes, these can twist ankles.

Today’s invention is a low-profile shield into which a plug is withdrawn by a spring. When you want to plug into a socket, this casing is pulled back.

plugpark

The housing would be made cushioned on the outside and might carry battery-powered LEDs -illuminated only when the plug was within it, in order to reduce trip hazards.

A smarter version could recharge the battery using the power cable’s magnetic field.

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