#1009: Illumilinks

I’ve really got to hand it to these people for actually building their vision of cuff lights.

Today’s invention is a simpler relative: cufflink task lights.


Personally, I’m never sure why anyone would wear cufflinks, so here is a reason. Each link would have a bright set of leds pointing in the direction of the wearer’s extended fingers (and a few watch batteries).

This would allow all the task lighting required when fine tuning the carburation on one’s Aston, en route to an evening at Glyndebourne.

#1008: CureRoll

I’m always accidentally dropping tablets on the floor and watching them scoot away beyond reach (only later to attract the attention of passing pets or children).

Today’s invention is a pill shape consisting of back-to-back cones. When dropped, this will roll in a circular arc with limited radius and thus its final location will be predictable…making it safely retrievable without calling a plumber.


This would be no less easily swallowable than other geometries but it might also need a coating of gel (such as the cod liver oil pellets I take) in order to limit the roulette wheel bounce effect.

#1007: BracesBelt

I sometimes travel on a cross country bus which has no seatbelts fitted. On this subject, I was recently reading about a war correspondent who said that the most dangerous thing in his job was not bullets but car collisions: he reminded everyone to fasten theirs -especially in war zones.

Today’s invention is a seatbelt which people can take with them from vehicle to vehicle.


It might even take the form of a proper, three-point harness woven into the front of eg a photographer’s gilet (adding some extra gadget cool, beyond the utility belt, perhaps).

The three loose ends could be thrown around and joined behind or under the seat using an extra, standard quick-release catch. The straps would then be tensioned for a more secure journey.

Useful also, I imagine if travelling in the back of a pickup with livestock across rough terrain.

#1006: LintLimiter

I’m tired of having to clean my keyboard routinely so as to limit the amount of dust, grime and germs that builds up there.

Today’s invention is a computer key the back face of which acts as a piston. Each time the key is depressed, it descends into a smooth walled well and drives air before it so as to clean the well out. The keys each have a small central hole which is covered by the finger when pressing but which admits clean air from the top face when the finger is removed.


All keys have wells and these are adjacent, so that no gaps lie between them. Gradually, crud from the keyboard migrates across the keyboard and off onto one’s lap (or the floor).

Little used keys might result in the need for an occasional on-screen reminder to pump these clean. There might even be a keyboard sequence developed for optimal transfer of dirt from the middle of the typing area to a collection pad at the edge.

#1005: FlipSnips

Today’s invention is two pairs of scissors in one. The frame of the scissors would be sprung apart, by default.

Different blade combinations could be slotted into the frame as desired.


Here, a set of ordinary straight blades is combined with pinking shears. Turn the scissors around and a different form of cutting tool is immediately available…no more searching for that other pair among the folds of material.

Each end of the frame might be coloured differently to ensure the correct set was about to be used at any time.

#1004: TwinTool

It’s now well established that networks work optimally, in the sense of transmitting information, when connected as a small-world.

Today’s invention is a tool which works on data from social networking systems such as LinkedIn.


This would scan the profiles of one’s connections and match the found keywords to those found for other personal subnetworks. The tool would then introduce one member from each of two matched groups, in order to make the sparse but longrange connections between ‘neighbourhoods’ which are characteristic of efficient networks.

This would actually result in more of the kinds of links to influential people which one hopes to make on signing up on such Web 2.0 websites.

#1003: Abseiluge

Several of my ancestors are known to have been keen on throwing themselves, attached to parachutes, from aircraft. I share their interest and today’s invention reflects this.

Members of the armed forces routinely descend on ropes, by abseiling techniques, from cliffs and helicopters around 60m high.


Now that we are seriously contemplating building space elevators using carbon nanowires, I suggest employing this ultra-strong, inelastic material as an alternative to parachutes. People in aircraft could abseil several thousand feet on a wire of this type and land in a more coordinated group. Each wire would be strong enough to support many laden troops at once.

The speed of their descent would allow a safer deployment (due to being harder to shoot at) and the final braking of many men could be via electronically coordinated friction brakes so that they could be dropped from only a few feet above the ground.

Injuries from their horizontal speed component could be guarded against by equipping them each with a heavily padded sledge on which they could then skid to a halt.

#1002: AmbiAds

An ambigram is a word or phrase which looks the same when viewed standing on one’s head.

Currently, many scrolling mechanical street adverts allow the internal, looped sheet bearing the ads to be inspected through a glass pane on only one side of the case.


Today’s invention is to create ads on the rotating sheet which consist of ambigrams, so that these may be seen equally easily through either side of the case -thus doubling the available area of advertising.

#1001: PulsePrint

Today’s invention is used to prove one’s status as a person, and not a robot, when eg signing up to something online.

One attaches a microphone/stethoscope to one’s wrist and connects this to the computer being used. This records a snatch of heartbeat data.


Then the computer selects some task at random which is designed to change the heartbeat response in some broadly predictable way (such as presenting a small stress-inducing spelling test or coordination task).

This makes it much more difficult for automated systems simply to play a recording of some person’s heartbeat patterns.

A system might be devised which could identify individuals from their cardiac behaviour under different forms of stress.

#1000: SocketSecrete

There are lots of ways to identify bodies eg from dental records or via fingerprints…or even the serial numbers on breast implants.

Today’s invention is another technique which involves the use of an especially fine contact lens -to be worn on the back of the eye.


As anyone who wears contacts knows, it’s possible to get a normal lens stuck in this position and, with a bit of calm manipulation, to retrieve it. Murder or disaster victims could be identified more easily if they wore such a device -which would only be easily accessible to the person when alive, or a surgeon when deceased.

These lenses might also be used by spies intent on transporting documents covertly, in miniaturised form.