#999: SpookieCookie

Today’s invention is an updated fortune cookie.

Each table in a restaurant is equipped with a microphone which extracts words from the conversation of its diners and selects a message containing some of these.

Brandon_W_Mosley_cookie

The message is then printed and placed in a freshly-prepared cookie.

#998: ChewChube

For those people with difficulty manipulating cutlery and chewing, today’s invention is intended to help out.

It consists of a fork-like tube with a grid over an aperture at one end. The tube is placed in contact with food on a plate which is then minced to a user-selectable level and sucked into a chamber. This process can be repeated with different foods so that a mixed ‘forkful’ is created.

chewer

This is then placed in the mouth of the user and gently blown into their mouth so that it can be swallowed with a minimum of chewing.

#997: Everywall

Today’s invention is intended to support advanced rock climbing training.

Handholds on a climbing wall can each be inverted about a horizontal central axis so that they can’t be gripped.

handhold

This could be achieved by driving the rotation of each handhold from a central control room before ascent begins -perhaps making the available ones sparser as an individual climber’s skill increases.

This means that any wall can be made more challenging and variable from day to day.

#996: Whipgrip

When using an axe, it’s normal to hold the end of the shaft with one’s weaker hand and slide the dominant hand down the shaft as the blade is swung to strike the target.

Today’s invention facilitates this by providing a pair of non-slip grips.

axe

The dominant hand grip (blue) slides on lubricated guides in the shaft so that the normal movement can be smoothed and the hands whipped together with a much higher-impact snap, without hurting one’s fingers.

#995: Surfast

Many submarines are equipped with underwater-launched weapons, such as Cruise missiles (or Polaris, in a previous era).

Today’s invention is to use these for the humanitarian purpose of rescuing sailors.

Uli_Kleist_sub

In the event that a vessel was firmly stuck on the sea bed, each of its missiles could be automatically engaged with the casing, via a locking ring attached a number of high-tensile chains.

Firing the missiles sequentially could then provide a means of forcing the sub to the surface in a reasonably controlled fashion.

#994: VapourVac

Today’s invention is a powerful fan which switches on whenever the door of a washing machine, spin-dryer or dishwasher is being opened.

This briefly negatively pressurises the machine interior, passing the incoming airstream over a condensing coil in order not to allow the room to fill with clouds of escaping water vapour.

dave_gostisha_steam

#993: PhotoPlumb

I really enjoy the idea of recursion -especially the technique of introducing elements into an image which can then be acted upon to change the image itself.

Today’s invention is a digital camera which has an extendable arm at the end of which some small, mutually-perpendicular spirit levels are attached.

Csaba_J_Szabo_tripod

To achieve an image with edges truly horizontal and vertical, the arm would be extended into the field of view and focussed upon.

The camera software would know where to look in the image to detect the spirit levels. It would then be able to lengthen or shorten two legs of the tripod, on which this system sits, pneumatically, via an electronically controlled pump/valve device.

The arm would be withdrawn, the scene refocussed and the picture taken.

Crazy Inventors

Maybe you do have to be slightly crazy to invent anything. Certainly it helps to be insanely optimistic if you expect to make money from within our benighted intellectual property system.

Here is further evidence to this effect, from no less a source than a recent Sony patent.

You’d think that Sony would have a greater appreciation of inventiveness than to treat it as providing entertainment for idiots guffawing at a programme entitled ‘Crazy Inventors’.

It’s been a long time since the Walkman first appeared. I wonder why?

#992: CreaseCase

It seems that one of the reasons that the brain may have such a folded outer surface is that it acts as its own cushion when the head suffers impact.

Today’s invention is therefore a helmet liner which consists of a resilient rubber sheet squeezed in the void between an inner and outer shell.

max_brown_brain

The sheet could be manufactured with indicative sulci and gyri crease lines moulded into it (based on where the cortex has evolved to locate these folds). This would be dropped into the outer shell, and the inner shell pressed in on top, slightly compressing the sheet itself.

There may be some applications in which the space in which the folds form could be filled with a light fluid for increased damping/cushioning.

#991: Lardoor

Today’s invention is an aid to those of us who need to lose some weight.

It consists of a fridge door handle which is held shut by a spring mechanism. pumping the handle for a certain number of times, against the spring resistance, is required to allow the door to open and the food inside to be accessed.

Benjamin_Earwicker_balance

This principle might be extended to a number of separate compartments within a fridge or cupboard, each with a sprung-closed lid and an individual counter.