Archive for: May 2010

31st May 2010

#1294: LiverGivers

Filed under: Whimsical inventions - 31 May 2010

Today’s invention links two of my pet themes, motorcycles and organ donation.

It takes the form of fabric badges in the shape of icon-ified body organs which can be attached prominently to a Motorcyclist’s leathers.

You can only wear badges corresponding to organs you have signed up to donate, in the event of a fatal road accident (corneas on one’s helmet, a liver badge on the torso). This might give some small pause for thought, when cranked over in a 70 MPH corner.

These would appeal to the bravado instinct of bikers, having something of the quality of medals, as well as helping to integrate them into societies where they are seen as a threatening sub-culture (ie Surrey).

#1293: BikeBubble

Filed under: Feasible inventions - 31 May 2010

Another one I can’t seem to find in the great book of patents granted…

Today’s invention is a transparent, inflatable weather cover for a motorcycle (or other small, open vehicle (as a former winter biker, I remember how cold you can become, long before the conditions get too icy to ride).

This would take the form of a collection of connected bladders made of paddling pool material and wrapped around the bike (with a zipped access port for the rider to get on board). There would be a plexiglass screen at the front, attached to the bike, just for better forward visibility.

The cover would be inflated (hard enough to avoid buffeting at speed) by a small, motor-driven air pump (which could be used for the tyres as well). There might be vents at the front, for an air cooled engine, but it would work better as a cover-all for oil cooled machines.

When the bad weather abates, the pump would be run in reverse to ‘vacuum-pack’ the bladders tightly against the machine.

29th May 2010

#1292: LeanAlign

Filed under: Feasible inventions - 29 May 2010

Today’s invention is a way to make office chairs roll more smoothly across office flooring.

Conventional casters (with wheel centre trailing the vertical axis) always seem to end up pointing in the wrong direction. This causes carpet rucking and a massive amount of extra, irritating friction.

The new approach has the chair mounted on a shallow, conical base with casters, as shown.

To move in a certain direction, first rock in the opposite direction slightly, allowing the casters on the other half to rotate around under gravity to align themselves with the planned movement.

Rolling onto these then allows the chair to be supported and move unhindered on aligned wheels.

28th May 2010

#1291: Shellmet

Filed under: Possible inventions - 28 May 2010

Today’s invention is a collapsible bicycle helmet.

It consists of an outer bag with hemispherical bulges moulded into it of different sizes.

Each bulge contains an aluminium boss bonded to a rubbery base. The bosses are of slightly different sizes so that they nest conveniently together when removed from the bag and fit into it for ease of carrying eg in a pocket.

The bosses’ rubber bases make contact with the wearer’s head and are held in place by a drawstring around the base of the bag.

In an accident, the bosses sustain damage and dissipate any impact loading across a wide area of the skull.

#1290: Tattool

Filed under: Whimsical inventions - 28 May 2010

Today’s invention is a software tool which performs two services to people interested in tattoos. This is inspired by the classic, if nonsensical, war movie “We Dive at Dawn” starring the ever plucky John Mills. A character is tricked into having an existing tattoo modified to include a longer, and inaccurate’ girl’s name.

Before getting a tattoo of a chosen design, the software displays on a screen the kinds of (larger) shapes to which eg a ship’s anchor, Egyptian ankh or the Dallas Cowboys’ logo can be most easily modified, should the wearer want, or need, an upgrade later.

Using the area, time required and location of any planned tattoo as guides, the software can also provide an estimate of the pain involved in such body modifications.

#1289: Prelasticity

Filed under: Feasible inventions - 28 May 2010

When you drop a rubber ball on a hard surface it bounces to only a fraction of its starting height.

Today’s invention is a novelty device which overcomes that limit, by storing extra energy in a hidden, internal spring.

The ball is first squeezed, compressing the spring between the two hinged calipers which then lock ends together.

When the ball is dropped, the impact disengages the caliper ends allowing them to fly apart, react against the floor and provide an added upwards fling to the ball -beyond the bounce supplied by the rubber outer material.

(It may be that a version of this approach could be used to provide eg reactive armour for sports players and cyclists).

26th May 2010

#1288: N-shooter

Filed under: Possible inventions - 26 May 2010

Again, the boyish obsession with firearms, I’m afraid…

Today’s invention is a cylinder for a revolver with a massively increased capacity.

This would be fitted to any revolver of the right calibre by ‘breaking’ the weapon as usual and replacing the existing cylinder with the one shown in the diagram.

This would be driven from chamber to chamber using the cocking mechanism and a ratchet formed on the inside surface of the new supersized cylinder (exactly the same type of drive as is used on conventional revolvers).

25th May 2010

#1287: Showheels

Filed under: Feasible inventions - 25 May 2010

Trade shows and exhibitions are so last-but-one century.

People pay vast amounts to have ‘stands’ so that many more folk can pass by semi-somnolent and maybe pick up horrible free pens and product literature.

Today’s invention is to have an exhibition space filled with ‘stands’ which are free to move very slowly from place to place. These would each be mounted on an electrically-driven trolley and allow anyone to hop on and off (or wheelchairs to roll on roll off).

Just having stands appear next to each other in interesting juxtapositions would be exciting and thought provoking, but I’d also suggest having stands of differing sizes so that many people (eg startups) might have one that was like a powered shopping trolley.

How about stands which could be directed by delegates’ mobile phone messages?

#1286: Contourkeys

Filed under: Possible inventions - 25 May 2010

Rather than cart around a collection of Yale keys, today’s invention allows a user to carry only the outer profile of each key,

These can be made of very stiff metal so that twisting within the lock can be sustained repeatedly without breakage.

The key outlines might also be nested, so that the whole ‘keyring’ can be conveniently stored flat in a wallet, for example.

This might take the form of a metal business card with laser-cut profiles in it -each of which which could bend outwards independently to allow door opening.

23rd May 2010

#1285: Verturbine

Filed under: Possible inventions - 23 May 2010

Vertical wind turbines suffer from the problem that their blades cause a huge amount of drag when rotating around into the wind. Today’s invention aims to overcome that.

A (blue) platform carries a fin and is free to rotate into the wind like a weathercock. On this platform stands a vertical cylinder with a semicylindrical blade attached via a springloaded hinge (shown in red).

The wind, blowing from the bottom half of the diagram, rotates the cylinder anticlockwise about its axis on the platform (A). Rollers attached to the platform then close the blade, removing its drag component and compressing the sprung hinge (B).

Inertia carries the cylinder around until the blade is released for another cycle (C). More blades of course would be better.

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