Archive for: July 2010

30th July 2010

#1344: Adtention

Filed under: Possible inventions - 30 Jul 2010

I was reading about this uninspired piece of robot research, when it occurred to me that there is an opportunity in the no-holds-barred business of advertising.

You have probably seen that old prank in which a person stares into the sky, at nothing, yet who then gathers a crowd staring in the same way. Well, today’s invention is based on a similar approach.

A webpage, or electronic billboard, has simulated pairs of eyes peppered around it between the content items. Advertisers can pay to have the pairs of eyes appear to move so as to look at their ad (drawing the attention of viewers).

Pay more and the eyes spend more time moving towards your advert.

(For a conventional hoarding, you might have robot mannikins in a nearby shop window shift their gaze towards them).

29th July 2010

#1343: PainterPointer

Filed under: Feasible inventions - 29 Jul 2010

Today’s invention is a new paintbrush.

This contains a detachable handle (orange), which allows a range of different ‘profilers’ to be inserted (blue).

This forces the bristles (grey) to adopt a profile ideally suited to the painting task of the moment -ie from broad brush to very fine detail

It can be swapped quickly when eg up a ladder without having to carry multiple, paint-covered brushes.

28th July 2010

#1342: Incenseinserts

Filed under: Feasible inventions - 28 Jul 2010

I’ve heard numerous e-book readers complain that their new fangled electronic devices suffer from the absence of the traditional smell of a well-thumbed paperback’s pages from a fusty library.

I’m unclear why the smell is so important. Can people differentiate between Moby Dick and Dracula by their olfactory properties ? (I guess not).

Today’s invention is a plastic sleeve which fits in the case behind one’s e-reader. This accommodates a page from an old book which you no longer need but which smells of a suitably literary study.

On opening the case, the (hidden) page is exposed to the air and one’s reading experience is thereby enhanced (especially as the e-book device warms up).

#1341: Collarelease

Filed under: Possible inventions - 28 Jul 2010

The advice when one’s dog is attacked by another dog is ‘simply’ to let it run away to safety.

This has a couple of associated difficulties.

First, if you let the lead go, the dog may well trip over it or get itself tangled as it scrambles away. Second, if you try to release the lead from the collar, you risk bending down and putting your face between two fighting dogs…usually considered a bad idea.

Today’s invention is therefore a lead which can be detached from a dog’s collar whilst the animal is straining to escape from its far end.

This would be achieved by running a Bowden-type cable from the lead handle/loop to the catch where collar meets lead. Press on a recessed button and the normal lead-collar catch is opened, freeing fido.

25th July 2010

#1340: PileParting

Filed under: Possible inventions - 25 Jul 2010

A twin-blade razor extends the stubble hairs with the leading blade so that the trailing blade can cut it even shorter.

A similar approach is employed in today’s invention: a new carpet cleaning head for a vacuum cleaner.

The leading suction branch pulls the carpet fibres to one side, making it easier for the following branch to extract dirt particles from within the depth of the pile.

#1339: FractalFruitcup

Filed under: Whimsical inventions - 25 Jul 2010

Drinking Pimm’s in a friend’s garden today it emerged that there are several versions in addition to Pimm’s No1.

Pimm’s No2 is based on Whisky, for example.

Today’s invention is to create non-integer mixes of the Pimm’s base variants eg a 30:70 mix of 1 and 2 would be Pimm’s No1.3

#1338: SinkSiren

Filed under: Possible inventions - 25 Jul 2010

It seems that most people’s imagined view of drowning is mistaken…victims don’t thrash and yell, they simply go motionless and sink.

Todays invention is a way for anyone getting into serious difficulties in the water to draw attention to that fact and thus summon help.

Swimmers could purchase a light, quoit-shaped ring, to be worn around the neck. This would include an elastic section to make it easy to put on, without being obstructive to swimming. It would also be brightly coloured and slightly buoyant in fresh, and therefore salt, -water.

When the wearer found themselves about to drown, their face would descend through the ring floating on the surface. Biting the ring anywhere would activate a bright flashing light within the ring and a loud squawking noise, audible even over the roar of breakers.

22nd July 2010

#1337: Wirewords

Filed under: Feasible inventions - 22 Jul 2010

Today’s invention is a flexible, cheap way to make large-scale written notices.

Units such as those on the left of the diagram can be attached to a pegboard-type background in a variety of layouts (including that of the seven-segment arrangement shown on the right).

A wire, cable or tube is looped around these units, either through the hidden or visible side of each.

This allows words to be spelled out using a continuous section of high contrast rope etc. (much more convenient than searching in a box of preformed characters for that missing ‘X’).

21st July 2010

#1336: SpeakerSpacing

Filed under: Possible inventions - 21 Jul 2010

It seems the guidelines for optimal placement of one’s speakers in a room are reasonably straightforward.

Today’s invention is a pair of speakers which are set on movable stands. The speakers can be driven vertically upwards and downwards and the stands are also mobile, being driven across the floor by onboard motors.

The system comes equipped with a remote control unit (containing a wifi transmitter). Sit down, holding this facing the speakers, in your listening chair and they will automatically dispose themselves adaptively to suitable positions and heights (relative to the corners of the room, the listener and each other).

The remote allows the selection of different test music and also fine tuning of speaker location/orientation.

20th July 2010

#1335: Mufflemuzzle

Filed under: Possible inventions - 20 Jul 2010

Today’s invention is a silencer for that neighbourhood dog whose owner is unable to stop it barking all the time.

Since each dog has a pretty characteristic and consistent nuisance-bark wavelength, this would take the form of a simple muffler device with a resonator chamber which would be adjustable in length to allow cancellation of that particular animal’s bark.

At night, the dog would wear a muzzle fitted with a silencer of this type made of lightweight plastic material.

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