#1390: JawJar

Today’s invention is a development of the standard, screw-threaded jar.

All sorts of these vessels exist, in a variety of materials. The idea is to engrave onto the helical surface of the container’s screw thread a groove like the surface of an old LP record.

This would be ‘played’ by a corresponding needle set or moulded into the threads of the lid, whenever the jar was being opened.

With the lid shaped to act as a loudspeaker, such a device might issue a brief warning about the misuse of medicine within or to those about to steal one’s milk from the communal fridge. It might simply say ‘Thanks from Pepsico.’

#1389: SupperSpray

We are told that too much salt in the diet is unhealthy.

Today’s invention is to provide salt pre-dissolved in vinegar for use on the dining table. A water spray, of the kind used on plant leaves, would be filled with vinegar and a small amount of salt added in the factory so as to form a solution of known concentration.

This would allow foods, such as fish and chips, to have only limited quantities of salt applied to them (and in a more uniform way than sprinkling separately).

#1388: Gapparent

Lots of sports have the scoring of goals, via some arrangement of posts, as an objective.

Today’s invention is to arrange for the posts in say, soccer, to change size (slowly) according to the distance between goals and posts. The apparent size of the goalmouth, from the perspective of the player currently on the ball, will thus stay constant.

This means that players will try shooting from farther out because a ball kicked from 50 yds away will will be presented with a much greater scoring area than one kicked from 5 yards.

#1387: Skinfriction

if it’s true that wiping one’s hands after washing provides the most effective approach to hygiene, then a lot of those air dryers could be improved upon. One obvious upgrade would be simply to introduce a barrier between the hands so they can’t be rubbed against each other when being dried.

Today’s invention is however an integral washing/drying machine made up of an airblade-like hand dryer suspended above a sink. This would have a single aperture big enough to accommodate the forearms, not just the hands.

People wanting to clean their hands thoroughly would insert them through the dryer’s aperture on the way to the sink below. The skin of the hands would be rubbed by the intense downwards airstream, forcing bacteria to the surface so that they could be washed off more effectively when they reached the sink. People could be encouraged to scrub one hand against the other within the airflow by having the fan activated by this specific movement. Waterflow from the taps could be arranged to occur only after a period of this dry scrubbing.

The hands could then be dried as they are withdrawn, in the usual way.

#1386: 7LeagueLegs

Today’s invention is a novel way to enjoy exercise. It consists of a small trampoline on wheels.

When someone bounces on the trampoline, sensors in the springs around the base pass data to an onboard computer which calculates accurately the direction and in-flight time of the user.

These data allow the trampoline’s wheels to be driven along the ground to catch the user when next he/she descends.

With practice, someone could thus learn to make long-distance bounds, eg along a road or track, whilst the trampoline automatically repositions itself to support the next, enormous step.

#1385: CleanerShield

Today’s invention is a modification to those conventional (and pretty effective) vacuum cleaner bags that many of us still use.

I’ve noticed that sucking up fragments of rubble and sharp debris tends pretty quickly to make a hole in the side of the bag opposite the inlet (rendering the whole device temporarily useless).

The idea would therefore be to place a cheap, multilayer cardboard pad on the inside of the bag at the impact location. This would effectively resist damage whilst not limiting too greatly the flexibility or the air-permeable area of the bag itself.

#1384: Flightframe

Helicopters obviously have limited load-lifting capability.

Today’s invention is a frame (red) to which individual helicopters can be bolted in order to allow truly massive weights to be transported easily, with the load shared between n rotary-wing aircraft.

Given that no pilot is keen to have their craft attached to others, the frame would also contain circuitry which allows n-1 uncrewed machines to be controlled in synchrony from a master helicopter.

#1383: MatchMachine

Today’s invention is intended to provide assistance to those men who are hopeless at coordinating clothes.

Imagine a vending machine which is full of blank ties in some natural, uncoloured material. A man in need of smartening up stands in front of the machine and is imaged by a camera in the machine.

Software on board identifies the shades already being worn and selects a tie pattern and colouration which will be inoffensive.

This is applied to a blank tie, dried and then passed to the customer, following the traditional transference of credit card data.

#1382: Supermarine

Today’s invention is an alternative to the usual submarine’s conning tower -an underwater crow’s nest.

To reduce drag and provide a higher observation platform, a minisub is located on a pair of streamlined arms as shown. The minisub has an airlock connection to the rear of the hull so that crew can enter and leave freely when in transit.

The minisub could detach from the hull, using the arms, and rise close to or high above the surface.

It might even be possible to have this vehicle detach completely and act as a lifeboat in an emergency.

#1381: ShoalShaper

It seems that shoals of fish are subject to a tension between the tendencies to swim closely to avoid predators and to spread out to get enough oxygen.

(There are examples of eg dolphins blowing bubbles in order somehow to direct a shoal, so maybe the injection of some extra oxygen allows the fish to bunch up more, making them easier to eat).

Today’s invention is an air line from a fishing boat. When a shoal is detected on the sonar, this line would descend into the shoal, aerate it and allow the fish to form a tighter than usual ball…resulting in a higher than normal percentage caught in the vessel’s net.