Archive for: January 2011

31st January 2011

#1495: EjectorSeed

Filed under: Possible inventions - 31 Jan 2011

Today’s invention is aimed at saving the lives of occupants of a light aircraft which is about to crash.

The crew compartment consists of a vertical-axis cylindrical canister attached to a high wing. Each semicircular edge of the cylinder’s upper face is attached to the wing by a separate set of explosive bolts.

In such an emergency, the pilot would decide which wing was less badly damaged and fire the bolts on the opposite semicircle.

The crew cannister, attached to one half of the wing, would be ejected and would spin like a sycamore seed towards earth (a sickening journey, but with a much lower terminal velocity than the stricken aircraft has as a whole).

30th January 2011

#1494: VictoryScent

Filed under: Whimsical inventions - 30 Jan 2011

Home advantage is something which affects many sports, and no-one knows quite why. Huge amounts of money are spent by professional teams in filming the changing rooms they will visit in a season, for example.

Today’s invention is a way to employ this phenomenon in a new way.

Knowing the power which smell has to evoke feelings, each club would trademark its own local odour. This would be sold at grounds in aerosol cans, adding another source of revenue.

When travelling to away games, these cans would allow each side’s supporters to express their allegiance and also to provide their team with memories of home wins at critical points in a match.

#1493: SeenGreen

Filed under: Possible inventions - 30 Jan 2011

Boxing can be a dangerous sport, but it’s compelling for many people.

Today’s invention tries to lessen the danger caused by widely-hooked punches, which are hard to see as they swing across the visual periphery and are thus responsible for concussions to the unprepared boxer’s brain.

It consists of boxing gloves which are coloured bright green (this colour being the most detectable in the periphery of the retina).

For anyone interested in counting punches who insists that opponents’ gloves should be visibly different, I’d also propose that the gloves carry different green patterns (eg noughts and crosses or dots and stripes?)

#1492: Fletchworks

Filed under: Possible inventions - 30 Jan 2011

Today’s invention is a conjoining of two ancient military technologies.

It takes the form of arrows which have a rocket in their rear ends.

As each arrow passes the bow, a rubbing strip on the bow lights a match in the tail of the arrow.

This causes the rocket to ignite in flight, accelerating the arrow to a much higher speed than a human archer could achieve. It thus improves accuracy and also acts as a tracer, showing where the arrow has gone.

#1491: TrailerPark

Filed under: Possible inventions - 30 Jan 2011

Today’s invention is a way to help with the issue of urban parking.

A trailer, made of aluminium struts, is attached to one’s car when going into town. This is then detached, a ramp is pulled out and the front of the trailer raised (using a motor or winch).

The car is driven up the ramp which has been formed and braked in position. Running the engine against a flywheel raises the back end of the platform.

Last, the ramp is slotted back in and the whole thing rolled towards the pavement over the top of other parked vehicles or pedestrian walkways.

28th January 2011

#1490: Therminal

Filed under: Feasible inventions - 28 Jan 2011

Airliners have specific periods for which their jet engines must be warmed up before they can take off. This can involve generating significant quantities of hot exhaust for minutes at a time.

Today’s invention is a simple tool to help airlines recoup some of the wasted energy.

An airport tractor would be fitted with two large heat exchanger coils. These would be separable laterally in order to line up with the exhaust from two jets on an airliner’s wing. The exhaust flow would pass through the central duct in each, allowing for heat transfer but providing minimal reaction force on the plane.

Two such tractors could be driven up to a four engine jet in order to extract some of the heat which would otherwise warm the atmosphere over the tarmac. The energy could be used to heat water for use in the terminal building.

27th January 2011

#1489: DoubLens

Filed under: Feasible inventions - 27 Jan 2011

The vast majority of contact lens wearers use two identical lenses.

Today’s invention is a way to reduce the huge amount of waste packaging associated with these valuable articles.

It simply involves placing two lenses into each fluid filled container instead of one, when lenses are being packed in the factory.

Such double lens packs would be differentiated by eg a different coloured foil lid.

There is even an argument for doing this with all lenses so that someone who needs +1.0 and +1.5 dioptre lenses would get one package with 2*+1.0 and one package with 2*+1.5 (since the cost of two lenses can’t be that much more than that for one).

26th January 2011

#1488: Starget

Filed under: Feasible inventions - 26 Jan 2011

Clay pigeon shooting can be a bit of a let-down. Most of the time you miss, but even when you do manage to smash a clay, it’s not exactly visually rewarding.

Today’s invention is a small disc of firework material which can be attached, using adhesive backing, to a clay pigeon.

When this is hit, the shooter and his/her audience see a coloured flash in the sky.

The discs could be made in different colours and sizes so that the colour and extent of the flash indicate the degree to which a shot was on-target.

The approach also has the benefit of comminuting the clay debris even more finely, so that there may be marginally less damage to the local environment.

23rd January 2011

#1487: CheStay

Filed under: Possible inventions - 23 Jan 2011

As students move into dormitories and shared rooms, the security of their proliferating electronic devices and other valuables becomes an issue (Amongst several such projects, I had to use a cable lock to secure my daughter’s laptop to her student hall radiator. No-one stole the radiator).

It’s also essential that, when defending one’s rent deposit, that no damage be detectable by a landlord later.

Today’s invention is a cheap, secure box which can be firmly attached to floorboards so that stealing it in toto becomes difficult.

A strong, lockable box (blue) has an array of holes in the base. The box is placed on a wooden floor and, where the holes match the gaps in the floorboards, a drill can be used to penetrate the tongues, as shown.

A bolt with a pivoted bar (yellow) is passed through to the underside of the board and twisted so that the bar’s asymmetric weight allows it to lie flat and grip the board when the bolt is tightened.

To remove, untighten the bolt and tap it to disengage from the wood, leaving no sign of its presence (and no need to hide aftereffects under a rug).

#1486: SwelLetters

Filed under: Possible inventions - 23 Jan 2011

Predictive text can be useful but it has the potential to annoy those people who insist on using a large vocabulary whilst typing into a small device. All too often, the word that appears will not be the one intended and some form of substitution then has to occur (sometimes it involves retyping and hoping that the system will learn the new word).

Today’s invention attempts to supply some of the benefits of predictive text generation with less of the downside.

A text messaging device would generate its best guess about what a user was about to type next. Rather than display this, it would simply change the ease of selecting and typing the next predicted letter(s).

On a conventional keyboard, this might involve raising the key for the next character slightly. On a touchscreen or projected keyboard, the guessed character could be displayed as larger (with its size increase dependent on the confidence level).

An enhancement might be to boost the size of the next 1 to n characters predicted, by an amount which would decrease from future-character 1 to n.

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