#1527: PuddlePointers

Every time it rains, as cars drive past me I get splashed by the bow-wave they create when I’m standing waiting to cross the road.

Today’s invention is biodegradable coloured particles (probably made in the form of cork discs).

Kind hearted people would throw a few dozen of these into any nasty kerbside puddles they saw.

When a car passes, it blasts water and particles onto the pavement. The water washes away but the particles remain.

Subsequent pedestrians can see the area affected by previous car splashes and avoid standing within the affected area.

#1526: ScareSkin

It’s often said that when a motorcyclist gets a leather suit, gloves and boots on they feel protected and this allows them to ride less carefully.

If they were riding nude, my guess is that they would be driving everywhere at under 30mph.

Today’s invention is a set of stick-on patches for a novice rider’s leathers (perhaps required by law for learners).

These would be transparent and allow the insertion of a photo print of the underlying section of a particular rider’s body. (I’d suggest that patches be applied to elbows and knees, which a rider can see in transit -although being exhibitionist, individuals might choose also to apply such patches to other parts of their anatomies eg those with particularly fine tattoos).

Being made constantly aware of their underlying, vulnerable skin surfaces would have the effect of causing people to take more care.

#1525: LiquidLid

I’m very keen on using disposable fountain pens. I like the line quality and don’t care if the odd pen or two goes missing (due to increasing absent-mindedness).

This problem extends to frequently leaving a pen down without its cap and then finding that the ink has solidified.

Today’s invention is therefore a fountain pen which gradually recaps itself, using a mechanism like these bathtoys.

If you put the cap on the non-nib end when writing, the string just pulls taught.

Leaving the pen down uncapped results in gradual recapping (after a period determined by shortening the string to one’s preference).

This also has the benefit that the cap is harder to mislay (It might actually be better if the string were replaced by a band like a spring-loaded tape measure).

#1524: StethoStereo

Today’s invention is inspired by watching people share earbuds when listening to the same iPod.

When two or more medics need to listen to a patient’s interior (when one is being instructed for example) they can combine their stethoscopes so as to listen at exactly the same location.

They achieve this by one medic detaching their instrument’s head and plugging it into that of the other medic, as shown.

Naturally, this would provoke all sorts of status-related wrangling about which was unplugged etc, but the patient would certainly benefit from more precisely-controlled information flow.

#1523: FlockFender

Today’s invention represents another go at solving the bird-strike problem for passenger aircraft.

Each airliner would be equipped with a small UAV, capable of flying at speeds marginally greater than cruising velocity at medium and low altitudes. This craft could be highly streamlined, impact resistant and able to refuel itself periodically from the main aircraft.

The UAV would be released in flight and controlled by the aircraft’s steering system so as to fly directly ahead of it in areas with a moderate to high birdstrike probability.

A sufficient distance would be maintained between drone and aircraft so that any UAV malfunction could not damage the main plane.

The UAV would carry optical and perhaps acoustic sensors, in order to detect in advance the arrival of any errant avians. The two would fly close enough so that if the scout vehicle was actually hit (eg from the left), the aircraft crew would still have enough time to respond to advice to bear sharply right.

It might even be necessary to allow the drone to detonate its own small fuel load if it sensed that the flock was too big to be steered around.