Archive for: November 2011

30th November 2011

#1797: TwinTangs

Filed under: Feasible inventions - 30 Nov 2011

For survivalists and explorers whose lives depend on their equipment, having a knife with a broad tang is important.

This makes it hard to break, but it adds weight and still provides only a single, large blade.

Today’s invention is a knife which has a large tang in which a slot is cut (so that it doesn’t lessen the strength of the unit significantly).

Into the slot is inserted from the far side a multi-tool penknife, one grip of which is expanded to provide the handle for the overall system.

If you need access to a wider range of smaller tools, simply undo the two knurled nuts holding the small tool and grip (blue) in place and detach the main metal work from the penknife/multitool.

#1796: SpareStruts

Filed under: Possible inventions - 30 Nov 2011

Today’s invention is a form of forklift truck with several sets of detachable forks.

This can be used to create improved accommodation within eg tall industrial units by introducing mezzanine floors, but without the costs of building permanent, single-use, structures.

A fork lift can thus be used to raise one end of a steel decking unit, leaving the (locked) forks behind to act as supports.

After attaching a new set of forks, the other end can be raised and locked in place, allowing the truck still to be available for other lifting duties (using the other spare fork units with which it comes equipped)

#1795: FormaliTee

Filed under: Whimsical inventions - 30 Nov 2011

Geeks only ever wear a T shirt, but when some ‘suit’ arrives at their garage or lab, offering vast amounts of investment, they still may want to look briefly businesslike.

Today’s invention therefore is a clip-on collar-and-tie unit which disguises a plain-colour T as a short-sleeved business shirt (using a press-stud to join the collar halves at the back of the neck.

(This might easily be adopted by ironic boffins eager to mock any newly MBA’d managers).

29th November 2011

#1794: RampRoof

Filed under: Possible inventions - 29 Nov 2011

It takes surprisingly little structural steelwork to hold the weight of a car safely overhead.

Today’s invention helps deal with the shortage of urban parking spaces as well as providing weather protection to pedestrians.

A ramp allows cars (blue) to drive up onto a trackway over the pavement and park.

Another raised lane is provided to allow parked cars to pull out overhead and rejoin the street via a second ramp.

Pedestrians thus are sheltered by the cars themselves and the roadway has an extra lane (yellow) that would otherwise consist of (filled) parking spaces.

#1793: SeeSleeve

Filed under: Feasible inventions - 29 Nov 2011

I hate folders on my computer desktop. Once you put stuff in there you have to think up a name for all the contents and they suddenly become invisible.

Rather than create a virtual paperclip (Microsoft already messed that one up), today’s invention is a transparent envelope.

Clicking once on the envelope would visually shuffle the contents enough to remind me what was in there. This would allow me to hold together documents of every file type on my desktop in such a way that I can still identify where things are at a glance.

I might later choose to file the results of my work in an old-fashioned folder, but for work in progress a clear envelope would be a useful tool.

27th November 2011

#1792: Chronochrome

Filed under: Feasible inventions - 27 Nov 2011

Today’s invention is to create a paint tool for Gimp or Photoshop which contains information about paint drying behaviour.

One could specify the properties of the paint so that a realistic drying time would be simulated. This would allow ‘wet’ paint to be manipulated for a while on screen.

It would also be possible to have such virtual paint exhibit smart features, such as a tendency to mix more with some than other colours or to flow depending upon the simulated canvas’ local absorption properties.

Paint colour might even be allowed to change on subsequent viewings, so that a digital picture could bleach realistically when viewed years later.

#1791: TrimTime

Filed under: Whimsical inventions - 27 Nov 2011

Today’s invention is a novel beard trimmer.

A wristwatch has hands which have sharp edges. The watch glass has radial slots cut through it.

If you want to trim your beard, press the hair up against the glass, so that some hair pokes through.

Now, activate the separate watch motor, so that the hands race around at 100 times normal speed. The hands thus cut off protruding hair, which can be shaken back out through the gaps.

After use, the watch remembers what the time was and resets itself.

#1790: WineWave

Filed under: Feasible inventions - 27 Nov 2011

It seems that if you want to swirl your wine in the glass before sniffing it, there is an optimal combination of depth, glass diameter and rotation rate.

Depending on these factors, you can generate dynamic wave patterns with either single or multiple crests so that the amount of mixing between air and wine can be controlled.

Today’s invention is therefore a wineglass turntable for viniculturists.

Pour the wine in to the marked level and then run the turntable at the correct speed. After the appropriate interval, smell the wine.

Oh, and if it smells ok, drink it.

24th November 2011

#1789: Divertical

Filed under: Possible inventions - 24 Nov 2011

Formula 1 steering wheels are becoming stupidly complex. A system which needs so many electronic controls can’t really be operated safely by people using pushbuttons at 200MPH.

In particular, the need to turn the wheel, about a near horizontal axis, with all that inherent arm crossing, is a throwback to the days of sailing ships.

A much more ergonomic approach, for vehicles which never need to turn much and whose drivers are already fatigued, is to have a wheel whose movements more directly map onto the directions which the front wheels are required to follow.

Today’s invention is therefore a racing steering device which has all the usual bells and whistles mounted on a pad which rotates about a vertical axis (shown from above in the picture).

Push/pull seems much more natural than clockwise/anticlockwise -especially when supported by a spring and damper system.

23rd November 2011

#1788: Glovendor

Filed under: Whimsical inventions - 23 Nov 2011

Today’s invention is a vending machine which will make you a pair of rubber gloves in the shape of the astronaut’s hands which most closely resemble your own.

It seems that NASA astronauts have all had their hands moulded in plaster in order to create their gloves. The range of hand shapes and sizes is surprisingly large.

A customer would approach the machine, insert their hands onto a plate and have them scanned in 2D. The resulting data would allow a pair of gloves to be quickly selected and moulded in latex, using one of the fifty or so pairs of moulds held in each machine.

The name of the astronaut and his or her image would appear on the machine’s screen at the same time as the gloves were dispensed, a few minutes later.

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