#1995: Evacuations

Today’s invention offers a way to get more airline passengers aware of how to operate an airliner door, in the event of an emergency.

The main doors to each of the toilet blocks in an airport would be made to resemble closely the doors on various current aircraft.

It would be necessary to operate one of these to use the bathroom.

In this way, many more of the travelling public (who don’t read the safety instructions) would be informally trained in the use of this vital mechanism.

#1994: FloWing

Sports pitches have increasingly elaborate sub-structures to ensure that any rainfall which lands on them doesn’t result in waterlogging and highly expensive cancellations.

Today’s invention is a simple alternative to advanced drainage or roofing-type solutions.

The turf (or astroturf) would be installed on a pitch-sized deck (if we can have rooves big enough to cover stadia, such a platform is not out of the question).

This rigid deck would be hinged to the ground all along one touchline.

After rainfall, the other edge of the pitch surface would be briefly raised by a metre or so using hydraulic jacks.

This would allow any excess water to run off into a drain, so that play would not be postponed.

#1993: CrowdShunning

Today’s invention is an introversion mapping application.

Introverts (probably one in three adults, but we tend to keep a low profile) would tag locations on their smartphones where there were few people and not much noise. The tags might link to local realtime photos and recorded sounds.

This would include information about the best times to avoid crowds so that other introverts could then go there preferentially.

When the locations began to get more popular, the app users could individually reduce the rating for a given location.

This is all a bit like the El Farol problem I’ve mentioned before.

#1992: TieTidy

Today’s invention is buttonholes in the back of one’s tie -or more specifically the label at the back.

Why? Well the flapping tag on the narrow end would have a number of different buttonholes sewn along its length.

The tie would be put on and the narrow end fed through the loop in the back of the wide end as usual.

Then, one of the buttonholes on the label could be attached to one of the shirt buttons.

This would keep one’s tie in position (even if being pursued across fields by a malevolent cropsprayer) -but without the need for any ugly tiepins (or tucking it into one’s shirt).

#1991: BuzzBud

I can’t believe how much energy my smartphone uses when it vibrates to alert me to the arrival of a new message.

This is a fairly brick-sized Galaxy Note, mind you, and the whole device shakes in my pocket.

Today’s invention is to supply such cellphones with an earbud containing a tiny, out of balance motor.

With the phone in a pocket, the ear piece could be worn in the ear or inserted into a shirt buttonhole.

A new message would only need to buzz a small external mass, thus being more discreet and saving my hard-pressed battery.

#1990: StealtHeater

I’ve been reading about people who drag race motorcycles. This is a perilous activity in which riders spin the tyres against the tarmac -primarily to warm them up before a contest.

This may be spectacular but I can’t help thinking it’s lessening the life and safe performance of a very expensive piece of rubber.

In certain car races, the tyres are prewarmed by wrapping them in electric blankets.

Today’s invention is a heating tape which lies between the wheel and the tyre on a racing bike. This allows the rubber to be heated very precisely to match the track and atmosperic conditions.

#1989: Coldirect

When the weather is hot and the office fan is working overtime, how come it spends most of its time blasting air in the wrong direction?

Today’s invention is a rotating fan which incorporates a cheap thermal camera.

This directs the fan’s airstream towards regions of the room which are hotter than average.

Ideally it would also benefit from having a processor running face recognition software.

This opens up an opportunity to have the airflow directed towards individuals (perhaps according to how hot, or hardworking, each indvidual is).

#1988: HideHide

Today’s invention is a new form of camouflage.

It takes the form of a roughly leaf-shaped piece of soft foam. This is a shallow, 3D wedge which has velcro tape on the underside. The basic uniform would have corresponding velcro patches attached.

Many lightweight wedges could be carried, highly compressed in a vacuum pack until required. They would then be attached randomly across eg a soldier’s uniform, even overlapping in places so as to disrupt his/her shape by casting numerous shadows mostly within the wearer’s outline.

This foam could act as extra insulation in cold weather and could be easily soaked in water to hide from heat sensors.

The wedges could be attached to vehicles too and some might be fitted with nylon ‘stalks’ so that the leaves were free to move a little in the breeze and thus lessen the apparent solidity of the underlying object.

#1987: LogoLock

It seems that users of Apple laptops are victims of the anomaly that the big Apple logo on the lid needs to lie with leaf uppermost when they are about to open the shell.

Then, when it’s opened, everyone passing sees them using a machine with the logo upside down…(I wonder if Samsung have trademarked the Apple logo thus inverted? ; )

Today’s invention is a simple mechanism to allow this ‘problem’ to be overcome.

In diagram A, a user rotates the apple badge on the outside of the case anticlockwise, using the ‘bite’ for purchase. This disengages a catch (pink) inside the lid.

Opening the lid (B) allows the badge, whose axis is above its center of mass, to fall into the correct orientation as viewed by a passer by.

When finished, the user shuts the lid and spins the badge back until the catch re-engages.

#1986: Scooparking

With the price of metal soaring, the owners of mechanical diggers stand to lose even more equipment from building sites.

This is a particular problem when these machines have to have buckets of different sizes and these all need to be secured overnight (or over the weekend).

Today’s invention is a range of digger buckets which is designed so that the vehicle wheels can be driven into them and parked, as shown. Once the vehicle has its steering lock applied, removal of any buckets is a herculean task.

Each vehicle can have up to four spare buckets, which are made shallow enough avoid fouling the digger wheelarches.

I’d also recommend driving the vehicle until the tyre valves are located deep inside the buckets (to avoid deflation and illicit bucket removal).