Imagine a bicycle which can be left almost anywhere with minimised fear of theft.
Today’s invention is a new form of bicycle lock.
The seat post is hollow and connects to the pedal axle which has a diametric hole through it. The seat too would have an aperture created in it.
A chain with a hook on the end is dropped through the seat and seat post, emerging through the pedal axle. The hook is engaged with a metal loop of which there would be many embedded in concrete around an urban area.
The end of the chain emerging through the seat would be tightened and locked in place.
This tension would hold the bicycle upright.
It would also make it very difficult to remove the frame or the seat.
Even the wheels would be impossible to remove because they would be pinned down to the concrete by the chain.
Today’s invention is a way to refuel vehicles without actually stopping. No more queueing, interrupted journeys or handling noxious chemicals.
A car would drive, at reduced speed, through a service station and have automatically injected into it, from below, either a new battery or a new tank of petrol.
These packages would be armoured and designed for zero leakage. They would be stored in a mechanised feeder magazine.
A charge would be automatically made to the account of the vehicle owner.
Today’s invention is a way for kayakers and surfers to personsalise their vehicles.
Having their face moulded into the underside of the hull could be just for fun when driving down the road to the beach.
If they capsize, however, the rescue services would have a clear idea of exactly whom they were aiming to save.
Today’s invention is a skatepark with a flexible surface, supported on pneumatic pistons.
This allows the profile to change from occasion to occasion, so that a different challenge is offered to users each time.
Skaters can also be propelled across the park in complex orbits by lowering the surface just ahead of the board -a function which could be controlled either by a program or by the votes of spectators.
Today’s invention is an even more terrifying roller coaster ride.
As the passenger vehicle rides up a hill, as shown, the passengers see signs saying ‘under construction, gap ahead’.
They can see no track ahead but as they reach the missing section, the carriage engages with a swing arm (red) which rotates about a fixed point and creates the illusion that they flew through the air to connect with the next section of track.
(A better version of this might replace the arm, visible to those on the ground, with a section of track which extends from underneath the part which lies just before the gap).
I was lying awake last night, listening to the clock in my room and wondering what time it was.
Having taken my contact lenses out made it difficult to see the clock, let alone read the time.
Today’s invention is therefore a clock whose ticking changes, depending on the time.
If it’s 2 o’clock then one would hear tick,tick,tock. 9 o’clock and it would say tick,tick,tick,tick —tick,tick,tick,tick—tick,tock.
The grouping of ticks into sets of four would make it much easier to perceive accurately the totals involved.
Today’s invention is a new type of garden hose.
This would be made of quarter-circles of stiff tube(a bit like parts of a hula-hoop).
These would be joined together by plumbing stab-joints, which, once sealed together, allow free rotation of one quarter circle relative to the next.
The hose would thus be storable as a flat spiral of say 1m in diameter -without the usual tangles and damage caused by crimping.
It could access anywhere in a garden just by making the right selection of rotations and would also provide pretty much the same pressure drop -irrespective of its present layout.
If you wanted to lengthen or shorten your hose, it would just be a matter of adding or removing quadrants.
Today’s invention is a goblet (with opaque sides) and which contains a false bottom. This can be used as a joke for party guests.
Initially, the false bottom disguises a reservoir of liquid below it (A).
After some of the drink has been consumed (B), the lower plunger moves gradually upwards so as to make the level of the drink seem nearly the same as before.
This allows eg a party host (or bar owner) to encourage people to drink at a faster rate than the one they perceive (at least for a while).
It seems that people who rent bikes don’t tend to wear safety helmets.
Today’s invention is therefore a bicycle helmet vending machine that would sit alongside a rank of rentable citybikes.
There would be a number of oval recesses on the machine’s front face into which one would try to place the crown of one’s head. Having found one that fitted, the user would pay and receive a helmet in the right size (these would be stacked, nested tightly together inside).
The helmet would have bonded to its strap a key which would then be used to release the lock on a bike.
Locking the bike at some intermediate stop would require the same key to be used, so that the helmet would need to accompany the rider -and thus be much more likely to be worn.
Failure to return the helmet to a machine would result in an extra charge made to the credit card used to rent the bike.
Today’s invention is a program which is sensitive to the size of elements displayed on the screen of the device it runs on.
I’m thinking here primarily about maps, on which the route between start and destination is displayed.
In order to provide maximum detail, the route would automatically be rotated and scaled to fit the screen diagonal (as closely as possible, without chopping off bits of the journey).