#2059: Illumineating

So here is an idea not easily findable in the patent databases…

It seems that people serve themselves less food if it contrasts in colour with the plate they are using.

Today’s invention is therefore a bank of lights below a buffet counter. Each light is adjacent to a different tray of food.

As you pick up a serving spoon, a light comes on from beneath the counter which illuminates your transparent plate in a contrasting shade to the meal element you are choosing.

Thus each selection you make is lit in a different, contrasting colour -which limits the amount you pile onto your plate.

#2058: SawStart

When learning carpentry, it’s very easy to waste a tonne of wood by unskilled use of a saw.

Today’s invention should help.

It consists of an extra, fine-toothed blade which clamps over the normal serrations as shown.

This would be accurately located by alignment with the back edge of the main saw.

It would allow a novice to make smallish saw movements to start the sawing process with a well-placed notch. This would then help the main saw to follow the line created by the guide blade.

#2057: QwertCode

Marketing people once thought that the QR code would be a great idea, but it’s proving very slow to become universally useful.

Today’s invention is a simpler alternative.

Adverts everywhere, online and offline would carry a small pattern like the one above. This represents the leftmost squares on a phone keyboard.

Rather than having to take any pictures with a smartphone, the user quickly opens the phone and taps on the corresponding black squares.

This would make the entry process much less sensitive to poor visibility or printing.

Only three rows of six keys need be employed (to allow the user to look at and remember the locations of black squares in each row, in succession, with some ease).

This would still provide access to a minimum of 262,000 different mobile pages, before making use of the potential difference between permutations eg CATACT (enough for many of the companies with a need to attract consumer attention on the go).

#2056: RollMould

Today’s invention is a bicycle wheel made entirely of reinforced rubber.

Two shallow, conical moulds are lined with fibre matting, brought together and liquid rubber injected.

These are then spun about the axle, so that the rubber permeates the fibre and forms a circular section tyre together with two sides of an integral wheel.

This would allow wheels to be more resilient to impact such as when bouncing down a kerb. It would also be a much simpler manufacturing process than conventional spokes allow.

Lastly, the resulting wheels would offer the low-drag performance of ‘solid’ wheels.

#2055: SkySnatch

Today’s invention is a way for ejecting pilots to avoid descending to enemy territory.

In diagram a) a pilot prepares to eject.

In b) the canopy is attached to the ejection seat at the top and it encapsulates it on exit, forming an airtight pod.

The pod can deploy a parachute in the usual way. If however, a wingman is nearby, the parachute is jettisoned before it is opened and the other aircraft, approaches at a similar horizontal velocity.

A robot arm emerges (c) from the wingman’s plane and docks with the pod, attaching it to the rear fuselage so that both airmen can return to base safely.

#2054: StraightSeat

Today’s invention is a posture improver for those of us who spend a lot of time seated at a desk.

When seated, a person would wear an inflatable vest attached to the back of an office chair so that it can move vertically.

This is tied to a helium-filled balloon (orange).

The buoyancy force, acting to straighten the wearer’s back, would be the weight of about 3kg (this could easily be supplied by a weight strung over a pulley, but the balloon is more fun, and advertises the need for better posture).

In addition to an improvement in posture, this system lightens the load on one’s backside, which is now known to be life shortening, if you sit still for hours at a stretch.

#2053: StockVrooms

Cities are costly for shop owners. Today’s invention aims to lessen this problem for bricks-and-mortar retail, by using mobile warehouses.

Shops would be opened containing only counters for a number of different brands on a similar theme (eg clothing).

A customer who needed to see some goods in person, or try them on, would choose from an online catalogue (specifying some sizes and colours. They would be advised about a suitable time window for their visit).

This would alert a fleet of electric trucks within the urban or suburban area. Many of these vehicles would be stopped or in slow moving traffic but they would be designed to have a frugal mode specifically for this cruising behaviour.

Instead of delivering product to one big store, a vehicle would be aware of its own onboard stock and break out of circulation to move towards a shop making active requests (in time to do a drop-off before the customer arrived and to pick up unsold items).

In this way, customers could get back in touch with a wider range of products and store owners need not pay any more for transport whilst reducing their bills for stockroom space.

#2052: CaseCast

Today’s invention is a crutch for people who still need to stay quite mobile.

This takes the form of a rolling suitcase with an open top into which someone’s damaged foot can be placed, cast and all.

The case’s handle extends higher than usual and locks to act as a shoulder pad/support.

Used in conjunction with another, conventional crutch, this system could even be motorised, so that the case would move forward in bursts, matching the natural gait of the user pre-injury.

#2051: Carpetrack

I didn’t realise that runners over different distances had strong preferences for different track materials (longer distance runners prefer springier material).

Given that these elite athletes are supported in every other possible way (don’t start me on the 30 miles of ‘VIP’ lanes through London), why not give them tracks they want to run on?

Today’s invention is therefore a running track laying machine which can lift the entire width of the track (like a wide carpet) and replace it with alternative material.

This could even be automated so that 400m could be replaced in a few minutes. The 10,000m could thus follow the 100m immediately if required to do so (by the TV schedulers).

#2050: RainRun

Today’s invention is a smartphone app (based on this physics) which holds approximate body shape data.

You take a few photos of the rain hitting the toecap of your shoe (pointing in your proposed direction of travel). These can be used to estimate the rainfall rate, as well as its direction of descent.

Entry of your distance from the next available shelter then allows calculation of the speed you need to run at to keep you as dry as possible.