#2181: MaGASine

Magazines for feeding ammunition to automatic weapons are limited in the number of rounds they can hold…mostly due to the Physics of the springs which advance the bullets towards the breech.

Today’s invention is to replace this spring with a piston, as shown in yellow (with apologies to readers who hate guns).

Several magazines could be joined to provide a large reservoir of ammunition, powered by a single piston.

This would be driven, in turn, either by a pre-pressurised pocket of gas inserted in the armoury or by the same recoil mechanism which chambers each new round.

Gas from each discharge would pass into the pocket via the pipe indicated in red.

#2180: ArtWarming

As the proud owner of an old house, thermal insulation increasingly concerns me.

Some of my walls are a single brick thick. Today’s invention is a simple way to cut heat losses.

It consists of picture frames of the box type. Each of these would have a slab of insulation embedded behind the picture.

The frames would be made so that they clipped tightly together and onto the wall, forming an almost continuous interior covering and an undetectable thermal barrier.

#2179: Fadecimals

Today’s invention is intended as an amusing variant on a digital clock.

Instead of having the segments in a 7-seg digit flash on or off, each of these would fade gradually ie in an analogue way.

This would be emphasised by the use of two colours for each segment, say red and green.

“1” would always be wholly red and “2” green, etc.

As 1 changed to 2, the overlapping segments would appear in a varying intensity of yellow (as shown for 1/2, 2/3 ,3/4 and 4/5).

#2178: Uninterruptill

Several supermarkets now resort to the use of self-scanning tills.

This probably saves them a lot in terms of wages but the interfaces are so primitive that they deter people like me from ever going near them.

Today’s invention is aimed at making this experience slightly less harrowing.

Such machines are always located in a bank so that their insanely loud orders are barked out at customers often in quick succession.

This can create an echo effect which makes it hard to know which device just yelled “UNEXPECTED ITEM…” This makes everything even more disorientating -especially for the few remaining shop staff who have to listen all day.

So, why not have these machines wired together so that when one says something, neither of the machines to either side will speak until it has finished (and not duplicate what has just been said, if it happened say less than 0.5 seconds ago)?

#2177: CarouSell

Airlines often make people wait for long periods to retrieve their bags.

This can be a stressful process when you may be thinking about where to eat dinner or book a hotel room in an unfamiliar town. Certainly, much attention is paid to the moving belt.

Today’s invention starts as an exercise in guerrilla marketing.

When the carousel starts to move, place on it a collection of brightly-coloured suitcases, each of which carries some form of message or graphic about appropriate local businesses. These could be added in sequence, so that a longer (possibly humourous) message was communicated to the waiting travellers.

These bags would be empty but would never need to pass through security anyway.

As the practice became established, customers could be paid to carry adverts on their own bags, appropriate to the airport they were visiting.

(These might be eg signs which slipped in behind a transparent plastic sheet, or they could be external tags pinned on so that they always appeared upright -irrespective of a bag’s orientation).

Worried about someone else walking off with your bags? Simply insert a twice life-size image of your face…so that anyone else in possession of your luggage would be challenged on exit.

#2176: FiRetreat

Corridor extinguishers invite people with no firefighting skill to stay near a fire and put themselves at risk by ‘fighting it.’

Today’s invention is a simple one-way trigger mechanism for a portable fire extinguisher (Surprisingly, I can’t find anything like this among the ‘prior art.’)

Instead of the usual squeeze-to-shoot mechanism, imagine a portable extinguishant cylinder with a trigger that, once pulled, allows the water, foam or powder all to escape in a sustained, directed flow.

This device would have the usual nozzle which could be pointed at a fire and simply left in place whilst the activator retreated from the building.

#2175: Wheelwarmer

Racing cars sometimes have to have their tyres pre-heated in specially-designed, electrically-heated covers.

Today’s invention augments that process by using the engine exhaust flow to help warm the rubber.

Each exhaust pipe would have a nozzle, directable by use of a small motor, which could be rotated towards or away from the surface of whichever of the rear tyres it was pointed at.

This system could make use of a small thermal camera to gauge the tyre exterior temperature and then help divert the exhaust flow after the heating had had its effect.

A more advanced version could also warm the front tyres.

#2174: VieuxView

Many of the world’s most beautiful cities still need to have new buildings carefully inserted into central sites.

Every effort is usually made to have construction ‘in-keeping’ with historically-significant acrchitecture.

Today’s invention is a new service, based on a Google Streetview model.

When planning permission for a new building is granted, in an area of urban conservation priority, a robotic camera mounted on a cherry-picker would be taken to the location.

There, it would take enormous numbers of high-resolution photographs of significant buildings in the area from points within and behind the planned development site.

These would be views that would disappear forever after the new building is erected and thus otherwise be lost to future generations.

#2173: ShotShots

Today’s invention is a system intended to make buying drinks in a bar more interesting and less time-consuming.

A group of people would sit at a table with an interactive surface.

When someone wants another drink they type in a pin code and select a drink from a menu which appears beside their glass.

The system knows the exact current position of the glass and authorises one of a number of tubes behind the (unmanned) bar to fire the drink through the air, over the heads of patrons, and into the glass. (Glasses might need to be more like brandy balloons to avoid spillage.)

Given reasonably still air in the room, this could be achieved over distances of perhaps 5m.

Yes, of course some people will move their glasses out of the way and attempt to interpose their mouths.

IOTD is 6 years old

It’s six years ago since I started writing this blog -that’s one invention pretty much every day since then.

To celebrate, I’m selling an ebook which talks a bit about how you might boost your own ideas output and plan to make some money from the process. It’s only £2.95 -download it here.

(The hand-tooled, vellum-bound, illuminated collector’s edition will be a bit more expensive, so I’d go for the 50-page, 2Mb .pdf right now!).