The whole process of hiring a car is a brutal business.
Even if you have booked online, you still have to queue for ages while various punitive small print gets ‘explained’ and mysterious extra charges are applied.
I watched the queues at an airport hire centre recently and so today’s invention is an open-call market for hire cars.
Customers in longer queues would listen for realtime announcements from desks with fewer potential customers. These would say ‘hire from us instead and we will give you an x% price cut and deal with all the paperwork’.
As you near a desk, your susceptibility to a rival company’s discount decreases and so I believe that swapping of positions after announcements would be limited, not perpetually chaotic.
The customers would benefit directly from this red-blooded capitalism, as opposed to the current practices of shady cartels which seem only to make an empty show of competitive customer service.
Certain governments are always talking about equipping various rebels, in other countries mind you, with weapons.
Leaving aside the moral malaise of the global arms business, there is a huge danger that proliferation of advanced weapons may result in their capture and later use against civilian targets.
Such missiles in the wrong hands are particular a threat to civil aviation.
Today’s invention is therefore a shoulder-launched rocket weapon with a number of tilt switches embedded in it.
These can be set during manufacture to allow the system to be used only against ground-based targets…ie with inclination and declination of only a few degrees.
This arrangement would offer a simple way to significantly lessen the potential threat to any aircraft.
Space travel for years to eg Mars would cause all sorts of physical damage to astronauts.
Today’s invention is a spaceship which is both small and therefore easy to launch and yet which can accommodate simulated gravity to help defend against organ wastage and muscle weakness.
A spacecraft is shown in cross section, consisting of six segmented rooms.
When in space, two opposite segments would be unlocked and the whole section of the craft spun about its centre as shown, using tangential, solar-powered ion thrusters.
Diametrically-opposed segments would move outwards until the cables restraining them became taught.
In this configuration, occupants of the craft could traverse the cables and then walk about on the interior, curved surface of each segment.
They could thus be made to experience their Earth bodyweight by spinning the craft at a lower angular velocity than would be required for the narrow-bodied craft.
Today’s invention is for those people who need two suitcases on wheels.
These bags are almost impossible to walk down the street with, in view of the fact that everyone else gets bowled over by this double-width panjandrum (not to mention the arm strain involved).
Instead, imagine a roller case with a super long extendible handle with a curved end.
Two such cases can be joined by these ends to form a halter, so that a user can walk upright between his cases, pushing a narrow-profile A frame…and without mowing down any innocent pedestrians.
It can be annoying when a tennis player decides to grunt every time they hit the ball.
My working theory is that this tendency is about more than attempting to sound dominant to one’s opponent.
I think that it’s at least partly an unconscious ploy to disguise the noise made by the ball’s contact with the strings of a racquet.
There is a lot of information contained in that signal about the impact location on the strings and about whether the ball is now backspinning or not.
Given that no-one hits the ball anywhere near the speed of sound in air, this information may reach an opponent in time to allow their body to prepare very slightly for its arrival.
Today’s invention is therefore a device attached to a tennis racquet which makes a bumping noise, loud enough to drown out the most ardent grunting, and yet stays the same, irrespective of any details of the ball’s behaviour.
This would have the effect of making it much harder for players to anticipate where the next shot was going and thus lessen the need to disguise the impacts by disturbingly loud utterances.
If, when flying in an airliner, a window is somehow perforated or its seal compromised, today’s invention might help.
As the cabin decompresses, anyone still strapped in near the window affected, can reach down and pull up a section of reinforced carpet from the floor nearby.
This would be clearly marked and mentioned in the flight safety video.
The tiles would be much wider than the window and could be coarsely applied to the aperture, forming a good enough seal to stop any further significant air loss.
There would be several such tiles near each window to allow for the possibility that one may be blown out. More than one tile could be used to form a multilayer plug for extra reassurance during the subsequent descent.
Today’s invention is a cylindrical ice lolly which is moulded onto a tubular ‘stick’.
This can be inverted and placed in a drink as shown so that the lolly acts as an icecube.
Sucking the drink through the ‘cube’ adds its flavour to that of the cooled
Today’s invention offers a way to limit the amounts of prescription medicines in circulation.
A medical practitioner would hand you a disc-shaped, steel case of the type shown, containing a limited number of the required tablets or capsules.
The case has to be inserted into a disk drive and left there until empty.
The computer runs some downloadable code which unlocks a rotating magazine within the case and turns the disk drive spindle at a fixed rate of say one revolution per day.
This ejects one pill after the next so that the rate of consumption is limited and makes overdosing or reselling very difficult. It also reduces the opportunities for taking out-of-date medicines.
The tiger has whiskers which make contact with the skin of any prey it catches.
These can sense when the pulse of animal which has been caught stops.
Today’s invention is an adaptation of this idea, applied to Taser electric stun guns.
In order to make them less dangerous, one taser dart would have an extra wire attached which would monitor the pulse of someone who had been shocked.
If the pulse began to stop, the current would be automatically cut and an alert issued to the user to get them medical help at once.
People get distracted when using their mobile devices -to such an extent that they sometimes walk out into traffic.
Today’s invention is a simple safety feature which might help.
Each cellphone camera would have a small double prism which would gather light from either side as one walks along.
The cellphone system’s accelerometer could tell if one were walking and activate the display of sideviews accordingly, as shown.
Anything approaching from either side would then be easily visible on the screen.