#2542: Gamingas

Today’s invention offers a way to win at the game of craps.

Based on some work by Polish researchers, if you throw a die, in a given orientation, onto a soft surface, it is much more likely to land in that original orientation.

You obviously can’t roll out a cushion on the craps table, but you could surreptitiously spray a small volume of sulphur hexafluoride onto it. These tables are shaped like a bath and so the ultra heavy gas would form a still layer: a cushion onto which the dice can be thrown.

This gas is colourless and odourless, so a tube down the sleeve linked to a low pressure bladder squeezed beneath one armpit should do the trick.

Just remember that you need to play the game a long time to win big, the dice motion may look a bit slow -and it’s important not to get caught.


Ever in search of ways to generate income from inventing (it really shouldn’t be this difficult) I’ve been having some interesting discussions with the Patreon legal people. I wonder who actually reads the small print?

They have made some valiant efforts to make clear what their user agreement actually means. Those cute cartoons, that artsy people will surely warm to, and all those downhome, monosyllabic explanations must surely indicate trustworthiness (Don’t do bad stuff ).

Until you come across this:
You will indemnify us from all losses and liabilities, including legal fees, that arise from these terms or relate to your use of Patreon.

So, creatives, be warned. They won’t be so cuddly when some patent troll starts suing them. If you upload anything which a troll thinks can score them a buck, by threatening legal action, you pay Patreon’s legal costs.

#2541: Whiscars

Formula 1 racing always has to be generating some controversy. One recent one centres on driver safety: specifically, how to prevent drivers being hurt by flying debris, whilst maintaining the open-cockpit nature of the sport/business.

Various cages and shields have been suggested.

Today’s invention offers a solution that leaves the cars looking pretty much as they do now (ie not very pretty).

Each car would be fitted with a fringe of carbon fibre strands (the spacing could be varied depending on the level of protection required). These strands could be made strong enough to withstand braking and wind forces, yet so thin that they would be effectively undetectable on a tv image.

Each strand would have a wire loop inside so that if the fibre was broken, an electrical signal would be detectable by an onboard computer dedicated to this task.

Any object flying towards a driver’s helmet would break a strand or two and, within a couple of milliseconds, fire some pyrotechnics which would raise a bulletproof but transparent shield (shown as red) in front of the driver.

#2540: FriendFender

There is a growing penchant among motorcyclists, especially females, for hugging each other.

Sometimes this will happen after a ride, when they are all still wearing helmets.

The result can be a clashing of helmets (people tend to forget that they are wearing them).

Aside from slight embarrassment, this has the effect of potentially damaging their life saving equipment.

Today’s invention is therefore a gel pad with an adhesive backing which can be attached to one’s helmet in the collision-prone zone.

In the event of a carpark hug, no damage will be done.

The pads could even have a large set of lips marked on them. Over time, the wearing off of this symbol could become a treasured sign of one’s popularity.

This idea could be extended to American football, where helmet butting is a sign of congratulation/affiliation.

#2539: Slakeboard

It seems that surfers, when they find themselves carried out to sea, are in much more danger from dehydration than sharks.

Today’s invention is therefore a surfboard with a built-in recess which would accommodate a plastic bowl and a portable desalination pump.

A surfer who drifted away from shore could therefore make enough drinking water to stay alive for a much longer time. I’d recommend some energy bars, some uv protection and a few shark repellent tablets as well.

#2538: Tworoofs

Today’s invention combines the use of a vehicle sunroof (red) with its roofrack (green).

When the vehicle is stopped, the sunroof is opened and a pneumatically driven column (grey) extends upwards through it.

This engages with a sheet of stiff aluminium cell board which is then lifted off the sunroof.

The column is also free to turn, as shown, providing a platform or roof with many possible uses (eg instead of umbrellas for people entering a hotel, or for someone fixing the engine in a storm).

A board with the ability to fold down its ends might provide an armoured carapace for vehicles vulnerable to attacks by shopping trolleys. A street trader might use this to hang their wares from.

#2537: NoTowplane

It seems odd that I haven’t thought this one up before. Odder still that I can’t find it anywhere else.

Imagine a glider which embodies an electric motor with a propeller attached.

In today’s invention, the motor runs the propeller hard enough, in a single burst, to discharge the battery and get the aircraft in the sky (say 100m).

At that point, the engine and propeller unit is jettisoned, whilst the prop continues to spin.

The engine would also have plenty of padding, so that when it autogyros back onto the landing strip, it can be recharged and used in another engineless glider.

#2536: SnapSpecs

Today’s invention is, I believe, a wholly new application for an established technology.

I’m sick of glasses which are held together using some kind of screw. This is supposed to hold the leg to the eyepiece whilst also providing some frictional resistance -so that the legs are angled inwards and the glasses stay on the face. Of course, this usually fails, when the screw starts to disengage.

The technology required to fix this situation is to injection mould the glasses’ eyepiece and both legs as a single unit. Each leg would join the eyepiece using a ‘living hinge’ (as discussed by some experts here).

It’s really a plastic mechanism which snaps between two stable positions…one ‘closed’, so that the leg would be against the frame and the other open at, say, 80 degrees from the frame, so that just enough pressure would be exerted on the head to hold them in place.

Bistables can be made much more robust and fatigue-resistant than the fine bottletop version indicated in the picture.

#2535: BumperCart

Dings and dents on the side of a car most often come from people behaving carelessly with shopping trolleys or flinging their doors open wide when the parking spaces are just too cramped.

Today’s invention attempts to help with the first of these issues.

Supermarkets would provide each visiting car owner with a foam liner box for the inside of their shopping trolley (red). Shoppers could be convinced to use these because a) the foam keeps any cold products cold whilst they browse and b) the box has handles which make transferring their shopping to their car easier. These would be reusable.

The real purpose though is car door protection.

Putting things in the box requires a user to fold out three foam curtains (yellow) which are attached to the front and side edges of the top of the box. These flop over the trolley sides and form a continuous barrier between the trolley’s metal parts and a parked car’s paintwork.

When the foam boxes are in transit home, the trolleys can be nested, as usual.

#2534: FlakeFilter

A search for replacement dishwasher spray arms reveals that none of them have what I need to be incorporated.

Whatever other filters exist within these systems, oat flakes from breakfast cereal bowls manage to get into the spray arms, clog the jets and leave all the dishes unwashed.

Today’s invention is a simple fix: a small mesh filter at the inlet to both spray arms (I made mine from an old stocking…it doesn’t impair the water flow but makes it so much easier to remove errant flakes than having to poke wires through the spray arm jets).