I’ve been watching documentaries about people trying to break the land speed record for bicycles. There is an event where they can slipstream a powered vehicle.
The airflow (blue) passes around a vertical plate (green) on a vehicle and vortices then swirl around the back of the rider.
This greatly lessens the effort required.
Today’s invention is a large back shield (red) which acts as a sail which is intermittently hit by the vortices and thus provides even greater forward thrust on the rider.
This would work best when attached firmly to the bike itself.
Today’s invention is an electric vehicle which is used on runways to push the undercarriage of a plane almost to the point of take off.
This reduces the fuel used by the engines, so that a plane can stay aloft for longer.
It may also stress the airframe less and reduce take off noise.
The vehicle might be controlled by the flightcrew direct from the cockpit.
In former times, people piled into lifts randomly. We can’t afford that any more, partly for health reasons, partly because lifts get significantly delayed as passengers fight their way to the front on leaving.
Today’s invention is an elevator floor on which appear illuminated regions, as shown.
When the lift approaches a floor where people are waiting, it can tell if there are any spaces available. If there are, it will stop. As it does, the lift will ‘listen’ for each button press by entrants and direct people to stand in a circle with the number of their floor marked in it.
People who are about to leave at the next few floors will be shuffled forward to new circles.
This will not only maintain some social distancing, but also speed up the loading and unloading processes, by reducing the amount of barging and colliding.
When the lift has filled itself to the allowed capacity, and spaced the occupants out appropriately, the doors will close.
Today’s invention is a bracket (red) which attaches to a hose reel.
This allows the hose to be left running and directed at itself as it is wound in.
In this way, a hose can be kept free of grit and dirt (which makes unwinding it later difficult and which may eventually damage it).
Today’s invention is a nonlinear fluid control valve (This may not be new, but I haven’t seen it before and I dreamt it up when pouring water into a kitchen colander).
A vessel has holes at the bottom and is placed on a smooth, flat surface.
A fluid is poured into the top. If the inflow is more than the outflow through the holes, the level rises and the pressure exerted by the vessel base on the surface increases.
At some point, the depth in the vessel is great enough to stop the outflow entirely.
This mechanism might be used, with a tall vessel, as a cut off valve, which activates only after a particular level of fluid has been exceeded in a feed tank (for when a system is trying to dispense only a given amount of some liquid).
Today’s invention is an alternative to burial at sea for personnel on an aircraft carrier.
The body of a sailor who had passed away would be placed, with due ceremony, in a titanium wire basket attached to the rear of a jet plane.
The plane’s jet exhaust would perform very effective cremation in flight, which might well appeal to many service personnel.
When airliners land, they can shed up to 7lb of rubber each time. It’s the rubbing on the ground during braking that causes this.
There is thus a need to use special equipment to scrub runways every few days.
Today’s invention is to fit each airliner with a set of wire brushes behind the wheels.
As each wheel grips the tarmac, it drives a rotary wire brush placed behind it and which is in contact with the ground. This disrupts the layer of rubber which would otherwise form.
It would also be possible to use the landing speed airflow to direct the rubber particles into a lightweight filter attached to the undercarriage.
This could be replaced for every flight.
Today’s invention is a marketing tool for manufacturers of dirtbikes of all kinds.
It consists of a rear mudguard with a stencil of the manufacturer’s logo cut out of it.
Riders would be seen to ride through a pool of muddy water and emerge with the backs of their shirts ‘painted’ with the relevant logo.
Many squeezable bottles are hard to stand up on their tops (to let their viscous contents drain down close to the lid, when they aren’t in use).
Even with a lot of shaking, it can take a long time to get this kind of fluid to near the exit.
To speed up delivery of your sauce or salad cream, today’s invention is a set of internal shelves moulded into such a bottle.
When the contents are being squeezed out, some stays on these shelves (left picture).
As the bottle empties, waiting time gets huge, but the shelves hold enough liquid, close enough to the exit, that it only takes a second or two to allow a useful dollop to be quickly delivered (right picture).
Imagine you are making tea using a teabag, in a cup. You add the hot water and wait.
The strength of the tea increases as the water makes contact with the leaves, but the temperature of the tea is decreasing, because it’s in contact with the surroundings.
Today’s invention is a cup which allows the user, who knows how long his favourite brew takes (assuming it starts at 100 degC), to have his tea stay above a certain temperature until it has brewed. It is made of a series of insulative, concentric cups, with only the innermost holding tea.
If you know it takes thirty seconds brewing time to make your ideal tea, then you need not worry about cup insulation and can go eg with the left hand arrangement.
If, however, it takes 2.5 minutes, then you may want to select a different level of insulation, such as the one on the right.
A more sophisticated version of this would include a viscous-flow timer, based on tight fitting cups, with variable sized vents. The weight of the tea would cause the series of cups to fall into each other slowly in a repeatable process which could optimise the final temperature for an individual.
So I might choose to open hole 1 in cup 1, hole 3 in cup 2 and hole 2 in cup 3. This would cause the cup to take my preferred 3.1 minutes to fall, whilst keeping the final temperature about 89 degC.
See also this.