Some racing cars have aero features, such as a large inverted aerofoils, which can generate enormous (100s of kg) downforce, for eg acceleration and cornering.
Today’s invention is a wing which can use this downforce, when it’s not required for accelerations, to pressurise eg gas in a piston/cylinder.
This gas can then be used to supply extra pressure in eg oil supply, turbocharger or braking systems.
Guesthouses have a problem with flexibility. Often they can’t supply separate beds for people who need them.
Today’s invention is a divider that bolts to a double bed to allow two unrelated people to share it…but without ever coming in contact with each other.
This could be made to any height and constructed of soundproof material.
The lower edge is bowed downwards to press down into the mattress so that no gap appears underneath, even if your bedfellow is heavy.
“Smart” electric meters, if not properly secured, allow criminals to sit outside your house and detect, via the wifi, whether you are at home or not by monitoring electricity usage.
The same is true, to a lesser extent, for water meters.
Today’s invention is to make these devices truly smart by having them send signals which say ‘electricity is being used’ in ways that mimic the detailed usage patterns of a particular household. These could be labelled, so that the homeowner wasn’t billed for energy use which didn’t occur.
In cold countries, you might actually want to run many of the devices as normal in order to maintain their functionality when you are away.
Many of us were taught to operate the front brake on a motorcycle only in an emergency and only when not leaning and only using all four fingers.
This is hard to recall when you need to brake suddenly on a bend.
Today’s invention is a brake lever which is attached to a lean angle sensor.
When the bike is leaning, only a short length of brake lever is exposed (blue). As you straighten up, so all four fingers can grab the brake (green).
This also helps with trail braking, which is a skill I think is important.
Today’s invention is a bicycle pump which forms part of the frame.
When you need to inflate a tyre, release the stay which holds the seat in place.
Oscillate your body weight up and down on the seat, driving the pump piston (green) into the frame tube (blue). This pressurises air which allows a tyre to be connected using a hose (red).
No need to carry the extra weight (and theft risk) of a pump and it allows use of bodyweight to perform the work of pumping.
I’m not sure why but I really don’t like knives with blades that are shorter than their handles.
Today’s invention is a knife which folds up safely but which, when deployed, has a blade longer than the gripping section.
The blade (black) is held to the handle/sheath (green) using a strong butterfly nut and bolt through both of them (red).
To stow the knife, undo the bolt, rotate the blade to fit inside the handle/sheath and replace the bolt.
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).
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).
My Australian brother in law is the owner of many solar panels. He says that cleaning these causes a significant increase in electricity generated.
People often drive about without realising that their view or their lights are somehow impaired.
Today’s invention is to apply a small solar cell to the inside surface of all of the lights, window glass and indicators on a car.
When any of these generates a lower current than a calibration cell (placed somewhere high on the vehicle), it indicates that the local surface is obscured eg by mud, ice, grime or crazing. Time to take some action.
You could also use these sensors to rate different car washes for cleaning efficiency.