#2722: AltSalt

It’s annoying enough that roads are sprayed with salt every winter. All the more irritating when the gritting vehicles throw handfuls of corrosive sharp stuff straight at oncoming vehicles.

Today’s invention is therefore a good application for autonomous vehicles.

A salt sprayer truck (blue) drives along and sprays only directly underneath itself. No more having my paint shot peened as I drive behind or towards the gritter.

Since it makes sense to salt both carriageways at the same time, the gritter truck would detect oncoming vehicles and only spray within the pink oval when no other cars were within it.

The sprayer truck would need to slow and speed up to ensure road coverage, whilst also avoiding oncoming cars, but since it would be robotic, this could be achieved with great precision and a high average speed.

#2721: HigherWorks

It takes a lot of gunpowder to lift a firework into the sky, before the show can even begin.

Today’s invention offers a better form of firework display.

Launching fireworks from a tethered hot air balloon avoids wasting all that propellant just on gaining height…so the spectacle can be better for a given amount of powder.

It might also be seen as safer, given that nobody is lighting explosives beside members of a crowd of spectators.

#2717: ReelShield

Nobody likes having their car dinged by careless parkers who fling open their doors.

Today’s invention offers a shield for car sides, without destroying the look of your vehicle.

A housing in the front wheel arch holds a reel of protective material in the colour of the car.

When parking, the driver pulls one end of this reel clear of the body work and walks to the back wheel arch, where a soft plastic hook attaches it to the rear wheel arch.

This impact-absorbing ribbon is wide enough to stop most careless door openers from causing damage.

It also avoids drawing too much attention to the car and could, if strengthened and locked in place, make it harder to break into the vehicle.

#2716: ChainShine

Motorcycle chains are a pain to maintain.

Today’s invention offers a way to keep one’s chain cleaner.

It consists of two cylindrical brushes on two control arms.

The weight of the brushes keeps them in contact with the chain’s top and bottom surfaces -for at least some of the time.

As the brushes rotate against the chain, they wear down, but still stay in contact with the chain (until they are replaced).

The control arms could also have brush material fitted on their inside surfaces to help clean the chain sides.

#2714: FlyShy

There are lots of places over which pilots really shouldn’t be flying at low altitude, because their inhabitants are noise sensitive.

These include: physics labs, animal breeding centres, hospitals, old people’s homes, recording and tv studios…

Today’s invention is a simple bright light, flashing upwards in a specially designated colour.

This would be attached to a high point on the roof of a noise sensitive building to help ensure that no aircraft would come near.

#2713: StopperStopper

People get hit in the eye by flying champagne corks all the time.

This usually does not cause permanent injury, but sometimes it does.

Today’s invention is a way to render such corks less dangerous.

A large, soft, plastic disk with a pin on one side (red) is pressed into the cork, before removal.

As the cork flies out of the bottle, it is impeded by the drag force on the disk.

Even if contact is made with a bystander, the size of the disc will reduce the impact pressure to less than that required to damage even an eye.

#2711: Swallowater

Today’s invention is for people who just can’t swallow large pills without a drink to wash them down.

Large pills would be packaged like contact lenses, one per ‘blister’.

Blisters would come in a pair: one to contain the large pill and another containing a small gulp of sterile water.

If you need to take medication and you are away from drinkable water, simply pop open both blisters and down the tablet with a slurp of liquid.

#2710: Brushedge

In country areas, tractors are allowed to use the roads.

Fair enough, but they tend to carry a tonne of mud with them -which is dangerous in terms of skidding and also makes a mess of cars that have been cleaned.

Today’s invention is a way to ensure that farm vehicles exiting muddy fields and farmyards leave their mess behind them.

A ‘hedge’ unit is constructed of tall, high-durability brushes. Each of these is mounted on a spring (red).

Tractors all have to push through this hedge to exit a field and drive on the road. As they do so, the hedge brushes off any loose clods of mud from the wheels or body of the vehicle. When a tractor passes, some hedge units will be flattened, but the springs will return them to the vertical when it has gone.

A shallow ramp acts as the base of the unit, so that mud brushed off the tractors will tend to fall back into the field.

This synthetic hedge could also be used instead of a gate, saving some money.

#2709: Mattresstickies

I find it annoying when lying in bed with my knees up, that my feet always slip down the futon.

Today’s invention is some elastoplast-like attachments which allow feet not to slip down the bed.

These would have a rubberised outer coating to supply the required friction.

Perhaps the same pair of grippers could be reusable over several nights.

#2708: Coverstory

Today’s invention is a way for users of libraries and bookstores to make more effective use of the book stacks.

Each book would be equipped with a barcode on the spine.

Scanning the spine of the book with your phone would cause a stored text-to-speech recording of the book’s blurb to play (audible by using earbuds, so as not to disturb other browsers).

This would allow people to make a quicker assessment of publications, without having to extract books from shelves.