#2824: Photomotor

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.

#2823: Streamleaning

When people sail dinghies or catamarans, they often have to ‘hike’ ie lean their bodyweight over the side to stop the boat being blown over too far by the wind.

This technique is used to increase speed, but it results in a lot more air drag because the crew’s bodies act like a large air brake.

Today’s invention is a lifejacket which the rearmost crew member wears when hiking. This would have a cross section (perpendicular to the spine) with a teardrop-shaped profile in the direction of travel, so the airflow over the crew would result in less drag.

#2819: PillowPile

It’s painful to watch remote controlled aircraft when they make a bad landing.

It might be pilot nerves or just a sudden gust of wind, but these planes are costly to repair and it can also be dangerous for spectators if they crash onto a runway and bounce randomly.

Today’s invention is a new kind of landing strip for RC pilots who realise they are in trouble or for novices who just want a softer landing.

It takes the form of a large roll of ‘carpet’, placed on the tarmac landing surface (it might also enable landings to safely occur on eg stone covered strips, otherwise unsuitable for model planes).

The carpet would have a pile more like very long, springy grass, so that planes could collide with it and safely come to rest without sudden deceleration.

(I wonder if this might also work as a new form of F1 sand trap, slowing race cars and limiting the danger to drivers if they invert at great speed. It would also prove useful to drone pilots making movies where the ground is unforgiving)

#2815: Posytioner

Today’s invention is a grid (shown in red) which can be moulded into the base of a vase or as a transparent plastic insert.

This allows long-stemmed flowers to be much more easily located, so that they stay put in attractive arrangements.

Without this device, the stems tend to slide to the outer edge of the base, which results in a central gap among the flower heads.

#2812: HearHearth

There is something comforting about a real fire (Despite the dire warnings of carbon monoxide poisoning and particulate pollution).

Today’s invention is a sound module for all forms of domestic fires…both real and simulated.

This would consist of a loudspeaker, plugged into a high quality audio player.

This would be located inside an insulated box and hidden close to the heating device.

There would be a sensor which would cause the recording of a roaring fire to be played whose loudness could vary according to the fire’s temperature, giving the impression of enhanced burning.

Even a real fire would benefit from some extra crackling and updraft noises.

#2810: DregDrain

I like thick smoothies, but I dislike the fact that you always have to leave some in the glass, because of its viscosity.

Today’s invention is an alternative to inverting the glass over your mouth and waiting a long time, in the form of a novel smoothie glass.

After you drink the majority of the liquid, some is left in the lower section.

Open the valve and suck out the dregs rapidly (much easier than using a straw).

The whole thing comes apart for washing afterwards, of course.

#2809: SharkSheath

It seems that shark repellent technology is not very effective.

Today’s invention offers some additional safety for surfers.

It consists of a buoyant, carbon fibre surfboard which is made of two layers (blue and pink). Between these, are two fold-out sides as shown in section on the left. (This operates like a fold up shopping crate).

When a surfer sees a threatening shark, he or she opens the box (A) and clambers into the space. This acts as a shark cage.

The cage floats on the surface until a rescue by boat can be effected.

#2808: StreetSheet

Foil crisp packets are pretty good at reflecting heat. Various kind folk have started collecting these and gluing or sewing them together to make blankets for homeless people.

Today’s invention is a way to short circuit this process so that homeless people can assemble their own blankets from crisp packets dropped as litter by idiots.

The packets would be manufactured with tear-out tang and slot edges as shown, so that any standard size packets can be joined to form a continuous sheet, without any additional materials or tools.

#2804: DustDriver

Today’s invention is a speaker which is embodied in the vacuum cleaner of the future.

In use, this machine will play a recording to sound like the engine of eg a Formula 1 Ferrari.

As you drive the cleaner forward, it is exactly coordinated with the noise of a car accelerating forward.

This might have the additional benefit that males will choose to do more housework.

#2802: Bushine

It costs my Council millions to buy stainless steel lamp-posts. They do this partly because the cost of using the conventional steel ones is heightened by the need to be constantly repainting them.

Today’s invention offers a simple alternative.

In areas which have trees, why not just mount street lights on the trunks of those trees?

They would be no darker than with the current low voltage lamps and there would be limited maintenance costs associated with the odd broken branch.