#2800: Puzzlevel

Once again my irrational jigsaw dislike surfaces.

One of my main objections is that jigsaws, when completed, look like a picture covered in black squiggly lines.

Various techniques now exist for cutting hard substances with very high precision (such as laser cutting or wire EDM).

Jigsaw makers are such skinflints that they are happy selling nothing but cardboard crap.

Today’s invention is to create jigsaws in something like metal sheet, so that when completed, the fit between pieces is so good that no seams can be seen.

#2799: ExtraTime

Today’s invention is to have a quartz watch which lasts n times longer than usual, so that there is a lessened tendency to throw a perfectly good watch away.

It would have space in the casing for n normal cells.

In addition, circuitry would detect when the current cell was running down and switch to using a fresh one.

#2796: Cafilter

I use a cafetiere to make strong coffee.

Sometimes the pressure developed when plunging the filter is really too high for safety.

Today’s invention is a low-cost, pressure-regulating cafetiere filter.

There is a seal unit (red) and a fine mesh (blue), as usual.

In addition, we have two steel discs with radial segments removed from each (pink and green). Turning the pink relative to the green, exposes more or less area for the coffee to flow through.

When pressing down on the pink sphere, if it stops moving down, rotate the sphere about the vertical axis. This will spin the pink disc relative to the green disk (which is in contact with the coffee grounds).

This relieves the pressure and caffeination can continue.

#2795: Warmchair

Sometimes it’s nice for those of us with bad backs or muscle aches to have a heated seat.

This is common in cars, so today’s invention extends the idea to one’s house.

You could, of course, just insert an electric blanket into an armchair and plug it in.

This might easily become unsafe after repeated use, however.

Imagine instead that the armchair is fitted with two large copper plates, one for the back and one for the seat. These would be connected by some very fat, insulated copper cables to any nearby radiator and clamped to the hot surface.

Over time, the seat becomes pleasantly warm, with no risk of fire or electrocution.

#2794: HelicoptAir

It seems that drying cherry orchards is an activity that can really only be done by hovering a helicopter overhead.

Today’s invention uses the same idea, except that it’s applied to the important business of commercial marquees.

When you hire a big tent, a part of the cost has to cover the work involved in avoiding loading it into a truck whilst wet.

Today’s invention is therefore to use a large remote control helicopter to fly a number of programmed passes over any such rental tent, in order to dry it out before packing and transporting.

The UAV downdraft might be supplemented by having a small hot air balloon gas bottle and burner aboard so that the air flow could be heated.

#2793: SpineSpinner

It seems odd to me that normal helicopters have rotor blades whose downwash is obstructed by having a big wide fuselage beneath them.

Today’s invention is a helicopter with a blade-like backbone which does not obstruct the airflow downwards.

This would have a low cargo-carrying capacity, but, with a pressurised cabin, it would be useful in eg very high altitude mountain rescue applications, where efficient downforce is at a premium in the thin atmosphere.

#2789: Self-mining mines

Armies just can’t be deflected from using landmines. Professional units at least keep rigorous records of where they have been laid, so that post-conflict, they can be carefully dug up.

Today’s invention attempts to support the removal of mines laid during wars, so that civilians don’t have to live in fear of going about their normal lives (and bomb disposal service personnel don’t have to risk their lives).

Mines take the form of a fat wood screw (green). A simple robot cart drives around dropping these so that they stand up with the tip just under the ground surface. A drill (purple) extends out of the mine and, when at the right depth, exudes a small balloon compressing the local soil and giving grip to the whole mechanism.

This provides an anchor for the mine to screw itself into the earth.

When it gets below the surface, the mine screws upwards and downwards a little to ensure the pressure plate is hidden.

Later when the war is over, any mines which have not been detonated, will drive themselves above the surface for collection.

#2785: Kettlettes

Today’s invention is a new kettle design. Instead of one big bucket of water, it’s made up of several smaller, cup-sized kettles.

Only those kettles with water in will get heated, so that a user can easily choose how many cupfuls they need in advance and limit energy wastage.

This arrangement has the added advantage that you never need to be lifting a large volume of hot water…which is bad for muscle strains as well as the danger associated with scalds.

#2784: Gradation

Today’s invention is a climbing practice wall which has a programmable set of hand and footholds.

Each hold is a step which can slide inwards, to leave no protrusion, or outwards to make climbing easy.

The steps would be driven perhaps hydraulically from a central control board, making for a huge range of different routes and levels of difficulty on a single surface.

#2781: SilentSurface

When a submarine surfaces through a couple of metres of ice, the cracking noise is significant and can certainly be heard by other people’s navies, using distant microphones.

It also risks tearing off external components such as hydroplanes and periscopes.

Today’s invention is for the submarine to extend a heat exchanger, connected using insulated pipes, to its engine towards the undersurface of the ice.

This allows for quiet and quite rapid melting, before the sub extents its periscope, checks the territory and comes to the surface through a pool of slush.