#2834: Launchelper

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.

#2833: NextFloor

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.

#2830: FlyPassed

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.

#2829: RubberScrubber

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.

#2826: BeverAger

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.

#2825: ClearCage

Formula1 drivers mostly claim that the so-called halo devices over their heads don’t interfere with their vision…since they are always looking so far ahead of the car.

I think it would be safer if they didn’t have to contend with the vertical strut right in the middle of their field of view, as well as the shoulder buttresses that keep them safe.

Today’s invention is to fit a system in the form of a camera (red) which feeds images to the inside of a driver’s visor (green).

The position and orientation of the helmet relative to the car could be detected using a small gyroscope fitted to the helmet (as is done in fighter jet pilot helmets).

This would allow an uninterrupted field of view and it would also enable a heads-up display to be superimposed on the projection on the inside of the visor.

Racing could continue on very wet days, using thermal imaging displays. The danger of suddenly driving through the Monaco tunnel would be removed.

#2822: Manufactruck

I read today about how Seville oranges are useful for making marmalade. The shabby and amateur UK Govt’s brexit process has caused such delays that it may now be impossible to transport them in time.

So today’s invention is to mimic factory ships.

Just as these begin processing food in transit, we could have a fleet of large trucks, which when driving and parking for ages at some port, could be handling the various stages of food processing so that perishable goods would not be wasted.

Each truck could undertake a separate process for a given factory…eg chopping food up, boiling, pickling, jam making, refrigeration -whatever. They could drive in a convoy in order to help with the sterile transfer from one vehicle to another by air-to-air refuelling technology.

#2821: BlowPipe

Today’s invention is a new form of non-lethal baton round (or rubber bullet).

Rounds are each supplied in a cannister with a near vacuum ahead of the bullet. The weapon makes a hole in the rear face of the cannister, so that air rushes in and propels the projectile towards the front of the cannister, piercing it on exit towards the target.

My calculations show that even if some energy is lost in breaking out of the cannister and due to subsequent air friction, a standard sized baton round, fired from a 1m long gun, can deliver bullet energy of about 100J.

This is about 1/3 of the energy of a standard round (making it much safer) but requiring no chemical propellant.

In order to ensure that the energy from the air pressure is not all wasted in breaking the cannister open, I can imagine a way to make it super resistant to external pressure, whilst easily broken from inside.

#2820: TurnTurret

Today’s invention is a mobile fort.

In the middle is a green tank. This carries an outer, almost-circular wall, with a hollow interior and a chisel-pointed scoop at one point (red).

At a chosen location, the tank spins (anti-clockwise) around its vertical axis. This causes the chisel to scoop up a shallow trench of earth into the wall. Repeated circling part-fills the wall and embeds it into the ground. Further filling of the wall, manually or by bulldozer, would reinforce this barrier.

Thus a circular wall is created which can accommodate the tank as a gun emplacement. A wider gap in the wall would allow the tank to withdraw and the fort could be filled with field guns or troops.

A version of this might use the rotation of the tank’s turret only.

#2818: Detourail

Trains use a system of points to move between tracks.

The points are usually fixed at a particular location.

Today’s invention is a set of mobile points which can be moved along a pair of parallel, standard spaced tracks, in order to allow trains to switch direction much more flexibly (so that a change of tracks or direction can be made at short notice, eg in response to an emergency).

This consists of pair of curved rails with a bogie at either end, at least one of which would be powered by a remote controlled electric motor.