#2706: ChuteCruiser

When a plane full of people has to put down on water, everyone may be expected to don their lifejackets, leap into the briny and swim to one of a number of liferafts, which may be nearby.

Today’s invention offers an alternative approach.

The crew deploys the emergency chutes -as for a land-based evacuation.

These are chutes with a difference however, in that they can be sealed at either end to form a barge with high, inflated walls. The chutes, once filled, would be detached quickly from the plane.

Four of these units could accommodate an entire planeload of people, without anyone needing to get wet/hypothermic.

#2705: Audioptimisation

Today’s invention is for musicians who are incredibly fussy about how their performance sounds to individual audience members.

The musician would sit on the seat to the left. Each of the audience seats is equipped with a very sensitive microphone, set at head height (red dots).

At rehearsals, a trial audience would be invited in (to ensure that the room acoustics match that of the actual performance).

As the musician turns his head towards each seat, a pair of wireless headphones allows him to hear a faithful reproduction of how his playing sounds at that location (where a small light will turn on).

This enables the player to alter his style of playing, the instrument used or its tuning, so that the performance is optimised. Such an approach could be adopted for every member of an orchestra (perhaps with each player’s instrument emphasised against the background music).

#2704: OnTheClockLockers

Today’s invention is part of my relentless quest to get people onto and off airliners more quickly.

In my experience, much of the delay is to do with people accessing overhead lockers whilst standing in the aisle(s).

So instead, why not have a locker placed above each seat (shown in red)? (These might have extra movie screens embedded in their back faces).

The lockers would not be accessible from the aisle. You could only put stuff in a locker when you are standing in front of (or preferably on) your own seat.

That would minimise queueing, if not eradicate it entirely.

People on the outside might not get the same volume of locker, but at least that would be known about in advance, when choosing a window seat.

#2702: GateRace

Some people who travel by air don’t seem to realise that moving to their seat and sitting down should really happen as quickly as possible. There is often a great deal of faffing with the overhead lockers and queueing in the aisles.

Today’s invention aims to speed up the process of getting people to take their seats on a plane.

As passengers get their boarding card at the gate, they can type a number on it into their phone. This sends a text which records their start time.

When they have reached their seat on the plane, they can lean forward and see another number printed on the back of the seat in front of them. This is only legible if you are actually sitting down. Texting this number records their sitting down time. The system now knows who took a minute to sit and who ten minutes.

The faster sitters get a discount on future tickets.

Anyone who moves absurdly quickly (and perhaps will have bumped others out of the way) would not receive their price cut.

#2701: SampleScope

In the world of biomedicine, there are many translucent liquids stored in sample jars.

Today’s invention offers a way to perform some simple visual tests on these, without having to open the container.

The sample container has a lens moulded into the base and something like a visual testcard printed on the inside of the lid.

This allows a medic or nurse to view the testcard through the liquid.

The testcard could have colour patches for comparison with the colour of the liquid (eg for urine diagnosis). It could also carry a grid of lines which would be distorted or defocussed to a known degree by the presence of liquid with unusual density (or optical properties, eg cloudiness).

#2700: Scrubbot

Cars are built on a production line, using specialist robots, to very tight geometrical tolerances.

It seems odd to me that we still have car washes which are not unlike those built in the 1960s. These are known for mistreating the paintwork, aerials, and spoilers of cars.

Today’s invention is to use an industrial robot in a carwash. Entering your registration number would allow the machine to understand all of the geometry of your vehicle. Or perhaps you’d prefer to have the robot scan in the surface detail of your personalised car?

In either case, a robot arm equipped with cameras could assess the level and type of grime, panel by panel and apply the best combination of cleaning techniques and agents. This system would be more expensive than conventional kit, but would attract more customers by providing a factory-perfect finish.

This would happen within a couple of minutes, much faster, gentler and more precise than in an old fashioned carwash.

It might even be possible to apply this approach to valeting the interior and to washing the salt etc from the undersides of vehicles.

#2697: PushingCushion

Today’s invention is a playpark swing which incorporates a small automotive type airbag on both the left and right edges of the seat.

The swing seat would also incorporate a small camera, so that each bag would only fire if a face was detected within say 20 cm.

The edge-mounted bags would inflate without impacting the swing occupant’s legs.

This would reduce the number of head injuries caused to children when running in front of moving swings.

#2696: DescentDrone

Now that even middle eastern police forces are using flying bikes, today’s invention makes use of this general concept in connection with ejection from aircraft.

When a pilot decided to eject, his cockpit cabin would be blown clear of the fuselage, as usual.

After a few seconds, instead of a parachute, a small set of rotor blades would deploy.

This would allow the pilot to steer his craft nearer to his own lines, before making a soft(ish) landing.

At no point would he be left conspicuously dangling under a canopy, a target for anyone below.

#2695: VacuuMoto

I’ve been watching racing motorcyclists take on racing car drivers. The major performance advantage which cars have is stable braking. In addition, race cars have enormous downforce.

Bikes could go faster if we attached inverted wings, but that would make overtaking hazardous and probably not work well on street circuits (Like the TT).

So, today’s invention is a downforce generator for racing bikes.

This would consist of a large fan attached to a duct held very close to the track (flexibly fringed, like a hovercraft skirt).

The fan would be driven off the engine to generate a low pressure region beneath the machine. Air would flow upwards through the duct and be exhausted behind the rider, as indicated.

#2694: SpillWell

Every petrol station I use has a small beach of sand on the forecourt, following spillages.

I hate walking in greasy sand and then dragging it into my vehicle. Not to mention the danger posed by half a gallon or so of 95 octane slopping about the pumps.

Today’s invention is a retro fit device for each pump.

A low tray with a steel grid on top (red) is driven up onto by pump users, using a shallow ramp at either end. Under the grid would be a steel mesh intended to limit the escape of vapour from beneath.

This tray contains a sloping bottom surface which directs anything liquid into a well, away from the paying public. The contents of this well (green) are pumped into a secure container, for later use as a very low-grade, supplemental fuel (for eg heating boilers).