#2814: DisbeliefSuspension

There is an increasing overlap between eg Formula E drivers and online game racers.

Today’s invention aims to intensify that blurring for the benefit of both sports.

If you have a car that you like to drive on the street, just imagine being able to race it in a virtual world against drivers from everywhere.

So today’s invention takes the form of four pneumatic pads, something like the devices used as inflatable jackstands.

These would be rapidly inflated and deflated, beneath your vehicle and controlled by computer, in order to simulate the effects of racing dynamics on your car…braking, turning etc.

In addition, there would be a large screen placed outside your windscreen, showing the racetrack and other vehicles. The dynamics would be driven by the game software.

In this way, someone could sit in their own (parked) car and feel as if they were actually on-track against other competitors.

You could arrange for simulated performance upgrades to your vehicle as well as a suitably stirring soundtrack to be played through the window.

#2813: Identifired

I noticed that, during the recent attempted putsch in Washington, various officers of the law had coloured tape attached to their handguns.

This was probably to help officers discriminate friend from foe (an amazingly small number of people were hurt, so maybe it worked).

Today’s invention is related to this and makes each gun firable by only one identified person.

A small camera unit sits on the rear of the weapon. This has a bar which extends between hammer and firing pin.

The camera takes both an image forwards and backwards when the trigger is lightly pressed. If the rearwards image matches the designated user of the gun, then the bar withdraws and the weapon can be fired. An image is taken too of the person being fired at, for evidence.

This system could be improved by having officers receive a pattern of eg UV dyespots applied to their face before a shift and having the camera grab a face image at the same time.

This has the additional benefit of ruling out the possibility of firing without aiming.

#2807: ShocksWave

Today’s invention is computer-controlled local suspension units for a tank.

As the main gun fires, and the projectile moves down its barrel, the many suspension units would each be signalled to stiffen or relax in a wave-like pattern, in order to ensure that the gun stays on target during those crucial few milliseconds.

With a more advanced spring and damper setup, such as this, we could do away completely with recoil movement between gun and turret…the whole vehicle transferring recoil energy to the suspension, irrespective of the rotational position of the turret. This would free up a lot of space inside the turret,

This system might also sense the hardness or softness of the ground locally beneath the tracks in order to optimise these suspension stiffness settings from moment to moment.

#2806: Cardiacall

People fitted with heart pacemakers are supposed to take care not to go near strong magnetic fields. Some phones may cause their internal device to malfunction.

Today’s invention is a small phone which is attached to one’s pacemaker. This would be well shielded by eg a ferrous sheet placed between the two devices before insertion inside one’s body.

Pacemakers currently issue their users with an alert, in the event of some arrhythmia, by eg buzzing, but this system would also send data to a cardiologist and perhaps call an ambulance to one’s current location.

#2805: SpanShield

Scotland and many other Northern countries have a real problem with their tall bridges.

Ice forms on the high structures and then falls on vehicles below. This has caused the new Queensferry bridge to close several times and caused a huge amount of costly disruption and embarrassment.

Here is the invention I propose. It’s not rocket science, or clever technology…it’s a roof.

I calculate that there would be a one-off charge of about £200k to provide the entire road area with a sloping, transparent roof made of eg acrylic sheet.

This would simply shed any ice or snow effectively into the Firth of Forth. It would require only low-level, rapid installation, minimal maintenance, could be designed to be aerodynamic, so that vibration and wind noise need not be a problem and would neither deface the bridge nor be oppressive to motorists.

I just received this response from Bear Scotland:

Unfortunately however, bridges are particularly susceptible to wind loading and as such, the increased loading from a canopy, could not be accommodated by the structure.

So we can be pretty clear that these guys won’t achieve a solution.

#2803: Combustellation

One of the problems with internal combustion engines is that it’s hard to get the fuel/air mixture in a cylinder to burn evenly.

In spark ignition systems, the ignition is finely timed but very localised. In a compression ignition (eg diesel) system, it’s harder to control the spatial/temporal distribution of the burn, although it does tend to be a more gradual process (which avoids ‘knock).

Today’s invention is to add a tiny amount of extra friction to the relative motion of piston and cylinder.

Using strips of eg carbon steel on the piston as shown (green), and a cup-shaped piston crown, will generate a gradually increasing shower of tiny sparks as the piston rises on the compression stroke.

This allows a more gradual and spatially-spread burn, but also makes that repeatable from cycle to cycle.

The friction strips could be made easily changeable every few thousand miles or they could continuously be fed along the interior cylinder wall (red).

#2801: CheeseSqueezer

If you have a plague of domestic mice, then catching them humanely and walking them to a safe new home around the corner is not an option.

Today’s invention is a new multi-kill mousetrap which is powered by a mouse.

1. A mouse is attracted to the cheese (orange) placed beside the exercise wheel (pink) in a box. He runs on this for a while and a gear train (dark blue) allows the wheel and platform to rack-and-pinion (pale blue) its way upward.

2. As the platform rises, other mice can wander in towards a second piece of cheese on the floor of the box.

At a certain height, a catch is released, allowing the platform to fall down on whatever mice are below.

The whole system is ready to run again at once, assuming occasional removal of dead mice and replenishment of bait.

#2798: Stockstill

When a handgun is being fired, the hammer strikes the bullet casing which is higher than the handgrip. This results in a slight torque which causes the barrel of the weapon to point downwards, very slightly off target, before the powder ignites.

Today’s invention is a way to overcome this source of inaccuracy.

Here the trigger (red) is located above the barrel (green), so that when the hammer (blue) strikes, its action is directly in line with the centre of gripping forces, lessening the above effect.

#2797: LowerTowers

Today’s invention is to equip future aircraft carriers with towers which can be withdrawn beneath the flight deck.

Just as in Gerry Anderson’s Marineville, when the vessel is under attack, all of those huge windows of the bridge and flight control room descend beneath the armoured deck, or at least leave only slit windows exposed.

Moving these towers up and down could be achieved using lifts of the type already used to move aircraft below deck.

#2792: DeckPods

It’s aircraft-carrier-of-the-future time again.

Today’s invention is a carrier which consists of many smaller vessels, each of which accommodates several aircraft and takes the form of a fast hydrofoil.

To launch their aircraft, the mini carriers raise them to the top decks using the T shaped lifts as usual, after having first linked 2 or 3 vessels together.

This would require a robust docking mechanism, for operation in a high sea (hydraulic anchors perhaps).

The speed of these hydrofoils would enable aircraft launches using shorter decks than normal, so that a large number of aircraft could get airborne simultaneously.

This kind of distributed carrier would be harder to hit with weapons, although landing would require the smaller ships to form at least a group of, say, three.

This could be done very rapidly and away from the centre of any conflict.