#2739: WaveWing

There is something very romantic about the old idea of driving your classic Porsche 911 to the beach with a surfboard on the roof.

Porsches have, over the 50 years of the 911’s history, been fitted with some enormous inverted wings.

Today’s invention is therefore a surfboard which can be carried on your sportscar (laterally) but which acts as a detachable downforce wing, when the car is in motion.

#2738: DatingTimer

When using a messaging app for dating purposes, people are currently faced these days with an optimisation problem: how long to wait before responding to his/her last message?

Respond after too big a delay and you risk losing their attention. Go back too soon and you look desperate.

Today’s invention is an upgrade to a dating app which asks its users to alert it when they have achieved ‘relationship success’ (however they define that).

Then, in the background, their messaging history is analysed, so that any pattern can be extracted and amalgamated with the patterns of other couples who have become an item.

This information is then used to issue alerts to people in a proto-couple, such as ‘He was last in touch via a 100 character msg two hours ago. At this stage of your relationship, you should consider responding with less than 20 characters in five minutes.’

2733: MetAdvent

In an era where commercialism has gone mad and each festival has more or less merged into the next, today’s invention highlights that craziness, in the hope that something can be done to stop it.

It takes the form of an advent calendar which allows people to count the days until they can start opening their advent calendars.

This ironically emphasises the stupidity of not living for today and deferring enjoyment until some future date.

#2718: CarPool

Today’s invention is a new use for the GoPro waterproof housing.

Simply fill this with water and insert a small fish or some ‘sea monkeys’ before clipping it closed in the usual way.

This micro-aquarium can be attached to the dash of your car in the same way as some people use fluffy dice, nodding dogs or a small flower vase. You could even attach it to your motorcycle helmet -as a conversation piece at roadside cafes.

(Obviously you should release any small wildlife as quickly as possible after your journey).

#2715: TwoPoinTouchdown

It’s not unknown for aircraft to have their nosewheels fail to deploy when making an approach to land.

Today’s invention is a small rotor blade which can be made to emerge from the roof of a plane under these circumstances.

It would need to be powerful enough to just lessen the impact of the nose on the tarmac -setting the front down gently enough to avoid damaging the plane and the passengers.

#2703: NameGame

Today’s invention is an attempt to think up an amusing app.

People put their portrait photos online and then everyone else gets a chance to suggest what their name should be.

There’s endless scope for abusive entries, of course, but it would be easy to allow only names which can be found in a conventional name dictionary (so Satan or McHitler won’t make the cut).

People are interested in their personal branding and it might help some folk understand better how the world perceives them.

#2699: TunneLoco

This terrifying footage shows a baby carriage (empty) being dragged into the side of a freight train, just by the draught caused by the passing train.

Today’s invention, a mobile tunnel, is inspired by this.

A high speed, non stopping goods train has a small tractor unit at each end (pink at the front and green at the back). These are capable of very rapid acceleration and deceleration. The train carries a platform shield (red) on each side, which can move longitudinally along runners on the train’s side (only the right side shield is shown).

The sequence of events is:

a) Train approaches platform at very high speed, carrying the shield alongside.
b) Front, pink tractor streaks off ahead, but as it gets to the platform, it slows to a low speed. Pink tractor pulls the shield with it and feeds the shield slowly along the platform.
c) Shield is in place. train passes through station at very high speed.

The platform is shielded from the ultra fast train, so that no-one in the station is endangered.

d) Rear, green tractor detaches and moves slowly, holding the shield. The rest of train has sped away.
e) Green tractor moves shield along platform until it has been cleared. Green tractor, carrying the shield, then accelerates to catch the rest of the train.

#2689: Motorubber

Today’s invention is a supplementary form of drive and braking for a motor vehicle.

It consists of one or more autonomous vehicles operating inside the tyres.

These vehicles would be inductively powered, via the wheel hubs, and would have sprung rollers, above and below, to ensure good contact with both the wheel surface and the tyre inner surface.

These motors would talk to each other, as well as the suspension, to coordinate cornering and road holding. The tyre stiffness could be augmented, for example, by stiffening the springs of the in-tyre vehicle during a journey.

#2673: GrasSpare

Today’s invention is an emergency wheel for tractors or other farm vehicles.

A cylindrical hay bale is penetrated by a number of rods which attach to the hub and an external wheel hub as shown.

The hay is very tightly compressed and held in place by nylon netting, so it would be possible to get back home following a breakdown on some very distant field.

#2670: TunedCars

Today’s invention is to have several special recordings made of many pieces of music so that they sound optimal (to a panel of hi-fi snobs) in the hushed atmosphere of a limousine.

Ideally these variants could be created using a combination of expert listening, in-car recording and software processing. The recordings for a Bentley Continental would be very different to those for a Mercedes S class, so that the internal acoustics of each car, at different speeds, would be taken into account.

There would also be specific, choosable versions for different situations -perhaps one for each different motorway driven down regularly.

In addition, here might be a driver-only version, a four-passenger version or a sitting in the back with the driver screen up, recordings. All of these would come at a high price, of course.