Today’s invention is a modification to the envelope.
I’ve noticed that, when carrying one of these to the postbox in the rain, by the time I get there, the address is often smudged and indecipherable.
Instead, I propose an envelope with a closing flap which is longer than usual. When it is full, the flap can be bent over and sealed along a gummed strip (white), as usual. This then lies over the address, protecting it during its rainy transit.
At the postbox, the extra length of flap is ripped off using the serration indicated, exposing the address (and maintaining the sealed flap in place).
Today’s invention is my submission to an online contest for ‘designers’. I don’t stand a chance in this, because I’m not spending two days rendering the required images, off fees -but the idea, I think, is sound.
The brief was to design an umbrella for people in crowded spaces.
My approach has the following features.
A funnel-shaped parasol/canopy (in the shape of a water vortex). This is inflatable, using the bicycle pump in the handle. This avoids any sudden expansion of eye-poking spokes. It would be translucent, so that crowd members don’t get submerged in total darkness.
The profile of the funnel presents a low-drag shape to the oncoming wind, so that inversion can’t happen and buffeting about is reduced. This structure is further stabilised by being held up on the bicycle pump, as well as a flexible tube (red).
The tube allows the rainwater to avoid dripping all over your neighbours and instead dribbles out onto the ground (directed to miss everyone’s feet).
Today’s invention combines the use of a vehicle sunroof (red) with its roofrack (green).
When the vehicle is stopped, the sunroof is opened and a pneumatically driven column (grey) extends upwards through it.
This engages with a sheet of stiff aluminium cell board which is then lifted off the sunroof.
The column is also free to turn, as shown, providing a platform or roof with many possible uses (eg instead of umbrellas for people entering a hotel, or for someone fixing the engine in a storm).
A board with the ability to fold down its ends might provide an armoured carapace for vehicles vulnerable to attacks by shopping trolleys. A street trader might use this to hang their wares from.
Googling “bicycle canopy” is a very life-affirming experience for an inventor.
The same can’t be said of the hour I just spent fruitlessly trawling the patent databases in search of prior art in connection with today’s invention.
It was pointed out, by a loyal reader recently, that you can’t ride a bike (successfully) whilst using an umbrella.
Today’s invention is a wrap-around canopy for bikes, like that on a pram, which is designed to allow control of the machine whilst lowering drag and limiting the exposure to the elements of the rider.
A bar is locked onto the seat post and runs at right angles to the direction of travel.
At each end of this are attached numerous canopy segments, some of which may be made of eg thin, solid glass-fibre and others could be made of flexible, waterproof plastic sheet supported by carbon fibre semi-ellipses. The segments might be poppered or zipped together at the edges where they meet.
There would be a transparent section to see through, a gap through which the rider’s legs could extend when stopping and slots for the wheels.
(In a very high crosswind, you might want to fold down the upper 180 degrees).
Today’s invention returns to the vexed question of umbrellas which blow inside out.
The solution is simply, let them.
In the diagram an umbrella is shown which has a duplicate set of struts on the outside.
When a gust inverts the umbrella, the user simply detaches the handle, at the blue circle, and reattaches it to the other end of the shaft.
I’ve admitted before to not really getting golf.
Today’s invention however is offered as a boon to those who are devotees of the ‘sport’.
Golf karts shield players from the worst of the weather but not when shots are actually being taken. Has anyone ever tried to use a club whilst holding an umbrella? (Caddies are now so out of fashion and anyway they refuse to run alongside one’s kart).
Today’s invention is a motorised canopy which would unfold as shown allowing players to play all shots (including putting without driving onto a green) whilst staying out of the rain.
Everybody is keen to avoid skin cancer but the beaches are still full of people attempting to get some kind of low-level sun tan.
Rather than insist that everyone wears an all-over bodysuit including a rubber mask (fashionable in China) today’s invention is a beach umbrella that gives its user a controllable exposure to the sun.
Alternate segments of the umbrella are free to rotate as a set and thus allow sunlight through in the form of flashes (2 sets are shown, but several might be necessary for an even illumination).
The segments would be driven by a motor in the handle.
Enter one’s sun lotion factor, latitude and the time you want to spend in the sun and the umbrella would spin at the correct rate to enable only a light tan.
Hotels like to supply their guests with a way to get into a waiting car without getting soaked by the rain (assuming the absence of a liveried postillion with a brolly).
Supplying umbrellas becomes unpopular with hotel management, though, when people walk off with them.
Today’s invention is a novel guest umbrella.
It would be designed as a large flat disk with a long, thin conical handle. The umbrella would not collapse but would remain as shown.
A guest could pick one of these up from a nested, space-saving set in the foyer and use it to get into their vehicle. It would then be much too big to get in their car, even if they wanted to take it away and so it would be left, handle-upwards, on the driveway.
Cars could safely drive over the handles, deflecting them but not damaging them (or their vehicles), until they were later collected for reuse.
Today’s invention is a replacement for those old solid wheels and pneumatic tyres.
Imagine the frame of an umbrella used as the spokes of a car’s wheels.
A segmented (blue) wheel rim supports solid (grey) tyres.
The wheel nut can be tightened or loosened remotely, allowing the umbrella skeleton to press radially outwards or relax slightly inwards very rapidly… removing the need for a conventional suspension system.
When a quick change of tyre is required, the nut is removed and the skeleton collapsed to allow a new tyre to be fitted easily onto the wheel segments.
When it’s raining and blowing a gale, the streets are quickly littered with the fragmentary skeletons of inverted umbrellas.
Today’s invention is an umbrella which, when it is about to blow inside-out and wreck the frame, has panels which simply separate, as shown.
Since these would be held together like the lips of a resealable plastic bag, all the user would then have to do would be to retire to a less gusty doorway and reseal the edges.