#2713: StopperStopper

People get hit in the eye by flying champagne corks all the time.

This usually does not cause permanent injury, but sometimes it does.

Today’s invention is a way to render such corks less dangerous.

A large, soft, plastic disk with a pin on one side (red) is pressed into the cork, before removal.

As the cork flies out of the bottle, it is impeded by the drag force on the disk.

Even if contact is made with a bystander, the size of the disc will reduce the impact pressure to less than that required to damage even an eye.

#2712: SkiSkin

I’m finding it hard to believe that ski waxing is still stuck in the dark ages.

All that melting, dripping, ironing and scraping…

Instead, consider today’s invention…a system of reservoirs attached to the upper side of a ski, enabling realtime ski lubrication. These each have their own little heater which allows wax, or a more modern solid lubricant, to be dispensed and flow through pores in the ski onto the sliding surface.

This process could be computer controlled, according to ski speed and snow temperature, so that optimal sliding might be achieved (and maintained).

#2711: Swallowater

Today’s invention is for people who just can’t swallow large pills without a drink to wash them down.

Large pills would be packaged like contact lenses, one per ‘blister’.

Blisters would come in a pair: one to contain the large pill and another containing a small gulp of sterile water.

If you need to take medication and you are away from drinkable water, simply pop open both blisters and down the tablet with a slurp of liquid.

#2710: Brushedge

In country areas, tractors are allowed to use the roads.

Fair enough, but they tend to carry a tonne of mud with them -which is dangerous in terms of skidding and also makes a mess of cars that have been cleaned.

Today’s invention is a way to ensure that farm vehicles exiting muddy fields and farmyards leave their mess behind them.

A ‘hedge’ unit is constructed of tall, high-durability brushes. Each of these is mounted on a spring (red).

Tractors all have to push through this hedge to exit a field and drive on the road. As they do so, the hedge brushes off any loose clods of mud from the wheels or body of the vehicle. When a tractor passes, some hedge units will be flattened, but the springs will return them to the vertical when it has gone.

A shallow ramp acts as the base of the unit, so that mud brushed off the tractors will tend to fall back into the field.

This synthetic hedge could also be used instead of a gate, saving some money.

#2709: Mattresstickies

I find it annoying when lying in bed with my knees up, that my feet always slip down the futon.

Today’s invention is some elastoplast-like attachments which allow feet not to slip down the bed.

These would have a rubberised outer coating to supply the required friction.

Perhaps the same pair of grippers could be reusable over several nights.

#2708: Coverstory

Today’s invention is a way for users of libraries and bookstores to make more effective use of the book stacks.

Each book would be equipped with a barcode on the spine.

Scanning the spine of the book with your phone would cause a stored text-to-speech recording of the book’s blurb to play (audible by using earbuds, so as not to disturb other browsers).

This would allow people to make a quicker assessment of publications, without having to extract books from shelves.

#2707: AstroLung

Astronauts aboard the International Space station can undertake spacewalks for eg vital maintenance of up to 8.5 hours in duration.

If a suit has a carbon dioxide scrubber failure, the duration of spacewalks is severely curtailed.

Today’s invention allows an astronaut a way to stay out longer, if they have emergency repairs to undertake, during an EVA.

A spare space suit is filled with oxygen to a pressure greater than the normal 1/3 of atmospheric.

This can be taken with the ISS crew member outside and connected to the suit of a working astronaut so that it acts as an additional air bladder -extending the time for which a spacewalk can last.

(If the cooling water circulation in the spare suit is still working, this too could be attached to the suit being worn).

#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.