Today’s invention is an ultra low-altitude parachute mechanism, based on one of those circular, expanding reflectors that photographers use.
This could be used by base jumpers (or Mars missions), but more usefully by people trapped in a medium-rise, burning building.
One problem with low-opening chutes is that, if the shock of sudden inflation is too great, it can cause the jumper some injury. That problem can be mitigated using a form of slider.
If the opening is too slow, however, then all this becomes irrelevant.
To get a chute to open very wide and very fast requires that each chute will have a loop of springy glass fibre sewn into the edge.
When someone grabs their emergency chute off a rack, they run and plunge out a window. A static line releases the coiled loop (shown on the left) and the chute is suddenly forced to take up its natural, circular shape (on the right).
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).
Nobody likes having their car dinged by careless parkers who fling open their doors.
Today’s invention offers a shield for car sides, without destroying the look of your vehicle.
A housing in the front wheel arch holds a reel of protective material in the colour of the car.
When parking, the driver pulls one end of this reel clear of the body work and walks to the back wheel arch, where a soft plastic hook attaches it to the rear wheel arch.
This impact-absorbing ribbon is wide enough to stop most careless door openers from causing damage.
It also avoids drawing too much attention to the car and could, if strengthened and locked in place, make it harder to break into the vehicle.
Motorcycle chains are a pain to maintain.
Today’s invention offers a way to keep one’s chain cleaner.
It consists of two cylindrical brushes on two control arms.
The weight of the brushes keeps them in contact with the chain’s top and bottom surfaces -for at least some of the time.
As the brushes rotate against the chain, they wear down, but still stay in contact with the chain (until they are replaced).
The control arms could also have brush material fitted on their inside surfaces to help clean the chain sides.
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.
There are lots of places over which pilots really shouldn’t be flying at low altitude, because their inhabitants are noise sensitive.
These include: physics labs, animal breeding centres, hospitals, old people’s homes, recording and tv studios…
Today’s invention is a simple bright light, flashing upwards in a specially designated colour.
This would be attached to a high point on the roof of a noise sensitive building to help ensure that no aircraft would come near.
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.
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).
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.
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.