#2676: FireBreather

Today’s invention is a fire safety device, to be used in confined spaces where smoke inhalation can be very dangerous.

It takes the form of a ‘cooker hood’ (green) attached to a powerful fan (pink). The hood is attached to the (low) ceiling on a rail so that it can be positioned nearer a fire. This draws in a large percentage of any smoke being generated and passes it over a 3-way catalytic converter.

The proximity to the flames activates the catalyst’s chemicals and their effect is to strip out many of the most noxious pollutants.

The hood might also carry a conventional extinguisher. It could, in addition, allow the water produced by the catalysis process to fall onto the fire.

This provides people with more time to escape.

#2675: TwinTanks

When designing an armoured vehicle, there are lots of compromises to be made. You want to be high enough to detect the enemy but low enough to evade targetting by them. You need to cover large distances fast but you don’t want to carry huge volumes of fuel into battle.

Today’s invention separates some of the functions of a tank into transport and combat.

The lower part, in black, acts as a mobile store of fuel and ammunition. It can cover huge distances with zero wear and tear on the fighting unit above.

The top unit’s wheels spin backwards whilst sitting on the main tracks of the lower machine.

When the enemy is sighted, the wheeled fighting unit descends to the ground via a ramp.

This upper unit is fast moving and designed for conflict on terrain chosen to be more suited to a wheeled vehicle. Its low profile makes it very hard to target. If damaged, or just in need of refitting, it can be winched back onto the mothership.

A more advanced version might involve several fighting units to one tracked vehicle.

#2674: ViewVehicle

Today’s invention is a car designed with tourism in mind.

It has a bank of rear seats which can be driven upward through a giant hatch in the roof, so that occupants can see more of their surroundings and take photos unimpeded by glass windows.

The seat height would be variable and rising out of the cabin would only be allowed when the vehicle was travelling below a certain speed. Sensors would detect eg low bridges.

In the autonomous vehicle future, this will provide occupants with a new way to pass the time on boring journeys.

Adventurous users could select a maximum height of say 4m and drive through safari parks.

#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.

#2672: HeatDump

One of the biggest costs in running a ground heat pump is in drilling the required hole to insert the heat exchange pipework.

Landfill fire is a problem because it can result in dangerous fumes and groundwater contamination.

Today’s invention seeks to deal with both these issues. It is in the form of several ground heat pumps located at the tops of towers on land designated for landfill.

As the landfill material rises over time, bacterial action can create enormous amounts of heat. This would be extracted for use elsewhere by the heatpumps -without any digging costs.

The process would also reduce the subsurface temperature, so that fires would be much less likely to break out.

#2671: SoftShooter

Firing a shotgun can be difficult, even for those trained to do so.

The recoil from such a gun can cause bruising and it tends to make the users tense, which affects their aim adversely.

Today’s invention is a recoilless shotgun. The diagram shows a plan view of a double barrelled gun (with the butt to the right).

One of the barrels (red) has been flipped about the turquoise axis, so that it now points over the user’s right shoulder.

Pulling the trigger fires both barrels simultaneously -thus there is no kick.

The red barrel would use cartridges with gunpowder only in, so that no-one standing farther than a metre behind could ever be hurt.

#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.

#2569: Steereflex

Formula 1 drivers are accustomed to having their reaction times measured and honed. One machine for this purpose is the BATAK device.

Today’s invention is to equip road vehicle steering wheels with a scaled down version of this test. There would be touch pads positioned around the wheel which light up randomly.

Although the required movements and peripheral vision demands would be less stringent than in the racing version, such a test could perform many functions.

Failure to achieve a high enough score might be indicative of drunkenness and thus disable the ignition. One’s reaction times before driving might be used to reduce or increase the performance of the vehicle (or the insurance paid). Finally, such a test could help people improve their vision and responsiveness when driving.

#2568: Soapurifier

Many people prefer to use a bar of soap, rather than a liquid alternative.

If you have to share facilities with people you don’t know, today’s invention offers a way to ensure that the bar gets cleaned before you apply any soap to your body.

The soap is placed in a perforated tray beneath the flowing water. This helps ensure that any germs and skin cells of the previous user are washed away.

You could choose to wash the soap in this way and then use it as normal, or just stand under the water flowing over the surface of the bar.

#2567: TankerAnchor

I’ve been reading a lot lately about how supertankers and massive container ships may take two miles to slow to an emergency halt (even with the engines full astern).

Today’s invention offers a way for ships to stop much more rapidly (if they are travelling in a canal).

On the left, we see a ship in cross section moving down a canal at say 10 m per sec. This vessel has strong beams built in which are wider than the canal.

When an emergency stop is required, the beams are allowed to make contact with reinforced ramps on either bank. The kinetic energy of the ship is exchanged completely for potential energy, as the ship is lifted higher in the water (right hand image).

A simple energy-based calculation shows that a ship which engages with ramps angled at 10 degrees to the horizontal will be brought to a stop in about 12m (with no reverse thrust or anchors).