#2825: ClearCage

Formula1 drivers mostly claim that the so-called halo devices over their heads don’t interfere with their vision…since they are always looking so far ahead of the car.

I think it would be safer if they didn’t have to contend with the vertical strut right in the middle of their field of view, as well as the shoulder buttresses that keep them safe.

Today’s invention is to fit a system in the form of a camera (red) which feeds images to the inside of a driver’s visor (green).

The position and orientation of the helmet relative to the car could be detected using a small gyroscope fitted to the helmet (as is done in fighter jet pilot helmets).

This would allow an uninterrupted field of view and it would also enable a heads-up display to be superimposed on the projection on the inside of the visor.

Racing could continue on very wet days, using thermal imaging displays. The danger of suddenly driving through the Monaco tunnel would be removed.

#2824: Photomotor

My Australian brother in law is the owner of many solar panels. He says that cleaning these causes a significant increase in electricity generated.

People often drive about without realising that their view or their lights are somehow impaired.

Today’s invention is to apply a small solar cell to the inside surface of all of the lights, window glass and indicators on a car.

When any of these generates a lower current than a calibration cell (placed somewhere high on the vehicle), it indicates that the local surface is obscured eg by mud, ice, grime or crazing. Time to take some action.

You could also use these sensors to rate different car washes for cleaning efficiency.

#2823: Streamleaning

When people sail dinghies or catamarans, they often have to ‘hike’ ie lean their bodyweight over the side to stop the boat being blown over too far by the wind.

This technique is used to increase speed, but it results in a lot more air drag because the crew’s bodies act like a large air brake.

Today’s invention is a lifejacket which the rearmost crew member wears when hiking. This would have a cross section (perpendicular to the spine) with a teardrop-shaped profile in the direction of travel, so the airflow over the crew would result in less drag.

#2822: Manufactruck

I read today about how Seville oranges are useful for making marmalade. The shabby and amateur UK Govt’s brexit process has caused such delays that it may now be impossible to transport them in time.

So today’s invention is to mimic factory ships.

Just as these begin processing food in transit, we could have a fleet of large trucks, which when driving and parking for ages at some port, could be handling the various stages of food processing so that perishable goods would not be wasted.

Each truck could undertake a separate process for a given factory…eg chopping food up, boiling, pickling, jam making, refrigeration -whatever. They could drive in a convoy in order to help with the sterile transfer from one vehicle to another by air-to-air refuelling technology.

#2821: BlowPipe

Today’s invention is a new form of non-lethal baton round (or rubber bullet).

Rounds are each supplied in a cannister with a near vacuum ahead of the bullet. The weapon makes a hole in the rear face of the cannister, so that air rushes in and propels the projectile towards the front of the cannister, piercing it on exit towards the target.

My calculations show that even if some energy is lost in breaking out of the cannister and due to subsequent air friction, a standard sized baton round, fired from a 1m long gun, can deliver bullet energy of about 100J.

This is about 1/3 of the energy of a standard round (making it much safer) but requiring no chemical propellant.

In order to ensure that the energy from the air pressure is not all wasted in breaking the cannister open, I can imagine a way to make it super resistant to external pressure, whilst easily broken from inside.

#2820: TurnTurret

Today’s invention is a mobile fort.

In the middle is a green tank. This carries an outer, almost-circular wall, with a hollow interior and a chisel-pointed scoop at one point (red).

At a chosen location, the tank spins (anti-clockwise) around its vertical axis. This causes the chisel to scoop up a shallow trench of earth into the wall. Repeated circling part-fills the wall and embeds it into the ground. Further filling of the wall, manually or by bulldozer, would reinforce this barrier.

Thus a circular wall is created which can accommodate the tank as a gun emplacement. A wider gap in the wall would allow the tank to withdraw and the fort could be filled with field guns or troops.

A version of this might use the rotation of the tank’s turret only.

#2819: PillowPile

It’s painful to watch remote controlled aircraft when they make a bad landing.

It might be pilot nerves or just a sudden gust of wind, but these planes are costly to repair and it can also be dangerous for spectators if they crash onto a runway and bounce randomly.

Today’s invention is a new kind of landing strip for RC pilots who realise they are in trouble or for novices who just want a softer landing.

It takes the form of a large roll of ‘carpet’, placed on the tarmac landing surface (it might also enable landings to safely occur on eg stone covered strips, otherwise unsuitable for model planes).

The carpet would have a pile more like very long, springy grass, so that planes could collide with it and safely come to rest without sudden deceleration.

(I wonder if this might also work as a new form of F1 sand trap, slowing race cars and limiting the danger to drivers if they invert at great speed. It would also prove useful to drone pilots making movies where the ground is unforgiving)

#2818: Detourail

Trains use a system of points to move between tracks.

The points are usually fixed at a particular location.

Today’s invention is a set of mobile points which can be moved along a pair of parallel, standard spaced tracks, in order to allow trains to switch direction much more flexibly (so that a change of tracks or direction can be made at short notice, eg in response to an emergency).

This consists of pair of curved rails with a bogie at either end, at least one of which would be powered by a remote controlled electric motor.

#2817: Irreversibilitext

Many writers have discovered that the use of pen and paper, or even a typewriter, is somehow superior to a word processor.

Whilst the latter is super convenient and allows easy redrafting, maybe this actually presents a problem.

Writing some things in pen removes the ability easily to delete and refresh them…There is something about the irreversibility of ink that requires a commitment from the writer and so the limited opportunity for editing results in higher quality communication.

Today’s invention is therefore a wordpress plug-in or word processing programme that disallows any deletion of text.

#2816: Replinthing

Today’s invention is inspired by this digital artist.

If there is a statue in your town depicting someone who is now deemed politically incorrect, simply
a) perform a laser scan of the statue
b) use that to design a thin shell which might be clipped together over the offending statue.

This shell, which could be pre-weathered to have a patina of age, could portray someone who is a more modern hero, until they too become unacceptable, for some reason.