#2795: Warmchair

Sometimes it’s nice for those of us with bad backs or muscle aches to have a heated seat.

This is common in cars, so today’s invention extends the idea to one’s house.

You could, of course, just insert an electric blanket into an armchair and plug it in.

This might easily become unsafe after repeated use, however.

Imagine instead that the armchair is fitted with two large copper plates, one for the back and one for the seat. These would be connected by some very fat, insulated copper cables to any nearby radiator and clamped to the hot surface.

Over time, the seat becomes pleasantly warm, with no risk of fire or electrocution.

#2794: HelicoptAir

It seems that drying cherry orchards is an activity that can really only be done by hovering a helicopter overhead.

Today’s invention uses the same idea, except that it’s applied to the important business of commercial marquees.

When you hire a big tent, a part of the cost has to cover the work involved in avoiding loading it into a truck whilst wet.

Today’s invention is therefore to use a large remote control helicopter to fly a number of programmed passes over any such rental tent, in order to dry it out before packing and transporting.

The UAV downdraft might be supplemented by having a small hot air balloon gas bottle and burner aboard so that the air flow could be heated.

#2793: SpineSpinner

It seems odd to me that normal helicopters have rotor blades whose downwash is obstructed by having a big wide fuselage beneath them.

Today’s invention is a helicopter with a blade-like backbone which does not obstruct the airflow downwards.

This would have a low cargo-carrying capacity, but, with a pressurised cabin, it would be useful in eg very high altitude mountain rescue applications, where efficient downforce is at a premium in the thin atmosphere.

#2792: DeckPods

It’s aircraft-carrier-of-the-future time again.

Today’s invention is a carrier which consists of many smaller vessels, each of which accommodates several aircraft and takes the form of a fast hydrofoil.

To launch their aircraft, the mini carriers raise them to the top decks using the T shaped lifts as usual, after having first linked 2 or 3 vessels together.

This would require a robust docking mechanism, for operation in a high sea (hydraulic anchors perhaps).

The speed of these hydrofoils would enable aircraft launches using shorter decks than normal, so that a large number of aircraft could get airborne simultaneously.

This kind of distributed carrier would be harder to hit with weapons, although landing would require the smaller ships to form at least a group of, say, three.

This could be done very rapidly and away from the centre of any conflict.

#2791: ShiftSkin

High speed cars often have rear wings to create downforce in the corners.

Inevitably these generate huge amounts of speed-limiting drag in the straights.

One way to deal with this is to fit a flip up wing, which may go from closed to open at a given speed, but is otherwise not very ‘smart’.

Today’s invention aims to offer a high level of downforce, whilst limiting the amount of associated drag.

The wing shown would consist of two main pieces, so closely spaced that almost no air flows between them. The air flowing over the outside is kept attached, thus shedding minimal vortices and lessening drag, by having the surfaces move (backwards on both because they are actually two, independently-driven tracks).

The speed relative to the car might occasionally have to be 200mph, but that is do-able with eg carbon fibre mats.

As well as having the overall wing angle automatically determined, from moment to moment, the speeds of the two surfaces would be chosen so as to give the optimal combination of drag and downforce anywhere on the track.

#2790: Metamask

Today’s invention is an attempt to reduce covid-19 infections.

A collar has a fan embedded within it. This sucks air through a number of inlets (red). The air passes through a viral particle filter which may be treated with antiviral chemicals. The air then is blown out through some upwards pointing tubes (green).

This air forms a curtain around the face which makes breathing in viral particles, from the environment, much less likely.

#2789: Self-mining mines

Armies just can’t be deflected from using landmines. Professional units at least keep rigorous records of where they have been laid, so that post-conflict, they can be carefully dug up.

Today’s invention attempts to support the removal of mines laid during wars, so that civilians don’t have to live in fear of going about their normal lives (and bomb disposal service personnel don’t have to risk their lives).

Mines take the form of a fat wood screw (green). A simple robot cart drives around dropping these so that they stand up with the tip just under the ground surface. A drill (purple) extends out of the mine and, when at the right depth, exudes a small balloon compressing the local soil and giving grip to the whole mechanism.

This provides an anchor for the mine to screw itself into the earth.

When it gets below the surface, the mine screws upwards and downwards a little to ensure the pressure plate is hidden.

Later when the war is over, any mines which have not been detonated, will drive themselves above the surface for collection.

#2788: PolePecker

Today’s invention employs the principle of the falling woodpecker toy.

This is used as an emergency fire escape for very tall buildings.

The idea is that by allowing a mass (the escapee) on a spring to oscillate up and down, the collar (green) to which it is attached alternates between gripping and slipping on the pole (the woodpecker is actually optional).

Since each woodpecker descends at a fixed rate, many hundreds of them could be falling safely down a single (strong, fireproof) pole simultaneously (thus avoiding the need to use lifts or staircases).

Unlike the pole in a firestation, users need only attach themselves by using a harness and would require no skills or training.

#2787: Puzzlinks

I’ll admit I’m a big fan of tracked vehicles, from snowbikes, to NASA launch crawlers to military tanks.

Today’s invention is a new form of track, especially for vehicles which are subject to damage or attack.

Imagine that the tracks are replaced by a series of parallel chains. These are driven by having a sprocket wheel for each chain -so that the drive wheel might have 5-10 co-axial sprockets.

This would avoid many problems associated with loading tracked vehicles onto trains (when they often need to be equipped with narrower track ‘shoes’)…we’d simply fit only the innermost two or three chains. In addition, when damaged, replacement of one or two chains would be much simpler than the very heavy (and space-wasting) sections of normal track.

Finally, each chain would be made from hardened links whose geometry mimics the metal puzzle shown. These can be joined without the need for any pins etc (making use of the small amount of slack, which tracks always have, to slide links together).

#2786: DramDice

Today’s invention is a way to make drinking more exciting.

A cup has a number of testtubes inside, each filled with some different liquid. The outside of the cup is tinted or opaque, so that users can’t see what is going on inside.

The green top forms a seal with the top of the testtubes. A drinker rotates the green top around a vertical axis, so that some testtubes are now in communication with a small number of bendy straws.

This allows the drinker to twist the top and make himself/herself an instant, random cocktail.
(See also #371: Rainbow drinks)