#2679: MateMode

Couples, it seems, are endangering their relationships by staring at their separate phones all the time: even during date nights (that’s an old-time concept, of course).

Today’s invention is a rubber ‘chastity belt’ into which a couple can lock their phones when they are supposed to be having some quality time. The phones face each other so that the screens can’t be seen without one person unlocking their lock (probably not a sign of commitment).

This means no selfies or pictures of dinner.

After an agreed duration of the evening’s activities, each person can retrieve their device and catch up on their social networking. Just the pause in the perpetual instagramming may help them realise how futile that is, compared to chatting with their significant other.

#2678: SpannerVision

You shouldn’t really have your car serviced by people you don’t trust. There is always a first time, however, using a new garage, when you may be unsure about the quality and thoroughness of the work.

People who leave their children with child minders sometimes expect their child’s stay to be monitored by cameras…so why not extend this to those who love their vehicles?

Today’s invention is a set of say six small cameras located around a vehicle (one in the engine bay, each of the wheelwells and the boot or trunk as well as the car’s interior).

These would be highly visible so that anyone working on the car would be clear that their work could be scrutinised (perhaps wirelessly, in real time).

Certain dealerships will already use cameras to show a customer why they are being charged £80 an hour for labour. It seems only fair that car owners should be allowed to check what’s actually being done.

#2677: FuelFlow

You just can’t run a petrol station with a shop (and even a coffee shop) without providing people enough room to park (Shell UK, I’m looking at you).

What often happens, and drives me crazy, is that folk who don’t think clearly leave their vehicles by the pump and disappear into the shop for several cups of coffee and maybe a bit of cake oh and…Meanwhile, I’m parked behind -waiting for them to move out of the way.

Petrol stations already have automatic number plate recognition and ‘loyalty’ schemes.

Today’s invention is to fit a couple of ground cables to each pump, so that your duration there is recorded.

If you are arriving and leaving within a sensible timescale, the petrol company will credit your loyalty points account with a bonus. This will speed the flow of people through the station, without raising any issues to do with rushing.

(Personally, if people decide to eat their sandwiches, whilst sitting at the pumps, I’d be inclined to impound their car).

#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.