#2528: BaGape

Plastic bags are both a boon and a big problem. They are so useful, but so wasteful.

Today’s invention aims to offer bigger carrying capacity using less material.

The plastic carrier bag on the left has some resealable ‘ziplock’ windows moulded into it.

When the bag is loaded, on the right, the windows are opened, allowing weight to be supported by the unperforated bottom section, whilst boosting the overall space in the bag.

Obviously the bag windows can later be resealed and the whole thing reused.

#2524: DryMow

You can get pretty much any organic powder to explode, if it’s fine, dry and concentrated enough.

Today’s invention takes advantage of this to create a self-fueled, cordless lawnmower.

On a dry day, the user would start cutting grass in the old fashioned, push-mower style. There would be multiple, close blades on a single horizontal shaft, so that any grass would be very finely chopped.

This would create a cloud of dry particles which, when introduced into the combustion chamber of the mower engine, would act as fuel.

A conventional spark plug would ignite the powder/air mix. This engine would drive the many blades so that the lawn would all be converted into fuel for the mower.

There would therefore be no need to transport cuttings to a bin.

#2521: LabRatory

Theme park owners are desperate for thrilling experiences -which are also 100% safe.

Today’s invention is an upgrade to the ancient idea of mazes, which is aimed at offering eg themeparks a more engaging entertainment.

A large number of tall privet bushes are planted in boxes with wheels, motors and wireless controls.

These bushes can be joined together to form walls of a reconfigurable maze.

Once a ‘player’ has penetrated the maze, cameras detect their eye movements and reorder the walls of the maze in areas where they are not looking.

This could be used to create a genuinely frightening experience…certainly enough of a challenge to those seeking something along the lines of a haunted house visit. The maze could have variations in difficulty, from static to inescapable.

(Cutting the bushes could be done by running them each through a stationary trimmer occasionally).

#2519: Driving flat out

Today’s invention is for owners of offroad vehicles who want to avoid spilling their champagne in transit across their country estates.

It takes the form of a control box and a table-supporting frame which has an attachment point on top of each of the windows.

As rough ground is encountered, the control box drives the windows up and down just enough to ensure that the frame (red) stays perfectly level.

#2502: Endnui

In the latest scientific news I read that, when we are blinking, time seems to pass more quickly.

In fact, time passes two to four times as fast when the eyes are closed than during darkness while the eyes are open.

Today’s invention offers a way to speed up boring processes, such as staring at a screen whilst waiting for some software to download.

People tend to develop epileptic symptoms if they are subject to bright flashes of light, so the approach here would be to wear special glasses. These would detect when the wearer was watching something boring (either eg by understanding that a download was in progress or that call waiting music was being listened to).

Then, a small cannister of compressed air in the body of the glasses would begin puffing air at each eyeball randomly.

The blinks induced would appear to greatly speed events up, so that the perceptual process in which ‘a watched kettle never boils’ would be overcome.

#2498: Adrenalink

I’m no fan of adrenaline. I like to feel in control and develop skills.

Nonetheless, today’s invention is for people who like to live on the edge.

Imagine a roller coaster which has, at its simplest, sections which are on rails and which can slide between locations. In the image, the pale blue section can slide between the fixed green and red sections of track.

This would provide ride customers (in the black carriage) with the belief that they were speeding towards a gap. Just as they get there, B moves quickly to join A -and the ride occupants are then speeding towards another gap.

The motion of the blue section, whilst carrying the carriage, could be made fast and erratic, so that riders would find it hard to predict whether they would smoothly join up with the red section.

These breaks in the track could be mirrored by sudden disconnections between sections of the cars themselves, so that some would unexpectedly be left on a retreating section of track, whilst other cars proceeded as normal.

Every time someone goes on this ride, their experience could thus be made very different.

#2489: Turret-Turn

I’ve searched for evidence that this already exists, but found none. Today’s invention is a part of gun control logic for military tanks.

When a tank commander selects a target, probably on a touch screen, the system calculates the fastest route to bringing the main gun around to a firing position.

There are three main components to be considered.
1) What is the current rotation rate and direction of the body of the tank?
2) What are these values for the turret relative to the main body?
3) what are the linear speed and direction of the tank body?

Using these values, the system may choose to send power to the sprocket wheels and/or to the turret drive motion. The system works out whether it’s faster to go anti-clockwise or clockwise and selects the various motor settings accordingly.

Since it also understands inertia, the computer dedicated to this modelling task will take account of the need to slow the barrel’s rotational and translational speed, at the end of its movement, so that its time-to-target is minimised.

The crew would probably need racing seats with extra padding, to cope with the sudden changes in speed and direction.

#2485: ShrinkSkin

If you ignore the closed-cockpit record breakers on Bonneville flats, motorcycle aerodynamics is a field which has been largely neglected. It’s just hard to do much modelling of a system whose entire geometry is changing every few milliseconds.

There are however some obvious bloopers to avoid. The first of these is the flapping dewlaps of leather which tend to increase drag on riders -even in race-tight, in one-piece suits. Some examples can be seen in slow motion here.

Today’s invention is an improvement to race suit streamlining.

Just before a race, a rider gets on his/her machine. A vacuum pump is attached to a valve in the back of the airtight suit, which evacuates it like a coffee pack. A plug is inserted in the inlet and sealed, so that the armour segments are more effectively attached to the body.

The suit would incorporate small stretch panels to allow a little body movement for weight transference on the corners (and occasional breathing). A cold water bladder would be worn on the inside of the abdomen area of the suit to help reduce body temperature in the absence of ventilation. Thus there would be no spare leather to flap around and slow these heroes down.