#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.

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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.

#2484: RetroLead

How many dog walkers have been injured by their substantial canine deciding to suddenly leap in the direction of some squirrel/small dog/rabbit?

…Dog sees small dog across road and leaps toward it…Hand holding the lead tenses and yanks shoulder joint…Shoulder reflexes snap all the ligaments taught…Nerves get stretched. (You can buy spring inserts but these don’t stop a dog walker being jerked off his/her feet).

It’s happened to me twice, resulting in some reasonably serious damage.

Today’s invention is a safety device designed to prevent injury to both dog walkers and their daft animals.

When an impetuous pet leaps away with a force great enough to tear a plastic restraint (pink), a small charge, as in an automotive airbag, fires backwards as shown. This causes the dog’s chest harness to stop the animal in its tracks, without placing stress on the owner’s arm. The internal cable (blue) maintains the link with the dog (but without snapping taught).

(It might work best if the charge were actually based on compressed air that the user could recharge after each use).

#2481: AmplerCamper

I don’t much like caravans (or camper vans, if you prefer). This is probably because, when driven on twisty UK roads, they tend to attract bad drivers who cling to their back ends and are afraid to overtake the combined length of van+car.

Nonetheless, I am a huge admirer of applied mathematicians. Today’s invention relates these diverse phenomena.

It seems that mathematicians have been trying to find the biggest rigid shape which can pass down a passage with right angle bends in it. A near-perfect solution is shown in pink in the diagram.

Today’s invention is to create caravans which have this shape when viewed from above. This allows them to have the largest possible floor area, whilst also being able to negotiate the right angled corners of one lane of a city road network.

#2476: Stirring Engine

I may have mentioned that patience does not come easily to me.

It’s a particular problem when dealing with people who have a loose grasp on the concept of urgency..or when I want some tea.

Today’s invention is a technology to speed up tea making (who can afford the time required by natural circulation, when active dunking would be faster?)

Here, I employ my love of thermodynamics by applying a Stirling engine in a novel and strangely satisfying way.

The (jasmine) tea bag string is applied to the engine’s crank so that the bag is oscillated through the hot water, hastening teatime.

#2455: FolderBolster

People who drive race cars understand that they are hard to enter and exit. There may be roll cages and carbon fibre tubs to negotiate as well as seat bolsters and head restraints.

Much of this driver packaging doesn’t work very well in a road going sports car. Not only do race cars offer a restricted field of view, but ordinary drivers are a good deal fatter and less mobile than the average track pilot.

Yet, roadgoing sportscars tend to mimic the features of their racing brethren. This means that the ‘racing’ seat option will often have side and leg bolsters which rise high above the seat surface to provide some bracing as you enter the Mulsanne straight (in your dreams).

After a short while, the leather or alcantara gets so badly scuffed here that it looks like an old teddy bear’s paw. This is costly to fix/replace.

Today’s invention is therefore sportscar seats whose bolsters hinge out of the way to allow the driver/ passenger easier access (along axes A-B and B-C) (There would need to be a locking mechanism too).

Yes of course these can be motorised (at the usual enormous cost of options).

#2454: TomeTop

I live in a house with lots of books (good) and dogs (not so good).

Animals create a lot of dust and this clogs the outer page surfaces of books, even when stored in a bookcase.

Today’s invention is a better dust cover. It comes with an extra flap on one side (a) which can be folded into the other side of the cover (c), leaving a roof over the page edges (b).

A similar flap could be made to wrap the front edge of the pages (opposite the spine).

Although marginally more expensive, this dust cover could be filled with even more breathy praise for the work inside than normal…(or just ads for the next book).

#2453: Autowash

(I didn’t like yesterday’s lens cap thing, on further reflection, so I just replaced it…)

Hospitals, labs and kitchens are badly affected by micro-organisms on many working surfaces.

Normal taps are in contact with infected hands, and may act as a source of cross contamination, if they not cleaned frequently.

Today’s invention is therefore a tap shaped so as to ensure that the touched surfaces, and the user’s hands, get washed every time it’s used.

#2451: Moderratings

Call me an intellectual snob if you like, but I mistrust eg hotel ratings which are made by people who can’t write reasonably well.

Today’s invention is therefore to re-evaluate the ratings which people apply to products and services inversely in proportion to the calculated reading age of writers of the associated comments.

It seems that it’s not to hard these days to compute reading age, based on smallish numbers of words.

(I talked this idea over with some of the good folk at Google, but they didn’t like it).