#1284: SackSack

Wine-in-a-box is actually wine-in-a-metallised-plastic-bag-in-a-box.

This is great for keeping the wine fresh, but not so good in terms of elegantly serving a ‘luxury’ product.

Today’s invention is therefore a bottle which contains a plastic bag full of wine. The bottle comes with a bag inserted and with the usual plastic tap incorporated into the bottle neck.

This allows the contents to be dispensed from a bottle which can be resealed conveniently, without allowing air to contact the wine in between openings.

#1276: FauxFlue

Today’s invention is a false chimney for wood-burning stoves, which allows large bits of timber to be burned -ie without having to chop them into pieces small enough to insert via the front door.

Door A in the false chimney is opened and a large piece of wood inserted. Door A is closed and the door B opened, allowing the wood to drop into the flames.

When B can be slid into the closed position again, A can be reopened and the cycle repeated.

#1275: MatrixMat

Today’s invention is a doormat which consists of a flat matrix of short, vertical, plastic tubes all of which are sealed into a base tray.

The tray is connected to a vacuum cleaner device.

When someone is sensed to have stepped onto the mat, the vacuum cleaner motor starts up and draws air down through the matrix of tubes.

This extracts from the feet of the visitor a large volume of dust and debris which would otherwise be walked into carpets etc. This collected mess can occasionally be tipped from the tray into a waste bin.

#1273: BackFire

One of the arguments for allowing people to keep handguns is that these are needed for home defence purposes. There are (usually) legal limits, however, to what a householder can do to defend themselves and their property.

One of the common indicators to a court of an appropriate defensive response to being attacked is when the self-defender can prove that they tried their best to get away and avoid physical violence.

Today’s invention is a low-velocity handgun round for home defence purposes. As well as a reduced charge, each such round contains a small accelerometer sealed inside. This will only allow a bullet to be fired if it has first been moving in a backwards direction for some prespecified interval.

Such bullets are therefore very difficult to use in any attack, so that anyone attempting to buy the ordinary sort can be identified as having some kind of offensive behaviour in mind (without limiting anyone’s legal rights to carry weapons).

#1265: FlexiFlex

Today’s invention makes use of ‘plastic zip’ technology in resealable plastic bags. The insulation on each conductor also embodies a C-section side channel which can accommodate another wire, as shown.

This allows the formation by a user of ribbon-like cables. These can be very flexibly made into different combinations, and routed through multiple separate spaces or very flat apertures.

Cutting away parts of the C-section, allows the cables to link together to form conductors with a closed ring structure of three or more cores (in a triangle, square etc arrangement). This provides the resulting wiring with some added strength, as well as the ability to act as a conduit for other cables.

#1264: Seatsaver

When sitting on a straight-backed chair I have a tendency to rock backwards on the back pair of legs. This pretty quickly breaks the structure of even the strongest seat.

Today’s invention is a pair of skids which attach firmly to the feet of such a chair. These have a slippery underside which makes it hard not to just slide backwards if one begins to lean backwards.

Even on a super-frictional floor, the horizontal extensions make it almost impossible to rock the chair onto either its front or back pair of legs -thus protecting it from the kind of inadvertent damage which I have visited on many fine items of furniture.

This also saves the user from the embarrassment and potential danger of actually falling over backwards.

#1261: UnPencil

In olden days, people used to make marks on paper using pencils. Some arty folk still do.

Today’s invention is an eraser, made of stiff white rubber, in the form of a pencil.

Since erasers are always getting dirty with graphite, and you want to be able to perform precision rubbing out using a sharp eraser tip, the pencil-shaped eraser can be kept pointy using an ordinary pencil sharpener.

#1252: LayerLogs

Getting a fireplace to light up can be a challenge. Somehow there is never enough of the different constituents (ie various grades of kindling) and I end up using 20 matches attempting, fruitlessly, to get the bark on a solid log to burn.

Today’s invention is therefore fire briquettes which each consist of a solid wood upper surface and a series of other strata of decreasing density. The lowermost layer would be loosely-bonded paper.

A machine could be devised to make these in bulk. This would take the form of a rectangular metal box into which pieces of wood could be dropped, followed by twigs, cardboard and then paper. Slots in the box would allow the contents to be tied in a layered bundle which could then be sawn into stove-sized lengths.

Place several of these at angles to one another in a fireplace and light the papery underside of each…instant conflagration.

#1249: FacePlace

Google Street View is fun and also hugely useful.

Today’s invention is a way for occupants to express their personalities via this medium, if they choose to.

A property owner or tenant could mail a special division of Google with proof of their occupany. They would then receive a software key in the post allowing them to upload a limited number of facial images to append to their home’s image in Street View.

The faces could be automatically checked before being made public (to ensure that they weren’t all Obama or pac-men, etc).

These faces would then would lie on an optional overlay viewable by anyone interested in eg Who lives at number 58?

A slightly more advanced version would allow individuals’ Twitter feeds to be viewed by clicking on their facial images.

#1246: Fruitstand

I’ve ranted occasionally about the stickers that seem to get attached to many forms of fruit. Today’s invention turns this problem into an advantage.

A new form of fruit-identifying label would be a thicker-than-normal ring. This would be sticky on one side, as usual, but the added depth and hole in the middle would allow the part-eaten fruit to be set down on a flat surface. This would avoid the problem of having an apple or pear roll over and collect eg dust, crumbs etc.

The sticker would still carry the inevitable advertising, of course.

If you wanted to encourage the consumption of eg five items of fruit a day, these rings could each have a part-message printed on them so that assembling five of these into a cylinder would spell out some additional message or web address on the side.