#1399: Splashield

When adding food to boiling water, it can be dangerous to remove a saucepan lid and dump it in. The splashing is particularly bad, even if the steam doesn’t get you.

Today’s invention is a saucepan with a handle which behaves like a chute. A small platform at the distal end of the handle allows you to slide food elements (eg gnocchi) into the water, without removing the lid or getting splashed.

Any steam which travels up the handle will be avoidable but most will actually condense on the inside of the handle, lubricating the downwards movement of the food.

#1398: SkySheaf

Skyscrapers have always fascinated me.

Today’s invention is a skyscraper which is constructed from a collection of touching cylinders moving vertically in and out of silos in the ground. This reminds me a bit of Marineville, as created by my all-time hero Gerry Anderson.

The cylinders could be made of reinforced concrete and driven hydraulically. Once in position, ports would be opened between adjacent levels in the cylinders to create a set of communicating rooms on a given floor.

If there was a need to change the relations between these rooms, the towers could be driven to a new configuration (making eg a giant courtyard in the form of a central recess).

If under some kind of attack, or if a fire occurred, the towers could be withdrawn rapidly underground, allowing occupants a way to escape.

#1394: SoilShield

Today’s invention is a way to provide even softskinned military vehicles with added protection from eg roadside bombs.

Each vehicle would carry several lightweight cages, one for each face. These would be attached to the vehicle via strong frames which would allow the cages to be angled downwards so they each act like the bucket of a bulldozer and are easily filled with earth/rocks by driving the vehicle for a short distance.

Once the vehicle has been driven fast or airlifted to a position of conflict, the cages would be filled rapidly, providing it effectively with several blastwalls behind which its crew could shelter.

On reaching a safer area, or when before making a quick getaway, the cages could be opened and their contents jettisoned in seconds.

#1390: JawJar

Today’s invention is a development of the standard, screw-threaded jar.

All sorts of these vessels exist, in a variety of materials. The idea is to engrave onto the helical surface of the container’s screw thread a groove like the surface of an old LP record.

This would be ‘played’ by a corresponding needle set or moulded into the threads of the lid, whenever the jar was being opened.

With the lid shaped to act as a loudspeaker, such a device might issue a brief warning about the misuse of medicine within or to those about to steal one’s milk from the communal fridge. It might simply say ‘Thanks from Pepsico.’

#1387: Skinfriction

if it’s true that wiping one’s hands after washing provides the most effective approach to hygiene, then a lot of those air dryers could be improved upon. One obvious upgrade would be simply to introduce a barrier between the hands so they can’t be rubbed against each other when being dried.

Today’s invention is however an integral washing/drying machine made up of an airblade-like hand dryer suspended above a sink. This would have a single aperture big enough to accommodate the forearms, not just the hands.

People wanting to clean their hands thoroughly would insert them through the dryer’s aperture on the way to the sink below. The skin of the hands would be rubbed by the intense downwards airstream, forcing bacteria to the surface so that they could be washed off more effectively when they reached the sink. People could be encouraged to scrub one hand against the other within the airflow by having the fan activated by this specific movement. Waterflow from the taps could be arranged to occur only after a period of this dry scrubbing.

The hands could then be dried as they are withdrawn, in the usual way.

#1382: Supermarine

Today’s invention is an alternative to the usual submarine’s conning tower -an underwater crow’s nest.

To reduce drag and provide a higher observation platform, a minisub is located on a pair of streamlined arms as shown. The minisub has an airlock connection to the rear of the hull so that crew can enter and leave freely when in transit.

The minisub could detach from the hull, using the arms, and rise close to or high above the surface.

It might even be possible to have this vehicle detach completely and act as a lifeboat in an emergency.

#1375: MudSpoilers

Mudflaps. They are primitive, ugly and highly non-aerodynamic.

Today’s invention is mudflaps which withdraw into the vehicle body, scraping themselves clean as they do so and sealing flush with the bodyshell.

This allows for the best possible combination of protection against flying dirt (for surrounding vehicles as well), aerodynamics and aesthetics.

#1371: SayScan

People who spend their working lives scrutinising images from baggage scanning machines, need all the help they can get (as well as a doubling of their pay rate).

It seems that if you are prompted by hearing words, you tend to be more effective at detecting related items.

Today’s invention is therefore an MP3 recording which randomly says words like “wires”,”blade”,”drugs” etc to a person engaged in this task, so that they will maintain vigilance and improve the chances of discovering illicit baggage contents.

#1363: Helicescape

Escaping from a skyscraper, if it’s on fire for example, is always going to pose problems.

Since you often can’t use the lifts in an emergency, today’s invention provides a rapid route to the bottom for everyone -whether disabled or able-bodied.

A helter-skelter is built into the corner of each skyscraper as shown. This has access doors in the corner of every floor, so that occupants are in no doubt about their exit route. The helix itself would be made of fireproof material and have sliding mats attached to the interior surfaces.

People would be able to grab these and descend at a safe terminal sliding velocity to the bottom.

The slide would be made of one standard component, based on the (uniform) inter-window dimensions.

A fancier version might even be made to corkscrew upwards into position, from beneath ground level, breaking through windows when the building needed evacuated.

#1362: Panican

Have you ever had to break one of those alarm panels which are labeled “In the event of an emergency, break glass”?

Even those which are made of thin plexiglass and etched so as to crack especially easily make people think twice before activating them. In an emergency, that delay of even a few seconds, whilst one considers how to do the breaking and what damage your hand may sustain in the process, can be significant.

Today’s invention is therefore a reuse of the ring-pull can top, such as can be found on eg a tin full of chopped tomatoes. Instead of breaking any glass, the familiar ringpull would allow a metal disc to be easily removed, exposing an alarm button (or even using the broken seal itself as an electrical alarm switch).

People would be much more willing to pull the ring than smash a panel into fragments.