#1386: 7LeagueLegs

Today’s invention is a novel way to enjoy exercise. It consists of a small trampoline on wheels.

When someone bounces on the trampoline, sensors in the springs around the base pass data to an onboard computer which calculates accurately the direction and in-flight time of the user.

These data allow the trampoline’s wheels to be driven along the ground to catch the user when next he/she descends.

With practice, someone could thus learn to make long-distance bounds, eg along a road or track, whilst the trampoline automatically repositions itself to support the next, enormous step.

#1370: ArmsDeal

Politicians who represent opposed, even warring factions are often very unwilling to be seen shaking hands with each other. They either shake or they don’t and whilst not shaking, relations stay cold; peace deals tend not to get done.

Today’s invention is a way to transform this decision from a binary to an analogue one.

It consists of a telescopic tube with a false hand located at either end.

A pair of politicians can approach this tube, select how long they want their side to be and then grasp the hand adjacent to them.

In this way, an arm’s-length handshake can take place together with an indication of the preferred distance of each participant (for the benefit of their constituents).

It may be that if one side is close to a normal shake and the other is visibly standoffish, that public pressure is increased on the unwilling party, boosting the chances of an early coming together. The next shake should involve some change in the chosen lengths.

In any case, a certain amount of humour injected into the situation might even help to break the ice.

#1353: Hingebike

I’m always impressed by people who make working technology using junk.

Today’s invention is a bikeframe that can be built using a few planks and a hinge or two.

Three wooden triangles (blue and grey) made of planks, or whatever else is lying around, are bolted together and hinged where they meet (blue/grey interface).

You get some odd handling but your cerebellum will solve the dynamics problem quickly and your wallet will appreciate not having paid out £2k for the latest highly-stealable, magnesium/duralumin, hand forged sculpture from Cremola or whoever.

#1342: Incenseinserts

I’ve heard numerous e-book readers complain that their new fangled electronic devices suffer from the absence of the traditional smell of a well-thumbed paperback’s pages from a fusty library.

I’m unclear why the smell is so important. Can people differentiate between Moby Dick and Dracula by their olfactory properties ? (I guess not).

Today’s invention is a plastic sleeve which fits in the case behind one’s e-reader. This accommodates a page from an old book which you no longer need but which smells of a suitably literary study.

On opening the case, the (hidden) page is exposed to the air and one’s reading experience is thereby enhanced (especially as the e-book device warms up).

#1294: LiverGivers

Today’s invention links two of my pet themes, motorcycles and organ donation.

It takes the form of fabric badges in the shape of icon-ified body organs which can be attached prominently to a Motorcyclist’s leathers.

You can only wear badges corresponding to organs you have signed up to donate, in the event of a fatal road accident (corneas on one’s helmet, a liver badge on the torso). This might give some small pause for thought, when cranked over in a 70 MPH corner.

These would appeal to the bravado instinct of bikers, having something of the quality of medals, as well as helping to integrate them into societies where they are seen as a threatening sub-culture (ie Surrey).

#1290: Tattool

Today’s invention is a software tool which performs two services to people interested in tattoos. This is inspired by the classic, if nonsensical, war movie “We Dive at Dawn” starring the ever plucky John Mills. A character is tricked into having an existing tattoo modified to include a longer, and inaccurate’ girl’s name.

Before getting a tattoo of a chosen design, the software displays on a screen the kinds of (larger) shapes to which eg a ship’s anchor, Egyptian ankh or the Dallas Cowboys’ logo can be most easily modified, should the wearer want, or need, an upgrade later.

Using the area, time required and location of any planned tattoo as guides, the software can also provide an estimate of the pain involved in such body modifications.

#1228: StainBrazen

It’s a major pain when a pen in my pocket leaks and ruins my favourite shirt or a glass of Medoc somehow misses my mouth and defaces a much-loved tie.

Today’s invention is a scanner/printer which examines any such stain and decides which shape it most closely resembles in a database of stored items. This would take into account the colour of the stain and the probability of overprinting with a darker colour.

The device then offers the user the chance to overprint the stain with either a one-off ‘logo’ or a repeating pattern based on the modified stain shape. Once a choice of disguise shape has been chosen, the printer applies this in order to obscure the stain and make the item of clothing usable again.