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INVENTIONS



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Freelance inventor and consultant Grant Hunter proposes his ( un-patented ) 'inventions' :

 

Lift side doors.

[ Note : Where the UK English ‘ lift ’  is used , it refers to the American English ‘ elevator ‘ ]

The invention consists of a novel improvement to person-carrying and goods lifts by the addition of strategically positioned side doors.

   

Normally, the side doors are kept in a closed position – but, when necessary, can be opened to achieve two important advantages.

 

 

1) In the event of a malfunction, a second lift can be moved to the same horizontal level as the failed lift – the side doors opened, and rescue of the occupants easily achieved, even if the lifts are stuck between floors.

2) Lengthy objects can be accommodated across the two ( or more ) lifts – they can enter diagonally through one of the ‘ front ‘ doors as normal, but greatly expanding the possibilities regarding the lengths of objects which can be carried.

( note : for this purpose, exact simultaneous movement of the lifts can be ensured by an interlocking system – which can either be mechanical or electronic in nature – so that the two or more lifts ascend and descend ‘ locked ‘ together. )
 

 

12 DEC 07



 

TreadMill Runner

The invention embodies an exercise device with added benefits.

Much effort is expended in fitness-enhancing activities, but the energy expended by the person exercising is not always put to the most efficient use. This device allows the client to gain all the advantages available from a normal ‘ treadmill ’ type exercise machine – but with the added benefit of being able to conveniently move from one location to another by means of the enhancements described below.

This auto-mobility is achieved by removing the ‘floor’ of the treadmill ( and its associated motor components, belt etc ) ;

and by the addition of four ( or more) ( multidirectional ) wheels which can, for example, be at the corners of the base as shown in the accompanying drawing.

For extra potential for advanced users, the wheels are equipped ( if desired ) with a permanent soft-braking mechanism to make the entire device harder to push along. ( or with the addition of optional extra ballast - see below )

 

Note : With the addition of an optional basket(s), the device can also be used to carry small items, goods, ballast etc.

26 OCT 07



 

Enjuvenator ‘mirror’ device

Much effort is spent on activities which help to produce a sense of enjuvenation. It is widely believed that a youthful appearance can in many cases prove effectively beneficial in the social and business worlds, but a younger look can also help with raising self-esteem in many individuals.

The invention addresses this beneficial psychological effect by providing the user with an instant, younger, ‘look’ in the form an electronic enjuvenating mirror.

An LCD screen provides a real-time image of the user via a video camera ( or webcam ) and its associated computer system.

The computer’s specialised DSP ( digital signal processing ) software performs three functions in real-time.

The captured image is first ‘flipped’ horizontally – this is to enable the viewer to receive the same visual left/right sensation as from a normal mirror.

The image is then digitally processed with a suite of image-filtering algorithms designed for :

De-Wrinkling
Skin smoothing
Blemish removing
Teeth whitening
& etc

The algorithms for these filters have already been developed for some years, and are regularly used – though not in realtime – by so-called retouching studios, to help to give a ‘youthful’ look-and-feel to fashion photography models. ( see example link )


Note that these algorithms can be ‘directed’ to work only on certain parts of the image ( if used in conjunction with also well-developed facial-processing algorithms. )


Lastly the filtered image is sent to the LCD screen for display, whereby the viewer will benefit from the feeling of psychological wellbeing induced by seeing an enjuvenated ‘reflection’ of themselves.

( Note : The correct choice of camera lens ensures that the image is ‘reflected’ at the right size - depending on the distance that the user is from the device )

29 DEC 06



 

Ionizer-based corrosion prevention for ships.

Hull corrosion is an extremely expensive problem for owners of large ships. Methods of corrosion prevention usually require the use of specialised hull coatings ( which can be harmful to aquatic life ) or ‘ sacrificial anodes’ which are expensive to fit and replace.

The invention uses electrostatic technology - essentially a scaled-up version of a domestic air ionizer – to prevent chemical corrosion by seawater ( or freshwater ).

At a high point on board ( away from personnel access ) a large ‘ ionizing spigot ‘ is fitted. It is connected to an electronic circuit which generates a very high voltage DC ( typically many tens of thousands of volts, but at low current ).

The air surrounding the spigot will ionize in the presence of the high voltage. Normally the spigot will carry a +ve charge*, thus draining electrons from air molecules.

In this way, the ship’s hull ( connected to the –ve terminal of the DC supply ) will build up a negative charge with respect to its surroundings ( viz. the surrounding air, and the water upon which it is floating )

In a non-protected vessel, Fe+ ions in the ship’s steel hull will typically bond with negative ions in the water ( e.g. O - and Cl – ions ) , causing corrosion. In this electrostatically protected vessel though, the negatively biased hull will tend to discourage these chemical actions.

 

( note 1: To avoid potentially dangerous static build up, the ionizer must be switched off some time before entering port – or if contact with another vessel is imminent )

( note 2: It is not known at this stage whether the charged hull may or may not encourage the growth and attachment of aquatic creatures – this will be determined by experiment )

( note 3: *If needbe, polarity may be reversed in future implementations )

 


23 JUN 06



 

Extended handle carrier bags

Supermarket carrier bags – now almost ubiquitous – can cause environmental problems and waste valuable resources.

The invention proposes a simple extension to the length of the normal carrier bag handle so that it can be worn as a ‘backpack’.

This will realise a number of useful advantages over traditional bags.

• A heavier weight of shopping can be carried by the customer, thus cutting down on the need for transport.

• One large bag can take the place of several smaller ones - thereby saving plastic.

• Hands are left free for other tasks – e.g. child minding.

• Additionally, the outer face of the bag provides an ideal ( larger) area for supermarket logo / promotional data etc

( note : The bag can still be carried in the usual manner if desired, simply by knotting the handles about halfway up )

17 APR 06



Medicinal warts – a novel micro-delivery mechanism for medicines.

Cultures of genetically modified bacteria are now routinely used in industry to manufacture useful chemicals.

In this case, the human papillomavirus (HPV), which produces benign warts in humans, would be genetically engineered to produce useful medicinal compounds.

A wart ( or veruka if on the sole of the foot ) is implanted into the subject – and small amounts of the medicaments which it produces are thus fed into the patient’s bloodstream - on a 24 Hr basis.

Bearing in mind the size of a normal wart, the invention would only be of use when ultra-minute doses are required – but there are many such drugs currently in use. As an example, human growth factor (HGF), used in cases of hormone deficiency, is typically prescribed at a dosage of around a few hundred micrograms per day.

If the treatment is no longer required, the wart can be easily removed by simple surgery / cauterization.

01 SEP 05




Autonomous ocean transport.

The invention proposes a mechanism for the bulk transport of low value imperishable materials – e.g. sand / gravel / low-grade ores etc etc.

Current methods of international transport often involves the use of large bulk-carrier ships. The invention bypasses the need for such crewed vessels.

Small autonomous barges are provided with satellite navigation systems, GPS ( or similar ), an electric propulsion mechanism. And ( typically) a photovoltaic ( solar panel ) power source.

The vessels have no crew. The propulsion system would allow for slow forward movement when the weather conditions permit. During bad weather, the barge may drift off-course, but will re-set its course – using its GPS system – when it can again make progress.

In this way, the vessels slowly make their way, in a diffuse swarm, to the port of destination – not necessarily using a straight course.

Large numbers of the vessels would simply be ‘dumped’ into the sea at the export port – and will arrive, at some later date – at the destination port, when they can be retrieved and unloaded.


The vessels could be semi-submerged if needbe. Their owners could track their position at all times via the GPS / comms systems.

Alternative power sources could include retractable sails, wind-generators, etc etc .

01 SEP 05



Holographic eye-strain relievers.

Many millions of people have to spend their day in front of a computer terminal. Their work typically involves close-focusing on their display screen for long periods. To avoid eye-strain, vision specialists therefore recommend a short break every ten minutes or so, whereby the eyes are focussed on some distant object – the idea being to relieve strain on the eye-lens and its associated muscle groups.

Unfortunately, many employers do not ( or cannot ) provide, say, a window which can be used for the long-distance focussing exercise.

The invention proposes a holographic panel, mounted or placed near each display terminal. The hologram – which can be a mass-produced holographic ‘photo’ of any scene – is devised such that the 3-D sensation which it provides when viewed, gives a long-distance perspective. Ideally to a ‘horizon’ , which would typically be perceived as being some kilometers away.

Thus the computer operator may focus on the scene at regular intervals, and obtain an effect almost completely analogous to, say, gazing out of a window at a distant object.

Note : The current production method for holograms does not normally allow for such long-distance shots. This is because a laser must entirely illuminate the scene to take the holographic plate – clearly impossible for shots of some kilometers in depth. It is however, relatively straightforward to generate a computer rendering of an artificial representation of such a scene - which can then be transferred to a holographic plate using existing methods.

( Alteratively, 3-D 'lenticular' tech could be employed for the panels, but this does not give such a good depth-of-field )

01 SEP 05



 

The personal opinions of individual columnists do not necessarily reflect the views of Really Magazine.

 


 

 

* CAUTION : may contain ( IRONY )

design : ( univ.org.uk )