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I often invent things but have no desire, money or skill to patent anything. However, I think there should be a site (maybe there is), where people can post ideas, serious or funny, and if they stimulate a real inventor to pursue them,that is good.

I'll start with a few:
An electric lemon zester about the size of a tooth brush, with a rotating grater where the brush would be.

A full scale road map. You roll it out and drive on it.

A conveyor belt Mass Transportation System from suburbia to the city and between cities. You drive your little electric car to the station, engage a mechanism that draws you onto the conveyor. You put your credit card in the slot and punch in your destination. You sit back and read, sleep, etc., while you are propelled to your destination and automatically ejected. Then you can drive the few blocks or miles to your ultimate destination in comfort and secuity.

An electric cooler-downer for the kitchen. We have all kinds of devices for heating foods but must wait passively for liquid to cool in the refrigerator or freezer.

What would you invent?
 
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Originally posted by missann:
quote:
I often invent things but have no desire, money or skill to patent anything. However, I think there should be a site (maybe there is), where people can post ideas, serious or funny, and if they stimulate a real inventor to pursue them,that is good.

You could start at my friend Paul Spinrad's site premisespremises.com. He also has links to other similar sites.
quote:

A conveyor belt Mass Transportation System from suburbia to the city and between cities. You drive your little electric car to the station, engage a mechanism that draws you onto the conveyor. You put your credit card in the slot and punch in your destination. You sit back and read, sleep, etc., while you are propelled to your destination and automatically ejected. Then you can drive the few blocks or miles to your ultimate destination in comfort and security.

Heinlein beat you to it (close, anyway). See "The Roads Must Roll".
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What would you invent?

Mine are already on Premises, Premises.
 
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An electric cooler-downer for the kitchen. We have all kinds of devices for heating foods but must wait passively for liquid to cool in the refrigerator or freezer.

The machine already exists. It is called a refrigerator.

To change the temperature of a body it is only necessary to create a temperature differential between it and its environment. If its environment is hotter, it heats up; colder and it cools down.

The reason why it takes longer to cool an object than to heat it is simply the lesser temperature differential. Domestic refrigerators are only a few degrees cooler than room temperature and thus is takes quite a long time to cool an object. But refrigerators do exist that will cool to a far lower temperature and will therefore cool things more quickly. However, they are expensive to buy and run and of little use for normal domestic applications. Food kept at temperatures of minus 100 degrees centigrade does not keep any better than food kept at minus 10 - but it takes much longer to thaw and costs much more to keep.


Richard English
 
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Food kept at temperatures of minus 100 degrees centigrade does not keep any better than food kept at minus 10


This is a common misconception. Chemical processes do not stop at 0 (or -10) degrees Celsius, they merely slow down. Decomposition reactions continue and frozen food will show deterioration after time. Stuff kept at -100 C will deteriorate more slowly; indeed, that's why such freezers exist. You correct, though, that they are generally more expensive, and food kept at such a temperature will take longer to thaw.
 
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The machine already exists. It is called a refrigerator.

There are those fast coolers that they have at liquor stores to quickly cool your wine. I am not sure what they're called.

When I was researching nebulized morphine as a means to decrease dyspnea in terminally ill patients, we had to keep the blood we collected in freezers at minus 100 degrees Centigrade...anything warmer and the measurements we were interested in would decompose and not be accurate. So that makes sense, neveu.

When I was working directly with patients, I often had ideas for inventions that would make our lives easier. For example, when putting a tube into the patient's GI tract, we need to know the placement of the tube. Obviously we don't want it to go to the respiratory tract, but we might want it to go into the stomach or the jejunum. Each of those areas have different pHs...so why can't the tube read the pH as it goes down? Instead we have to take radiology films, which are expensive and expose patients to some radiation.

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How about a moisturizer/filter for those of us with cloggy noses, so that when we breathe out of our mouths at night, we don't wake up with a sore throat - or wake up our partner with snoring?
 
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O You drive your little electric car to the station, engage a mechanism that draws you onto the conveyor.


When I returned to college some years ago, I participated in an urban design contest called, "The Electric Car and The American City." Many such ideas came out of the various entries. Our entry had us selecting a destination via PC, walking to the corner kiosk for an electric mini-car, inserting our credit card for usage debiting, and being guided to our destination in either autonomous or automatic mode.
 
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This is a common misconception. Chemical processes do not stop at 0 (or -10) degrees Celsius, they merely slow down. Decomposition reactions continue and frozen food will show deterioration after time. Stuff kept at -100 C will deteriorate more slowly; indeed, that's why such freezers exist.

You are right, of course. But I was being general for simplicity. I don't know exactly at what temperature decomposition processes stop, nor the temperature at which all chemical processes stop (although it is certainly higher than -273 degrees Centigrade).

I suspect, though, that the temperature of good domestic freezers is low enough to stop bacterial activity and consequent decomposition - although the flavour of food kept for long periods in a freezer will change - proving that some form of chemical or physical activity is still taking place.

Ultra-low-temperature freezers are not generally used to preserve food, as I understand it, but to preserve other things that would be destroyed by a higher temperature. Liquefied gases would be one thing that would spring to mind. I believe, too, that organs for transplant are kept at very low temperatures, close to that of liquid nitrogen.


Richard English
 
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There are those fast coolers that they have at liquor stores to quickly cool your wine. I am not sure what they're called.

I think they use a simple process - which you could repeat at home.

Although I wrote earlier only of the temperature difference, there is another important factor.

Heat is transferred relatively slowly between solids and air, since air is a poor conductor and has a low specific heat (the amount of heat it can store in a given mass is small) cold air takes longer to cool, and hot air longer to heat, an object than does an material with a higher specific heat. The most commonly available such material is water and it is a matter of common observation that water at a mere 100 degrees centigrade (the hottest it can become) will cook food very quickly; to get an equivalent result from air needs a far higher temperature - an oven with a maximum temperature of 100 degrees centigrade would be a poor thing.

To cool something quickly, ordinary ice will do a better job than a freezer, even though it is much warmer. And to increase the cooling effect for emergencies, pour some ordinary salt into a jug of ice. The ice will rapidly melt and cool as it does so, down to as low as -17.78 degrees Centigrade (0 degrees Fahrenheit). A bottle of wine inserted into vessel containing such a mixture will cool very rapidly and eventually even freeze.

It is now possible to buy sleeves filled with a liquid (I suspect it's the same as you find in a car's radiator) which does not freeze. Cool them in a freezer and slide them over the bottle and they will cool it quite well - although nowhere near so well as a container of salt and iced-water.


Richard English
 
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How to make a desert fridge

And even easier - when you are in the desert and want to cool that satisfying refreshing bottle of Budweiser, soak a sock in some water, pop the bottle inside and hang it out in the sun. Thirty minutes later, one cool (if not exactly chilled) drink.

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"No man but a blockhead ever wrote except for money." Samuel Johnson.
 
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I've often wanted someone to invent and market a body shaped sleeping bag with a zipper so that you can leave the tent when nature calls in the middle of the night without getting out of the sleeping bag.


"No man but a blockhead ever wrote except for money." Samuel Johnson.
 
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Ultra-low-temperature freezers are not generally used to preserve food, as I understand it, but to preserve other things that would be destroyed by a higher temperature.

Biological preparations have to be stored at very low temperatures in order to preserve the microanatomy of the cells. My understanding is that fats and oils will go rancid (albeit much more slowly) in a household freezer. Bacterial activity is essentially halted, but frozen items are not sterilized - bacteria have had a few billion years to learn to survive minor inconveniences like being frozen solid.
 
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And even easier - when you are in the desert and want to cool that satisfying refreshing bottle of Budweiser, soak a sock in some water, pop the bottle inside and hang it out in the sun. Thirty minutes later, one cool (if not exactly chilled) drink.

Evaporative coolers are another old idea - and a good one. They work on the principle of the latent heat of vaporisation which means that, to turn water into water vapour, heat is needed. If the heat is not supplied externally (by a stove, for example) then the liquid will take heat from itself to provide the energy it needs to evaporate.

It is a similar principle to that used in normal refrigerators, where the energy used to evaporate the refrigerant is taken from the inside of the fridge and its contents. Of course, simple evaporation of water (a relatively non-volatile liquid) is less effective than the evaporative system used in fridges (using very volatile liquids) and, in hot ambient conditions, all that can be expected is relative coolness not, as would be the case in a fridge, freezing.

The British army did supply its troops with canvas water bottles, which were designed to be permeable. When filled with water and hung in a breeze (over the front of a truck, for example) they would cool quite effectively through the gradual evaporation of their contents.


Richard English
 
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Based on my experience the fastest way to freeze something is to place it on a porcelain toilet seat, in an outhouse, in Wisconsin, in February.
 
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Originally posted by neveu:
Based on my experience the fastest way to freeze something is to place it on a porcelain toilet seat, in an outhouse, in Wisconsin, in February.

THIS, from a rocket scientist? Wink
 
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On August 14th, I had said that they should invent a nasogastric tube that gives pH as one inserts it; a danger can be that the tube will enter the trachea instead of the espophagus and the pHs are different.

Well, lo and behold...in my August 2007 copy of American Nurse Today they talk of such an invention. However, instead of pH, they have invented a nasogastric tube that detects carbon dioxide, which of course will be higher in the trachea. They say that CO2nfirm Now is an inexpensive, disposable colorimetric sensor that can be attached to the tube. It has a coated paper sensor disk that changes from purple to yellow in the presence of carbon dioxide.

To think that I could have made millions!
 
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God said, "Let there be light," and there was light. ..... ....... ......

Kalleh said, "Let there be a nasogastric .... whatever ...... " and there was a "(like she said)...."

Wonderful !!
 
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Peltier-junction coolers can convert electricity directly into a (cooling)temperature differential. It is the exact opposite of a thermocouple which takes a temperature differential and converts it into a voltage which can turn on a furnace or other appliance.

Another way to cool a liquid quickly is to run it through a long coil of copper tubing that is placed in a cooler filled with icewater.

Pressure differential can also be used for cooling. A tank of pressurized air or carbon dioxide can be freezing cold when released normal atmospheric pressure. Bubbling pressurized gas through a liquid can also cool it down.


Myth Jellies
Cerebroplegia--the cure is within our grasp
 
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A tank of pressurized air or carbon dioxide can be freezing cold when released normal atmospheric pressure. Bubbling pressurized gas through a liquid can also cool it down.

This is the evaporative principle I mentioned earlier. Gases are (obviously) gaseous at normal temperatures and pressures but when they are compressed their boiling temperature falls and they become liquids - which is how many gases are stored. Carbon dioxide is one that liquifies at relatively high temperatures but it is still quite volatile at room temperature. Allow it to expland rapidly at room temperature and it will cool very rapidly.

The lower the boiling point of the gas, the more rapidly it will evaporate when exposed to normal pressures and temperatures and the more rapidly it will cool.

Peltier-junction coolers are commonly used in the small picnic coolers that have recently become quite cheap and thus common. The technology allows for either heating or cooling dependent on the current flow.


Richard English
 
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This is the evaporative principle I mentioned earlier.


Well not exactly. This is more an application of the ideal gas law where temperature and pressure are directly proportional to each other. Compression heats up a gas and is used in such devices as diesel engines where the heat of compressed air (as opposed to a spark) triggers combustion. Decompression cools off a gas (which actually took heat from the liquid gas in the container, if any, to vaporize)

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Myth Jellies
Cerebroplegia--the cure is within our grasp
 
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It's essentially the same thing. When gases are compressed they heat up and, if they are then left they will cool to ambient temperature. If they are then decompressed they will cool.

If they are compressed enough, certain gases will liquefy as room temperature and then the cooling effect is even greater when the gas expands and turns from liquid to gas.


Richard English
 
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Well not exactly. This is more an application of the ideal gas law where temperature and pressure are directly proportional to each other.

You're right. There are two phenomena being described here. Evaporative cooling (e.g. sweat) occurs because of the energy absorbed to change the phase of water from liquid to gas. This can occur with or without (as in the case of sweat) a pressure differential. Cooling as a result of decompression is, as you said, an application of the ideal gas law. Some cooling systems make use of both phenomena.
 
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Kalleh said, "Let there be a nasogastric .... whatever ...... " and there was a "(like she said)...."

Congratulations on your invention - even if someone else invented it.

Here are some more potential inventions:
Genetically engineered song birds that can live on the gum on city sidewalks. What would we name the bird?

We have Select-A-Size paper towels for the kitchen. What about Select-A-Size toilet paper?

Barcode-type sensors in the top of socks. As the socks tumble in the dryer, each sock finds its mate and you have only to put them in the drawer.

A spellchecker for e-mail.

And here is one that has been invented. You can get kitty litter for a diabetic cat that turns color if sugar is too high.
 
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Select a size toilet paper? Heck, how about toilet paper that melts in the pot, NOT in your hand!
 
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My email has spellcheck...in fact, it is most annoying! I often am writing about ADN nursing programs, but it changes it to AND programs.
 
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Speaking of cooling food to very low temperatures, there is at least one notable example...

Dippin' Dots

If you ever come across this stuff, try it. It really is unique.


Myth Jellies
Cerebroplegia--the cure is within our grasp
 
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Isn't toilet paper already select-a-size? I mean, no one uses just one sheet for the "big jobs" do they?


Myth Jellies
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My email has spellcheck...in fact, it is most annoying! I often am writing about ADN nursing programs, but it changes it to AND programs.

I thought all email hosts have spell-check - although it is not enabled by default. You need to turn it on through tools, options.


Richard English
 
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Yes, those dippin' dots are really strange, aren't they? My kids are too old to have known them, but I am sure they would have loved them. Yet, they aren't cheap so I am kind of glad they were around when my kids were little!
 
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need to turn it on through tools, options.

Thanks for the info.
 
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Where are your inventions?

How about a carrot peeler designed like a pencil sharpener. I'll bet if men did most of the cooking it would have been invented long ago.

How about a corn cutter shaped like the gizmo you use to clean paint off a paint roller, only sharp.
 
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How about a carrot peeler designed like a pencil sharpener. I'll bet if men did most of the cooking it would have been invented long ago.

First you need to design a carrot shaped like a pencil. Then a pencil sharpener that sharpens the whole pencil, not just the tipWink

In fact, there are commercial peelers around for caterers and preserved foodstuff manufacturers - but they are large and expensive; maybe there's a niche for someone to design a small and cheap one for home use.


Richard English
 
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Originally posted by Richard English:
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How about a carrot peeler designed like a pencil sharpener. I'll bet if men did most of the cooking it would have been invented long ago.

First you need to design a carrot shaped like a pencil. Then a pencil sharpener that sharpens the whole pencil, not just the tipWink

In fact, there are commercial peelers around for caterers and preserved foodstuff manufacturers - but they are large and expensive; maybe there's a niche for someone to design a small and cheap one for home use.

You might like
my favorite peeling gadget, great for quick prep of applesauce or scalloped potatoes. Not cheap, but they last. I've been using mine for about 20 years.
 
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... the stuff that the peeler removes .... isn't that appealing ?
 
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How about a corn cutter shaped like the gizmo you use to clean paint off a paint roller, only sharp.

What a great idea!
 
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Edison's first name was Thomas
Always modestly slept in pijamas
The Creator one night
Shouted, "Let there be lightl"
Apocryphal fiction, I promise.
 
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Higgledy Piggledy
Sir Joseph Wilson Swan,
Chemist and physicist,
Would disagree.

"I was the first to in-
Vent the electic light,
But I let Edison
Say, 'Now you see!'"
 
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ann as a bona fide inventor I can testify your lack of desire to patent anything is justified

Incidentally as you are probably aware the freezer compartment of your fridge can be a fine place for the brew. It will cool quickly and if you are skilful and lucky it won't freeze there either
 
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Thanks for all your great ideas!
 
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Somewhere I read that the War In Iraq, combined with the War On Poverty, the War On Drugs, and the War On Terror ...... has a combined cost of zillions of dollars per day.

If some of that money were diverted to the Department of Education then the elimination of the past tense could be avoided.
 
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Reviving a thread...

Remember the old days on Wordcraft when we argued forever about who invented the lightbulb? Well, here is a good article about the invention of the lightbulb. Enjoy!
 
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Quoth Missann:
quote:
A conveyor belt Mass Transportation System from suburbia to the city and between cities. You drive your little electric car to the station, engage a mechanism that draws you onto the conveyor. You put your credit card in the slot and punch in your destination. You sit back and read, sleep, etc., while you are propelled to your destination and automatically ejected. Then you can drive the few blocks or miles to your ultimate destination in comfort and secuity.


In the 1990s I wan an urban studies student. I was on a design team for a national competition wherein we developed just such a concept! Sometimes one has to wait for technology to catch up with ideas. Oh, and political will...
 
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Originally posted by Kalleh:
Reviving a thread...

Remember the old days on Wordcraft when we argued forever about who invented the lightbulb?


They concentrated on one type of light bulb, omitting Tesla's invention of the fluorescent bulb which could be powered without wires.
Here we go again... Big Grin

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I remember we used to have a Halloween party here where we all pretended we were someone else. We had to develop separate emails and all. I was Sir Joseph Swan. I do believe people got it pretty quickly. Wink
 
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Who was I? Or was I?
 
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I don't remember, Geoff. Another year I was Saussure, when Z was here and we were studying linguistics.
 
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