Idea-A-Day

or sometimes just a passing thought.

Thinking Along the Same Rut

Because of the theory of multiples, I’m going to assume that the triple tube was made independently from this idea I published on Sept 9, 2012. Ok, it’s a little different, they are using a pump and I’m envisioning automatic gas distribution that would happen by different weight distribution over the tire.

Plus they’re using “rice-husk ash” instead of my pudding concept.

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Apps for driving

Date of original idea: Oct 23, 2014

Driving again in the US has given me lots of ideas for apps:

    Inform you that your turn signal is still on
    Show you views of the upcoming crosswalk from a camera mounted where your eyes would be if you were not looking down at your phone
    A vibrating alert when the person in front of you starts braking
    An audio alert that the light has changed

I’m sure there are plenty of others. The next logical step is to have the app take over all driving decisions and make the user simply the actuator. Mount a screen in front of the steering wheel and dedicate 25% of it to driving commands.

The data can be streamed up to the cloud and will be very useful during the trial.

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Land, on-train, speed record

Date of original idea: last week

What’s faster than a fast car? A fast car driving on a fast train. One very very very long straight train track. One ridiculously long train, say 5 miles long, covered to keep wind out of the equation (some fancy aerodynamics would be needed to suck the air from the tunnel as opposed to having the car compress it), and one very fast car.
FastCarFastTrain1

Get the train up to speed, say 300 kph (something over 180 mph) then start driving the car up to 300+ kph and volia! very fast car.
FastCarFastTrain2

let’s just look online… and, …..huh….. apparently this still would not be so impressive, especially given the way the record is measured . The internet is just one big source of disappointment isn’t it?

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Office Worker Exoskeleton

Date of Original Idea: Today

Exoskeletons are these futuristic like things that always seem to be just on the horizon for disabled people or soldiers or dock workers.  It’s a robotic looking device that someone climbs into or attaches to the body and is used walk far (or at all) or pick up heavy things or carry lots of stuff.  Some of them are becoming more and more realistic everyday.   Today’s idea is an extension of that into the white collar workforce, as if we got too much physical exercise as it was.   So a device that you climb up into and strap yourself it.  It has to make big whopmp-bumhp noises when walking, have hidden little places for storing office supplies all over it, like Robocop’s gun holster but with a three-hole-punch.  A laptop can dock into it.  A person could carry all the necessary binders and different parts and pieces that they work on all day (I had to lug around 3 transaxle adapters the other day and I could have used this).  Eventually desks could be eliminated and you just work in the last location you whopmp-bumhp’d to, presumably near the coffee machine.   No need to search out a wheely-cart for the big items, just a charging plug during the down time.

The obvious challenges:

  • Preventing serious hacking of the devices (not a bad idea by itself, but prevents work from being done)
  • Keeping them running.  Think what it’s like now when you have a computer problem, imagine if you’re stuck somewhere yelling for help.
  • Preventing the necessary arm wrestling and hallway races from turning into the office into some futuristic Mechwarrior-like landscape through warring factions and furniture throwing.
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E-Shoes

Date of Idea:  Back in the summer when electric bikes were out front of the bike shop.

Electric cars are, in popular press, better than non-electric cars.  Electric bikes are marketed much the same.  The next logical step is of course, electric shoes.

A small motor with a cam built into the hell that rotates to help push off the ground for you.  Regen capable either by capturing your heel-strike or with a sole that allows you to slide forward a bit spinning the motor through a linkage while going down hill.   Batteries are packaged on the top of the foot, additional batteries can be strapped to the leg or waist for longer treks.  Lights on for safety at night.

Think globally, act locally.

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Fuel Economy Indicator That Teaches Proper Braking

Actual Date of Idea:  About 2 years ago on the way to work.

On many cars there is an indicator that tells you your mileage.  It shows some value from 0 to lots and is updated constantly.  If used as a gauge, it can help people learn how to drive more efficiently.  A problem with it is that it doesn’t give specific feedback as to what you can do, and there are many variables.  One of the biggest ones is to use the brakes as little as possible.  When brakes are used, it turns momentum into heat  (in the case of regenerative braking with electric motors, it captures some of it, but there are still losses.  Never braking is and will always be more efficient than regen).  I think of it as burning gas.  It would be possible to estimate, from the vehicle characteristics and deceleration rate, the amount of energy lost into the brakes, and combined with the fuel economy estimate would indicate how much gas, in gallons, has been spent by braking.

Perhaps having a real time display you watch while braking isn’t as safe as you’d think.  So instead how about a calculation that shows your total gasoline lost per the trip and/or another display with what your fuel economy would have been had you not done any braking.   It’s very rare to get anywhere without braking, but learning to look far down the road and coasting as often as possible will make for quick gains, and the display proposed here will give you an indication of whether it’s making a difference or not.

Could other feedback suggestions be made by computer.  Something that estimates vehicle weight and tells you to empty the trunk might be good, but would be hard to calculate that from the inexactness of the variables.  A display that shows where the engine is operating with regard to efficient zones is nice, but difficult to deal with in real time while also safely driving, and having an automatic tranny or an indicator of when to shift a manual helps keep things in line.   Something that tells you to slow down, especially when cruising on the autobahn at over 110 mph would help, but it would be very naggy.

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