Now, be nice. Mechanical devices may not be your cup of tea, but they're really just as interesting as computer systems. If you've ever disassembled a high-end color laser copier, you know they can also be just as complex as a computer. This isn't my personal specialty either, but I find myself thinking about mechanical engineering issues from time to time, and these ideas have come out of that process.
A quick idea on how to improve the efficiency of common vacuum cleaners, which don't really work very well on rugs. I bet someone's thought of this before, though. I'm mostly including this here to prove I don't spend ALL my time thinking about computers. :-)
Here's a really bad idea! How about a portable DC power supply for laptop computers that uses a butane turbine and a generator, instead of just a boring old heavy battery? In my defense, this isn't my idea, but I admit I like it. :-)
The first thing I'd change about the classic electric-vehicle concept is that vehicles shouldn't be purely electrical. Electrical charge storage today means batteries, and batteries are heavy, don't store much charge, and are very expensive-- especially when they wear out rapidly. Instead, I think electric vehicles should really be hybrid devices: a set of batteries plus an ultra-low-emissions engine of some kind. A few alternatives are described here.
If you go to as many trade shows as I do, then I probably know you. Wait, I was going to say that you probably wish you had a way to lock your stuff to those cheesy little tables while you wander off to the break area or the rubber-chicken lunch. You could bring an electric drill with you and just put a hole through the middle of the table, but who wants to carry a drill around? This may work better...
I heard the other day that Porsche Design is offering a 7-piece set of cookware that will sell for over $1,000. I don't doubt it's good stuff, but is it really worth that much? This reminded me of an old idea of mine for cookware that would cost radically more money, but would at least provide something you wouldn't get any other way. I think cookware companies have pretty much figured out how to make durable pots and pans with suitable surface finishes (nonstick or not depending on your needs), but the one thing that nobody has really figured out yet is heat spreading. Revereware's copper cladding simply isn't very effective. The thick aluminum plates bonded to the bottom of some less-expensive brands actually work better, but they usually have exposed edges that corrode, and the plates sometimes delaminate. Only thick copper pans provide adequate thermal performance, but they're heavy, and there's still room to improve. What's better than copper? Only one thing: diamond. Twice the thermal conductivity of copper. Deposit a heavy layer of synthetic diamond on the bottom of a pan, protected on both sides by copper or stainless steel, and you'd really have something. Something very expensive. :-)
When I travel with critical personal documents, like a passport, birth certificate, financial documents, etc., I feel a little uncomfortable. At home I have a small fire safe, nothing particularly secure (the whole thing can be lifted fairly easily) but capable of protecting paper documents from fire for an hour or more. Strangely, it doesn't provide any particular protection against water damage unless it's been in a fire first; the lid is not gasketed, but it's designed to melt shut. A portable document protector wouldn't necessarily have to handle an hour of fire, since fires on aircraft or in hotels are usually brought under control fairly quickly. Instead, it should provide basic fire protection as well as physical protection against damage from being accidentally run over by a car or other mild forms of trauma. A 9"x11" pouch with walls made of Spectra cloth laminated with some sort of chemical fireblock (such as Cotronics' "ceramic paper") would probably do the trick.
Until 15" color LCDs become cheap enough to hang on the wall and dedicate to the task, we'll need to keep using paper wall calendars. Like me, I'm sure you often forget to tear off one month until well into the next. Doesn't this sound like something that ought to be automated? No? Well, okay. But it could be. Put a calendar on a long scroll and turn on a motor once a month (under control of the wall clock built into the base unit, of course) to pull the next month into view. Some special encoding on the edge of the calendar could control the display of special images for holidays, or even birthdays (with a little more intelligence, and probably a reversing motor).
Home | Ideafiles | Opinion | Toscana | Photography | About the Author | Sitemap
If you have comments or suggestions, please email me at email@example.com.
All content copyright 1996-1999 by Peter N. Glaskowsky. All rights reserved.