Where are they?
The Intelligent Traffic LightWhen will the traffic lights of the United States be fitted with "neural net" type intelligent controls? Why are we waiting at red lights in the middle of the night waiting for no one on the cross street? ... An interesting Q ... If you're out in the boondocks at night and the are no Kids, Kars or Kops anywhere ... do you sit and wait for the light to turn green? Some
Think what traffic jams could be mitigated at rush hour ... tempers cooled ... a triumph of rationality. What's the holdup? Nobody knows how to detect rudimentary car shapes, count 'em apply an algorythm for maximum traffic efficiency? All this is difficult to perfect, but perfect isn't required to make tremendous improvement in the present condition. The only caveat ... a mechanical device must still be present to prevent -absolutely- the possibility of simultaneous green signals in both directions (as is presently the case).
Black & white digital camerasWhere are the black and white digital cameras? Color costs bokoo bucks but BW is tremendoulsy cheaper ... and it has definite niche uses.
The main use I can think of immediately is in low end security. I would like to have had on many occasions a small device that would take someone's picture (good enough to identify the culprit ... maybe 300x300 pixels in 256 gray scale) and simultaneously record about 10-20 seconds of sound. All automatic mind you ... you just point & click and record for "evidence".
To keep it small, there would be no speakers or display on the thing. You would take the recorder back to it's power cradle / display station to view your recording later. I can envision a device no larger than 1"x2"x1/4" ... cigarette lighter size. Put it on your key chain. Picture memory is digital and sound is very small tape (or digital if possible).
I think we're talking here ... 1-10K pictures.
The personal locatorThis was available in the movie "Aliens". Why can't I find my wife in the mall? If I had a personal locator, I would just pull it out, beep once ... thus causing the object locator to emit a coded pulse ... which I in turn receive ... and home in on ... either by volume or direction (direction might require an antenna).
Here's the general poop.
Cross-threaded boltsA standard rule of mechanics is that all vertical-upside down screws or bolts come loose and fall out. It doesn't matter how tight they are ... they fall out eventually. Short of glueing, painting, or welding them together ... is there any way to keep a bolt tight?
Run two nuts onto the bolt of opposite handedness. !??? Yes, this requires that left and right handed helixes be threaded onto the bolt. Such a bolt would have a texture similar to a rasp.
Tighten down the first nut ... then run the second down of the opposite hand. And ... this is important (or we've just removed the problem another step away instead of solving it) ... the nut heads have a "wave" surface such that they lock together with a "snap" when you've got 'em tightened properly.
Now, they can't come loose because they must first come over the "snap" bump, and neither can move without causing the other to move in the opposite direction ... which is impossible unless you use two pliers to move them yourself.
This would be excellent for toilet seat fasteners which can be hand tighened with a plastic wing nut. They always come loose (and no one wants to retighten the dirty things when they loosen).
Stick it to the wall tapeDear 3M Company,
My name is Timmy and I go to school at Travis Elementary. We need some tape to stick our posters on the wall but they always come down. Can you make some tape for us.
Your friend,Reply ... (30 years later) - - - - - - - - - - -
Yes, Timbo ... We can help you. Our scientists have been working on some tape just for you. It was hard to figure out ... but we persevered and now we're sending you a roll to try out.
Let me explain the details in the enclosed brochure.
Wonder tape is made from a "ripstop" plastic, perforated every 3 inches so that pieces of convenient size can be pulled off without the need of scissors (we don't want you to injure yourself).