Thursday, April 26, 2007

No. 0013 - Barcoded Produce

I was at the self check out one time and this man in front of me had like a bag of cilantros, potatos, beets and some other random vegetables (who knows what he was about to cook). Anyway, it took him forever to go through because he had to first chose the categories, then the sub categories and on and on. . . . Essentially, he needed assistant on each item. I think I was buying some batteries so I got out of there before he even got to the beets. Heres what I suggest. How about growing the barcode right on the vegetables? I've seen Chinese people have taped a word on the apples and a few days later, the taped part would become lighter. How about taping a barcode there next time so it can be imprinted on the fruit? I'm not sure what to do with stuff like lettuce or carrots, but I'm confident that with the advance technology and briliant scientists out there today, we can grow just about anything, even barcodes for impatient shopper such as I.

No. 0012 - Car Locator Display

Today, this man saw me aimlessly walking around the parking lot with my arm raised up high with my car keys in my hand; immediately he commented "lost your car huh?" I'm not sure about you but this happens to me a lot. It doesn't matter how sweet of a parking spot I get in the morning, everyday after work, I always manage to find myself walking the "tour de parking lot". How hard is it to put a little tracker on your car and then put a display on your car remote key thing? All the display needs is an arrow, pointing the way to your car. Maybe the arrow can even be color coded to let you know how close you are. I've seen it in movies; car tracker that can track cars across towns. If that is possible, then why not in a parking lot. This seem to be an all too simple solution to a way too common problem.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

No. 0011 - Zip-line to work

I must confess that this invention idea won't serve many people, in fact, it is quite selfish but I still think it is a good idea (for me at least). I spent roughly 30-40 mins to travel 30 miles to work everyday. And that's only one way my friend, the return trip is even worse. The ironic thing is that once I've arrived at the parking lot of my office, I can see clearly of the end of the mountain ranges where my apartment is located; it is a straight shot. What if I were to build two columns, one by my apartment and the other right by my work. Connect a zip-line between the two columns and hook a basket (cockpit) on the line. I can make the column at home adjustable in height by remote control so I can manipulate the elevation ensuring two way traffic on the zip line (it would really suck to get stuck at work just because my column at home can't be lowered). However, this invention isn't exactly flawless. One must consider all the telephone poles and power lines along the way; it would really suck to be "clothes lined" at 300 mph while being electricuted at the same time. Also, this can only serve a few people as "zip-line traffic" can get real dangerous and real messy really fast.

Friday, April 13, 2007

No. 0010 - Cookbook for Engineers

Last night I was trying to make some Chinese BBQ pork and the sauce instructed "16 oz of pork to every 5 tablespoon of sauce". I though to myself how on earth can people measure pork with the units of volume?! I honestly thought the instructions were bogus and blamed to the fact that the sauce was made in China and people there don't know what they are talking about. So I busted out my trusty TI and started to do some unit analysis. Given I have 1.85 lb (that's pound force) of pork chops, I first divided it by the gravity of earth which would give me 0.0575 slugs (British mass unit) of pork. Then I ran into a wall, because now that I know the mass of the pork, in order to translate that into volume, I must know the density of pork. I have access to handbooks and information to just about any material properties there are on this earth but density of pork!? Common?! I even have the thermal conductivity constant for bananas and cake batter but the density of pork?! As hunger and frustration begin to set in, I had no choice but to give it up for the night. Later did I find out that 16 oz = 1 lbf which makes no sense to me. Wouldn't it be nice if all the cooking units would just standardize (better yet, stay away from the British units and stick to SI)? Imagine cooking instruction that would say "marinade 3.5 newtons of beef" or "mix in 4.73E-4 cubic meter of flour". The beauty of SI is that gravity is about 10 m/s^2 so that would makes the math really nice. I would also suggest cooking instruction to have the density values of the ingridents as well so I can always calculate for the total volume of the meal. This is handy because I can always solve for the volume of food that I'm cooking and set that equal to the volume of stomachs that I'll be feeding. How wonderful is that! No left overs!

P.S. - I must give half the credit to my friend, Tyler Ball, for this invention because we came up with this idea together about 1-2 years ago and it just came to me that "yeah, that was a good idea!"

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

No. 0009 - Alternate Shaped Chapstick

I have never finished using a chapstick from the beginning to the end before in my entire life. In fact, I think I've recently broke my all time record of losing a chapstick in the shortest amount of time (I bought it last Saturday, used it like 5 times and it's gone today). If there was ever a sweepstake of a one million dollar price at the bottom of the chapstck base, then I will have absolutely 0% chance of winning that. You know what the problem is? The problem is that most chapsticks are round at the body. I see this happen all the time; I come home, I empty my pockets and as soon as my hand leaves the stuff, the chapstick makes a run for it. Once it gets on the floor, then the sky is the limit as to where it will be kicked to. Why can't they make it in a triangular shape? How about a square? I'll even settle for an oval, anything but a circle.

No, I don't like the "finger" applicating method such as caramex (actually, that cylinder can run too) or the "toothpaste" packaging (too greasy).

Sunday, April 8, 2007

No. 0008 - Grocery Traffic Controller

The average temperature to most produce section of the grocery store is usually lower. Some grocery store even have the entire room refrigerated for the produce, such as the one grocery store I visited today. The store (17th street market for my Arizonian friends) is truely one of the greatest grocery store that I've visited in a long time. It has quite a variety of vegetables and exotic fruits, some that I've only seen in places such as Chinatown. While I was still at awed of the selections of produce there, an unprecedent amount of asian people starting flooding into the refrigerated produce room. Before I even realize it, I found myself in an ocean of people. So here I am, caught somewhere between the bok choy and the bitter melon section, wearing a hawaiian short and t-shirt; I was starting to freeze. By that point I had no choice but to crash out before frost bite sets in. After side swipping and rear ending a few people and shopping carts, I was out. The warmth feels good but I could have freezed to death in there. That is why we need a traffic controler in the refrigerated produce room such as this one. Maybe they can establish a loop, or a round about where carts can only travel in one direction. All abandoned cart will be towed at the user's expense. Parallel parking time must be limited to keep the flow going. All violations of such traffic rules will be subjected to the punishment of the Grocery Traffic Law Enforcer (GTLE). His or her job is to keep an eye for any offenders of the grocery store's traffic laws. When such violations occur, the GTLE have every rights to take away produce from violators' cart at the check out and say, for example "NO SHITAKE MUSHROOMs FOR YOU!"

Thursday, April 5, 2007

No. 0007 - Vincinty Velocity Detector

This morning as I was about to walk into my office building, this nice man in front of me held the door open for me. My velocity was just right that he didn't really have to wait for me to come, neither did I have to speed up to catch the door; it was perfect timing. However, as I looked back, this lady was behind me about 10-15 feet away. Here's my dilemma, should I wait or should I go? If I stay, then this lady with 15 briefcases, a carry-on and a lunch sac will feel obligated to speed up to catch the door; if not, then she would have to open the door herself. I'm sure a lot of you have experienced similar situations and that's why a vincinty velocity detector will come in handy. What it does is that it will detect all those that are around right as you are approaching the door and measures the average velocity of those around you versus your own velocity (aka relative velocity). And based upon this data, this device will give you a simple go-no-go instruction right as you arrive at the door way whether you should keep the door open for the one behind you or not. As a result, this device can help us avoid much awkward situations of waiting for people to speed up to catch your courtesy. To finish the story, no I didn't wait for that lady this morning.

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

No. 0006 - Home Depot Gladiators

I'm not a violent person, neither do I condone violence. But, lets just make an assumption that colosseum games are a thing of American pastime, then Home Depot Gladiators could be quite entertaining. Here's how it works. You throw in a few gladiators in a Home Depot with no weapons, release a few hungary lions and tigers and let the game begin. For survival sake, the gladiators must be creative and must know their way around Home Depot because the idea is that they must make their weapons and protection along the way. The gladiators could make something like a "modified morning star" thing with an axe attached at the end of a chain, imagine the damage you can do with that! How about screwing a cabinet handle to the back of a toilet seat cover, you get a shield! Throwing saw blades like a ninja star could be quite dangerous too (don't even get me started with the power tools - simply deadly). Basically, the sky is the limit when it comes to variety. To make things even more interesting, put up those orange gates that would block the isles! Turn the whole place into a labyrinth! Let them even drive those crazy fork lifts! Just remember, if you ever become one of these Home Depot gladiators, just don't get stuck in the gardening section; a leaf rig is just as deadly as it gets.

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

No. 0005 - Married Couple Foam

It was brought up to my attention once from my married friends that when they retire to their bed, there is this cold draft travelling between them. I can see how that is the case even though I'm still a single guy. Sleeping by myself, I could wrap myself up entirely like a burrito with all the covers I want; a perfectly insulated system. Whereas for married couples, you don't get that luxury anymore. Here is what I propose. Make a straight long piece of foam that would curve on the opposite sides such that it would form around the shoulders and arms of the married couple. In this way, that would block the cold draft between them and keeping the heat from escaping the pocket. Then my married friends asked me "what if we want to cuddle?". My response was "simply remove the foam."

No. 0004 - "ish" Watch

Often time I would ask people "When are we meeting?" In response, some would say "5 -ish". The concept of -ish in time keeping is really creeping into day to day conversation. And tonight, for the first time, I was given a response of "7:45 ish". What that tells me is that the tolerance in time telling have decreased from 60 mins to 5 mins. If that is the case, watch maker should really consider this. Still print in the traditional numbers 1 thru 12 at their perspective location on a watch. But instead of putting in five tiny-ier ticks inbetween the numbers, just print in "-ish". I honestly think that would accommodate real well with the emersion of the "-ish" time telling culture.

No. 0003 - Baby Muffler

Kids crying is probably one of the greatest distractions during church. How about putting a muffler on that kid? But some might say that is so cruel. That's why I propose to put a sound sensor on that muffler. The sensor will measure the loudness to the screaming and indicate that information through a spectrum of lights. For example, green would equates to a "simple whimper" while red indicates "I HATE YOU!".

No. 0002 - Screaming Germ Soap

I'm a germ-a-phob. I think I've read somewhere before that it is the amount of water that you use to clean your hands that determines the cleanliness, not the amount of soap. However, wouldn't it be nice to have a soap that can effective kill germs but also at the same time causes the germs to scream. So the next time you wash your hands, you can put them close to your ears, wait for the "ah ah . . . ah .aah" to slowly die down, then you will KNOW your hands are clean. Kill germs effectively and save water. . .what a deal!

No. 0001 - Edible Camp Gear

I just came back from a camping trip. For as much as I do love backpacking, a heavy pack sure can do a number on your back and shoulders. Imagine this, you are on you last day of camp and you are packing up your stuff. Instead of packing up your tent, you can just eat it up! Sleeping bag? Just eat it up. Mess kit? You get the idea.