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Technology

New Inventions Featured at the BIS 79

kjh1 writes "BBC News is running an article covering the British Invention Show (BIS) and some of the (quite useful) inventions that will be on display there this year."
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New Inventions Featured at the BIS

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  • by bergeron76 ( 176351 ) * on Friday October 22, 2004 @09:08PM (#10605768)
    For example, "The Keyed Chain" was invented about 15 years ago here in the US. I know because I had one in my parents home when I grew up (they still have it). You reach your arm in the door with the key and unlock (and release) the chain.

    I'm not trying to be cynical here, I'm just pointing it out.

    • How strong are these things anyway? AFAIK most are pretty flimsy. If my relative was inside and seriously incapacitated, and the door was locked only with one of these things, I'd just kick the door in. Much faster than using a key or fumbling with your hand inside.

      Of course one would have to be sure that the said relative was not lying close to the trajectory of the door that one is kicking in ;).

      p.s. only do the kicking stuff if you are wearing good boots/shoes and jeans/thick trousers, so in event the
      • I once broke a door by shouldering it. It isn't as easy at it sounds and this was a quite flimsy door.

        Breaking into your own house at 5:30am is no fun, especially the last thing your brother has done before going for a holiday was painting the door and then slamming it shut and lock while the paint is still dry. When you arrive at home after driving 12 hours, you can't be patient. Breaking the door was the fastest route to the coffee can.

        • by TheLink ( 130905 )
          I've tried the shoulder thing and it hurts, plus not very effective coz I'm light - kinda bounce off! I'm definitely no expert - I've only kicked open about two doors - fortunately they opened inwards ( I probably shouldn't try shoudering/kicking open doors if they open outwards ;) ).

    • Amusingly that's how I feel about many of the 'inventions' that come from the US.
  • Um ok.. (Score:2, Funny)

    by AltGrendel ( 175092 )
    I thought the headline read "New inventions feared at BIS"

    Here I was wondering what the RIAA was up to now.

  • Hmm (Score:1, Interesting)

    Having been to e3 and CIS(or whatever its called), im thinking of one day going to the BIS. Is it worth it? What do you the /.ers think?
    • After googling the show and reading several articles, I would go if time & funds allowed. It sounds like it would be instructive and a lot of fun.
  • I've got it (Score:3, Funny)

    by RealProgrammer ( 723725 ) on Friday October 22, 2004 @09:10PM (#10605780) Homepage Journal
    ...all patented. For $699 I'll tell you which patents.
  • sigh... (Score:2, Informative)

    by niteice ( 793961 )
    Why can't people offer an HTML version fo their PDF/.doc documents? Really it's not too hard to click "Save as web page" instead of "Save".
    • I concur. For crying out loud, the FAQ is an important part of any web site! There's a reason they call HTML the standard, you know. And here I thought the U.S. was the land of Microsoft.
    • C'mon guys, its not hard to use google cache to pull of the HTML cache of the PDF, took me about 10 seconds

      Although I do agree, it's annoying that its a PDF document in the first place. Either way, here you go:

      British Invention Show FAQ PDF > HTML google cache [64.233.183.104]

    • Re:sigh... (Score:3, Insightful)

      I don't think its a matter of it being too hard to offer them as HTML. Some documents look like crap in html format. Particularly documents with complex mathematical expressions. Besides, what is wrong with PDF? There are plenty of non-Adobe PDF viewers out there if you don't want to patronize Adobe.
  • A fun entry? (Score:1, Flamebait)

    by Pan T. Hose ( 707794 )
    "It's a fun entry," says Professor Wolff of Daniel Doheny's Mousemaster, a trap able to hold "12 to 15 mice in one go".

    Call me old-fashioned, but how exactly cruelty towards animals can be considered fun?
    • Re:A fun entry? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by erick99 ( 743982 ) <homerun@gmail.com> on Friday October 22, 2004 @09:13PM (#10605796)
      It was designed for farms and businesses that have a big problem with mice. I'd rather catch them in a bucket and drive them out and put them in the woods then break limbs in a more traditional trap. For many of these farms and businesses, leaving the mice running free is not an option. This seems like a very humane trap.
      • Oh, gosh, I forgot to sign my post correctly, as the orginal poster did...

        Erick R Williams, M.A., M.S.

      • by fossa ( 212602 )

        leaving the mice running free is not an option

        How 'bout lettin' em run, just not free. Hook the little guys up to a generator or something :-)

        Or how about a few cats...

        • Re:A fun entry? (Score:1, Interesting)

          by Anonymous Coward
          Or how about a few cats...

          It's sort of strange how people talk about being more humane to mice, but then think that it's okay for a cat to catch a mouse and eat it. I'm not saying it's right or wrong, but cats (or nature in general) aren't very kind when it comes to eating their prey.

          That said, cats really are the best solution. My uncle's ranch has been infested with mice as long as I can remember. Well his daughter-in-law liked cats and introduced a bunch to the place. Within a year there were no m
      • by Psychotext ( 262644 ) on Friday October 22, 2004 @09:59PM (#10606042)
        I'd rather catch them in a bucket and drive them out and put them in the woods THEN break limbs in a more traditional trap.

        You sick S.O.B. :-)
        That certainly was an interesting typo!
      • Re:A fun entry? (Score:3, Informative)

        I'm not sure what the laws are like where you live (or where your hypothetical mouse problem is, anyway), but around these parts, catching animals and then releasing them elsewhere (on property you don't own, and presumably any property not contiguous with where they were caught) is illegal. I suppose if you owned the woods around your farm or business, you could still do it, but it would still be somewhat silly to just let them go on your property again.
      • It was designed for farms and businesses that have a big problem with mice. I'd rather catch them in a bucket and drive them out and put them in the woods then break limbs in a more traditional trap. For many of these farms and businesses, leaving the mice running free is not an option. This seems like a very humane trap.

        We don't run them out into the woods. Our extra mice get dumped out in the ditch on the way to check the cows.
        Helps keep the cat population down.

    • by Open_The_Box ( 620252 ) on Friday October 22, 2004 @09:23PM (#10605864)
      Let's be honest, it's not exactly cruel compared to old style mousetraps that snap the little blighters backs now is it?

      Hmmn... if you want to make it cruel AND make it fun... exchange the bucket for the feeding mechanism of a tennis ball launcher! Now that's cruel. AND fun!

      *squeek* *squeek* nibble nibb.. slide scrabble pause... Thwump! Wheee!

      Might not be fun for the mouse but install enough of them on your farm and the fields will be alive with the sight of airbourne rodents this summer!!! ...I'm a bad bad person. ^_^
  • by RedFireGuy ( 96612 ) on Friday October 22, 2004 @09:25PM (#10605871)
    Magazines printed on toilet paper so that:
    1. you don't have to carry anything in
    2. more hygenic
    3. can print "Remember you're running out of TP" reminder slips deep inside the roll.
    4. if an article is really full of shit, you can express yourself directly.
  • It allows you to use a mobile network from a desk phone. Too expensive though at £500.

    • Perhaps it's already been invented but I would think the exact opposite would be a good idea.

      Once you come home with your mobile it senses that it's in range of a basestation and any calls you make from that point on go out over a land line... basicly turning your mobile into a cordless phone.

      One address book to update. Maybe calls to your cell could be routed to your landline while you were home as well.

      I actually don't have a mobile so I don't quite keep up with these things. :)

  • The MouseMaster??? This doesn't seem like a big improvement to me. You Brits sure get excited about some pointless shit!

    At least in America we get excited about things like "Ginger" (or IT if you prefer). I mean I could run over as many mice as that trap holds in a few minutes on a Segway. :-)

    Just poking fun at you folks East of the Pacific. Mostly because There's a lot of trash talk to us US folks as well.
    • "Just poking fun at you folks East of the Pacific"

      I don't think anyone in the U.S. was offended.
      Mumbling off to the side, "East of the Atlantic" ...cough

      • Not to self...

        Food+Beer+TV+Slashdot != Good Idea

        My bad, gotta pay more attention to what I am doing next time, or try to defend it by saying that you will get to Europe by going east over the Pacific from Hawaii...which is clearly where I am. Nah...I give up.
  • ...but Professor Heinz Wolff is absolutely phenominal.


    One of his more entertaining ideas was "The Great Egg Race". Build a machine out of ordinary household junk. Any household junk you like. The only requirements are that it be able to carry a raw egg across a course without damaging or breaking the egg, and to do so in the least possible time. The only motive power allowed was a tiny elastic band.


    The idea was simple, ingenious, and triggered several fairly successful (yet geeky) competitive tech shows and inspired The Power Game - a national contest between schools along similar lines.


    (The first "Power Game" was a simple variation of the Egg Race, involving dropping coins along a race track at specific points. Missing the target was penalized heavily. The following year, competitors were asked to build near-frictionless mobile platforms that could carry a person over the longest possible distance around a complex course. Oh, and the platform had to be made of cardboard.)


    To be honest, it matters little if the BIS, any geek television show, or any techie contest, ever shows anything much. What matters is whether they inspire people to come up with things that maybe are useful. Nobody could accuse the entrants of, say, the Great Egg Race or the Micromouse Championships of producing something fundamentally worthwhile. At the same time, I'm willing to bet that many more of those people who have built things that are useful have been inspired by demonstrations of how to do a great deal with very little, than those who are fed a diet of "nobody could do that, it's too complicated!" or "only big corporations can invent!"

    • At the School of Engineering at the University of Auckland, they set the first year design classes the task of building such egg racers. So now we know where they got the idea from... And as the original poster said: Nobody could accuse the entrants of, say, the Great Egg Race or the Micromouse Championships of producing something fundamentally worthwhile. This is quite true, but the important thing is that people/students are encouraged to think about a challenging problem, and to look at inventive way
  • listed in the article. this isn't new...

    here's an item that's existed prior as on our boiler at my work [controlsdepot.com] we also use one on top of the sand filter for the pool, it has a float valve, just like a toilet, that allows air to escape, but not water..

  • I want.... (Score:2, Funny)

    by negface ( 654119 )
    Whatever that guy has on his finger. That would kill for my wizard's DnD sessions. Plus it would be the coolest lighter ever.
  • by Animats ( 122034 ) on Saturday October 23, 2004 @01:21AM (#10606900) Homepage
    Which is about typical for "invention shows". I went to the British one in 2002, when it was at the Barbican in London. The people who exhibit there have no clue how to check for prior art.

    The "expandable airport walkway" is found at smaller airports today. Santa Barbara, California, has several.

    Tilting-ramp mousetraps [barrettine.co.uk] have been around for years and are quite effective.

    Retractable parking posts [ledabollards.com] are widely used. Most are solid (there's now a big "security" market for the things) but there are lightweight ones that can be driven over.

    Everything else listed has been found by someone else, so I won't rehash that.

  • Cripes! (Score:1, Flamebait)

    by identity0 ( 77976 )
    Huzzah! With this new "Tooth-Brush" technology, we Subjects of The Queen can now polish those hard to reach places in our teapots after teatime! Marvelous!

    Bloody queer name for a teapot brush, but whatever works, eh mate?

    (Runs and hides from enraged Englishmen)

I've never been canoeing before, but I imagine there must be just a few simple heuristics you have to remember... Yes, don't fall out, and don't hit rocks.

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