It's good to see that the spirit of invention is alive and well among the nation's youth, as evidenced by the "Lice-Anator," the winning invention of this year's Toshiba/National Science Teachers Association ExploraVision program. The invention (or rather, sketch of an invention... no working prototype was required) was submitted by first graders Maggie Huerta, Mackenzie Greco, and Nina Kaiser. The gadget is "a computerized hairbrush that uses special bristles and processors that not only detect the presence of the creepy crawlers [lice], but also kills them with tiny on-board lasers." Cool! [chicagoparent.com]
Fritz von Opel was one of those early-20th-century rocket-besotted guys who pioneered this exotic means of propulsion. Just look at his rocket car go in the film clip above! (Narration in German, but not necessary to comprehension.)
But von Opel's innocent excitement had its darker side. I give you the 1929 newspaper article below. Specifically, the enlarged sentence.
Adel Elseri and Said Fayad hope that the tongue-mounted toothbrush, which is their invention, will make them rich. You slip the device over your tongue and scrub away. Apparently it's one-time use only. Check out their facebook page for more info. [edmonton journal]
A 1912 Baker Electric car that was retrofitted with a solar panel by Charles Escoffery for the International Rectifier Corp. back in 1960. The panel cost $20,000. (I don't know what that would be in present-day money, but it wouldn't be cheap.) With the panel, the Baker could run at 20 mph for three hours. International Rectifier hoped to soon be churning out "noiseless, smogless" solar cars for $5000 each. It's 53 years later now, and we're still waiting. Source: Newsweek (Mar 7, 1960) & M3GA.
Imagine you're riding in a train, when you see another train hurtling toward you on the same track. No problem. You're on the "anti-collision train," designed by P.K. Stern of New York. It was a bold idea for improving travel safety, but it never caught on. The Strand magazine (1904) explained the concept:
A single track is used, on which railway-cars are caused to travel. Two cars are rushing towards each other at a speed of twenty-five miles an hour, so that a collision would, under ordinary conditions, be inevitable, when suddenly one of the cars runs, not into, but over the top of the other and lands on the track on the other side, where it continues in perfect safety to its destination. The underneath car has proceeded as if nothing had happened.
The cars, although they run upon wheels, are really travelling bridges, with overhanging compartments for the accommodation of passengers. Over the framed structure of the cars thus constituted an arched track is carried, securely fastened to the car and serving the purpose of providing a road-bed for the colliding car. This superimposed track is built in accordance with well-understood principles of bridge construction.
Your challenge is to guess whether this product is real or imaginary. The answer is below in extended.
Product Description: CowCows (aka VACHEMENT VACHE). Created by designer Cyprien Côté.
Completely 'fed up' with seeing cows unsuccessfully wipe flies from their eyes, [Côté] came up with an ear extender that could be used by the cow to fully remove any pest that was bothering them. They were made out of a super-soft material and cost about fifty cents (Canadian) per set.