Trick Rostrum Makes Long Stories Short
Scientists rigged up this remote-controlled rostrum to gag long-winded speakers. If a speaker talks too long, a puff of smoke blows up in his face and laugh-provoking cartoons appear on a screen behind him. The electronic gadgets at the chairman's elbow also speed up the clock when a talker gets behind schedule and warn him two minutes before he is due for "the works." Standard Oil scientists say the system has cut down wordage at meetings.
Add this to the 'inventions that flopped' folder. Susan Flynn, 20, gets ready to enjoy the "Turkobath" (i.e. a portable Turkish bath). This 1956 invention consisted of "a slotted plastic sheet with rubber suction cups that turn an ordinary home bathtub into a steam cabinet."
I can imagine that as the bath water cooled, you were left with a cold piece of plastic wrapped around you.
Urine-powered batteries have been around a long time, but have been lacking in practical applications. But now researchers at the Bristol Robotics Laboratory have souped one up enough to get it to charge a mobile phone. Looks a bit big, but if they could shrink it down enough to fit in a briefcase, you'd never run out of juice.
Invented in 1965 by William Wilson of Wyandotte, Michigan who claimed that his mirrors filtered out "sunburn radiation" leaving only "tanning radiation" and therefore gave a "blisterless, heatless, burnless, lotionless suntan." He's keeping a close eye here on the subject of one of his tanning experiments.
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]