What’s an Invention the World Needs to Have?

Note: Before we get into this week’s question—we loved how the Dinner Table where people posted their best picture made us feel like we got to know our readers better. So we’re taking things to the next level and asking readers to send us a video of them telling us a story from their life to be posted on an upcoming Dinner Table. If you want to be involved, think of that story you tell people—can be a funny or shocking story or just one describing a particularly poignant moment in your life—and take a video of yourself telling it. We’ll pick a selection of our favorites and post them on an upcoming Dinner Table.

More details: The video doesn’t have to look great or be professional at all—you can self-film it with your phone if you want to. Stories can be as short as 20 seconds or as long as three minutes, but try not to go longer than three minutes. To submit your video, just email it to table@waitbutwhy.com (if it’s too big straight from your phone or too big to attach, try using a service like Dropbox or Google Drive instead), and include your name, first initial of last name, and your city/country—or, let us know if you’d like us to leave that info out. The deadline to send us a video is the end of the day EST on Tuesday, Feb 17. Send any questions to table@waitbutwhy.com. Can’t wait to see what people send us!

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DT14- Inventions PThis Week’s Question:

You know that brilliant invention you thought of but you don’t want to tell anyone because you’re planning to invent it some day and become a billionaire? Well you and I both know you’re not actually gonna ever do it, so tell us about it. What would be a great invention that the world needs to have?

Tim’s Answer: I use my phone headphones constantly. I only do phone calls using headphones, and most of the time when I’m walking or driving or exercising or cooking or doing chores or errands or waiting in line, I have headphones in listening to podcasts or maybe The Blue Danube Waltz on repeat to make strangers on the street hilarious. So my life ends up basically being a long series of folding up headphones to put them in my pocket and then untangling headphones when I want to put them on. Someone needs to invent a better way to store headphones—something with magnets or maybe a thing where they get neatly sucked into a small canister and then easily come out when you want to use them. Headphones are only going to become more of a thing as time goes on, and the person who invents something good enough that companies like Apple will want to buy the technology and implement it into their headphones will become outrageously wealthy.

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  • Warren McClure

    An app – maybe connected to Google Glass, if that becomes a thing – to expedite making friends.

    Like, as you walk through Ann Arbor or Bangkok or Hamburg you can see a tag cloud attached to anyone who has it turned on, and the tags they’ve made for themselves which are very similar to ones you’re interested in are larger, and with a sufficient number/ratio match, you’ll each be notified. Like a more friend-based OKC or Match.com.

    The only thing is trying to figure out how to make it “safe” by taking away its utility to just be another dating thing, but rather actually and truly be just for people who want to sit and have conversations with new people.

    • Google Glass is dead

      • Zael

        Hololens is very much in the same alley, that tech direction is anything but dead (even if the early experiment is going to phase out).

    • marisheba

      When I tried online dating I wished all the time that I could use a similar set up for just meeting friends – of any gender – without any other agenda on the table. The closest thing seems to be meet up groups, but I’ve never made it to any of those to check them out, I’ve heard both good and bad things. But I like the idea of a tag-cloud, if not the idea of tying it to google glass 🙂

      • Warren McClure

        Yeah, when I started using online dating, it was just because there were metrics fo meeting people like me. It wound up working out really well, but all those relationships progressed beyond friends – which is fine, of course, but I wish there was a way to just meet friends like this. Impromptu MeetUps, or coffee tables dedicated to their own tag cloud.

        Imagine walking into a Starbucks that had a virtual tag cloud floating above some of their tables for conversation topics that are expected.

  • Zach

    I always thought that snowshovels should be combined with a canister of air so you could puff all the snow from the shovel over the wall and continue shoveling

  • Nat

    There should definitely be a machine invented to make putting a new duvet cover on easier. This is the hardest thing in the world, and I’m sure I’m not the only one who finds it absolutely exhausting… So a machine that you just feed the blanket and the cover into and boom – all done 🙂

    • katz

      YUP.

    • Warren McClure

      Turn the cover inside out, grab the corners of the comforter with your hands inside the turned-out cover’s matching corners, then just shake for a while or roll it onto the comforter like a condom. 🙂

      • antinea

        this is easy for tall people, not so much for smaller people. I have to stand on a chair, or at the top of the staircase. and i’m only doing a single person’s bed. i feel for the smaller people who need to make a king size bed.

    • Tim Urban

      It’s literally one of the hardest tasks mankind performs. I need like 1,200 cubic feet to work with and five very focused minutes when I do it.

    • Faz

      Yup, turn inside out, grab corners and lift up. Easiest thing in the world to do with this method.

      • antinea

        once again, only works for tall people. short people end up with only half finished task. i have to stand on a chair to make it works and i dislike how the clean sheets drag all over the floor.

        • Faz

          Do the first half on the bed, then grab across the middle and shake the rest down 🙂

          It is an interesting problem tho .. I’ll fire up the 3d printer and see what pops out!~

    • Lizzie

      I haven’t tried this duvet trick myself yet but it seems worth a shot: http://meredithvieirashow.com/videos/something-you-should-know-duvet-cover-roll/

  • Erik Jones

    An ice cream scoop that is designed solely to get a mini scoop into the bottom of a cone. I can’t stand the empty space at the bottom between the bottom of the cone and the last of the ice cream. What a waste!

    Also, with all the contradicting advice from scientific headlines on just about every topic, I would love for a rottentomatoes style site that gives percentages on a meter between certified true and certified bullshit.

  • Rimi

    Something the world needs? An Automatic Empathy Initializer. So we can put an end to these meaningless wars.
    What I need? A clone willing to do all the work while I have all the fun!

    • Warren McClure

      Adam’s wrote just such a gun into the screenplay for H2G2.

    • Sunwoo Kim

      My friend, you need an Ethicator.

  • marisheba

    I’m not sure that this counts as an invention, but one thing I thought of recently that seemed genuinely original is this: I love, love, love Japanese woodblock print art. I think it shows nature and the built environment through such a unique, gorgeous lens, and am rather surprised that other people haven’t adopted that illustration style for landscapes outside of Japan. If I ever find the time to take on a major art project just for fun, I’d like to try making these for my beautiful hometown.

  • Helene

    I’m gonna go with teleportation device … I could really use that extra 30 minutes of sleep in the mornings. And that way I could pop home for coffee in the middle of the day (can you believe I work in a hospital that doesn’t sell coffee?!)

    • Hagbard Celine

      Instant heating can of coffee? That’s what we need!

  • I wish someone would invent a fastener for a bra that lasts through at least as many washer/dryer cycles as the bra itself.

  • Helene

    And Tim, aren’t there wireless headphones around nowadays …?

    • Tim Urban

      Maybe? But someone scared me once about Bluetooth waves next to your head. Is that one of those scare things that’s not actually true?

      • Pesti

        Probably yes. Not exactly the same but watch this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wU5XkhUGzBs

        • whoarethesepeeps

          haha yeah, cause a radiowave from your cell phone doesnt have to travel a few miles before dying out, but youre scared of a blue tooth signal that dies out after a few meters. ok

      • Helene

        Well I think it’s one of those scare things that hasn’t been proven one way or the other, since this technology hasn’t been around long enough to be properly studied. The last article I read said no, but even it pointed out that studies are all giving conflicting information at the moment. But I concede your point, it’s a fair thing to be paranoid about I guess.

      • Zael

        Seriously? With your knowledge of the bazillion permeating radiowaves all around us you’re concerned about low powered Bluetooth? Solar radiation etc is much more dangerous.

    • Zael

      Yes, yes there are. Posted it above, and I’ll post it again: The Dash
      ( http://www.bragi.com/ )

  • katz

    frying pans with collapsable handles for easy storage because the handles take up a silly amount of space

    • Sigmund_Jung

      Camping gear.

    • Nat

      Ohh, I like this! Far more room in the cupboard 🙂

    • ana

      There are detachable handles.

    • turquaz

      Done.
      Many many times…

  • Rhodopsin

    This question is like the one a few weeks ago about which feature you want on your smartphone. It’s a cynical way of crowdsourcing ideas. TELL US YOUR INVENTION, “we both know you’re not gonna do it so just tell us” – so someone with the right resources can. You abandon your intellectual property rights when you publish your ideas on a blog.

    Have you ever wondered how Wait But Why plans to make money? Here it is.

    • PRChica88

      Go away.

      • Rhodopsin

        Wait but why?

        • eron

          lol, you think they make money off these shitty ideas, everything thats half ‘inventive’ has actually already been made.

          • Zael

            Fair point, seems to especially apply to this here comment section. I think Tim should have done a lengthy article explaining what exactly are inventions first. Plenty of people seem to be just throwing stuff like “A Flying Car!” out there without thinking or even doing a simple google search just to see that it’s already been done. Was honestly expecting more from the readers of Wait But Why, but then, as Rhodopsin says, the smartest ideas stay with their creators, even though it’s not very altruistic.

  • maxkubert

    When a bar of soap gets too small to use, I don’t wanna throw it out, so I end up keeping it in the shower and try to stick it onto a new bar of soap. But it never sticks! So I end up with a bunch of really small pieces of unusable soap.

    Can someone please invent a mold or a press of some sort that either sticks your old bar of soap onto a new one, or molds an entirely new bar?

    • JK

      Amway has a patent called the “bar saver” where the bar itself is rectangular but includes a little divot on the bottom to place your old bar for it to mold nicely with the new one.

      • maxkubert

        good idea!!!

    • Elizabeth J.

      I read somewhere that you just drop those bits into a panty hose sock and then use the sock as a bar of soap.

    • Liam

      Kleeneze (a UK home catalogue firm) was selling just such a thing about 20 years ago.
      I always thought it was a good idea, but costing about £5 I questioned how long it would take to pay for itself…
      It would take quite a while just to collect enough soap bar scraps to make your first bar – saving a mighty 25p if you buy the same cheap-but-effective brand that I do!

    • amjk37

      You can just microwave the soap pieces with water in a small plastic container to make a new bar of soap. You have to experiment for a little to get it to work, but it does work.

  • Crossbow McStabby

    Toddler/Baby Bubble — a clear, soundproof half-dome with infinite air supply and maybe snacks that you can humanely place over a kid throwing a fit in public (only bratty fits, not in cases of injury, etc). This product would naturally entail all parents immediately an unquestioningly accepting assessments from me whether the BB should be activated at any particular time. Might also have a larger version for adults who are having inappropriately loud conversations on phones and/or people with annoying laughs. This version might perhaps dispense boxed wine to mellow them out a bit.

    • Tim Urban

      Hilarious invention.

      • Crossbow McStabby

        Thank ye.

  • artli

    New way to brush teeth.
    We’ve automated many routines like dishwashing or floor cleaning (yes, robotic vacuum cleaners are not yet perfect, but that’s the matter of time) but the need to go to the bathroom and rub teeth for several boring minutes is still there. You may blame laziness (and be right) but still lots of people brush their teeth too rarely.
    Probably we need something to put in your mouth after food, like a chewing gum that actually helps your mouth be clean.

    • Tim Urban

      Good one. The way we brush our teeth right now is ridiculously manual and old-fashioned. And probably not that effective.

      • Summer

        Nanobots anyone?

    • Warren McClure
      • artli

        Looks nice, something like this have to become popular (it’s a little expensive though).

      • David Steinberg

        Dammit! I’m a dentist and I was talking about something like this a few months ago. It’s already been invented!

      • Lizzie

        That think looks terrifying.

    • Elizabeth J.

      I recently switched dentist. He was pretty pushy about me getting an electric toothbrush. He said, at least once a day, DON’T use toothpaste. Just get it wet and use it for four minutes in front of the TV or computer. My teeth are so awesome now that he glows when I show up.

    • eron

      well if people werent scared of genetic modification, theres actually been research to modify some of the bacteria in your mouth to not give off plaque.

    • jaime_arg

      Something that auto-flossed me would be great. I brush 3 times a day but I fucking hate flossing.

  • Sophie

    Tim, for your headphones conundrum: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=6Hbwv0Ql888

    I’ve seen other gadgets for this too. The Chinese are all over it.

  • Sigmund_Jung

    Nanobots to fix cells. Or does it need to be some simple practical invention?

  • Claudia

    Someone said it already, but teletransportation would be then invention of the millennium. Not that we are that far, that very scary blog on AI made me realise that I could have a full day with my parents in Colombia and make it back in time for dinner in Swaziland…in less than 50 years.

  • maxkubert

    Also a cell phone that cuts off texting capabilities when you’re at a certain speed–so you can’t text and drive.

    • Zael

      And what about when you’re on a train or bus?

  • Chris Wizzard Williams

    A pillow that knows when to heat itself or cool itself down based on user preferences

    • Zach

      this

    • Zael

      Pretty sure it’s already been done. One way at least.

      • Chris Wizzard Williams

        You’re probably right. Just threw down the first thing I thought of

  • Leandro Franz

    A new religion for non-religious. An unified and good and laic system of ethic/morals/thuths. Not something against any God, just something that any god believer would accept and learn as a kid, and take it through life. It could start as simple as “You must not kill” and go on from that…

  • Camille

    I think what the world needs is a way to process Humanure that removes all the heavy metals, pharmaceuticals and other crap. Further, the invention would need to make it more economically feasible to poop in the new composting system than in fresh drinking water, eliminating this wasteful practice.

    The resulting 5.75 billion tons of natural fertilizer (1643 lbs per person per year times 7 billion people) could displace nearly 6% of the nitrogen currently being used, nitrogen fertilizer which is compromising our ground water. And that would just be the tip of the iceberg!

    • Tim

      If you mean getting rid of flush toilets, will there still be a communal sewage system as happens now? It seems to me that without this, it would be hard to get the, uh, product out to where it’s needed.

      • Camille

        Agreed! A distribution system needs to be invented also. Maybe the stuff is purified, dried and pneumatically delivered to the farms where it gets blown onto the fields, enriching our soil and food. It would be good to use the same system for animal waste (an estimated 1.37 billion tons of which are produced in the United States alone – 5 times that of the U.S. human population.)

        I don’t mean to be preoccupied with this stuff, but I can’t help it. Especially after living in West Africa where human sewage is still being dumped into the waterways.

    • Zael

      Bill Gates already backed a project like this.

      • Camille

        Very exciting, yes! But so far, not fruitful. There have been many projects, many backed by the Gates Foundation, and so far no economically feasible process. My husband was project manager on a Gates-funded sanitation project recently. I lived there with him during year and a half in West Africa, and became well-immersed in the problem and the science.

        So, that’s the invention I am manifesting, a viable process which will shift forever the way we think about and treat manure. Manure which overwhelms our waterways while the soil languishes for want of nutrients. We’ve got plenty of ideas, funding and incredibly dedicated talent, but so far no solution.

  • eyesonhorizon

    Artificial Superintelligence? The world is getting boring. Maybe either an utopia or a doom is the thing to witness before I died. I know, this might not be what the world needs but what I need. But still, a god will be a great invention.

  • Jiri Roznovjak

    Wireless electricity.

    Imagine you would not ever have to charge your phone/laptop, refuel your car, airplanes and ships and vehicles would not have to carry a load of fuel and could be flying/floating/driving for indefinitely long.

    I know that this doesn’t seem possible, especially over long distances, but it wouldn’t have to be wireless electricity per se, maybe just a way to get energy from the surrounding environment. Just get rid of those cables and set us free.

    • Frank

      Ask Nikola Tesla about that one, seems hé had something going in this way, but it wassuppressed!

    • Ian Rothman

      Wireless electricity has been invented in concept. I look forward to the practical applications.

      • Zael

        The practical solutions are out there as well. Even DYI models.

    • hickey

      wireless is clearly the answer

    • Ben Ellis
  • Jason Sypsa

    Some kind of gyroscopic haptic-feedback GPS navigation device for the blind.

    • Joanna Rene Rasmussen

      YES.

  • James Noyes

    I have headphones with a retractable cord that serve exactly the function you are talking about, Tim. There are a bunch of them out there:

    http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_1?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=retractable+earbuds&rh=i%3Aaps%2Ck%3Aretractable+earbuds

    • Helene

      Okay, that’s pretty awesome!

  • Ian Rothman

    A copier made of clear plastic, so you can see exactly where the jammed paper is.

    • Elizabeth J.

      I share your paper pain.

  • Elizabeth J.

    As a music teacher, I would love to see the elimination of all paper. “Lost” music bogs down my classes like nothing else! Having to keep it all filed is also an ongoing nightmare. I know electronic stands kind of exist now but I haven’t seen them widely available and they don’t seem to have ease of use. Bring those suckers on! Tim, here’s a link to a very obscure, super-sweet Viennese waltz https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=45ft7onAhR4

    • Artyom Karapetov

      I support your cause, loosing and trying to organize sheet music is a pain. Try scanning and putting sheet music to Evernote, and access the digital version of the file via a tablet/laptop while playing. Though this obviously won’t work in a class setting… The next decade will bring an end to paper when schools will have tablets instead of textbooks/notebooks, so the future looks bright 🙂

      • Elizabeth J.

        Starting last year, I scan everything before I give it out to students. When they lose the very music I gave them just yesterday– they have numbered and assigned folders with its own storage slot(!)– I just run to my printer. Of course, they take great glee when I can’t find a score so it serves me as well.

    • Zael

      I really can’t understand how nobody’s created a proper app for iPad for this yet. It’s mind boggling.

      • Elizabeth J.

        It can’t be on an iPad or regular tablet. It has to be BIG plus you need to be able to write on it. It would be awesome if you could highlight a section and it would play it. Probably exists somewhere.

  • Douglas

    I want a phone that will answer and decline calls, change music, and text people without using your hands or voice command. Imagine thinking I want to listen to something and it automaticly playing for you. Its because I always nearly crash my bike trying to ride the bike in rough places with one hand and use the phone in another.

  • Helene

    A collapsible portable coffee mug. Because my non collapsible one always falls out of my bag when I’m done with it, until I eventually just carry it around and then promptly lose it.

    I’ve already gone through 2 this year.
    (Did I spell “collapsible” right? It’s looking more and more wrong …)

  • dsquareddan

    Adblock for your television. Some device that sits between your cable box & TV, maybe a Rasberry Pi computer with HDMI in & out.

    Scans the current channel and determines when the program has gone to commercial.

    Personal use: during commercial break your tv will show you latest social media updates & news. Or remind you to do a quick exercise or get a healthy snack. Or just play your favorite music and show some photos on the TV.

    Commercial use: you’re in a bar, watching the sports game, goes to commercial, instead of blasting the latest shitastic commercial for VISA, you get advertisements for beer specials in bar, or an upcoming event happening. Maybe prize giveaways or a new menu item.

    Of course cable networks would hate it. But if you made the software only & put it up as a optional donation to download, and have it work on something open source like Rasberry Pi I think you could avoid legal trouble.

    • Sigmund_Jung

      Hummmm… as much as I hate ads, I like the idea that companies can fund the productions I enjoy by renting my eyeballs. We all sacrifice something.

      Regarding “remind you to do a quick exercise or get a healthy snack” — yep, that’s totally the reason people eat crap and don’t exercise: poor memory 🙂

    • Eli Peter

      I’ve been watching streaming content (Roku FTW) long enough that network tv is really jarring now. “Wait, people still patiently sit through crappy insurance/car/prescription drug/matress sale/lawyer commercials these days?!”

    • Artyom Karapetov

      There’s a trend that less and less people watch traditional TV with ads. I think that people who’re annoyed at the commercials already migrated to streaming services, so this wouldn’t be necessary. Though if the plugin would be easy to attain and every Joe downloads it to his TV, it will be banned the next day… TV programming is not Google (though even Google signed a deal with Adblock Plus to whitelist their ads), it’s much more fragile and dependent on its ads, and they wouldn’t allow this to happen even if it effects a small margin of their revenue.

      Ultimate solution: online streaming services paired with Roku 3, Smart TV (like the upcoming Android TV) or a game console. Stop supporting ads and traditional TV will be extinct sooner, and you won’t have to deal with the ads at all.

  • Me
  • Michelle Yockelson

    A new light feature in cars, either a button to push or a trigger connected to the attachments for infant car seats. When an infant is on board a light on the car will indicate to other drivers that there is a “baby on board”.

    • Hanneke

      I don’t get why, I don’t get the stickers either. It’s not like people are planning to crash into your car and then decide not to, just because they see there’s a baby on board… Or am I missing the point?

      • AgentMidnight

        If there’s an accident, the paramedics or whatever that see it will know that there is a baby that needs help. Some people also use it hoping that others won’t beep their horns, because a loud noise can wake up a sleeping child, which can be super annoying.

      • Michelle Yockelson

        I would hope that when people see a “baby on board” sticker others would be less likely to tail gait which does increase the likelihood of a rear end.

  • Thijs

    Warp 10

  • Toni Lavery

    A mood bracelet or mood-odometer. It would significantly enhance the benefits of biofeedback. Using body heat (or some other painless way) it would monitor the wearer’s chemical levels for serotonin, cortisol, oxytocin, dopamine, and adrenalin then produce a computer read out of those levels on the bracelet. This would allow the wearer to know when and how to calm down or ramp up. The read out would not only report chemical levels but would recommend actions to take like mediate, eat (even naming a specific food or liquid to optimize hydration, blood sugar, etc.), get a hug, or exercise. Could result in the best world humanity has ever seen, or the worst if the knowledge is abused. Big pharma would do everything to prevent it coming to the market as it would render many of their products useless.

    • Artyom Karapetov

      This has a huge potential, and that’s why a company like Google (probably Google itself) will create such technology. They already make shorts which can measure your bio data, this is one of the next steps.

  • Ryo

    Someone should do some good for the planet and invent a device that sorts out garbage separately: you know, plastic, metal, glass and so on. I find myself constantly wondering if this sh*t is metal or plastic or what the f**k… and I don’t think it’s hard, some tool to read density automatically should be enough. That would save us all a lot of time and the planet would be cleaner too :).

  • d

    I don’t know about all ya’ll, but what my world needs desperately is a weather stabliser

  • Googolplex

    Hey Tim, hope this helps you out a bit. It did for me 😀

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wfzt4jSOV7k

  • James Noyes

    A device that harnesses the physical energy generated from exercise machines (bikes, rowers, lifting machines, etc) to generate electricity. Deploy them in every Gold’s Gym, LA Fitness, and other major fitness clubs. If they generate enough power to fully cover electric costs they could sell the surplus back to the grid, or more realistically at least cut back substantially on what I imagine is a major energy-consuming facility.

    • Eli Peter
      • Jeff Lewis

        A quote in that article illustrates the problem of scale with this concept – “One person has the ability of producing 50 watts of electricity per hour when exercising at a moderate pace.” In other words, not even enough to power a 60 W bulb. Granted, CFLs and LEDs are significantly more efficient than the old incandescents, but there are so many other electrical systems and appliances that use a lot more energy – HVAC, refrigerators, hot water heaters, computers, etc. But I suppose that every little bit helps, so kudos to those gyms for their efforts.

  • Borja Germain de Solís

    I really think we need to see improvements in TRANSPORTATION. If you look at sci-fi books and films, as well as ‘expert’ predictions regarding the future that were made decades ago, most of the time they expected to see the biggest improvements in transportation: flying cars, teleportation, spaceships, etc. However, the harsh reality is that whereas we had MASSIVE improvements in areas such as telecommunication and IT, technologically speaking not much has changed in transportation since at least the ’50s (and perhaps I’d go as far as saying that nothing has really changed since we have cars and transatlantic flights).

    The first step in the right direction would be to switch completely to SELF-DRIVING CARS (perhaps this switch would have already been made if it weren’t for bailouts and regulations, but that is another topic). Because we humans are fallible, and we humans drive cars, literally THOUSANDS of life are lost each year. We should end this bloodshed as soon as possible.

    • Borja Germain de Solís

      Oh, I almost forgot, my invention: GIANT ROBOTIC VELOCIRAPTORS to take you from Point A to Point B in the most quick and BADASS fashion.

      If someone does actually ever invent it, I want my royalties. Thank you.

    • Michael

      A great deal of improvement has taken place in transportation since the 1950s. The basics are the same, yes, but the refinements are considerable. The classic 1957 Chevy had no power steering, no power brakes, and the drum brakes on all wheels were powered by a tiny master cylinder. The dash board was hard metal, and bristling with sharp corners and pointy protrusions. I’ve driven one of those classic death traps, and while it looked cool, it was horrible. Today, even the cheapest cars have power-assisted disc brakes on all four wheels, traction control, ABS, power steering, ergonomically designed gauges, padded dashboards, etc, All of these improvements have made their way to the world of heavy trucks too. Driving a two-stick normally-aspirated rattletrap death box from the ’50s is nothing like driving a modern tractor-trailer with all the amenities and safety features.

      I’m not a programmer by trade, but I have enough experience with software that I’m terrified of self-driving cars, thank you very much. They can’t even get GPS maps right after all these years, and now you want a car to take its own reins and take you down that washed out pig path the GPS thinks is a shortcut. Everywhere around here there are signs proclaiming “GPS ROUTING NOT ADVISED,” and for very good reason! Software is very good at dealing with the things its designers predicted, and terrible at dealing with anything outside the design parameters. Every part on a motor vehicle can fail in unpredictable and bizarre ways. How sure are you that your software designer considered every possibility when you surrender control to the computer?

      I’ve spent too much time debugging software to be ready to hitch my wagon to that particular parade anytime soon. Once software gets out of the lab and into the hands of stupid people, it’s amazing what unexpected things can happen.

      • Jeff Lewis

        Have you seen the way most people drive? Even if the software in a self-driving car isn’t perfect, it’s a hell of a sight better than the guy shaving on his way to work, the lady putting on makeup, the drunk leaving the bar at two in the morning, the person texting, or someone coming off a long shift falling asleep at the wheel. And yes, those are all preventable behaviors, but they’re going to happen, anyway. Even if I’m cocky enough to believe that I’d be better than the computer, I’d feel much safer on the road knowing that all the other bad drivers have been replaced by computers and weren’t out there just one inattentive moment away from killing me. I’d gladly give up my own control of the car if that was the tradeoff.

        • Michael

          I’ve driven well over 1,000,000 miles, and I’ve seen it all. I also spent some time working in an automotive shop, and I saw it all there too.

          You’re assuming the occasional computer glitch will be less dangerous to life and limb than the idiot who is jerking off while driving 100 mph. My position is that we’re just trading one danger for another when all the software glitches manifest themselves. “Oops, we never considered what would happen if those particular variables ever lined up that way.”

          Edge cases are the enemy of software design, and driving in the world is full of them. I’ve seen some strange things in 20 years on the road. What is the car going to do when it starts raining fish?

          I’ll let someone else discover the answer to those questions for many years to come, and just try to dodge the computer cars doing unpredictable and weird things for no obvious reason. At least human unpredictability is basically predictable.

          • Jason Kay

            God I HATE the computers already in my car… lets shut off the engine to save gas JUST as I start to pull out into traffic.
            I like my cars analog and with a manual thank you. First thing I do when its’ snowing or slippery is to shut off traction control because it doesn’t.

          • Jeff Lewis

            “My position is that we’re just trading one danger for another when all the software glitches manifest themselves.”

            I don’t think there’s any ‘just’ about it. I think that’s almost like saying taking medicine is just trading the dangers of the disease against the dangers of side effects from the medication. Technically, you are trading dangers, but one course of action is far less risky than the other. Self-driving cars of course aren’t there yet, but I think with the current pace of research and testing, it’s only a few more years until they’re safer than human drivers, and only a few more years after than until they’re much, much safer.

            I’m in aviation, and this field is already full of automation. I work at a small R&D company. Our aircraft doesn’t have full autonomy, but we have automated a lot of individual systems, and that’s made our aircraft far more reliable and safe. That’s not a dig on the pilots, but they’re only human, and have limitations that computers don’t. Bigger companies have far more automation. Certain airliners require that the autopilot land the plane when conditions get too bad, because statistically, the computer is safer than the human pilot in those situations.

            You do bring up a good point about edge cases. A recent article on Nature, Autonomous vehicles: No drivers required, discussed this a bit, in what a former Google engineer called “the long tail of unlikely events”. Their solution is basically brute force – get out there and test long enough for the cars to experience enough of these events that engineers can develop solutions for each of them. They may never program solutions for every event, but humans aren’t ready for every event, either. It’s not about making self-driving cars perfect, it’s about making them safer than people.

            (Personally, I’m curious about maintenance, because I haven’t seen much mention of that in the articles I’ve read. Airplanes have a lot of autonomy, but airplanes also have very strict maintenance requirements. Are self-driving cars going to have some self-diagnosis, and only drive themselves if all systems pass the boot-up tests? Although, I’m sure if I can think of a question after just a few minutes of thought about this, the engineers devoting their careers to this issue have already thought of and addressed that question.)

            • Michael

              You raise a good point about automation in aviation. I understand the big jets do practically everything on their own, and the pilot is just there to deal with edge cases. On the other hand, there is a whole lot of empty sky up there, and not so many planes in the air, or birds for that matter. I’m sure the busy airports are quite hellish to negotiate, but still can’t imagine the traffic levels compare to being on the ground in DC or Atlanta at rush hour.

              I drive an 18-wheeler for a living, or technically a 10-wheeler nowadays. Cars pose their hazards to be sure, but the least predictable and most difficult hazards come from trees and animals. You haven’t lived until you’ve had a tree blow over right in front of a gasoline tanker that’s barreling down a forest road at 45 mph, or gone off a mountain into… what’s that? COWS! Oh shit! I had a large buck launch itself out of the woods in wild pursuit of a doe in heat, and that one cost my company $25,000. I was glad there was brown fur all over my wrecked truck!

              This is where technology DOES help, don’t get me wrong. Without ABS brakes, traction control, and stability control to avoid roll-overs (which have a $1,000,000 deductible and are almost certainly fatal to the driver), my job would be a lot more scary and dangerous than it is. I can see far-looking radar or infrared or something giving me more of an edge against fallen trees and herds of wayward cattle too.

              What I emphatically DON’T want is a damn computer actuating a servo that moves my steering in any way. Steering is life or death with any truck, but especially with tankers and doubles. You can apply the brakes and cut the power all you want, but I’ll steer. Make too rapid a steering correction, and I’m almost guaranteed a gruesome death. If I live or die today, I’d rather it be by my own hand. Maybe I’m a control freak.

              Oh well. I didn’t want an automatic transmission either, but the automated, self-shifting gearbox in this thing shifts better than I ever could, and I got over it eventually.

              One of these days, I won’t have a job at all. Let’s face it–me dragging my feet on the automation is self-preservation as much as anything else. I’m rationalizing. Airline pilots still have a job for now, but truck drivers will be some of the first to go if I don’t miss my guess. Everybody hates truck drivers anyway. Hell, I am a truck driver, and I hate truck drivers too. Being part of this crowd is definitely a mixed bag. No, I’ve never slept with a whore or taken drugs, but I don’t know any other truck drivers who haven’t done both, and I wouldn’t believe me either.

              Anyhoo…

            • hjbhk

              Google is right, they won’t know about the cases until they happen, so if they want to make self driving cars a reality they should get them out on the road in an increasing area as soon as they’re close to human level of driving skill, and if it’s only the case when driving at slow speeds only take them in slow speed areas for a while.

          • hjbhk

            That’s stupid, unpredictability is unpredictable, if you know unpredictable things happening is a certainty the only thing that matters is which unpredictable set is safer, if it’s computers, computers should drive.

            • Michael

              I thought about it at work last night, and came up with a concrete example to back up my gut feeling. I once found myself approaching a large patch of black ice in an empty tractor-trailer, at a stop light. I saw the ice from a great distance back, and formulated the plan that I was stopping on the near side of it, or I was going through the light whether it was red or not. Once I got on the ice, I was totally committed. I was NOT going to touch my brakes or make steering corrections while on that sheet of ice.

              It was a fine plan, but a green pickup truck I was following very carefully at a long distance had other ideas. He panicked, and slowed down abruptly. I was closing. Closing. Closing. Closing.

              Damn.

              I could either touch my brakes and probably wreck, or I could definitely hit the green pickup in the ass without even trying to stop. Given those choices, there was only one choice, and I touched the brakes.

              The next few seconds of my life are a complete blur. I have utterly no clue what the hell I did. It was totally beyond any conscious thought process, and it was pure reflex, pure instinct. My truck was all to hell, with the tractor and trailer swinging wildly this way and that. The trailer went from one ditch to the other ditch back to the first ditch, and I just rode the pissed off bull using my ass and my arms.

              I made it off the ice. I checked my mirrors, and there were no wrecked cars in either of the ditches. I didn’t wreck, and I didn’t hit anybody. Amazing! Damn, my instincts are really good!

              Now the problem is this: I switch gears and put my programmer hat on. How the hell do you expect me to code an algorithm encapsulating all the rules I used instinctively, when I have utterly no clue what the rules were, or what I did? I can’t explain to you, even in theory, how to avoid a wreck in a scenario like that. It seems to me nobody would be a better choice to code this than someone who has lived through scenarios like this first hand, but it turns out that my ass is the expert driver here, and my brain has no idea what to code.

              I’ve worked with researchers at one of the big transportation research projects. Young kids who think they know everything, but like all young kids, they don’t know a fraction as much as they think they do. I was no exception, and it’s nothing against the kids.

              When the day comes, I think it’s a fine idea to build a cabin in the back woods somewhere, and stay the hell away from roads. I wouldn’t want to share the road with a tractor-trailer I programmed, and I don’t know anybody better equipped to program one than me.

            • hjbhk

              Right, so given that both cars would have similar instructions under the conditions they wouldn’t miscommunicate like you and the other driver did.

              The cars could still have lucky instances like you did.

              The cars would be programmed to avoid this situation from ever occurring, rather than try to solve the much harder question of once it happens, how to behave.
              This would be possible because of all the cars having the same instructions, you and the green truck would both stop, or both go.

              If there was a way of communicating locations to help with bad weather conditions, then if you needed to run the light, any other cars in the intersection could also evacuate.

              I don’t think this problem is unsolvable at all, you have a lot of ways to manipulate these emergency situations.

            • Michael

              I hadn’t thought about vehicle to vehicle communications in that scenario, and it does offer tasty possibilities.

              On the other hand, I’ve continued thinking about this since the last time I wrote, and I’m paying a lot more attention to how many times I have to override the automatic controls I do have. Traction control is great until it totally prevents you from starting on snow. The current generation self-shifting gearbox is quite slick, and pulls off crazy shifts I would never attempt manually (from 2nd straight to 7th, for instance), but it’s still no match for mountain roads in rural West Virginia. I use manual mode far, far less than most of our drivers, but even I was ready to walk off the job when they threatened to disable manual mode on our trucks to save fuel.

              Technology to augment things and improve safety I can totally see, but fully autonomous class 8 vehicles carrying hazmat probably won’t happen in my working life, if ever. My job is probably secure, though it would be amusing to see how the engineering geeks solve the problem of loading and unloading these things autonomously.

      • Jason Sypsa

        I would agree with your assessment that purely self-driving cars may be a bad idea or at least premature, but why not a hybrid human-assisted mode when driving non-highway/interstate routes.

      • hjbhk

        Ah, but in building stuff you don’t just plan for all events you can think of, but try your product and then fix the problems that arise. No reason self driving cars shouldn’t become a reality, especially if AGI and ASI is going to be as well.

        Humans will soon be worse at driving than computers. I look forward to that day.

  • Svorak

    So who do you sell these ideas to, Tim, the owner of all intellectual property posted on this site?

  • Little Fish

    Self cleaning microwave

  • wobster109

    The trick magic-8 ball. Most of the time it’s a regular random ball, but it has 3 dice inside: one normal, one that always says Yes, and one that always says No. A hidden switch lets you pick which to release. You use it to be condescending to people. So suppose your friend asks you something obvious, like “how do you feel about a big road trip this weekend”, and there’s a big snowstorm coming up. You say sarcastically, “gee let’s see what the 8-ball has to say”, and it comes up No. You shake it again, still No. Friend says “I think it’s stuck”. You say “well let’s ask it something else”, and this time it comes up normal.

  • PinkTheBush

    An internet behavior punishment device. Slut shame a classmate on Facebook? Delivers a violent but non-lethal shock through the keyboard. Leave a hateful comment under the cowardice of anonymity? Computer punches you in the face. Or it could just take the high road and simply administer fines. Whatever. Something to bring consequences back to how we treat and interact with others.

    • AFellowPlayer

      With the league of legends profile picture…

      I can imagine you feel like that every day

      • PinkTheBush

        Whew. It’s so bad.

  • Jaime Bernard

    The world needs a device that alerts drivers (parents primarily) when they are leaving a minor in the back of the car…. on a hot day. Ugh…. the all too frequent stories of children being left in the back of the car on a hot day break my heart.

    • Lizzie

      Ugh, that’s so true. Every time I read one of those stories there’s a mention of someone working on a weight sensor, backseat mirror, or other product to prevent those tragedies, yet I haven’t actually seen any of them on the market.

  • Joanna Rene Rasmussen

    A self-inflating black-out bubble. It would be an addition to every standard survival kit. Or, just keep handy for when you’re having a bad day. It acts like a womb, providing all the nourishment one needs for up to nine months. It would be impenetrable, from the outside, and withstand radiation, sandstorms, acid rain, nagging insults and holidays. Can also be used as a dry sensory deprivation containment unit.

  • Alex Mac

    A device that plays recording in your sleep not enough to wake you but enough to engrain into your subliminal mind you can do stuff like learn a language without even thinking

    • Matt Perry

      I believe something like this has been experimented with, unfortunately I don’t think it worked which sucks because it would make my classes MUCH easier.

  • Vivid

    A dream recording device, which could record visuals and sounds from our dreams and could be played later on on some screen. It would be amazing. When I was a kid, I used to tell that to my friend that I am working on such a device, and he kinda believed me.
    I don’t know if building such thing would ever be possible or not.

  • Eli Peter

    A device/app that keeps record of the last time you used each of your possessions. Comes in handy when you need to throw out crap.

    “I might still use this thing!” you’ll say to yourself.
    “You haven’t touched that thing since the Clinton administration” the device/app would reply.

    • A. Hoarder

      That wouldn’t change the fact that once you’ve thrown the thing out, you’ll find yourself wanting it again while Obama is still in the White House…

  • Rebecca George

    A folding machine. Just pop your clean clothes in it after the dryer and the clothes come out nicely pressed and folded. Starching options also available.
    Even better, combine the washer, dryer, folder together into one amazing laundry bot.

    • Jozef Gajdos

      Actually, you don’t need a machine for that. You just have to wait a bit 🙂

    • Terry Greathead

      At the same time all socks are paired with no odd ones

  • Artyom Karapetov

    I have some app ideas, but you’re gonna know about them a bit later 🙂

  • Ymmitg

    I hope someone invents a way to get all the benefits of A.I. but without the risk. After reading your two A.I. posts I am curled up in a ball in a corner of my basement waiting for the Robopocalypse. Amazing summary, but scared the poop out of me.

    • pookie

      robopocalypse though.. 🙂

  • headphones

    To tim:
    There’s the type of headphone that rolls the cord into the headset-parts
    it never gets messy, though it only comes with the time to hook/clip on the ear
    hope that helps

  • Steve

    Something that sustains my orgasms for an hour or longer.

    • Hagbard Celine

      Isn’t that what Meth does?

  • Angela Huang

    This isn’t my invention but I’d love a real Baymax.

  • The K man

    It is an idea for a commercial and I really think it could work so don’t steal it.
    Normally, commercials are louder than the show you are watching to get your attention but everyone hates commercials so they don’t look at the tv during that time. What if it went from some loud commercial to your absolutely silent commercial. Everyone would look at the TV because they would think someone turned it off or it broke or whatever. Now everyone is looking at the screen and then you can easily sell your product via writing on the screen or a picture of your product with a witty caption like, “Made You Look”

  • I certainly couldn’t invent it, and don’t know that it’s even invent-able, but would love to have something that could prevent people from lying or could infallibly indicate if someone were lying. What’s available is unwieldy and unreliable. But imagine a world where we’d have to handle the truth, because whether we liked it or not, it was out there. If politicians, advertisers and criminals couldn’t get away with lying, perhaps we’d all stop lying to ourselves and grow up.

    • Bill

      Look for a novel called “The Truth Machine.” I found aspects of it rather cold and creepy, but it was certainly thought provoking.

      • Bill, thank you. I’ve checked it out on Amazon (sad you can get it for a penny!). If I were to extrapolate from my “truth machine” premise, I’d have liked to come up with as positive an end result as Halperin. I’m a bit too cynical to believe it – humans are way too good at fighting their own best interests. But kind of nice to know I’m not alone in thinking this avenue is a possible solution!

  • Monica

    Tesla already invented what the world really needs right now, a device that extracts energy from the heat in the air. Why aren’t we using it now?

    • nielmalan

      Because it’s a figment of someone’s imagination.

      • Jason Kay

        Because it is called a turbine, and the electric car doesn’t use it. A coal-fired, nuclear, or natural gas power plant does use the technology.
        As does the Turbocharger in most modern cars (utilizing the hot exhaust gasses to compress the incoming charge for the engine to produce more power).

  • nielmalan

    Driverless cars would be a good ultimate invention, but in the meantime a car that can be operated safely with one hand and half a mind would be a start. I don’t think we’ll be able to eliminate driving while intexticated.

  • BOKinLarksville

    We need a political system in the United States without corporate influence. We need a system where the average Joe can run for office and actually have a chance of getting the elected position. We need to set term limits on all elected positions in Congress.. We need a system that puts the people of this country before the parties that represent them..

    • nielmalan

      That’s already been invented. It’s called democracy.

      • Terry Greathead

        Yes you are correct that the system itself is in place, unfortunately it does not work so well due to the people that are part of that system, who abuse there priviledged position of power. What we need is a way of preventing that from happening. It may be a pipe dream but after all that is what all these posts are about.

    • Aaron Barbee

      We need to end lifetime benefits for elected officials, as well. I mean, unless they pay into some sort of retirement fund, why is health care and all that crap guaranteed for them? Boo… 🙁

      • Jeff Lewis

        You mean, unless they contribute into the Federal Employees Retirement System like any other government employee? So, problem solved?

    • Karen Edgerton

      I applaud your suggestion. Unfortunately I do not have the $1,000,000 to help such a democratic ‘by the people for the people’ idea get put in place. Maybe the Koch brothers could help. Okay, maybe not them….

    • Danilo

      its called kickstarter/indiegogo… 😉

  • Neagu Vali

    http://www.techarp.com/showarticle.aspx?artno=83&pgno=3 use this for your headphones. If you get rich because of this idea, I want 20%.

  • Anne-Maud

    I live in the Netherlands, a small country that is one of the biggest exporters of fruit and vegetables. Some regions here are filled with huge greenhouses to produce all that food. This leads to a lot of ‘light pollution’. The greenhouses have really powerful lamps and at night one greenhouse produces a big column of yellow/orange light that can be seen from over 20 km away. This messes with the biorhythm of many different animals, especially birds. I think something that can cover the greenhouses at night, and also is cheap and easy to use, would be really amazing.

    • hjbhk

      And don”t forget plain old street lamps that don’t have covers on them, so the light goes up as well as down.

    • antinea

      I also live in a greenhouse rich area in the Netherlands and have been bothered by light pollution often (so not only birds). for greenhouses there should be:
      -a cover for the glass roof that lets light through in only one direction.
      -the roof is covered each night once the sun is down in a material that doesn’t allow light through at all.
      -i’ve heard about experiments with coloured led light. as the plants absorb red light best, that’s the only colour the led lamps will be. less light pollution and also less energy. i believe the experiments were succesful but the lights were too big an investment to implement on a large scale.

      the overly bright, light-polluting streetlights annoy me to no end, too.
      -i want Dumbledore’s Deluminator…
      -but seriously, streetlights should be covered on top, and preferably on the sides, as well.
      -there should be a law that streetlights cannot shine on residences. that law should go for home owners, company buildings and sport fields, too.
      -there have been experiments with sensors so that the lights only go on when they detect movement.

  • Paul R. De Buck

    We need a MESSAGING APP with EMOTION.

    I now always use exclamation mark to end my phrases because a simple point seems too harsh or rude.
    Also some phrases might be ambiguous when written but would totally be fine in real life because in real life you can see the expression on the face of the person who is speaking, contrary to written messages. It would also allow us to easily communicate simple emotions such as happiness or sadness but also some more complicated like fear, anger, or doubt in text.
    I always find it frustrating not to be able to express easily my emotions through texts.
    I was thinking about some kind of background shading for each sent messages and there would be a color code for each basic emotions and so you could even mix multiple emotions (colors) and send the message.
    And while we are at it why not make it intelligent, for example the application could be able to tell my mood from some informations like the speed I’m writing at, or some expressions commonly used in some emotional state and so on.
    Actually, I’m thinking about coding an Android app for this, anyone would be interested ?

    PS: I recently stumbled upon this blog (thank you reddit), and I must say I love it, I spent the last few days reading everything you have written, you’re doing a great job in explaining things simply in some very interesting topics, plus I like the pictures. Keep ’em coming ! Kudos.

    • marisheba

      I was really excited to discover that the What’sApp texting app has a voice text feature. Just press the microphone button, talk, release when you’re done, and it sends a little voice text! Solves all of the texting frustrations you mention here, which I also share….except that, like voicemails, my friends don’t actually listen to them in a timely manner!–Even when I keep them really short. I suppose it does take longer to press play and listen than to scan a text in a few seconds, and that’s enough to make it all not realy work. Sigh.

    • Karen Edgerton

      I appreciate the desire for emotion in texts but not something that reads what I’m feeling at that exact moment. In case I’m pissed off and answering someone’s invite to dinner. Read: GD WTF I’ll be there U Ahole.

  • Donny V.

    Gravity plates for space ships. That would solve a lot of issues with space travel. 😉

  • Greg Rosner

    A MOBILE OFFICE – Wifi is or LTE/4G covers large swaths of the US – and over the next few years internet connectivity will only get better – all over the world. And if you are able to work as long as you are connected, the only thing preventing you from working in central park – is having a desk, a comfortable chair, and a tent like covering to protect you from the sun, rain and wind. I want to invent a mobile office that folds together and gives you an office space anywhere you have a 10×10 area. Complete with a battery or power generation ability to keep your devices charged and working at optimal efficiency.

  • Jeff Lewis

    Cheap, efficient energy storage. Renewable energy sources like wind and solar are great, but still need to be supplemented by fossil fuels to meet demand when the wind stops blowing or the clouds come out. A way to store energy when the generators were exceeding demand would allow energy needs to still be met when the generators stopped.

    • turquaz

      Second that!
      There are many energy storage systems, batteries, compressed air, 2-dam systems etc,
      But none that is cheap/efficient yet.

  • Stacey Brooks Crowhurst

    A karma machine that redistributes the world’s wealth based on human decency every 10 – 35 years.

    • Gnip

      Karma machine for every other sectors would be cool, as well! For example, justice, environment, humanitarian, and many more. We will become a decent human race in short time (hopefully).

  • Bill

    Bass-seeking missile: Destroys cars with 1.21 gigawatt bass speakers.
    Star Wars Mosture vaporators: Removes humidity from the air to put into the fresh water system.
    Rationalizer field: When this field is deployed, the minds of those within range will be unclouded by emotion and cherished misconception.
    Honesty field: When this field is deployed, those within range are unable to lie or conceal their motives. (Rationalizer & Honesty fields to be deployment at all centers of government)

    • Tim

      That honesty field needs to come with some honesty-proof clothing for the operator to wear, otherwise I can see how things will go:

      “Why did you deploy this honesty field, Tim?”

      “Because I feel jealous of/attracted to you, and hoped you would reveal something embarrassing/that I could use to impress you. Shit.”

    • Karen Edgerton

      I thought you meant a missile to blow up fish. Which made no sense. I love the rationalizer and honesty field ideas.

    • Chair

      if these moisture removers existed, everyone would have dry, chapped skin. unless it’s florida.

  • Naveena CJ

    Actually Tim, there is a solution http://store.witworks.in/

    • Terry Greathead

      Great solution, of course the other option is to go Bluetooth, then there are no cables

  • Jason Kay

    AI

  • Troll_Hunter

    I would like to see a device that I can connect to my phone that would track a scamming telemarketers spoofed phone number back to his actual physical location. It would then send a sound file that would automatically turn any audio circuits on full volume blasting a screaming voice saying “GOTCHA RACHAEL FROM CREDIT CARD SERVICES” while concurrently injecting an electrical overload into his system completely melting all of his equipment and send a thousand volt taser shock to every keyboard connected to the system!! Yeah! that’s what I want!

  • Terry Greathead

    How about a 100% reliable contraceptive that has no side effects, can be taken by men or women, can be manufactured cheaply and distributed to anyone in the world over the age of 12.

    • Jeff Lewis

      On that topic, here’s an interesting article on male contraceptives: My Boyfriend Boils His Balls for Me. It discusses the traditional method (ball boiling) that’s about all that’s available for men right now, as well as some of the current lines of research into more convenient methods.

  • rw

    salt tolerant edible plants that could be irrigated w sea water.

    • marisheba

      == seaweed?

    • Bill

      Oh. Plants. I read pants.

      • Terry Greathead

        And that was the first thing I read too.
        The salt tolerant seemed to make sense, but when I saw edible I had to read it again and thats when I saw plants

    • hjbhk

      So, seaweed?

  • pit bull mom

    flying cars. i’m sick of sitting in traffic and often look up at the vast amount of space and think… if only we could utilize this space instead of the two lanes gravity has restricted me to

    • hjbhk

      Sure that’ll do wonders for the wildlife up there.

  • Gokhan Arslan

    Food robot.
    You put the ingredients, food comes prepared. I have seen pizza vending machines, but this will be more comprehensive. Like, you can download recipes which are just computer programmes to run the 3 to 6-axis robots. Would be better if it’s capable of grabbing things from the fridge itself.

    • Danilo Faria

      It would be even cooler if it washed itself

  • Adam Bayless

    A “smart refrigerator”. I’m always appalled at how many groceries I buy that end up spoiling or going to waste because I simply forget about them and don’t use them on time. It would be cool if my fridge could easily keep track of my purchases from the grocery store and then had a display that not only notified me when particular groceries we’re about to go bad, but also gave me recommendations on what I could prepare using those ingredients that I have that are about to go bad.

    • Liz

      Ohhhhh. That’s a good one.

    • Amir

      Not just a smart refrigerator but a smart kitchen that has inventory of everything with an app on your phone. It would be linked to meal planning and recipes and then when you want to make something, it will tell you what you have and what you need to buy.

    • jaime_arg

      You know you’re asking for a burn, right? Your problem can be solved by becoming a smart refrigerator user.

    • Steven Mello

      You know, with the bar code system already implemented, that may not be so difficult. Just scan your items as you put them away. Now if they could only include the day the product was made into the bar code system, it could automatically tell you what should be used first.

    • gerber

      i read an article that said basically have a small refrigerator

  • hwndp

    Navigation shoes with vibrating soles that show you which direction to go. So you don’t have to look at your phone. My first idea was the soles getting warmer when you’re approaching your destination, but that would feel weird. Anyway, somebody else already did that: http://goo.gl/kXOwfD

  • Bill

    Efficient antigravity / repulsor drive. Put it beneath something balanced atop it, and it will rise in the opposite direction of the gravitational pull. Variable power allows ascent, hover, and slow descent. Use it for cheap flying cars, floating trains, aircraft, and of course cheap transportation to Earth orbit and escape. Imagine space travel where you didn’t need delta-v to take off and land. Sending an enormous habitat to Mars would be easy.

  • Karen Edgerton

    My suggestion is not aimed at saving the world, just making a part of life easier for some people. A friendly but efficient way to keep a cat and its human safe when giving shots or trimming nails. This is for cats that do not ever want to be held (rescue or trauma cats). A towel/blanket burrito only works if the cat is the size of a small child or a sack of flour. Anything in-between and there will be blood.

    • turquaz

      Apperantly some vets use a carboard.

      More here:
      http://www.doctordog.com/catbook/cathand.html

      • Karen Edgerton

        I appreciate the share. Not quite workable. Couple reasons. The man in the pictures appears to be wearing a lead coat. He has abnormally large hands. He is not in a home where escape routes are unlimited. He has an assistant. I am just me without access to a protection suit. Although the cardboard idea would be a great photo op!

        • turquaz

          I know, I just thought that was funny.
          You can’t get a mad cat into a cardboard!

  • Instant gratification monkey

    Noise canceling machine

    I hate car noise but live in a bug city. So especially when I had a balcony close to a big street, I always wondered why, if noise is just audio waves and audio waves can cancel each other out, why is there no device I can install on my balcony that emits just the wave-mix that cancels out the car noise-waves? So I would sit on my balcony next to the big street in peaceful quietness. Would revolutionize the real estate market, would feel like beaming to me and should be possibly

    • hjbhk

      That is a great one.

      • Instant gratification monkey

        And I want it sooo badly to be invented!!!

    • Elizabeth J.

      I have Bose noise-canceling headphones. They get a lot done.

      • Instant gratification monkey

        But do you have to listen to music then or do they simply cancel noise and you can enjoy silence? silence is want I want 🙂

        • Elizabeth J.

          They do both and I use them in equal measure. They create “white noise” which cancels most incoming sound waves. Not perfect but I would lose my mind without them. I use them every day at work and home.

  • lisa

    A portable shiatsu massage thing. I would strap that thing on and walk around all day, every day!

  • KK

    A non exhaust based propulsion system in vacuum for space exploration.

  • hepcatbflat

    a beeper in the TV remote… like a cellphone.
    so you can find the damn thing…………WHAT???!!???

  • hepcatbflat

    that beeper thing,,,, that was my daughters idea.

  • Riccus

    I want a toaster that I dont have to wait ages for – surely it must be easy to make a machine that can toast bread in 10 -20 seconds?

  • Synthetcmachine

    Perpetual motion machine.

  • Syntheticmachine

    Energy creating highways

    • Zael

      Already done, Solar Roadways.

      • FrigiJderul

        Also a scam, Solar Roadways.

  • felix

    hey tim, I don’t think you’re one of those rare people who think it wouldn’t be cool to build your own iron man suit. Would be cool if you could write a post on the extent to which that is/will be possible, especially the flying part.

  • katmessing

    I’ve always thought of how neat it would be if you could use your eyes as a real camera. Color accurate to your own reception, and it snaps an image when you blink, so your eyelid acts as sort of a shutter, and consciously think-I’m taking a picture of this now. It would have to be a fairly invasive surgically imbedded system, with the human body being more of an interface than the actual functioning camera. It would be *as if* you are taking a picture by blinking, when really the software can read your mind by picking up a specific signal of excitement/anticipation or something from your brainwaves or chemicals (I obviously don’t know enough about brains) that it understands to mean “I want to get ready to take a picture from this vantage point”. Then it’d understand as you position yourself that you’re framing the photo you want to take. And when you blink, probably with a very specific, overly emphatic blink, the program taps into your optic nerves and records in an instant exactly what you see. And you can of course email it to yourself instantaneously. Uncompressed. For that matter you could do footage too; so acting as your own go-pro.

  • Turry

    A smell simulator. We can simulate sights and sounds but won’t it be cool to include scents as well!

  • Al Medrano

    There is something faster than light — it’s thought. Imagine traveling as fast as thought. To achieve this, we’d need a holodeck that could morph itself into our desired destination when we think of it. Of course, this is not really traveling. But it’s close enough to be fun. However, we’d have to be careful; we can think really fast and it could gets us real dizzy.

    • Liam

      Unfortunately, thoughts – as brain signals – only travel at a disappointingly slow 250mph or so.

      • eh?

        for serious? Wot?

  • Garrett

    A device that evaporates ocean water, separating the salt from the water providing humanity with plentiful fresh water.. And salt.

    • turquaz
    • gerber

      Maybe we should be thankful that the oceans are saltwater; Look at how much we have fucked up the oceans already by dumping in them, and scooping up all the sealife. The ocean is a finite resource. It would be just as cost effective to reuse the water we use.

  • Liam

    These are all things I “invented” some years ago, but of course did nothing about.

    1. 3D TV – I had this sussed in about 2001. Take about a dozen LCD screens, and run very thin fıbre-optic threads from each pixel and line them up at the other end to create multiple layers within a large cube. The effect would be truly 3D, with no need for special glasses.
    Obviously, you’d need a 3D camera to record the content. No problem – Just use a radar with a conventional camera and then get a computer to split the image across the different depths to achieve your 3D recording.
    I’m not sure how great the picture quality would actually have been – what with all those fibre-optic strands running about in there (they would have to be VERY thin for it to work at all) – but perhaps I should have given it a go…

    2. Time travel. Well, forwards in time anyway. I came up with this in my late teens after reading about relativity, and I still like it despite its many flaws… The premise is simple enough – Take two (or more) capsules out into space, tie a very long (a few miles should do it) and very strong (stronger than anything known to man, as I later found out 🙁 ) length of cable between opposing sides of them, strap your preferred method of propulsion to the back of each capsule, and accelerate (after the passengers have got in).
    After a while, the capsules should approach the speed of light, allowing many years to pass back on Earth, while the passengers remain in a controlled coma.
    Hey presto! Time travel!
    I know, I know, I know… And I’m sure there are plenty of things I *don’t* know that would also make this project totally unviable, but Tim asked for inventions – he said nothing about them being practical, reasonable, or even having to work very well… 😉

    Which leads me onto…
    Erm, no – that’s enough, I think.

  • Aaron D

    I’ve had this idea since early child (I’m 21 now). Build a car that has tubes from the front to the back and fill it with mini wind turbines to create energy. I feel that it probably couldn’t produce 100% of the energy needed, but maybe! Any scientists that could answer this for me?

  • jaime_arg

    NO VERTICAL VIDEOS PLEASE. You should add that warning, Tim.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bt9zSfinwFA

  • Doug Baker

    A headset for my friends 2-year old white lab to wear so she can communicate verbally. (English preferably, although spanish would be pretty hysterical). Even if it was just one, two, or three word phrases over and over again, id freaking love it. Would be tight to hear other dogs as well, but this one in particular, i am very interested to see what she has to say. Don’t ask me how some nerd in a box would work out the logistics. Im sure someone is probably trying to do this as we speak. Id be extremely disappointed in humans if someone wasn’t. But with all of this talk about machines taking over the universe, this doesn’t seem so far fetched

  • Sooty Mangabey

    A device that helps track where you parked your car. Just your car.

  • MooBlue

    A swallowable sensor that would live happily in your stomach and fifteen minutes after you ate lunch would send a signal to my smartphone saying how many calories I just ate (with macronutrient and micronutrient breakdown). Three hours later, my phone would say something like: hey, man, it’s 3pm and it seems like you’re running low on vegetables today. They serve steamed veggies down at the cafeteria until 5:30pm, you could check it out.

    • Monica Kronemeyer DeRegt

      Love this!!!

  • Drew66

    Okay, how about smart traffic lights? Every time I sit at a red light in a line of cars all idling away and burning gas while no vehicle is crossing in front of us on their green light (because there’s no one there) and I think about the dozens of times this happens to me and the zillion times this is happening all over the globe all day and night every day, I think about the unfathomable amount of energy that could be saved if the lights were just a little smarter and able to perceive the traffic situation better. I know there are some stoplights that have an electric eye and will stop through traffic only when there’s a car trying to cross an intersection, but these are few and far between and pretty rudimentary. With the smart technology already available to us (e.g., to turn my thermostat up or down depending upon who is in the house) and countless other examples, it makes me believe this would not be a hard problem to solve with an absolutely huge upside, not only in energy savings but in time saved and blood pressures lowered. Come on, folks, let’s get this done!

    • Liam

      This is already widespread in the UK – mostly using sensors in the road.
      They’re
      great when they’re set up properly, useless when they aren’t, and
      motorcyclists hate them because they don’t always detect bikes!

  • wobster109

    A camera that records smells. Unlike colors and sounds (which are basically continuum), smells are discrete. Meaning any smell is a kind of molecule, and humans can distinguish about 10000. The camera takes a sample of the air, records the molecular content, and then to play the smell back it releases those molecules in the same concentration. The Vet from the VetClinicGambia Youtube channel mentioned wanting one in several of his videos.

    • God4

      Or you could “zoom in” and intensify the smell

  • maximkazhenkov11 .

    Space elevator. It’s something achievable within 50 years if we work towards it. Why, you ask? Because it will allow space travel in a big way.

    Here is a little taste for what it allow us to do: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q6goNzXrmFs

    To me, it’s pretty awesome.

  • Danes

    I’d like a bar of soap that’s molded into a glove that you wear in the shower. It’d be awesome if the soap could mold to the curvature of your body, and it would also prevent that annoying problem of the bar breaking in half when it gets too thin.

    • Sooty Mangabey

      That would indeed be awesome!

  • Al Medrano

    I’d like to see a pneumatic human lifter to be used in hospitals. It would prevent nurses from back injuries. It would need to be compact to fit in doorways, be anchored to clamps embedded in the floor, and able to raise a body, with the use of straps, from the floor to a bed or gurney. Now even getting straps under a patient would be tricky but a lot easier than actually lifting someone.

    While a hoist system in the ceiling, perhaps with a track system, may seem better, it would be too expensive to retrofit in existing hospital rooms.

    • Joe Goebel

      there are so many versions of these, but unfortunately, like all medical devices, they are too expensive and most hospitals won’t invest in them. Google “handicapped overhead lifts” and you will be amazed at the variety and different manufacturers. Many homeowners will get them for their home if they have a permanent physical disability. Its shocking that most hospitals don’t use them, especially when you look at the statistics for how many days of work and the cost in rehab is incurred by medical facilities for workers that injure their backs.

  • K Matie

    This is a little lame compared to some (space travel! toasters!) but my brilliant invention was to be chocolate filled marshmallows. No more s’mores mess. You’d have to fill them with chocolate in a tube shape, so you could still get the stick through them, but think of how tasty that would be! You could melt them on anything you wanted… mmm…

    • Sooty Mangabey

      Get this on kickstarter! 😀

    • Joe Goebel

      I really like this idea and i think the product options are endless:
      George Forman (or KMatie) s’more grill – a little waffle iron thing you just stick two marshmallows and a slice of chocolate and in 20 seconds – shazam! crispy on the outside, warm and chocolatie on the inside. pop it out and slide between the crackers for a mighty fine treat.

  • Guest

    Something like this?
    http://lechal.com/index.html

  • Steven Mello

    Probably should have said this for the cell phone dinner table, but I’d really like to be able to control the brightness of my screen with the same buttons as I do the volume. Maybe I hold down the unlock button or something.

  • Monica Kronemeyer DeRegt

    I have always wanted self-sweeping floors. Can’t our floors be like reverse air hockey tables, or something like that? No more brooms!! Or…disposable, biodegradable clothing…kind of like contact lenses–New set every 2 weeks. How fun, and convenient would that be?? Save the world gazillions of gallons of water (no more washing machines), all of us more time (no more washing, folding, putting away), and everyone’s dream come true– a new wardrobe every two weeks.

  • Kapucchu

    Small stickers which allow GPS tracking function. Stick one in your wallet, your luggage, and your phone and access its location via PC or mobile app… saves me the mini heart attacks when you can’t find your wallet in your bag but you can find out immediately if it’s been left at home or on a subway! I can see how stalkers are going to rejoice at this invention though..

    • Simon Bækkegaard

      great idea, i could make that one. One problem would be battery life, though. But if it just has to last for a couple of days, then it is fine 🙂

    • Ella

      I have seen a gadget called Tile which is basically a key ring you can attach to things and track via your smartphone.

      • Lizzie

        Yup, I bookmarked a story about Tile months ago and keep thinking I should get one (or 12). https://www.thetileapp.com/

      • cybervigilante

        Except the thing I tend to lose most is my phone, and you need a phone to find it ;’)

  • antinea

    -the dream recorder. i want to watch it again or see what i couldn’t remember.
    -maybe also a thought recorder (of course only for personal use, and with an on/off switch). perhaps that could also help you translate an idea into reality, give you more control over muscles/coordination. such as if you had a great idea for a painting but couldn’t paint like shit.
    -anti aging technology that actually works. keep your body in the shape and health it was like when you were 21.
    -the undo function ctrl+Z for real life for those situations after you said something stupid or dropped your phone.

    The rest are things that already exist, but need much better versions.
    -the flying skateboard, where is it? this is 2015 dammit.
    -in general personal flight things, like the pictures of the backpack rockets. but it should be smaller and weigh less. or a motorized delta flyer that you could use in cities.
    -better & cheaper & more accessible zero-gravity areas on earth for scientific research, healthcare, art projects and recreational purposes.
    -a pet with the personality of your favourite dog or cat, but without shedding, smelling aweful, drooling, and destroying things.
    -drugs that create the same hallucinogenic / dreamlike / joy / painreducing effects as drugs, but without the harmful side effects
    -a reverse feeding tube. so that you could eat constantly and whatever you like, but expel the food without digesting. it would be a less damaging way to deal with overeating than boulimic purging which ruins your throat and teeth.
    -alternatively, a hunger suppressant that actually works. (can you tell i have a problem?)

  • M

    wireless headphones. BOOM

  • d

    On reflection, what I think everyone needs more than anything else is a Robo-butler; like the one Batman has, but lithium ion powered

  • Ella

    Well. From a young age I had an idea for a bike with an engine that took the power generated by the turning wheels and transformed it into energy to turn the wheels further, but all my hopes and dreams were crushed when someone told me it had already been invented. If my previous attempts at construction are anything to go by though, I’d probably forget to add the seat or the brakes.

    • cybervigilante

      I lived in a very hilly town, riding my bike up and down, up and down. I had this plan, when I was young, to find a circuitous route where I could ride downhill all the way from home and back again.

      But alas, I found out about the conservation of energy and it dashed my plans ;’)

  • DrSuess

    I want something that slices, dices, chops, and can julienne fries.. fast easy, and with no clean up!

    • Meadow

      It’s been invented… It’s called a wife.

      (Before the hate-comments start, I AM one, so this is in jest)

    • Sunnyscholar

      I bought the one second slicer and it has changed my… Dinner lol

  • Logan

    Personal Force Fields. I imagine the repercussions to civilization could be both tremendously positive and negative. For example, there would be much less personal, physical, violent crime, but then an offender could use their force field to avoid punishment, or something like that.

  • Guest

    Graph paper. You write on it with a special pen and when you run over it with a special eraser, the lines disappear. People can marvel at how straight and awesome your handwriting is. (Maybe this has already been invented…)

    • Angela Huang

      Instead of using a special pen and eraser, the graph lines could be in pencil instead, that way a normal pen and normal eraser will work.

  • cybervigilante

    There’s that stupid Facebook limit. Sometimes you want to say a little more. But FB allows pictures. I was thinking of an app that you type into, then it creates a pic of what you typed, properly aligned in a very legible font, that fits exactly in the pic area of FB – and posts it to FB. (It should fit so you can see all the print Before you click, which enlarges the picture FB tends to cut off at the top and bottom – but I think most people want to see the whole thing first – so the top and bottom should have a white margin to account for FB’s cutoff.)

  • cybervigilante

    Build a device to accelerate masses around a cardiod curve (four gears on a central gear). According to the calculations of Dr. William O. Davis, this should result in a non Newtonian force vector, creating a Spindizzy, or inertial, reactionless drive.

  • sabs546

    Antigravity boots that allow you to walk or sprint on walls without worrying about trying to keep your body your body upright the whole way
    So almost like an antigravity exoskeleton

    • Nicholas Kincaid

      Haha, you wouldn’t be able to run for very long, the first step would send you flying away from the wall.

      • Duck

        If we’re completly ignoring that this isn’t possible in the slightest and won’t be for many many years, then yes.

  • Mya P.

    Neck collars and wrist bands that are irremovable and constantly lit and flashing with built in GPS for sex-offenders out on parole. If these dangerous predators are going to be allowed to walk the streets then the public has a right to be warned. Offenders currently wear ankle bracelets but they are easily hidden and removed allowing them to get close to and harm more people.

  • Mya P.

    New cars that sense when you are tailgating and alerts with an alarm or warning of some sort. Something needs to be invented to prevent/deter people from following too close. It’s got to be one of the most rude, and dangerous things a driver can do and it’s happening all too often.

  • Colour-changing clothes. You buy the basic shapes in a white, ever-lasting new fabric. Trousers, T shirts, dresses, socks. And then with the Accompanying iPhone App ™ you can dial in the colours of each piece each day to suit your mood. One day your shirt is bright yellow for a beach barbecue, the next it’s black for a funeral. Then you can snap a photo of a flower that catches your eye, and the app will set your dress to that exact shade. Or browse the in-app purchases for designer patterns – maybe a new tweed from Vivienne Westwood, or a user creation based on his favourite wallpaper.

    • Tim

      And to anyone with hacking skills, this would present some fantastic practical joke opportunities 🙂

    • Patrick Oliveras

      For the lazy, this could mean never changing clothes. Ever.

  • Batteries that last 100x longer than current technology,

  • Zero calorie cheese.

    • Mya P.

      I think it’s the fat grams you have to worry about in cheese.

      • Senipanigav

        Zero calorie cheese would inherently be fat free.

        • Mya P.

          .. and flavor free.

  • helen

    We live in New Zealand = lots of farms=lots of drinking water for stock. But, because of the water levels in the troughs many birds can’t access the water. The troughs are concrete, can anyone think of a clip on devise that is cow proof, bird friendly and cheap to sell to farmers? I can’t but think it is a good idea.

  • László Tóth

    Internet based voting system for general political, economical questions. Organized locally, in the county, nationwide, on the continent and globally. Maybe the first stepps towards liberal/capital/communist/social/democratic globalizm? Pick the best from all of the existing system since alone non of them works and make a good mixture which fitts the individual citizen. We should have equal rights but we are not equal.

    • nobody_nowhere

      There’s a reason Internet based voting hasn’t taken on.
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w3_0x6oaDmI

      • I would not stop there. The vote of the individual would be recorded and presented on a personal acccount even could be as a social media where I could share parts of my oppinions with who I would want. The individual also would be evalueated related participation, education, life performance etc.. I do not say that it is possible now but, withouth this we do not live in a democracy actually. Voting every 4-5 years when the political/economical situation changes weekly is a lie of democracy. At least it would be good for a nationwide oppinion measurement. Or for myself to record my thought about the changing circumstances. This voting system also would need a clean information source…. I understand the risks what the mate shared but I still think it would give a great tast of freedom if I would be able to vote so. And I would see also where the other citizens of the world stands on questions I am interesed at.

    • Geno

      This is called direct democracy and is the system Switzerland employs

  • baberjaved

    Apart from Human Teleportation, The next best thing would be a virtual world where you can just put on something over your head and actually feel like you are in a virtual world. Oculus rift and its sorts are trying to get there but there’s still a long way to go

    • Great Pierre

      This would literally be the best invention. If you could trick your brain into thinking some utopia you dreamed up was real, then I would go there forever

  • Patrick Carney

    A microwave with a mute button. Why do they all have to beep every time you press any button on them?

    • Andre Needham

      This is especially needed for microwaves in hotel rooms. I try to microwave some water at 7am and the thing insists on beeping at 90db.

  • pm

    a washing machine with a Co2 hook up. converts the water entering the drum into soda water. carbonated water. ever see someone spill wine on their shirt? whats the first thing they get from the waiter? creates an after market for resupplying the canisters of gas as well. yer welcome…

  • eva

    Teleport vs. transformetion

  • eva

    Again… Teleport vs. transormation

    Can you imagine teleporting with changing e.g. body? You don’t have to teleport yourself with broken nose or bad curves.
    You can became a beauty, completely healthy person. Your fat can become a pile of chocolade…

    You can teleport all trash or old stuff to a delicious dinner or a new TV…

  • Marcus

    A cancel button on elevators. Every morning when going to work I, accidentally, push the wrong button. Sometimes its the garage button, sometimes its the first floor button. And once you made that terrible mistake, you’re done, you must visit the unwanted floor. If there was a cancel button on elevators, that would not be a issue.

    • Geno

      In South Korea they have solved this problem very simply. If you press a highlighted/programmed floor button again it cancels it.

    • Robert Massaioli

      Too much room for misuse. Unless it was implemented as a “one time undo” system.

  • wobster109

    Thumb drive that plugs into the smartphone.

    • Andre Needham

      Already exists. I did a Google search on “usb micro b thumb drive” and there at least two for sale on Amazon.

  • AmpereStudios

    A dishwasher that was in your sink… put your dirty dishes in, once full, put the lid on and turn on. There would be less room for dishes, which is good because it isn’t hard to load or start, so less dishes = less unloading

  • mreks

    bluetooth headphones?

    • Riz0n3r LoL

      Already existing…just take a look on amazon

  • wobster109

    The Universal Social Media Site. Because I’m going on 5 Tumblrs (3 active), a Facebook, a Twitter, and a Google+. Whenever I want to say something it goes to a random site. Who knows where anything is? And I don’t even use Instagram or Snapchat or Pinterest. My friends say it’s because I’m an old, irrelevant Luddite.

  • Rich1983

    A non-gender specific word that can replace the phrase “he or she.” Simply using the letter “e” might be a fair – and short – solution.

    • Dsgvds

      grow a pair

      • Rich1983

        It’s actually not so much about sensitivity for me as it is accuracy. Using “he/she” is clunky and saying “he” when you mean to include people of both sexes is just inaccurate, and it bothers me. The best current solution, in my opinion, is (s)he, but I still find the parenthesis a little bothersome. It just would be nice to have a single word to fix this somewhat common and clunky phrase.

        • Duck

          They

          • morphoj

            That’s grammatically wrong when referencing one person. Think about paper writing, especially when you have to avoid the use of “you”. Commonly, you would use “one”, as in, “One may feel compelled to…”, or, “An individual believing in the implementation of…”. I agree with Rich1983. Academic and formal writing life would be smoother and sound less fussy if we had a 3rd person gender neutral to refer to a human!

  • Hedonic Treader

    Agony-free animals.

    Implement an intensity cap for the strongest pain, without removing all pain. It would make the world more humane for animals, and once it’s a safe practice, it can be offered to people, too.

  • Tony Noli

    A “food synthesizer” (replicator) would be nice. 🙂

  • Donald Parker

    A continuously variable transmission and drive system for bicycles that weighs no more than the derailleurs and costs no more than derailleurs and is just as efficient at energy transfer as a chain. Elon?

  • drguru

    A computer scanning device that can read all licence plates with in line of sight.
    If a barcode can be implemented/placed on all licence plates, cops will be able to pin point who is driving a stolen car, is out of registration, has a warrant, etc. Instead of manually entering license plates one at a time, this will be a better method for officers of the law to do their job.

    Attacks your rights of privacy? Not even close, stay out of public roads if you don’t want to be seen, or don’t drive with expired tags and you won’t have to worry.

    • Andre Needham

      Already exists, and apparently has since 2006 or so. Google “seattle police license plate scanner” for just one example.

  • alrey

    Sleep replicating pill. Sleep1 will make your body experience 1 hour sleep w/o really sleeping. Comes in a variety of dosages Sleep1, 2, 4, and 8.

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