Ten Inventions I Want To See

I’m a reluctant technologist. I have a latent love for technology, but 90% of what gets bandied about as “the wave of the future” is about productivity, which I find funny, since I think our problem is quality, not quantity. I often miss what whizzes by as the latest and greatest because I want what’s timeless. Things so good they last more than a year, or crazy as it might sound, a lifetime.

And one day, instead of ranting to a friend by just complaining I listed the I wanted to see. Sure, they’re impossible, but so what. I’m turning all the filters off to see what happens.

Here they are:

  1. Annoyance teleporter: A device that teleports annoying people into a small, dark, damp room with someone they find as annoying as I find them.
  2. ChildMinder: Gun you can fire at people that makes them instantly remember the happiest moment of their childhood. Also comes in hand grenade form.
  3. Blabbermouth: Cell phone application that tells you what percentage of time you have been talking vs. listening per call, with lifetime and per contact stats.
  4. Comprehendo: An e-mail program that prevents people from replying to a message until they’ve actually read the whole thing.
  5. GarbageReality: A picture on every garbage or recycling container of where what you place inside will actually go.
  6. Food Scan-O-matic: A wand you wave over any food item that shows you where it originally came from, how it got to you, and which, if any, major food conglomerates were involved in its production.
  7. Treetalking: A language for talking to trees and stones so they can tell us everything they’ve seen.
  8. TempColor: Pots, pans, plates and cups that change colors to show how hot or cold they are (spectrum of red for hot to blue for cold). Also for water faucets, coffee mugs, bathtubs, etc.
  9. Travelrama light: A world travel stipend for every USA high school graduate. Sure, not an invention, but so what. Only 20% of Americans have passports. Is it any wonder we are often lost and clueless about how the rest of the world works? Most of us have seen almost none of it. We’d be collectively less stupid as a species if we all traveled more. And I’d start with the young: I’d make exchange programs cheap and highly incentives.
  10. UltraTravelrama: Instantly teleports everyone in the world to the place they most need to go, and teleport them back in a day. (Yes, includes auto-safety feature that wont teleport people in the middle of doing dangerous things, or into the middle of highways, etc.)
  11. Shop Idiot Remover: The requirement, by law, of a trapdoor at the front of the line of any busy Starbucks, bagel or sandwich shop, that auto-detects when the person at the front of the line is clueless, and moves them to the back of the line. (NYC does not need to install these – the staff thankfully do it themselves).
  12. Worldo: A bracelet that tells you three things, updated in real time. 1) How much wealth you have 2) How much of the earth’s resources you consume 3) How happy you are. All are indexed against national and world averages (See GNH).
  13. DreamPic: takes pictures of the things people see in their dreams. (I thought this was my own idea, until I realized I’d seen the movie Brainstorm, with Christopher Walken. So I’d want a dumb version of that device, that only takes pictures and only once per dream, ensuring people still have to interpret whatever they see in the picture).

Have some fun – forget constraints for a minute. What inventions are on your list?

Best invention gets a signed copy of Making Things Happen.

37 Responses to “Ten Inventions I Want To See”

  1. Mal Ross

    G-Force simulator – a device you can turn on yourself (or others) to simulate the G forces you feel from any number of situations:
    – driving round your favourite race track
    – riding a rollercoaster
    – taking off in a plane (still a thrill for me)

    Just be wary of any car passengers you carry – if they think you’re driving too fast, they might threaten to simulate a crash at your current speed. ;)

  2. DeltaTango

    Not entirely an invention but …
    One day we were talking about which super-power each of us would like to have. And I came up with being the Education-Man: Every time parents telling bullshit to their children, I would appear out of nothing (perhaps in the guise of a stereotypical teacher), giving them parents a wedgie and teach the children how it really is.
    Regrettably there’s high demand for such a super-power.

  3. Jay Zipursky

    BusStopper – A device (radio or laser) that will signal the bus driver that you’re running like mad to catch HIS bus so he’ll wait for you. Perhaps it’s only available to monthly pass holders and built into the pass itself.

  4. Drew Kime

    Yes-finder: A device that will tell you, for any question, who in the bureaucracy has the authority to approve the request so you don’t have to waste time with seven intermediaries.

  5. justin akehurst

    I have a few inventions I would like to see in my lifetime.
    1. An ultimate interactive whiteboard that can instantly save what was written to it, able to mirror to another whiteboard for instant collaboration across any distance that also doubled as a videoconference screen. This would be very useful to teleworkers and distant branch offices.

    2. A social networking site that would be targeted to those that want to preserve family history. It could store photos, movies, stories, audio recordings. All of which would be cross referenced, geotagged, dated. Hear your great grandfather talk about a particular picture or event. Other family members add in their pictures and audio and would enrich the total history captured.

    These two ideas are the ones that occupy my thoughts on what I would do if I had enough time to work on it.

  6. Steve Walker

    RedundancyEliminator – A tool that ingests all the worlds information and only shows it to me once. Eliminates the 24/7 repetitive news and the thoughtless blog posts repeating the same info over and over. Must be smart enough to realize the same information stated in a different way and the same news stories from a different network. Also maybe a switch/checkbox for eliminating opinions. Would have to know what I’ve seen so I wouldn’t miss anything, but would prevent me from seeing the same thing twice. Think of the productivity gains! :)

  7. Dwayne Phillips

    A Blessing Counter. A device on your wrist watch that counts your blessings and displays the count. It would need at least a 256-bit counter so that it wouldn’t over flow every week.

  8. Ryan

    Warp Shoes: I enjoy my walk to work and frankly wish I could walk to anywhere in 15 or 20 minutes. You still get a good stretch, a pleasant view, the feeling of being outdoors and seeing other people, but it doesn’t take forever to go home for the holidays.

  9. Anton Petrushenkov

    LifeModerator: BioChip that enables you to silent, kick or ban forever from your life anyone who’s disturbing too much. Lifetime warranty strongly recommended.

  10. Chris Mahan

    A friendthinktracker: I want to get notified when a friend thinks about me.

  11. Meg Bear

    1) [I have a friend who shares this idea] Tivo for Radio
    2) GPS+PDA+Person Locator+ Ski trail map — locate anyone on the mountain and figure out how to get to them

  12. Percy

    1) TeleBlock: A cell phone application that will figure out when a telemarketer is calling and play an annoying noise (e.g. nails on the blackboard) instead of putting the call through.

    2) AgentSmithMute: A device that will mute your annoying co-workers (a la Matrix) who insist on speaking in a loud voice across cubicles.

    3) WaterPure: A device that will let you zap a glass of water so it’s drinkable.

    4) TVFaves: A TV software program that will remind you when your favourite programs are on and even send you an SMS to your mobile, so you won’t forget. (Admittedly, with TiVo you may not need this but we don’t have TiVo (yet) in India)

    5) TakeMeThere: A browser plugin that will click through those annoying flash intros (or ads) and take you to the web page automatically.

    6) RoadSmile: A sensor on your vehicle that will figure out when you’re going to lose it because someone cut you off on the road and sends calming thoughts directly into your brain.

  13. Loki

    Auto-Dialer-Plus – a device that not only dials the correct number for you, but presses the necessary combination of options to let you speak not just to an actual human, but to that actual human’s immediate supervisor.

  14. Mahesh T

    Wireless Electricity: Would love to charge the laptop and mobile without wires going all around. Even better…A world without a need for Batteries!!

    Memory Chips for Brain: So that we can store all the wonderful moments of Life in all detail and names of everyone we ever meet.

    Sense Snapshotter: Capture all the senses. Now, we can store and replay only visual and audio. What about Smell, Touch and Feel, Taste? How do
    we explain our friends the smell of rain on dry soil.

    Celebrating Life…

  15. lasloo

    AnythingFinder When people ask me for the one superpower I would want… it would be the ability to find (and know all the relevant details) anything that someone was looking for. Now, realistically, most of the time I’d be using this superpower just to find my wallet, keys, and late library books!!

  16. fabiobeta

    MindThreader When I have a question/task I can do on-line, a copy of my mind is sent on the errand an gets back with the result and the memory of doing it.

  17. modificator

    Tracking Device. when some bullshit steals one of my important and expensive belonging, , i could track down where is that belonging now, buy using a miniature aerial, or sumthing like that, which could be “inserted” in that belonging. . .

  18. motomom

    Food ScanOmatic: A wand you wave over any food item that shows you where it originally came from, how it got to you, and which, if any, major food conglomerates were involved in its production.

    It exists (pretty much). Perhaps only in prototype form.

  19. MariaO

    Semi-Permanent Tattoo — a real tattoo whose ink is absorbed by your body after 5 years when it’s no longer cool.

  20. Harv Griffin

    Enjoyed your list!

    Here’s one more.

    Teleportation Suppository, to automatically teleport feces out of the digestive tract. Put another Tel-Sup in the bladder, and toilets would become obsolete!

  21. kris

    Can I vote for Meg Bear’s Tivo for Radio?

  22. Carlos Rizo

    Technology related:

    Ctrl+Zetit: an invention to undo things in life that just happened to you. Broke an expensive jar at your inlaws’s house? No problem… just Ctrl+Zetit!

    Blog-Knowledge-distillator : Don’t have lots of time to read your RSS feeds and the related comments? This invention will summarizes the most salient points and lines of thought of every conversation, not just the basic thumbs up or down. Then this ‘knowledge’ is added to Wikipedia for future refinement.

    Health related:

    SayWhatDoc? An invention that allows patients to translate whatever the heck their doctors are saying during the consultation, in real time.

    Wehealth: a invention that informs chronically ill patients about their current health parameters, in real enough time, along with their financial situation through a live-feed, Bloomberg-style. Anxiety-meter sold separately.

    Lawful-net-tapping: an invention, within the privacy regulation, to allow people to listen or view your live text (SMS, Chats), voice (phone) or video (teleconference) so they can, perhaps, offer some advice. Ideal for big metropolis where people don’t know their neighbors.

    More family oriented:

    WhyDaddyWhy: an invention for toddlers, well not really…it is an invention for their parents who sometimes are clueless about how to respond to some of their kids’ questions.

    What’sthat: a device to be used only by infants who’s parents are exhausted of interpreting the world to them. Yes, it sounds awful so it should be sold only to parents with more than five kids.

    : an invention that allows families to preserve the lessons learned during life of their long gone loved ones as part of the familiar-intelligence.

  23. nobody

    erm … I think you’ll find “4. TempColor” already exists, and has done for quite a while. I’ve seen it used on pans, stovetops, cups, plates. .. And I’ve seen glowing red/blue for hot/cold faucets at thinkgeek (even for the shower).

  24. nobody else

    I think modificator’s tracking device is RFID. Radio Frequency Identification.

  25. Chiquita

    InterCommunicator: A universal translator that goes beyond the words, but understands what the other person really thinks about what you are saying, and what they really mean in response. Cuts through the ambiguity and aids in real communication!

  26. Ian

    There’s a lovely website that devotes itself entirely to this idea: http://www.halfbakery.com. It used to be one of my favourite sites (I spent waaaaay too long on it) but a few years back they had a crash and lost their entire archive. Most of the joy of the site was the comments that people added about the ideas being suggested, and sadly a lot of that was lost… It’s still a fun site though.

  27. Chuck Floading

    Hey, somebody already invented the light sensor thing that tells you if your tap water is running hot or cold. It’s called the Glow Flow. Not 100% what you wished for, but close.

  28. Allergeek

    Hi, Scott!
    well, what comes to mind,
    a kind of visualization of memories. While the whole “device” is on, a panel appears over and is exposing person’s feelings (somewhat like attached tags in movie clip by Placebo “For what it’s worth” (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XDyAr5ZBWN4), so one is able share a film or a video, bright memories, thoughts, display web experience, gaming progress etc.

    I’ve been imagining it like this

  29. Tristar Products

    These are some funny ideas for inventions. I am glad you mentioned to forget constraints because this is how a lot of ideas that people thought were crazy came into existence. Some of the inventions you want seem possible now or in the near future. Thanks for sharing.

  30. jeffhardy

    Hey really humourous thoughts.I like the one that will take the pictures of one’s dream. I think if this will become possible everyone’s gream will come to reality.

  31. Chef Basket

    Life could certainly be a little easier with these inventions. Hopefully, these ideas will be inspiring for new inventors. Thanks for the list.

  32. Dan S

    -retail product packaging that can be opened by mere humans
    -the ability to travel at ~500MPH at ~35,000ft in comfort at a reasonable price
    -an audio/visual device for the living room that has actual interesting programming
    -a bozo-free zone

  33. Mary the Disturbed Stick woman

    Perspective Zapper: a device that would make everybody aware of just where their problem, as incredibly annoying and REALLY REALLY IMPORTANT MUST BE SOLVED NOW as it seems to them, actually sits on the grand scale of the world’s problems. If implemented, this would probably eliminate the “need” for about 90% of the other proposed inventions ;-)

  34. De'Anthony Thomas

    Baby Reader: Throw a bracelet on your baby’s wrist and wirelessly connect your smartphone to the bracelet to read your baby’s thoughts. So when they cry excessively and you do not know why, this device tells you.

  35. the smartthinger

    Skin Scanner: It is a barcode that was place on your arm and when you walk past the scanner that is on the bus it can detect where you want to go and the amount that you need to pay before boarding the bus or going out of bus, it have a sonalpanel behide the barcode so that it need any electricity, you can just use the electricity that was store in the sonal panel.

    1. John

      or maybe it can run on body temperature

  36. Tex Hooper

    That would be good to have a wand that scans food items. I need help coming up with inventions. I’ll have to consider getting some patent help.


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