Tuesday, November 27, 2007

inventions i want invented

My growing list of things that need to be invented includes:

1. Robotic tooth flossers. These would be thin metal strips, sort of rectangular, that have scrubbies on their surfaces. (Scrubbies like the ones you use on pots and pans that promise not to scratch.) You'd pop one into your mouth, and it would scrub its way around all your teeth until it's done. Version 1.0 would need to be placed on a back tooth, say, on the lower jaw. Then it would scrub around until it reached the opposite back tooth. You'd have to move it from there to the back tooth on the upper jaw. Version 2.0 would probably be able to navigate itself, and maybe beep at you when it's all done. Version 3.0 would be mint flavored and tooth colored, in case you accidentally smiled at someone during the flossing procedure. Rinse and reuse!

The reason these are awesome is that you can do other things while flossing your teeth. Also, a scrubbie robot would ostensibly do a more thorough job than you and your waxed string.

2. Toilet paper dispensers that dispense heated moist (flushable) toilet paper. Toilet paper sold separately -- I think they make flushable moist towelettes already. You just need to package those in a roll, then come up with a battery operated (or plug-in) dispenser that heats them. The dispenser can be like a metal cylinder that you pop the roll into. The outer layer of the roll gets heated, since that's the layer that is closest to your butt, so to speak. In America, where bidets barely exist, this invention would make millions.

3. Frozen iced tea. This was my first invention idea and I stand by it. It would be just like frozen orange juice concentrate, only it would be tea. Just add water. The advantage over the powdered kind is that the powdered kind tastes like soylent green. The advantage over just brewing some tea is that this would be instantly cold. The advantage over brewing some tea yesterday and just refrigerating it is that it takes very little storage space in your freezer (as opposed to a huge pitcher in your fridge) and it requires no advance planning. That's an important feature for a personality like mine.

4. Club soda in a foil packet, packaged with a little towelette that is slightly scrubbie on one side. Other travel stain removers claim to work. Club soda really does.

5. The invention that I'm not at liberty to disclose, because Andy keeps improving it. Soon to be in markets near you.

6. GPS devices that go in your car and come with recorded tours. The first versions would be professional tours of famous places, like the city of Rome. Later, people could record their own tours -- like your parents could create a tour of their honeymoon trip. Wait, no, that's too sexy. Your dad could create a tour of the route he took escaping from Germany during World War II. Too much of a downer? Whatever, people can come up with their own ideas.

Before software that teaches you to sing existed, I invented that idea, too. Note: I just invent ideas, not the actual inventions themselves.

My parents both invented things (they invented actual things, not ideas.) Well, maybe "invented" is too strong a word. Improved upon or found new applications for. Like my dad drilled a hole into bar of soap, looped a string through it, and wore it during Boy Scout troop hiking trips. (He was a Boy Scout leader.) My mom came up with the idea of freezing clothes that had been sprinkled with water in preparation for ironing. (All the other moms refrigerated their laundry, which exposed it to mildew risk. Long story.)

My learning disabled sister invented "socks for Sequoia," which consisted of simply putting socks on his damp paws so he wouldn't track mud through the house. She used grippy-bottom socks, which worked surprisingly well. I know these have already been invented for backpacking dogs, but she didn't know that. It was her own independent scientific discovery.

In the 1960s, whenever my mom was frustrated by something that was hard to clean, hard to reach, hard to use, she said, "This was invented by a man." In her mind, there was no worse condemnation. I didn't know how right she was until I learned that chairs, counters, medicines, pretty much everything, is optimized for a 160 pound, 5'10" man. Those safety car airbags that kill anyone under 5'1" tall? Invented by a man.

But then again, so was the internal combustion engine.


Andy Schmeder said...

Apparently frozen ice tea concentrate is a fairly difficult feat, e.g. problems like "floc formation" and cloudiness after reconstitution, in addition to bad flavor Tea contains tannins which may be disruptive when concentrated. Some have tried to buffer the acids with various edible gums and other modern edible molecules. Anyways, much more information is found here.

Minute Maid makes a "Frozen Lemonade Iced Tea Concentrate" but I don't know if that uses *real* tea (the invention cited above does).

BTW I love the GPS tour idea... that *needs* to be done!

Audrey said...

You are brilliant.

Now what is The Thing?