What could you have invented, if you hadn't been such a slacker?

In this thread, I postulate a lo-carb Krispy Kreme. I also realize that someday not too far away, someone probably will invent that, and it won’t be me. Of course, it’d help if I was a food scientist in the employ of a company with a big R&D budget, but still. I realized that if I had ever acted on the ideas I had, I could have created both “The X-Files” (or something in that vein) and disposable toilet brushes; but I never did anything with my ideas, someone else had the same idea and acted on it, and more power to them.

Dopers, what things could you have invented if you had acted on a weird, crazy idea you had?

I’m not telling. No one has come up with it yet, and I still have hope.

For her fourth birthday, my niece said she wanted a boy doll that was the same height as her and would dance with her. Every woman in the room immediately said, " I want one of those too". So there’s definitely a market, and probably an even better market if the doll is anatomically correct.
This is going to be the best prom ever.

When I was a kid I got tired of flipping records over but couldn’t come up with a good way to do it without scratching them. Then cassettes came out–still had to flip 'em over. I wondered since the player knew how to find the end of the tape & shut off why it couldn’t just reverse the motor, flip the head around and play the other side.

I was also a poor photographer (about 25 years ago) and though it would be cool if you could see the photograph before exposing it to the film–so you could erase it if it sucked. This would have saved me tons of dough (my folks quit paying for it, made me cough it up!) in developing worthless prints. I decided that the only way to do it would involve a TV somehow and so it just wouldn’t be practical.

Back in the early '80s, when we hadn’t had a VCR around the house for long, I recall speculating that a whole lot of hassle could be saved if some engineers would just get off their butts and build a VCR right into the TV set.

Granted, it’s not like I invented the Internet, but I’ll take small triumphs over no triumphs.

The aviation types are probably going to have a good giggle at my expense, citing a zillion reasons why this won’t work, but years ago I thought of a self-feathering aircraft propeller.

The blades are given a few inches of travel within the hub. when the prop is stalled or stopped, powerful springs pull them in towards the centre. Upon start up, centrifugal / centripetal (I’m not getting into that argument - you choose one you like) force is greater than the force applied by the spring, and the blades move to the outermost position. The short shaft through which the blade mountings travel is twisted so that the blades are feathered when stopped, and at the appropriate angle when moving. I know this doesn’t take into account such things as variable pitch, but it’s a thought…

Prescription swimming goggles.

Do they exist?

I thought about them when I was 4 and have done nothing about it since.

I invented TiVo.
But then, I bet a lot of people did.

A vibrator based on a recipricating linear induction motor- rather than a rotary electric motor- for a very deep, low frequency throb.

While sitting in a machine element design class, I began to ponder about the pressure build-up in the fluid of certain types of bearings. I tried and tried to come up with some means of turning the bearings into micr-pumps, delivering small amounts of fluid at a constant pressure stream. I think I still have my notebook filled with the drawings and equations and whatnot somewhere around here. Unfortunately, I never really solved a couple of basic problems and couldn’t think of a real-life application for the product.

I must admit, I’m really amazed that someone hasn’t invented something to combat the demonic iron. Why, when we have (albeit substandard) vacuums that whirl around a room on their own, do we not have an answer for the traditional ironing board and iron?

One-touch sunscreen. That’s my million dollar idea and you’re welcome to it and if you could have it on the shelves by the next time we go to the pool (tomorrow) I’d be grateful.

Anyone who has ever had to coat even one toddler in sunscreen will see the obvious market potential. One dollop somehow propels itself into a whole body UVA/UVB barrier. Like the flea medicine thingy.

The Bowling Ball Lock.

Bowling balls have a (chewy?) core made of cork. Custom-drilled bowling balls are quite expensive.

Develop a long bar. Stick the bar into a hole in the ball. Lock the device and some teeth dig into the cork, making it impossible to remove the bar without the key.

I know, you are all saying the same thing, “Why didn’t I think of that?”

When I was a kid, around 8 years old, I used to always have to take the pooper scooper and clean out the litter box. I also had to carry that huge 50 pound bag from the garage and refill it every so often. Man I hated doing that.

I came up with an idea for a cardboard box, with a lid similar to a briefcase, and full of cat litter. Essentially a disposable litter box. When I was about 12 Tidy Cat or some other company came out with just that.

Oh, and I also invented the solar-powered flashlight. Still havent seen one of those, though I have seen the kinetic ones that you shake which I admit are much cooler. I even investigated buying some solar panels and seeing if I could get it to work.

Arch Trout, they do make prescription swim goggles. I have a pair that I don’t remember where I bought. Also, I heard that you can buy them in vending machines at pools in Japan.

Prescription swim googles in Japanese vending machines? Perhaps they were ‘worn’ prescription swim googles in Japanese vending machines?

(Sorry I had to just blurt that out.) :stuck_out_tongue:

Try http://www.halfbakery.com for all your half-baked idea needs.

The MP3 player.

Way back in the day.

I was over at a friend’s house watching him play Metroid on the original Nintendo system, which gives you some idea of the timeframe.

I got to thinking about the little cartridges the games came on, and the music that the game came with…

Wait a minute! If you could just put the music onto the chips on the cartridge, you could make the perfect Walkman-type device!

Instead of moving parts to break (ahh, the sickening feeling one would get when one’s tape player, playing one’s favorite tape, began to sound really weird allasuddenlike) you’d have a single solid-state removable ‘chip’.

Just plug the chip into your player and away ya go.

'course, it wasn’t until just a few years ago that the technology to do this and still have music of a decent quality came out… 8-bit music? And people say 128-bit MP3s sound bad! :rolleyes:

Let’s see…some of these don’t have the technology quite there yet, but most could be done right now if I had any type of programing knowledge at all.

  1. RFID home security system. One of the biggest things I hate about most home security systems is the “have to close all the windows, or set up a zone to exclude that window” crap. It seems to me that it would be much easier to use just motion detectors, and RFID tags for each person/pet in the house. Texas Instruments makes several RFID tags that are pretty small, and could easily be formed into a fairly un-obtrusive wrist band, or some other wearable method. This would let the alarm sound whenever motion was detected, that didn’t corelate with an RFID tag in that location. Pretty simple I think, and could also be expanded into some interesting home automation features.
  2. More portable computer. This technology isn’t quite there yet, but so close as to be feasable in someone’s R&D lab. There is a display out now, that hooks to a pair of glasses, so that you can see what appears to be a 15in display an inch from your eye. As I think about laptops, seems to me that a large battery drain, is probably the display. So using that tiny battery operated display, how much could you extend the life of a laptop? Right now, the resolution of those displays is pretty low, but they’ll be improvements soon. Couple that, with some bluetooth technology, and there’s no reason you couldn’t have a “computer” that sat in your briefcase, while you saw the display with the eyepiece, and typed on a virtual keyboard. Less packing and unpacking of equipment, and probably longer battery life. Add in a few things like bluetooth earpieces for phones, and you could couple all these devices in one “box” that would never have to be taken out of it’s case.

There are a couple more I have, but I need to organize my thoughts a bit more on them. If anyone decides to run with these ideas, and makes a fortune, can you at least throw me enough dough for a decent vacation?

I’ve got a few up my sleeve that I’m not ready to reveal yet. But when I was around 8 or 9 years old, I watched my dad lick dozens of stamps when sending out holiday cards. I asked, “Why don’t they just make them like stickers, so that you can just peel them off?” He thought it was a great idea and, voila, a decade later they had them at the post office.