Condensing Furnace

As I write this the Toronto area is enjoying a brief winter warm spell – it’s only freezing! Two weeks ago we saw temperatures around 20 degrees celsius below freezing. My house, like most newer homes in Canada, is heated with a high-efficiency, or condensing furnace. High-efficiency furnaces can achieve from 89% to 98% fuel efficiency.…

Boring! “Roads Must Go 3D”

“To solve the problem of soul-destroying traffic, roads must go 3D, which means either flying cars or tunnels. Unlike flying cars, tunnels are weatherproof, out of sight and won’t fall on your head.” The Boring Company FAQ The Boring Company intends to fix traffic congestion by boring beneath cities. Unlike roads, a network of tunnels…

Light Bulb!

Multiple light bulb moments The light bulb is often used as a symbol of inspiration, perhaps because of so many ideas that went into creating the light bulb and its impact on modern life. The light bulb wasn’t so much invented as much as improved over time by various people and organizations. Thomas Edison wasn’t…

Steve Jobs: Copying and Stealing

“The cure for Apple is not cost-cutting.  The cure for Apple is to innovate its way out of its current predicament.” Steve Jobs The innovation already exists Steve Jobs was a strong advocate for innovation and the contribution a broad set of life experiences could make to creativity. Jobs’s view is supported by Genrich Altshuller‘s…

Wheels & Luggage – Together At Last

Never be threatened with unemployment Take some comfort from the man who developed the 40 Inventive Principles: “The world is endless, the universe inexhaustible, and the human brain will never be threatened with unemployment.” Genrich Altshuller That’s why its called luggage It is a common worry among those who seek to invent something new. And…

Why Not a 4 Motor Tesla?

One motor per wheel The notion of having one motor per wheel in an electric vehicle like a Tesla has been mooted and debated. The consensus seems to be that the pros (electronic authority over torque vectoring – no mechanical bits required, eliminating the weight of a differential) are outweighed by the cons (additional cost…

Aluminum Cans, Lightweight Heavyweights

In Bill Hammack’s Youtube video, the ingenious design of the aluminum beverage can is revealed. It’s amazing how many Inventive Principles are applied in such a humble, everyday object. The can The aluminum can begins life as a round disc which is repeatedly pressed into a successively narrower cylindrical cup shape. This cup is deliberately made…

Belted Alternator Starter

Belted alternator starter (BAS) hybrid systems first appeared on GM’s 2007 Saturn Vue Green Line. BAS systems combine the roles of starts and alternators into a single motor like conventional hybrid systems, but instead of linking directly to the crankshaft, they are linked to the engine by a belt. This makes it possible to integrate…

Seeing Sound

In this TEDx talk, Michael Rubenstein, a research scientist, introduces the “motion microscope,” a video-processing tool that amplifies changes in motion and colour. This technique makes subtle motions visible such as the change of colour of a person’s skin as blood is pumped by the heart. Using a high speed camera, the technique can even…