Sunday, 31 October 2010

Hills and valleys map

I understand how contour lines work, and am fairly good at reading contour maps to work out where the hills are. The difficulting is that it can be a slow process. I envisage a "hills and valleys" map that colours the map (apart from the detail) two colours: one for valleys; one for hills. It would take some calculation to work out where a valley starts and a hill stops, but roughly the valley should come to halfway up the hill each side. I think this kind of map would give a very quick (if basic) understanding of the lie of the land.

Automated dog tug of war

Dogs are willing to invest a lot of energy in tug of war. I wonder whether it's possible to get it started, and then leave the dog to it, to save the ower the effort (and perhaps generate energy at the same time). In a non-energy generating solution, all that would be needed is a bungy rope (as used for bungy jumping) and then a length of dog-proof rope on the end. Once the owner initiates the dog's interest, the bungy would (hopefully) sustain it by pulling back. An energy generating derivative would perhaps use the same concept, but also attach the rope to a chain driven energy-generating flywheel (like a rowing machine).

Farm gate autocloser

The other day I was watching a farmer come out of a field. He got out of his vehicle, opened the gate, got back in his vehicle, drove through, got out of his vehicle, closed the gate, got back in his vehicle. This strikes me as very inefficient. An expensive solution would be a powered remote controlled gate (perhaps powered by solar power). But I'm sure it must be possible to have a sprung gate with some kind of delay, such that the driver has enough time to drive through before it closes. Or perhaps one where the spring kicks in once the car is past - a mechanism is triggered perhaps by the driver clipping a lever with his wing mirror (obviously only gently).

Needle in a haystack

I'd quite like to conduct an experiment to see how many manhours it takes (without using any magnets) to find a needle in a haystack.