They put a man on the moon 45 years ago, yet we still muddle along with sub-standard, antiquated contraptions every day. Far be it from me to be demanding. I couldn’t invent a popsicle stick. But the smarter, proverbial “they” who have invented and reinvented and stood atop the smarts of those who’ve gone before could surely come up with the following devices and improve all our lives. Maybe this year.
Smarter shopping carts
Why is it when we go grocery shopping, we place all our purchases into the cart, then unload it all onto the conveyor, then load it all back into the cart, then load it into the trunk of our cars, then unload it and carry it into our kitchens? This is neither efficient nor fun.
I propose a collapsible shopping cart that fits in the trunk of your car. You put your chosen items in the cart like you do now, except they don’t come out until they’re in your kitchen. That’s because you roll the entire cart through a giant scanner that reads every product code at once, totals your bill, and you pay. You then push the cart out to your vehicle and straight into your trunk, thanks to the handy-dandy collapsible feature of the undercarriage. When you arrive home, you roll it into your kitchen and unpack. The empty cart is collapsed and stored in your vehicle until next time. No bags, no backache, no bother.
Smarter Staple Removers
An ongoing project at my City Hall job involves scanning the signed and sealed copies of by-laws and agreements and saving them to electronic files. This requires a lot of pulling out of staples prior to feeding them through the scanner, then stapling them back together afterwards. My staple-puller proves useless on thicker documents and I’ve destroyed many a fingernail. I once observed my doctor pull staples out of my post-surgery abdomen with less difficulty or discomfort.
It occurred to me the stapler has probably changed little since its invention in 1866. I suppose as the world gradually becomes paperless, staples and their removers will eventually become obsolete. Meanwhile, I’m caught in the middle with my broken, bleeding fingernails.
I own two pairs of bifocals and switch between them four thousand times a day. Both pair are identical on the bottom half, designed for close-up reading. One pair is good for computer-distance on the top half and I wear them at my desk. The other pair’s top half is for longer distances, so I wear them for driving and pretty much everything else—which means I am generally wearing them when having a face to face conversation with someone whose face is about computer distance from mine. The person looks fuzzy unless I back up three feet, which tends to offend. But I can’t very well say “excuse me while I slip into more comfortable eye-wear.”
I know, I know. I probably need trifocals. Be quiet.
There’s got to be an invention that will give my eyes back the auto-focus God created them with so many years ago—without costing an arm and a leg per eye.
What things would you like to see invented in 2014?