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Free to take, free to use!
Please implement them if you have the
time, money or knowledge to do so.

Note: these ideas were submitted from 1997-2001, so some of these ideas have been invented already.

Heated Computer Keyboard
Idea Submitted by Cindie Snell

I work in a large office that is always freezing - summer and winter. I can wear long sleeves and pants, but for some reason my hands are always very cold. I work on a computer all day long and typing on the keyboard seems to contribute to the coldness. Anyway, it would be cool (or warm haha) if there was a gentle heat emitting from beneath the keys on the keyboard. It could have a simple adjustor on the top of the keyboard somewhere so the user could adjust it to warmer or cooler or simply turn it off. Just a thought . . .

Recycle Bins
Idea Submitted by Robert N.

New homes should have built in recycle bins. My idea is to have 4 openings in a panel that leads to chutes going to separate bins in your basement. Each chute door is marked GLASS, METAL, PLASTIC, and PAPER. The bins would be emptied monthly by the local recycling plant, who would have access to the bins from the side of your house. The recycling plant would give you credit for whatever you turn in. The credit could be used at stores for other products that are packaged in recycled goods.

12' Sand Timer
Idea Submitted by Just Call Me Sandy

This is a humongous sand-timer, like those mini egg timers, except it is really big, taller than a human. There is enough sand to fall for 12 hours, at which point it turns over and starts again. On each side it says DAY or NIGHT or a picture of the sun or moon or something, the corresponding picture or word being right side up during the appropriate time period. I just thought it would be a cool thing to have.

Novelty Lighter
Idea Submitted by just me

LCD or digital display showing how many lights are left in the lighter.

Talking Clock
Idea from BarbiQ62

Tells you the time when you say "time, please" or whatever you program into it as the question. There would be many voice type choices to choose from, so you could hear the time spoken to you in whatever type of voice, accent or language you want to hear. You could also record your own, if you prefer to hear your own voice or want to make specialty recordings in other languages.

Money Orders at ATM's
Idea said by some drunk person at a party

ATM machines should give you the option to get money orders or checks with your name printed on them, incase you run out in the middle of the night.

Smokin' Drinkin' Movie Theatre
Idea Submitted by Idea Debbie D.

You sit down in the theatre and there is a small table in front of you with a dim light. There is a bar in the corner where you can order alcoholic beverages and smoking supplies such as cigarettes, lighters, rolling papers, tobacco, etc. Cocktail waitresses and cigarette girls also come around to take your order if you don't feel like getting up. Non-smokers are not allowed inside, or else they are not allowed to complain if they are let in, because the whole point is that you can smoke. If this operation does really well, maybe the owner could open up an adjoining theatre that is non-smoking for the complainers.

reply from R2D3:
They have this now, I went to one when I visited London!
There's an old theatre that just shows vintage movies at night and smoking is allowed. No tables and ashcans though, you just smash it out on the floor under your shoe like you would on the street. They don't sell drinks but you can bring in your own, everybody did. The coppers hangout down the street but there's always a line of cars for hire (taxis) waiting outside so you don't have to drive after... cheers!

Front Door Message Panel
Idea from BarbiQ62

This is a display panel on your front door where you may leave messages for visitors such as; "Day Sleeper, please do not knock until after 5pm" or "In the shower, come back in 10 minutes" or "Postman, please leave packages on the porch" or anything else you want to say. This would interface with your computer, so you could set the messages up there. (I hate devices that have their own keyboards, so tedious to use!) A deluxe model could incorporate the technology for visitors to leave a message back to you. This might also interface with the Headboard Control (see next idea) so you could type messages on the spot messages to someone who is standing out there, like "you just woke me up with your incessant knocking, now go away". The beauty of this is that the pesky visitor would think it is a pre-programmed message, and not one written specifically for them, insult with impunity!

Headboard Control
The beauty of this is that you can stay in bed all day and still run your house! It would have an intercom to the front door, so you could answer the door without getting out of bed. There would be controls to turn on and off your lights, lock and unlock the doors, access your stereo controls, heat/air-conditioner controls, and monitor the outside of your house. Of course if you had the money to purchase this expensive contraption you may as well hire a butler to do all that and cook. The irony of it is that if you are the type who loves to stay in bed all day you are probably not very ambitious, and will never have enough money to buy such a gadget anyway. This is the kind of thing a lazy dreamer such as myself thinks up while laying in bed while wishing I didnt have to get up.

Skin-Colored Band-Aids
Idea Submitted by BarbiQ62

Band-Aids are all a similar color. They should make Band-Aids in a range of colors for people of all skin colors. Or at least make some that are translucent. Or make options in funny prints like cartoons or flowers. I think they would be very popular!

Free Emergency Road Crew
Idea Submitted by Joan59@rocketmail

They drive around all day looking for people stuck on the side of the highway with flat tires, out-of-gas, engine trouble, etc. This could be covered by tax dollars or some rich philanthropist could fund the whole thing. I know I would, if I had the money. I really feel for people that I see stuck on the side of the road, because I used to get stuck all the time when I had a crappy car, and no money to get a better one. No one ever stopped to help me, probably because they were scared. I would probably stop to help people if I were a man, but being a woman I don't feel safe stopping to help strangers, which is pretty sad if you think about it too much.

reply from MYANN27@aol:
Subject: Your idea is in use now!
In Cincinnati, Revco/CVS Pharmacy has a Free Emergency Road Services Crew that runs Interstate 75 inside the Interstate 275 loop, they patrol both Ohio and Kentucky, and I think they are going to expand their coverage to Indiana going around the I-275 loop, if they have not already! I like your ideas, keep up the good work!

reply from TVannatter@aol:
Subject: highway crew idea
One of your readers has posted an idea for a free highway crew to help people and another reply says that it is in use in their city, well here in Ft. Lauderdale and Miami, Florida there are I-95 tow trucks that cruise between Miami and West Palm Beach that will give you gas if you run out (up to 5 gallons) and tow you if you have a flat. You will see them often and they are very helpful. (If you are reading this and this is your daily job, I just want to say, THANK YOU !!!!)

Synchronized Traffic Lights
Idea Submitted by Bruce Wong @oceanic

You plug into the city's computer that regulates traffic signals throughout the city. You plug in your point of origination (The nearest traffic intersection). You plug in your destination. (The intersection of streets nearest your destination). The computer calculates the best time to leave your home within the nearest five minutes to get to your destination in the least amount of time any time of the day. The data base of the traffic computer includes a weather almanac, an almanac of rush hour congestion that makes the system "smarter" each year as it accumulates more data over time. It keeps track of all vehicles on the road with those rubber thingees you run over so it can even calculate how many times the light will change colors when you haven't moved an inch for 20 minutes. In time, the computer can tell you exactly what time to leave the house so that all the lights turn green when you go into town! (June 2nd, 2142 at 2:30 AM). GPS is not necessary. You already know where you are and where you want to go. You just want to know when is the best time to leave to get where you want in the quickest time possible. You could have "another one for the road" and still get home in the same amount of time thereby maximizing your discretionary amount of time to kill.

Removable Color Sheets For Cars
Idea Submitted by BarbiQ62

These are color panels that stick to your car, so you can go from black to white or whatever in a matter if minutes. Also, why not prints? How come nobody has come up with, say plaid cars, or flowered cars? If those patterns came in removable panels, you could have paisley one week and polka dots the next!

Car Wash/Convenience Store
Idea Submitted by BarbiQ62

You drive up to the booth, place your order and pay, drive through the car wash, and by the time you come out your short order of groceries are ready and waiting to be placed in your trunk when you come out.

Electric Socks
Idea shared by someone at work

Turn the technology of electric heating blankets and heating-pads into a pair of socks, because if you just want to warm up your feet, those devices are not practical. The blanket is too big and the heating pad never wraps completely around your feet, which lets cold air get in.

reply from Peter Sperling
Subject: Your Idea
I once bought a pair of electric socks. Each one had a D cell battery. I turned them into fully toe and foot socks by sewing in more foil to heat them up better and faster. I used a 6 volt lantern battery and a fast interupt switch and used them all winter in Alaska on my motorcycle.

Coffee Filter Dispenser
Idea Submitted by BarbiQ62

Hangs under the cabinet so you don't have to keep opening the cupboard, taking out the box, opening it up, peeling off a single filter, closing the box, returning the box to the cupboard and closing the cupboard. I really know how to make a 5 second routine sound like a big hassle don't I? That's just one of the many perks of being a lazy procrastinator.

Dog Collar
Idea from by BarbiQ62

Electronic device is embedded in dog collar, transmits to base equipment to find your pet if they escape the yard. When you discover they are missing, you turn on the homing device and it tells you to go North, South, East or West. You drive in that direction and it beeps telling you when you are getting closer or which direction to turn. When you are really close, like say within 25 feet, you just get out of your car and start calling "Buster!" or whatever its name is, and your pet will come running. If it doesn't, then it probably ran away from home because you mistreated it, and you shouldn't get it back anyway. This probably wouldn't work for cats because they never come when you call them.

reply from (asked to not publish his name)
They (big brother) already has something similar to this, in use by the Humane Society. When they find a dog on the loose with a collar, they bring it back to the shop and implant a chip in the back of it's neck, with all the information about the dog in the chip. Then they call you and you pick up your dog. The next time that dog is found running loose, they just scan the chip in its neck so they know whose dog it is, even if it lost its collar. Now I don't know this first-hand, this is just what I have heard. If anyone knows the details, please post a reply. I have really mixed feelings about it. It's a great idea to save and keep track of dogs, but one step too much closer to implanting those chips in humans.

Global Radio
Idea Submitted by Antonio ecoecoeco@netzero

What's been looooong needed is a radio/tape recorder/timer combination. So that one can tape great shows for later listening. All kinds of sound equipment is out there, but, if you're not there to hear it when it's broadcast....POOF, you never will! What a drag! So, all the good NPR talk shows are played so only "stay at homes" or "commuters" can hear it! What the heck, are THEY all that's important to affect and receive feedback from on important points? At least this way, a working person's comments can be sent to program's email address with a proper reaction! Plus, those shows (or music, or whatever) are GREAT in the "mundane world of top 40 radio conglomerates". Ohhh, to have GLOBAL radio available!!!!!

Homing Pen
Idea Submitted by Roy Hallanger @ mpls.k12.mn.us

Make an ink pen that beeps if it goes more than 20 feet from its owner.

Go Postal
Idea Submitted by don't name me

This is just a name for one of those mailing service shops. A variation on this would be 'Gone Postal'. I just thought it was funny.

Comfortable Chair
Idea by BarbiQ62

This is a chair that allows you to sit at your desk in any position. This would enable you stay working at your computer for many hours without getting tired, because you could change positions frequently. One thing that is a real plus is the ability to put your feet up in numerous positions. There is a tray that holds your keyboard and mouse in front of you, which swings away easily when you need to get up to get another coke. The monitor should also be on a moveable arm/tray so you could bring it close to you.

Mall Foot Massager
Idea by BarbiQ62

You sit down and for 25 cents your feet are massaged by a powerful vibrating machine. It is affordable so can you sit there thru many sessions if you like. This would be especially helpful at shopping malls, where people spend a lot of time on their feet walking around. I saw one of these at a county fair, so the foot massager part is not my idea, but the idea to strategically place them in shopping malls is.

Mall Electronic Walkways
Idea by BarbiQ62

This is just like the ones they have at airports, except there are seats along the side if you want to sit down. The electronic walkway goes from one end of the mall to the other, in both directions, along the entire middle of it.

Add your own ideas!
Have an idea you want to share? Contact me here, and I will post it along with your name.