Mother’s little helper…

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ON the look-out for ways of minimising effort and making life less stressful? Well, take a look at some of the latest labour-saving inventions… James Dyson, the UK-based designer best known for his bagless vacuum cleaner, recently patented some of his latest. These include appliances in tall, rectangular shapes that fit together on a platform, replacing the pointed spouts, long cables and sharp corners of blenders, juicers and kettles.

Dyson’s plan, you see, is to streamline appliances and avoid too many cluttering up work spaces. He has taken the concept of the spice rack or matching tea, coffee and sugar tins and enlarged it to design a new ‘library’ of appliances. All to run off the same power supply under their platform.

Meanwhile, scientists at another company, Qinetiq, are developing flexible crockery that can be bent into a plate, bowl or cup. It uses ‘shape memory alloys’ developed for the military. Qinetiq also unveiled its plans on new energy technologies. As well as the crockery, other clever ideas include fridge-freezers that change compartment sizes depending on how much food they contain.

Space is, as everyone knows, increasingly at a premium in kitchens as they become the centre of the house. New inventions are designed to fit with predicted kitchens of the future which could have devices such as a fridge that suggests meals based on its contents, hologram chefs (Gordon Ramsay living inside your fridge? U-G-H!) to guide cooks and control panels which allow that evening’s cook to dial in from their mobile phone and activate the kitchen before they get home.

Talking about inventions, did you know how some came about? Did you know, for instance, that women’s corsets led to the invention of the modern umbrella? Or that the hovercraft emerged from an empty cat-food tin? Or that the microwave was invented after a researcher walked by a radar tube and a chocolate bar melted in his pocket?

Or how Velcro came about? When a Swiss engineer found himself and his dog covered in burdock burrs, he discovered the hook-shaped spikes latch onto loops in fur, hair or clothing –  which led to his hook/loop nylon version.

But, in the not too distant future, when we’re all walking around with microchipped ears and three sprocket dongles with added wibbles, do you think there’ll ever be an invention to cure men’s snoring or leaving dirty socks anywhere but the laundry basket? No, I didn’t think so either…

Nora Johnson’s novel, The De Clerambault Code (www.nora-johnson.com) available at Amazon in paperback and as eBook. Profits to Cudeca.

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