Darn. Beaten to Another Great Idea.

by Jimmy Akin

in Curios & Humor, Science

bio-suitI keep having really cool ideas that someone else has had before.

When I was five, I was talking with a girl I knew whose father was an atheist, and I thought of the cosmological argument.

Unfortunately, Plato had thought of it first.

When I was in fifth grade, I realized that there was a relationship between the length of the sides and angels in a triangle, which is the key insight of trigonometry.

Unfortunately, Hipparchus thought of it first.

I also thought, before such things were made, of combining an ATM with a gas pump so that you could pay at the pump.

But I was a kid and had no way of acting on it, and someone else undoubtedly made a lot of money patenting that.

Well, it happened again this morning.

While getting ready to go to work, I was listening to an old science fiction novel on audiobook, and there was discussion in the book of a freefall gymnasium.

These are staples in certain kinds of science fiction, because if you are spending a great deal of time in zero or low gravity, your bones and muscles will atrophy, so you’d need to do freefall exercises to fight that.

And I thought: Wait a minute . . . couldn’t you at least blunt that muscle and bone deterioration by building a suit which resisted your movements so that you’d simulate the resistance that gravity provides?

The suit could be built with springs, rods, or fibers embedded in it to make it stiff at strategic points so that you’d exercise by resisting the suit instead of resisting gravity.

It might not completely eliminate the need for freefall exercises, but it would help.

Then I googled “free fall resistance suit” to see if anyone had already thought of this.

They had.

Oh, well.

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{ 3 comments }

Mary September 19, 2013 at 9:25 am

That’s life.

The Ubiquitous September 19, 2013 at 7:58 pm

Frank Sinatra beat you to that one, Mary.

Peter September 20, 2013 at 9:31 am

You want a good invention, Jimmy? Invent a folding umbrella that one can use to get to the car in the rain and which then does not drench the user when folded to get in the car. I think it’s like perpetual motion. Ca’t be made.

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