I once came up with an idea about having a car key with a wireless microchip in it so that it could talk to the car and send encoded passwords as well as being a mechanical key – then about a month later I saw an advert for a brand new Mercedes that boasted the same tech – I was gutted to have been beaten to it!
I havent’ made any life changing discoveries, but have done some good things at work no one had thought of.
For example, I use a camera and a laser to illuminate small reflective spheres. So it’s like a high-viz jacket, except a little sphere about 1cm in diameter coated with that bright stuff. When you shine a laser on it, it’s SUPER bright, much brighter than everything around it, and i can see it on my camera.
You know how cameras usually are focused? A bad shot is one that’s fuzzy, or out of focus. However, i discovered if we purposefully blurred our images I could locate the centre of the bright sphere more accurately because it was spread over a wider area in the image. So i improved our measurement system by doings omething you would normally never want to do. Sometime you find these things by accident and they’re really good ideas.
I don’t think I’ve even come up with some really good world-changing idea!
Whilst on a project at university we needed to find some hollow plastic spheres that could easily split into two halves – I searched everywhere for them but couldn’t get any!
Then I remembered I’d once seen some Christmas tree baubles in a craft shop that you could decorate yourself and fill with sweets – they were exactly what I needed! Unfortunately it was the middle of July so they weren’t in the shops, but I got some on the internet! They worked really well.
tough question! i guess it was a new way of calibrating our instrument i had in a eurika moment whilst i was crashing a car. it worked really well 🙂 (calibrating is setting the scale of something, so for example you would calibrate a ruler by drawing on the cm markings)