Every year Brussels is the venue for men of many nationalities and of many ideas - the technically-minded seekers of progress, who display their brain-children at the International Inventors' Exhibition.
SV. Road safety device from Spain.
CU. Model car & safety road device.
SV. Model car stops at side of device.
CU. Hand points to device.
SCU. Man equipped with fog signal detector.
SV. Articulated oars.
SCU. New photographic process.
CU. Of picture.
SV. Model of potato harvester.
SV. Safety wheel on front of car.
LV.PAN. Car towards another car.
SV. Car passes out of picture.
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Background: Every year Brussels is the venue for men of many nationalities and of many ideas - the technically-minded seekers of progress, who display their brain-children at the International Inventors' Exhibition.
Exhibitors from 18 countries are showing some 800 inventions, and among the most topical are those devoted to road safety.
One of the most likely devices to be put to good use on roads in the near future is the Spanish "roadside buffer" - a metal shaft sunk vertically into the ground, bearing a shock-absorbing drum which rotates freely around its top. Set up in a row, at short intervals, on the outer edge of a dangerous curve, on either side of an S-bend or along the centre line of a dual carriageway, these buffers are claimed to have a braking and steadying effect on veering or skidding vehicles which hit them. On a winding mountain road, with a sheer drop on one side, the buffers could save a driver's life by "bouncing" his car away from the precipice.
Safety at sea prompted a French invention enabling a ship's crew to determine exactly the direction from which fog signals of other vessels are coming. The operator of the warning-signal detector puts his head inside a helmet connected to a sound box either side, mounted on a rotating support. As he turns the detector he receives distant warning sounds many times magnified. Since he can receive sound waves only when his apparatus is facing the source of the sound, he then knows from which direction to expect the other vessel and is able to avoid a collision.
For oarsmen wondering why they should have to face the stern and be unable to see where they are going, another enterprising Frenchman has found a most agreeable solution. Use his articulated oars which reverse the action and you will never have to wring your own neck again.
The French home developer-printer "Autoprint" is what amateur photographers have been waiting for. "With no special knowledge" so the makers claim - they can now churn out their own prints in 20 seconds a piece. The whole "magic box" is smaller than a portable typewriter.
After a brief look at a British potato harvester - which should be good news for the busy farmer - we return to the road safety problem. Shocked by the number of road deaths due to head-on collision, a French inventor suggests that all motorcars should be fitted with a "safety wheel", fixed horizontally in front of the bonnet. If the car hits an obstacle, the inventor claims, it will be diverted sideways. Protective rubber tubes on either side of the bonnet reduce damage due to scraping along walls, trees or other cars. How many motorists will be willing to add this feature to their latest super-streamlined model, remains to be seen.