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Sam Asano's Let's Invent: Help put an end to slumping

April 21. 2013 12:25AM

Editor's note: Sam Asano's column on inventing debuted in the Portsmouth Herald earlier this year. We are publishing his collected columns in sequence in the Sunday and Monday business sections over the next several weeks after which the new columns will appear on Mondays.

A lady recently called from New Hampshire. She said, ever since she was young, she noticed she would slump during the day at work or at home. She knows that is not a healthy posture, but she is doing it unconsciously, and it causes her to have stiff shoulders and some minor back pain.

Since I know nothing about posture, I contacted Carol Allen, a neighbor and yoga instructor in Portsmouth, who explained the health issues caused by this. Slumping for many hours compresses the front part of the body and stretches the back part. Compressing the front causes breathing inefficiency as well as compression of the esophagus, which leads to chronic stomach problems.

Meanwhile, your spine is deformed in an unhealthy curvature of reverse S, while fully supporting the weight of the upper body. This will lead to chronic back pain as well as more serious spine issues later. Allen volunteered to showcase three poses - straight standing, semi-slump and eventual bad posture, as seen in the accompanying photos, Case 1304, Figures 1, 2 and 3. Now, readers, think about inventing an effective slump monitor that tells you when you are slumping. This may benefit millions of people.

Update on Case 1303: AR15 gun case/shield for state trooper

I have spoken with a few police officials, and wasn't able to receive technical assistance or any conclusive direction on the dual-purpose gun case/shield. From these very small samplings, I have deduced that knowledge on defensive science such as building shields isn't really popular among people associated with guns. It is likely that the whole thing is neither as interesting nor as exciting as thinking about assault weapons in general.

As I stated in the previous installment, today's shield is no more advanced than the Greeks' design back in 700 BC, 2,800 years ago. Thus, I sense a good profit opportunity. If you run a business that nobody likes to be in, you are likely to earn good profit. Have you heard of a garbage collection business going under? If you want to invent, and make a continual handsome profit, my recommendation is for you to look for problems that need solutions that nobody is trying to solve. Brainstorm on the problem. We 99-percenters have to stride toward areas others have overlooked. Then you may hit a vein of gold ore.

The untested solution we came up with is shown in Case 1303, Figures 1 and 2. It is made of a sandwiched material of a light steel plate and a sheet of Kevlar.

However, the surface is not flat. The surface consists of a jagged saw-tooth pattern, the peak of the saw-tooth pointed toward the potential adversary. Why? If you look at a stealth aircraft design, its surface has no gradual curvature like commercial aircraft. Its frame looks like a knife pointing toward us. The reason is that the radar wave doesn't bounce forward, and reflect toward the rear. This way, enemy radar cannot detect intruding stealth aircraft. We felt that the same principle applies whether it is a radar wave or bullet. A bullet hits the slanted surface of the shield, and undoubtedly deflects to hit the adjacent wall. It may penetrate through, but the direction of the flight and kinetic energy would have been reduced significantly. The state trooper on the phone stated that most gun battles, if it ever comes to that, happen within a distance of 25 feet. In such a short distance, this design may not be effective. However, I am waiting for our readers' comments. I also would like to try shooting this design with some handguns.

Shintaro (Sam) Asano of New Castle, who speaks and writes English as a second language, was named by MIT in 2011 as one of the 10 most influential inventors of the 20th century who improved our life. He is a businessman and an inventor in the field of electronics and mechanical systems, who is credited as the original inventor of today's portable fax machine. He also developed a data tablet used in the retail point of sale to capture customer signatures when credit cards are used. Write to him at

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