7 annoyance-beating technologies we wish they'd invent

7 everyday technologies we wish they'd invent
Should restaurant tables be able to block you from using your smartphone?

Hurrah for science: boffins in France have invented anti-Wi-Fi wallpaper that looks and works like normal wallpaper but blocks Wi-Fi signals.

It's even cleverer than it sounds, because while it blocks the frequencies on which Wi-Fi operates it doesn't block others, so it could prevent the neighbours piggy-backing on your wireless network or their router interfering with yours without ruining your mobile phone signal.

That's got us thinking: what other simple ideas could make the tech world a better place? Here are our nominations. What are yours?

1. Portrait Video Refuser

The rise of the smartphone has led to a rise in something that drives us doo-lally: videos shot in portrait mode. The only time they work is when they're being played back on a phone; if you watch them on something a bit larger, whether it's a tablet or your enormous flat screen TV, the majority of your screen is blank.

Most smartphones know whether they're being held upright or sideways, so this one would be easy: a bit of code in every camera app that refuses to record video in portrait mode. You'll thank us for it one day.

2. Sonic Shusher

You're on the bus. Tukka-tsssh! Tukka-tsssh! Tukka-tsssh! Tukka-tsssh! Tukka-tsssh! The Sonic Shusher would use noise cancelling technology to analyse the too-loud tune emanating from your fellow passenger's headphones and would generate a negative wave that cancels it out, leaving the bus in silence.

Even better, you could hack it to play the infamous and probably mythical "brown note" to wreak terrible revenge.

3. No-tweet Seat

Perfect for conference rooms, restaurants, pubs that run quiz nights and even the family dinner table, the No-tweet seat contains a signal jammer that operates on all mobile phone and wireless internet frequencies to ensure that the people you're sharing a room, table or friendly rivalry with can't get onto Twitter, Facebook or Wikipedia.

4. Techalyser

It's a breathalyser, but for tech: sensors scan your breath for booze, and if you're clearly three sheets to the wind you won't be able to post something appalling on Facebook, buy a helicopter on eBay or send a photo of your unmentionables to your boss.

5. SMS Airbag Inflator

If you've ever seen the terrifying sight of someone texting as they get closer and closer in your rear view mirror, you'll appreciate this one: a steering wheel airbag that can detect whether you're texting while moving and if you are, inflates in your big stupid face before you kill somebody.

6. Tablet Location Awareness

Try as we might, we can't stop ourselves from being annoyed by people filming stuff with tablets - especially when we know the optics in their tablet would embarrass a five-quid webcam. There's only one reason for filming in public with a tablet, and that's to say "look at me! I have a tablet!"

What should happen, other than a mighty hand coming from the sky and giving the offender a clip round the ear, is that the app uses GPS to work out whether you're on the sofa or not, and if you aren't, it refuses to load the camera app and tells you you're a dork.

7. Apple bullshit detector

"CONFIRMED EXCLUSIVE! Is this the iPad 5?"



Carrie Marshall

Writer, broadcaster, musician and kitchen gadget obsessive Carrie Marshall (Twitter) has been writing about tech since 1998, contributing sage advice and odd opinions to all kinds of magazines and websites as well as writing more than a dozen books. Her memoir, Carrie Kills A Man, is on sale now. She is the singer in Glaswegian rock band HAVR.