20 innovations to make the world a better place

When times get tough, the tough invent. Here's our list of the things we want to see made real:

The standardisation of obscene European hand gestures.

A social networking site for angry, paranoid recluses, in which it’s impossible to befriend anyone else.

3 Dial-A-Gangster. You’ve been crossed. Sadly, there weren’t too many hard men at your minor public school. Help is at hand... and fist, and boot.

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

The Scarlett Johansson diet — actually turns your partner into Scarlett Johansson. 

Earphones that don’t bother anyone else on public transport.

The Bark-U-Like — a voice box you insert into a dog’s throat so that every time it barks, it blasts out one of your favourite songs.

A personal hygiene tester at the gate of every transatlantic flight.

An alert system linked to the Treasury that flashes a signal on your computer each time the government spends your money on something ridiculous, like ID cards or speaker of the House Michael Martin’s wages.

Most Popular

An anti-strobe gizmo to counter the continually flashing screen that would result from the above.

10 A “green” car that looks like a car and not a child’s drawing of one.

11 An understanding bank.

12 The passing of a law forbidding all buzzwords and management speak.

13 An automated cinema ticket-buying phone service that doesn’t make you stay in and wait for the DVD to be released.

14 A widget for your television that neutralises the digital pitch-side advertising that’s made football almost unwatchable.

15 A universal access code that obviates the necessity for every human being to remember 900 passwords and PINs.

16 A device for scanning foetuses to detect a predilection for free-form jazz.

17 A machine that establishes the exact moment to insult someone and still retain moral superiority.

18 The Epiphinator — a contraption that accurately captures all the good ideas you have in your head before you forget them.

19 A shoulder-weighting system that prevents the boss from shrugging and saying the words “credit crunch” during performance meetings. 

20 A satnav that will under no circumstances direct you to an agreed list of towns you really can’t stand.