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Dear Mitch,

A couple of weeks ago I think you said you were going to post a couple of new ideas for inventions every week for readers to try on their own.  It's been almost a week since the last one.  When do you think you'll post the next?

Frequenter visitor to this site,

Adam G.


Dear Adam G.,

Here's one that I think many parents would wecome:

Since it is now easier than ever to make almost anything magnetic (via the magnetic paint that is sold in most paint stores), I think someone ought to consider coming out with a line of toys in which all the pieces were coated with this magnetic substance.  Puzzle pieces, Leggo pieces, small doll accessaries, etc. would all be perfect candidates.

And, of course, all that the parent would need to own to quickly tidy up is a magnetic 'vacuum' of sorts.  In other words, some type of non-electric magnetic sweeper whose magnetic bottom surface could itself be swept clean or unloaded into an appropriate toy bin.

NOTE:  Many computer-minded parents become uneasy at the thought of any extra magnets in the home, but the form of magnetic layer to which I am referring would not pose any problems because this magnetic paint and other similar methods that could be used are magnetic in the sense that paper clips or iron filings are magnetic:  magnets pick them up but they have no attractive magnetic power on their own and therefore cannot ruin any computer hardware or software.  The only piece of equipment that would have to be used with care around computers is the 'vacuum', which need not be particularly strong anyway.

To any parent who has spent a tedious hour or more retrieving puzzle pieces from under beds or dressers with feet too short to allow access with one's hand, but big enough to allow Barbie Doll shoes, this magnetic 'vacuuming' process could seem like a miracle come true!

Hope this intrigues,