TRIZ Consulting: Trading Rubbish by Ignorant Zanies

G. L. Filkovsky, TRIZ Master,
Bonaire, Netherlands Antilles

Ignorance is the second most prevalent feature of TRIZ consultants. The first one is eagerness to sell their baloney. This subject has been discussed and this fact has been demonstrated on various occasions in the Anti TRIZ-Journal.

A zany at hand this time is Gennady Kuzevich and the rubbish is his article in the November 2004 issue of The TRIZ Journal, “To invent is to foresee: How to improve car safety”.

The first half of the article is clearly the trading part of the definition above: it’s just a soup of buzz words, bombastic statements, and colorful charts. Then, the second half comes. That’s where the zany demonstrates his ignorance. While still dropping buzz words, here the consultant puts forward some examples of technical ideas. Not his ideas though, which is another common trend among TRIZ consultants, but other peoples’ ideas he finds to represent “new concepts” and “pioneer inventions”.

One idea is, to place a bag partially filled with gas inside a car bumper. On collision, the gas supposes to inflate other bags: in front of a driver’s head, around a passenger’s neck, etc.

The zany brings up some physically meaningless blurb, like “the air bags will swallow up a significant part of impact energy, which is spent for filling the airbags and protection of people”. Well, by the time the gas from the bumpers will fill these protection bags the driver’s head will be already smashed and the passenger's neck will be broken. You see, it will take much longer for gas to travel the required distances than for a skull, which usually is a hard object, to cross a few inches and to hit the window.

Thus, Gennady demonstrates another common trend among TRIZ consultants: they don’t know even high school physics. Nevertheless, they like to talk about using physical phenomena. Here Gennady, there is a phenomenon for you: superfluous liquids. If you fill your bags with one of those instead of the air, it might come up fast enough…

One problem with these liquids is, they require quite a low temperature, somewhere around minus 200 degrees… Don’t be discouraged – use TRIZ! Apply another existing resource: there are air conditioners in all modern cars. Use one to keep a liquid in a superfluous state. Hurray! The solution is ideal! What, such “air conditioner” will be large, heavy, and use all the car fuel in seconds? OK, we have invented a new concept – the rest is just boring engineering.

Another problem is hitting one’s head with a bag of liquid is as harmful as hitting it with glass. Use TRIZ again - the TRIZ principles of “Local Quality” and “Phase Transition”. The cooling will occur only in the bumpers area and by the time the liquid arrives near the head it heats up and evaporates, thus causing hitting the head with the bag of gas rather than liquid. By the way, we just have turned the harm into a benefit: the time required covering the distance between the bumpers and the driver’s head is used for evaporation of the liquid. The sky’s the limit for TRIZ consulting!

Gennady proudly talks about using impact energy and turning harm into benefit. Here is an even more ideal solution for him: use of piezoelectricity. Gennady should know this one: this is one of Altshuller’s favorite physical phenomena and there are quite a few examples using it in TRIZ books and articles. It is about some crystals, which produce an electrical charge when under a mechanical tension. Instead of air, or a superfluous liquid, fill the bumpers with these crystals and connect the crystals to rechargeable batteries. The crystals will swallow up all the impact energy, which will be spent to recharge the car batteries, while driver and passengers will feel nothing! It’s not just an ideal solution for the safety problem – it’s an ideal solution for the electrical automobile problem. Need a recharge? Just turn into a good concrete wall and press the accelerator! I foresee the “gas stations” of the future: concrete walls. Well, they will need to maintain the walls, so they will be probably charging per collision…

Let’s skip all other ridiculous places the zany suggests to use for the air bags and go straight to another idea. Toward the end of the article, Gennady observes that “today’s car designers consider it obvious that the occupant section should inevitably move aside for (he means, toward the – GF) obstacles, not changing direction.” This observation, Gennady, is correct except for the “today's” part. You see, since Galileo Galilee and Isaac Newton, engineers, who didn’t sleep in class, knew that a body tends to keep moving with a constant velocity along a straight line, i.e. not changing direction. You can apply a force to cause a change in the direction, as you recommend, and the final movement will be a superposition of straight movement and this new movement. So, the hard skull will keep flying toward the obstacle and collide with whatever is there. Plus, you picture

a huge kick in the butt to the passengers forcing them to jump up. If they don’t die of breaking the head they will certainly end up with broken spine.

Like Gennady, I’d use a quotation: “Genius has its limits, but stupidity is limitless”, A. Einstein.