Sometimes the best inventions are so obvious that you'd wonder why it wasn't invented before. Here's the HurriQuake nail, invented by civil engineer Ed "Dr. nail" Sutt after witnessing the devastating effect of Hurricane Marilyn in 1995:
The team tested hundreds of designs, looking for the best compromises. The late prototypes held fast, and Bostitch came out with a barbed nail with a larger head in 2005 called the Sheather Plus. But the solutions created problems of their own: As the barbs pierced the sheathing, they generated a hole that was slightly bigger than the shank, resulting in a loose, sloppy joint.
“We needed a way to lock the top of the shank into the sheathing,” says Sutt, who attacked the problem in a series of brainstorming sessions with his engineers. Their solution: a screw-shank, a slight twist at the top of the shaft that locks the nail in place. The combination of the screw-shank, barbed rings, fatter head, and high-strength alloy added up to an elegant solution to the failures that had plagued nails for more than two centuries. Sutt’s team had, in effect, reinvented the nail.
The HurriQuake nails add $15 to the final cost of a 2,000 square feet house, a remarkably cheap price for added hurricane-resistance. http://www.popsci.com/popsci/flat/bown/2006/innovator_5.html - Thank you DJ!