An invention motivated by spam
There’s apparently a doctor out there with the same name as me. I say this because I often get requests for permission to reprint various medical articles as weall as spam from biomedical companies. One of these recent spams advertised a product that identifies proteins by using mass spectrometry.
That made me wonder if it would be possible to invent a device that could automate the identification of the books on my desk. Maybe this machine would burn one of these books and determine from the ash whether the content of the book was number theory, algebraic geometry, elliptic curves, etc. Such a machine, of course, would be called a "math spectrometer."