Thanks for the welcome!
I know for a sure fact that the idea of using solenoids to actuate the valves is not new (although when the idea came to me I thought it was
). From what I read, I believe Lotus has been working on this for years. If I were to be able to get a patent, it would most likely be to the particular design I have in mind, just as you said. I am at the point where I am not keeping any of my ideas super secret anymore. I am not looking to get patents and get rich... I just want to design something and see it actually work. I am creating a "rough draft" of the block tonight and will post a picture of it on my blog by this weekend. I plan on incorporating the solenoids and hydraulic circuit into the valley of the block and using standard push rods and rockers to do the actual valve opening. By altering the rocker ratio's, hydraulic pressure, and orifice diameters, I can compensate (hopefully) for the slow actuation of today's solenoids. Solenoid speed is a major hurdle in achieving higher RPM's... but I will get into all of that when the time comes.
I believe that throttle plates are an unnecessary restriction on an engine with infinitely variable valve actuation. The valves duration and lift can be altered to control the volume of gases entering the cylinder.
I am gonna look around for some of the discussions you mentioned. I am very curious to see what everyone thinks about future technology.