The 10 Most Ridiculous Inventions Ever Patented
The wheel. The light bulb. Big Mouth Billy Bass. Great inventions inspire awe, while providing comfort and convenience to the masses. Other inventions inspire second-hand embarrassment and provide a window into the dark souls of the men who created them. In an extended compilation from his Daily Nooner, blogger Ross Wolinsky counts down 10 pieces of irrefutable proof that at least one clerk from the patent office comes to work stoned every day.
The Flatulence Deodorizer
Filed in April 2000, the flatulence deodorizer "discloses a pad to be worn by a user for absorbing gas due to flatulence."
If you can get past the I'm-basically-wearing-a-weird-diaper-for-farts factor, this invention is actually a pretty good idea. Or it would be, we guess, if you're like the people in the testimonials on Flat-D.com. Those peoples' lives have been completely ruined by farts. A quick sampler:
"Your product has really helped me in the cramped space of my cockpit. I would sometimes notice the other guys using their mask to get some fresh oxygen ... When I feel the urge I usually quickly install it thru the back of my pants. Then I do not have to worry. It also does a nice job muffling the noise."
"On September 14th mom will be 78 years old, and that's why I'd like to take her to Hawaii ... I've traveled there twice, but she never has because of her flatulence problems."
Method And Device For Recognition of a Collision With a Pedestrian
The days of plowing your car into things and not knowing whether or not it was a living person are finally over!This patent, which uses sensors in the car's bumper and engine hood, claims to be able to decide "with a high reliability" if that thing you hit was a pedestrian! It also takes into consideration changes in acceleration and whether or not the brakes were used prior to impact to figure it out.
Sounds like a pretty smart system to us. With that in mind, here's a little suggestion for the inventors: When you guys roll out the next version of this thing, maybe it'd be better if it actually PREVENTED the collision. That would probably make it slightly more useful. As it stands, all this really does is keep a tally of how many vehicular homicides you've committed.
Animal Ear Protectors
Do you have a dog with long, floppy ears, and if so, do you give it food? And if you give it food, is it always getting its long, floppy ears covered in the food that you give it? Is this actually a serious problem that you have to deal with? If so, you should write a letter to your local pet accessory manufacturer and let them know about US Patent #4233942.
Then again, if this is a legitimate concern for you, you might also ask yourself, "What's wrong with my dog? Why can't it clean the excess food off its ears?" Or maybe, alternatively, "Will my dog look any less dumb walking around with these stupid tubes around its ears than it would with crusted-up dog food all over itself?" Then maybe, finally, "Why do I even own a dog? I don't have time to deal with this."
Jet Powered Surfboard
To be honest, a jet powered surfboard isn't really pointless at all. Say you're out in the Pacific carving a SICK pipeline and a shark creeps up on you. On a normal board, you'd be like "bummer," but on a jet powered board, it'd be more like "no problemo!"
Also, just think of the cinematic possibilities that jet powered surfboards would open up. If they ever end up doing that long-awaited Point Break sequel, can you imagine the chase scenes they could pull?! They'd make the hoverboard sequence from Back To The Future II look like a big pile of baby poo.
So yeah, it'd be great if these were commercially available, but they should probably come with one of those body counter devices from invention # 9 because jet powered surf boards would almost certainly kill hundreds (if not thousands) of people every year. Of course, these would be people who could enter the afterlife knowing they had died the most awesome death possible.
System For Magnetically Attaching Templeless Eyewear to a Person
For the uninitiated, "temples" are the little arms on eyeglasses that go behind your ears to hold them on your face. According to this patent, temples "cause discomfort to the wearer ... and can even cause permanent creases in the wearer's head." Rather than go to his optometrist and get his glasses adjusted, inventor David Peschel decided to go the extra mile and waste years of his life solving a nonexistent problem.
Here's the thing, though: Judging by the illustration, this system requires you to surgically remove your ears and replace them with magnetic rings. That seems a little drastic, particularly when you consider the fact that GLASSES REALLY AREN'T THAT UNCOMFORTABLE.
OK, upon closer examination, it turns out the system works by sticking adhesive magnets to the sides of your head. In a way, that might actually be worse than surgically removing your own ears. At least people without ears are capable of dignity.
Method Of Exercising a Cat
This brilliant invention "consists of directing a beam of invisible light ... onto the floor or wall ... then moving the laser so as to cause the bright pattern of light to move in an irregular way fascinating to cats." In other words, this guy is claiming a patent on freaking your cat out with a laser pointer.
If this is patentable, then we think we'd better get down to the patent office immediately with another amazing invention. We'll call it "Method of Chewing Food," and it will "consist of placing edible objects within the human mouth, then applying pressure via the jawbone to mash (or "chew") said objects into a swallowable consistency." While we're at it, maybe we'll patent the concept of food itself and the entire human digestive system.
Method of Swinging on a Swing
Remember how you used to "pull alternatively on one chain and then the other" while "on a standard swing suspended by two chains from a substantially horizontal tree branch"? Guess what? This guy invented that, which means you owe one Steven Olson a hefty chunk of change.
Make no mistake, though: Steven Olson isn't patenting one specific model of swing set, or swing sets in general. Steven Olson is patenting the method of swinging on a swing. If this is legally sound, we're thinking of patenting that thing where your friend tries to push you so high that you actually loop over the bar and come down on the other side.
Apparatus For Simulating a "High Five"
The Apparatus for Simulating a "High Five" was filed by an inventor named Albert Cohen, in an apparent attempt to make the most depressing device in history.
"During a televised sporting event," the patent explains, "a 'high five' is commonly shared between fans to express the joy and excitement of a touchdown, home run, game-winning basket, birdie or other positive occurrence. Unfortunately ... a 'high five' requires the mutual hand slapping of two participants ... As such, a solitary fan is unable to perform a 'high five' to express excitement during a televised sporting event."
That might be the most unintentionally revealing patent ever written. Can someone write Albert Cohen a letter and clue him in about sports bars or fantasy football leagues or something? There's gotta be someone out there for him to watch sports with. As it stands, he's sitting around his dank one-bedroom apartment in sweatpants, oiling up his mechanical "high five" machine for tomorrow's big game. We almost want to manufacture this thing just so we can send anyone who purchases it directly over to Albert's house to hang out with him.
User-Operated Amusement Apparatus For Kicking the User's Buttocks
Why, you might ask, would someone want a device designed "for self-infliction of repetitive blows to the user's buttocks"? We have no idea, but if anyone ever decides they want one, we have the technology.
"The benefit of the present invention," the patent explains, "is as an amusement apparatus for entertainment and comic relief whereby the plurality of rotating arms rotate when the user rotates the hand crank." Well that doesn't really explain much, does it? Is this for lazy people who want to beat their children? Is it an overly-complicated way to break in new jeans, or maybe some kind of weird S&M thing?
Maybe, it's for people who have a spare corner in their basement and think to themselves, "You know what would be great right there? An apparatus to inflict repetitive blows to my buttocks."
The patent was issued September 25, 2001, just two weeks after Sept. 11, 2001. The folks at the patent office must have still been pretty shaken up when they gave this the thumbs up. There is no other explanation.
The terrorists may have gotten the Twin Towers, but we got the User-Operated Amusement Apparatus For Kicking the User's Buttocks. I'm gonna have to call this one a draw.
Look at the picture. The title of this patent is "animal toy," and he says it may be made of "wood" or "wood composites." That's right; the dude is trying to patent the stick.
We admire this man's vision. We guess he was just sitting in the park one day with his dog, saw a nearby twig, and had the revolutionary idea to throw the stick and make the dog chase it. We can totally picture the dog bringing the stick back and this guy's eyes going wide. He slowly lifts the stick to his face and says, "EUREKA!" then goes sprinting through the park, waving the stick in strangers' faces and shouting, "Compared to me, Thomas Edison was turds."
Now, that may have been reasonable if the above events had taken place in, say, 12,000 B.C., instead of 1999 when the patent was filed. It doesn't matter now, this guy's got the stick patent and soon every forest in the planet is about to be sued out of existence for infringement.
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