Weird Universe


Hail Protector

It protects your car from hail, plus doubles as an inflatable trampoline for children's parties!

Posted By: Alex | Date: Sat Mar 15, 2014 | Comments (6)
Category: Inventions

A better rattrap

The July 14, 1952 issue of Life had a photo feature about a contest sponsored by the city of Hammond, Ind., in which schoolchildren were asked to design a better rattrap. The challenge apparently released the inner sadist in some of the kids.

Arnold Knopf's trap: a weight falls, releasing a crossbow which shoots an arrow into the rat's back.

Jim Olsen's contribution: after the rat trips a trigger, a weight falls, jerking a noose tight around the rat's neck.

Steve Miller and Ed Cox designed a rat guillotine that included a basket to catch the rat's head.

Posted By: Alex | Date: Tue Feb 11, 2014 | Comments (6)
Category: Death, Inventions, Pests, Plagues and Infestations, 1950's


DURR is a watch that shivers, every five minutes. That's all it does. No hands to tell the time. It just shivers at set, five-minute intervals.

Its makers describe it as a kind of experiment to investigate how we perceive the passage of time: "We made Durr to explore how we perceive 5 minutes in different situations. By markedly shivering every 5 minutes, it creates a haptic rythm to make us notice the changing tempo of time."

They're currently sold out. So you'll have to wait to get yours.

Posted By: Alex | Date: Tue Jan 14, 2014 | Comments (7)
Category: Inventions

Hands-Free Umbrella

A 1953 invention:

And its descendant in 2005:

Posted By: Alex | Date: Sat Jan 04, 2014 | Comments (5)
Category: Inventions, 1950's

The SkiBee

Invented by Detroit resident Donald Steeg, circa 1970. The SkiBee had an eight-horsepower engine with a 24-inch propellor that served as a propulsion unit for motorized skiing. Anyone who was willing to wear this thing on their back, could enjoy skiing without having to find a slope to go down. During the summer, it could also be used as an outboard motor on a boat.

[Hutchinson News - Feb 6, 1970]
Posted By: Alex | Date: Thu Dec 26, 2013 | Comments (7)
Category: Inventions, Motor Vehicles, Sports, 1970's

Yoga Patent

A company called YogaGlo recently received a patent for the concept of an "image capturing device" placed in "a studio having a front area and a rear area" and containing an instructor and a "plurality of students." Which is to say, they've patented the idea of filming a yoga class.

The Washington Post credits the reward of this patent to the "culture of the patent office," which views "more patenting as a good thing" and doesn't like to reject patents lest examiners get "bogged down in never-ending arguments with applicants."

Posted By: Alex | Date: Sat Dec 14, 2013 | Comments (4)
Category: Inventions

The Odon Device

Jorge Odon was an Argentinian car mechanic who, one day, watched a video on YouTube that showed a trick for removing a cork that's stuck inside a wine bottle. Even though he had no medical training at all, the video inspired him to create a device to help deliver babies who are stuck inside the birth canal. And apparently the device (he's called it the Odon Device) actually works — enough so that an American medical technology firm has agreed to manufacture it. [Yahoo!]

I can't seem to remember the last brilliant idea I had while watching YouTube videos.

Posted By: Alex | Date: Wed Nov 27, 2013 | Comments (9)
Category: Inventions, Medicine

Global Warming Solved

Nike recently filed a patent application for "a golf ball that includes carbon dioxide absorbents in order that the golf ball may reduce atmospheric carbon dioxide levels to aid in alleviating global warming."

So if we all just play more golf, that global warming thing should be reversed in no time! [via Mother Jones]

Posted By: Alex | Date: Sat Nov 09, 2013 | Comments (7)
Category: Inventions, Sports

The Mamoris Chair

It's an emergency helmet that doubles as a chair's backrest, during times of non-emergency. An odd but clever idea, if it saves lives. []

Posted By: Alex | Date: Sun Nov 03, 2013 | Comments (4)
Category: Inventions

The Real Geo


(Flickr source.)

A reader known as "" recently wrote in with some good info on an old WU topic:

" I have been a fan of Buckminster Fuller's writings for many years and just recently found out that he actually didn't invent the geodesic dome. It was invented by Walther Bauersfeld, a German engineer, some 30 years earlier for use as the first projection planetarium. Fuller did, however, apply for and was granted the U.S. patents. He took it's design and construction further and is credited with popularizing it. We have one in Fairbanks built in 1966 at a site originally called "Alaskaland" which was built to commemorate the centenial of the purchase of Alaska from Russia in 1867. It's called the Gold Dome and now houses an aviation museum. Also, there were many "golf balls" in the state during the Cold War which were used for radar."
Posted By: Paul | Date: Tue Oct 29, 2013 | Comments (5)
Category: Architecture, Inventions, 1920's
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