Category:
Patents

The Sony SmartWig

Sony was granted a patent for its "SmartWig" in 2016, but, to date, it doesn't seem to have brought the device to market.

The idea was that a person could pair their smartphone with the wig and then receive "tactile feedback" (such as a vibration) when they received a text or email.

But that was just the tip of the iceberg. The SmartWig had many more potential uses, such as the following:

During a presentation the user may, for example, move forward or backward through presentation slides by simply pushing the sideburns, i.e. by pushing the one or more buttons. Thus, the user can control the presentation slides simply by natural behavior like touching side burns. Additionally, the wearable computing device may comprise a laser pointer that is arranged in or on the wig. The laser pointer may, for example, be arranged on a forehead part of the wig, so that the user may point out relevant information on the projected slide in the above-explained presentation mode.

I imagine it would be a lot more difficult to aim a laser pointer with your head rather than your hand. Not to mention it would look bizarre.



#40 represents the possible location of a laser pointer

Posted By: Alex - Sat Feb 24, 2024 - Comments (1)
Category: Technology, Patents, Hair and Hairstyling

Harold Tifft’s Portable Nuclear Bomb Shield

Harold Tifft claimed that his portable shield would "protect the wearer against heat, atomic radiation, atomic fall-out and flying debris in the event of nuclear warfare." When not in use it fit inside a carrying case, but when needed it could be rapidly assembled into a full-body shield. From his patent:

The compactness of the shield (due to the telescoping of the various sections) permits the owner thereof to easily carry it with him from place to place. Also, due to its compactness, it can be easily and unobtrusively stored in either the office or the home. When an alarm is sounded by civil defense authorities, civilians who have the described shield close at hand would be able to fit themselves with the shield in a very short period of time. A civilian thus outfitted could then place himself against the floor, the ground, or a vertical surface and wait until the explosion has occurred or the danger passed. The fact that each lower section telescopes with the section next above it enables the wearer to raise as many sections as may be necessary to permit walking or running in the event that the wearer is suddenly forced to abandon his position in favor of a safer one.

In his patent he never mentioned how much the thing weighed. Carrying the thing around constantly would surely have been a challenge.







Cincinnati Post - Jan 26, 1960

Posted By: Alex - Mon Feb 19, 2024 - Comments (3)
Category: Patents, Atomic Power and Other Nuclear Matters, 1960s

Anti-Bear Flamethrower

David Girag of Glendale, CA recently was granted a patent (11,877,572) for a "portable flame propelling device" to deter an attack by an animal "such as a bear, lion, dog, or human."

I think this would just anger a bear, and then cause a forest fire.

Posted By: Alex - Tue Jan 30, 2024 - Comments (3)
Category: Animals, Fireworks and Pyrotechnics, Patents, Weapons

The Avrocar Military Flying Saucer

If only this project had succeeded, we'd all have Jetson-style flying saucers today!

Here is the Wikipedia page.

But I do think the version patented by one C. P. Lent right around the same time has a classier shape.





Posted By: Paul - Thu Jan 25, 2024 - Comments (1)
Category: Flight, Military, Technology, Patents, 1950s

Mushroom-Based Air Conditioning

Researchers at Johns Hopkins have invented (and patented) a mushroom-powered air cooling system that can reduce the temperature in a semiclosed compartment by approximately 10 °C in 25 minutes. They call it the "MycoCooler." From their recent article in PNAS:

We constructed a mushroom-based air-cooling device, MycoCooler™, based on previous observations that mushrooms can cool the surrounding air via evaporative cooling. The device was made from a Styrofoam box with a 1-cm–diameter inlet aperture and a 2-cm–diameter outlet aperture. An exhaust fan was attached outside the outlet aperture to drive airflow in and out of the box. The MycoCooler™ was loaded with ~420 g of substrate-detached A. bisporus mushrooms, closed, and placed inside a larger Styrofoam box previously equilibrated inside a warm room (37.8 °C, <10% RH). The temperature inside the closed Styrofoam box decreased from 37.8 °C to 27.8 °C, 40 min after the addition of mushrooms, cooling at approximately 10 °C, at ~0.4 °C per min.

It's an interesting concept, but somehow I don't think a MycoCooler would be powerful enough to beat the heat here in Arizona. (Though in the days before AC, everyone here used evaporative coolers. But they also say that it's much hotter here than it used to be... a combination of global warming and the urban heat-island effect.)

More info: Johns Hopkins, Patent No. 11871707

Posted By: Alex - Tue Jan 23, 2024 - Comments (2)
Category: Technology, Patents

The Recording Rosary

Damon Doherty invented the "Recording Rosary" so that people could pray the Rosary while driving. As a traveling jewelry salesman he found that "Rosary beads sometimes became tangled in the gear shift as he prayed his way from city to city." So he invented a solution (Design Patent 167,827).

I'm not Catholic, and know very little about praying the Rosary, but I've got a few questions about his invention.

First, is it considered okay to multitask while praying the Rosary? So it's okay to pray the Rosary while driving a car?

Second, the second article below notes that his Recording Rosary was "an actual Rosary of legitimate material." What are the 'legitimate' materials that Rosary beads can be made out of?



Boston Globe - Feb 22, 1953



Omaha Our Sunday Visitor - Mar 15, 1953

Posted By: Alex - Sun Jan 14, 2024 - Comments (2)
Category: Religion, Patents, 1950s, Cars

Pocket Typewriter

In 1952, Maurice Julliard patented a typewriter small enough to fit inside "an average size pocket." It could be used "without any support, being simply held in the hand."

His patent included a sketch of the typewriter, but I haven't been able to find any pictures of it. I'm not sure what practical use it was supposed to have, beyond being a novelty. His patent doesn't say. Would one use it to type miniature notes or manuscripts?

I noticed that it had a non-qwerty keyboard.

The Hackensack Record - July 24, 1952





Julliard's pocket typewriter wasn't the first one in existence. The book Victorian Inventions by Leonard de Vries contains an example from 1891. Though unlike Julliard's typewriter, it lacked a keyboard.

Posted By: Alex - Sun Jan 07, 2024 - Comments (2)
Category: Technology, Patents, 1950s

Vegiforms

Back in the 1980s, Richard Tweddell III invented a way to grow vegetables into shapes such as faces, hearts, pop bottles, etc. by using plastic molds. As he wrote: "Just plant regular seeds in your garden, in the usual way. When the young vegetable forms, place it into the two part plastic mold and watch it grow to fill the mold. That's all there is to it."

I don't know why his invention never caught on. If I had a vegetable garden, I'd use them. But perhaps the idea of vegetables shaped like small human heads didn't appeal to enough people.

More info: archived vegiforms website, Tweddell's obituary, vegiform patent

Tweddell with a vegiform





Posted By: Alex - Tue Dec 12, 2023 - Comments (4)
Category: Horticulture and Gardens, Patents, Vegetables

Telescoping Fish Knocker

Not being a fisherman or sportsman of any sort, I had no idea until now that there existed a special tool for whacking your caught fish on the noggin: the fish knocker or fish bat. You can buy a variety of modern ones, as seen here. But I like the patent on a collapsible model.

Full patent here.















Posted By: Paul - Sat Dec 02, 2023 - Comments (6)
Category: Sports, Tools, Lakes, Ponds, Rivers, Streams, Swamps and Other Bodies of Fresh Water, Patents, 1950s

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