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2023 Patent Picks – Weird and Wonderful

If ever proof were needed that innovation knows no bounds, look no further than our list of out-of-the-ordinary patents.

Combination Toy Dog and Vacuum Cleaner (1973)

This two-in-one toy dog and vacuum cleaner, patented by Anne Margaret Zaleski in 1973, is more than just a replica of your furry best friend. This invention “enables vacuuming a dog after a haircut and grooming without causing fear to the dog, inasmuch as the vacuum cleaner noise is greatly muffed by such enclosure” – the patent explains. Complete with a blow dryer (that blows hot air from the tail end!), this invention is sure to help any dog overcome their fear of baths and grooming!

Shark Protector Suit (1989)

Are you afraid of sharks, or simply want some extra protection when swimming in the ocean? Inventors (and one can only assume, avid swimmers) Nelson C. Fox and Rosetta H. V. G. Fox didn’t want to risk being unprepared for a potential shark encounter. Their invention, patented in 1989, is a “a combined rubber suit and helmet to completely cover the body of the wearer, including a face mask”. To be worn in “shark-infested waters”, the suit features “a plurality of spikes” which “prevent a shark from clamping its jaws over the wearer”. Just make sure not to wear it with your inflatable floatie!

Beerbrella (2003)

Nothing is worse than a lukewarm beer (or soft drink) on a hot summer day – or any day for that matter. And who said umbrellas are only for humans? Inventors Mason Schott McMullin, Robert Bell and Mark Andrew See obviously agreed, patenting a unique beverage accessory. Their invention features a small umbrella “which may be removably attached to a beverage container in order to shade the beverage container from the direct rays of the sun”. Practical and stylish!

Healthy and Safe Hot and Cold Sauna Suit (2004)

A portable sauna? We’ll do you one better – a wearable sauna. You don’t have to worry about what you’re wearing when you can stay cozy or cool in this top-to-bottom sauna suit that has you prepared for any kind of weather, and we really mean that: Zhao Bing’s invention is capable of “preventing wind and sand, preventing rain and snow” from penetrating the suit and is “made of fireproof antistatic material”. Now that’s what we call dressing for all occasions!

Shower Head Suitable for Telephone Communication (2008)

What can be more annoying than receiving an urgent phone call while halfway through a shower? With this shower head suitable for telephone communication, inventor Giuseppe Righini was thinking particularly of those who live alone or are only at home for short amounts of time, for whom taking a shower while waiting for an “extremely urgent call” can be a “genuine problem”. Patented in 2006, this invention, which also allows users to “quickly call for external help” while getting squeaky clean, takes “waterproof electronics” to the next level.

Kimchi Refrigerator and Control Method for the Same (2008)

If in 2024, you finally plan to learn the ins and outs of making kimchi, here is the perfect accessory: this kimchi refrigerator, invented by Park Eun Young, Yi Hwang Yeon, Lim Seok Min, Kim Eun Jeong, and Min Deul Re, not only “keeps fresh kimchi taste for a long time”, but also improves “the taste of kimchi by irradiating light into a storage room in which kimchi is stored”, according to the patent. Bon appétit!

Dynamic Human/Wind Powered Flying Suit (2012)

Everyone’s dreamt or fantasized about it at least once…the ability to fly! And what if we told you that you too, could have wings? Finding that “human powered flying devices have been proposed through the centuries, however, without notable success”, inventor David A. Moore developed this flying suit, patented by in 2012, “to provide the first truly successful human powered flying apparatus”. Based on the flight of bats, the device is intended for “physically fit” pilot-operators. Time to hit the gym!

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