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FRESH.

Inventions

Baby dream MACHINE

York inventor Graham Whitby presented this invention to the Dragon's Den team two years ago - and got a roasting.

His product is a rocker that can be attached to prams and pushchairs to soothe babies to sleep.

He might have been rejected on Dragon's Den, but the exposure has helped make Baby Dream Machines popular and they are selling well on the internet.

THE SPORK

Ever wondered who invented that little utensil in your takeaway food...the one that's a cross between a spoon and a fork?

Well, it was General Douglas McArthur.

In the 1940s, when the US army occupied Japan, the general decreed that the use of chopsticks was uncivilized. He feared an uprising from the Japanese people so he created a compromise - the spork. His invention has since spread to fast-food outlets around the globe.

THE SINCLAIR C5

Ok, so the C5 wasn't exactly a success. But it is probably the most famous of the bizarre vehicles dreamed up by inventors.

The one-person vehicle was launched on January 10,1985, by inventor Sir Clive Sinclair - most famous for his ZX80 and ZX81 computers.

The C5 was battery-powered, with a top speed of 15 mph and a range of 20 miles between charges. It also had pedals for extra assistance up hills.

It was a 'green' idea. But it had its problems. For a start you couldn't have a passenger or shopping in the back.

Then there were the complaints about C5s being too low to be seen by other road users.

People also said it was too feeble to tackle hills.

Sales plummeted and prices fell to pounds 199 from pounds 399 in a bid to sell surplus stock.

In October 1985, Sinclair Vehicles went into receivership and the C5 was no more.

WEIRD AND WONDERFUL...

Motorcyclists can ride in safety with the Airbagvest.

It's a biking jacket with a re-usable, inflatable airbag to protect the rider on impact.

Lazy and hate cleaning? The Mopflop is for you! This footwear is a cross between a slipper and a mop - turning your feet into cleaning tools. Genius.

It's 'in' to be green at the moment. So what about a solar-powered scooter? A man named Don Dunklee has created plans for a road-legal, affordable, solar-powered scooter.

It has fold-out photovoltaic panels, which convert sunlight to energy, on each side.

Tuck them in for driving and while it's parked up, fold them out for charging. Don apparently drives his prototype five miles to work each day.

CELEBRITY IDEAS...

Celebrities don't just look good and create gossip for trashy magazines you know.

Some think they are the next James Dyson.

A quick internet search reveals that many celebrities have been delving into the world of inventing.

Wacko Michael Jackson and two of his tailors issued a patent in 1993 for "method and means for creating anti-gravity illusion" - with a special pair of shoes that would attach to a movable device on the stage. Presumably for those people who couldn't do the Moonwalk.

Hollywood legend Marlon Brando got a patent in 2002 for a device that helps tighten the head of a bongo drum. Sadly, the internet search didn't reveal why.

Leading lady Jamie-Lee Curtis invented a nappy that comes with a moisture-proof pocket containing a handy sanitary wipe.

M*A*S*H actor Gary Burghoff - who played Radar in the cult TV series - came up with an "enhanced fish attractor device".
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Publication:Huddersfield Daily Examiner (Huddersfield, England)
Date:Feb 5, 2007
Words:574
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