AJ Park patent specialists Anton Blijlevens and Jillian Lim touch on some interesting patents to look out for on the shelves.
For runners who don’t do water pit stops, here’s an interesting alternative to hydration backpacks. It’s a water bladder that’s worn around the forearm.
You sip through a straw near your hand; the straw extracts water from a point near your elbow. The drinking motion is therefore quite natural and ergonomic when running. Since the elbow is naturally lower than the hand in this position, the straw extracts every last drop of water.
The patent, US 8622262, was issued early this year. As the patentee describes it, the concept is a lightweight alternative for cyclists and runners, since conventional hydration backpacks get quite warm during exercise. However, you would expect to be able to carry a lot less water on your arms than on your back, and the patent doesn’t specify how much water this device is capable of containing.
Pamper your pooch's paws
Recently granted patent US 8622027 claims a device which massages and cleans your pet’s paws. You place the basin at your door and entice your pet into it to stop it from tracking mud through your house.
The basin has vibrators in the floor, which circulate the cleaning solution for a better clean, while giving your pet a soothing paw massage (this is where the enticing comes in). The basin has a removable power source and a drain for convenience.
The next wearable smart device
For those of you who thought it couldn’t get any better than smart glasses and smart watches, here’s something to chew on: Sony’s Smartwig.
Yes, it’s a wig for covering at least a part of the user’s head, and it has hidden sensors, actuators, and a processing unit. These are some of the interesting things you could do with the wig, as described in the patent application, US 20130311132:
For navigation, using a GPS sensor coupled to four actuators, each signalling a different direction when it vibrates.
For presentations, with a laser pointer near the forehead and buttons under the sideburns which you press to move the slideshow back and forwards. Or strain gauges, so you could navigate through the slideshow by wiggling your eyebrows.
For wig-to-wig communication. Coupled with EEG sensors and artificial muscles, so the hair dynamically changes when you get excited.
When it comes to wearable smart devices, the sky’s the limit.