17 Inventions You've Not Likely Heard About
Ranging from carnivorous robots to more benign devices for sneaking alcohol into the office, these inventions are something else. Trust us when we say these are just the tip of the iceberg.
1. The glorious glue-stick inspired Butter Stick
Butter can be a pain to spread on bread at the best of times. That's especially true when you've just taken it out of the fridge.
In an effort to alleviate this very serious first-world problem, one inventor looked to the humble glue stick for inspiration. Their solution was to replace the glue with butter.
Obviously, it doesn't re-use old glue stick tubes, just borrows the applicator technology. Now you'll never have to worry again about problematic butter-spreading ever again.
Pure genius we think you'll agree.
2. The ingenious Flask-Tie makes drinking at work classy again
If you've ever been tempted to smuggle some booze into the office but didn't dare being caught, this might be the perfect solution. Blending office attire with drinking apparatus, it is an incredibly ingenious solution to a problem that no-one probably needs solving.
The Flask-Tie does exactly what is "says on the tin". A perfectly nondescript tie on the surface, its insides are far from innocuous.
Clearly, fully laden with booze it might not behave as a tie should so keep it under wraps until required. Happy worktime drinking times ahead.
3. The amazing Two-Way Toothpaste Tube
Here's another invention you've probably never heard of. It solves the age-old problem of using up all the toothpaste within a tube.
May we present the Two Way Toothpaste Tube.
No more will you need to squeeze and roll up the end of each tube to brush your teeth. This beast of an invention simply adds another cap to another end.
Obviously this one never really took off.
4. Moldy sandwich effect bags
If you are constantly plagued by work colleagues stealing your homemade sandwiches at work, this might be the perfect solution for you. This incredible invention you've probably never heard of is a simple, yet effective, sandwich-thief deterrent.
Simply replace you're usually ziplock bag or cling film cover with a mold patterned sandwich bag. This makes your perfectly edible lunch component appear to have gone off.
Only the most determined sandwich burglar will risk stealing this beauty. Outstanding effort.
5. Have you ever heard of The Glass Toaster?
Toasting bread can be a tricky undertaking at the best of times. Unless you have a high-end toaster, a few seconds can make a huge difference in toast quality.
You'll either end up with slightly warm bread or the charred remnants of some a previously perfectly good slice of loaf. This is no longer a problem thanks to the genius who invented The Glass Toaster.
This device places the slice of bread between two heated plates of glass. Now you can watch in real-time as your bread makes it magical, and delicious, transformation into toast.
Simply turn off and remove your toast when it reaches the desired color. What a great invention you've probably never heard of.
6. This Rodent-Based Pet Cage Shredder is a must buy
The very best inventions are those that solve two or more problems in one go. This invention you've probably not heard of is a perfect example.
Combining the need to shred old documents and provide fresh bedding for your pet rodent, this invention is simply ingenious. It saves you a fortune on commercially bought rodent-bedding and helps you do your part to recycle too.
Did we also mention the entire thing is hamster-powered? Win, win we must say.
Clearly don't get over-jealous with destroying your old sensitive documentation. You don't want to completely fill the cage and leave no room for your pets.
7. The full-head, hands-free umbrella could be huge
If you often struggle with traditional umbrellas keeping you dry during a rainstorm, you might wish you'd heard of this great invention. Designed to give you all the protection a regular umbrella affords, whilst keeping your hand-free, the "Nubrella" could be huge.
It might also be the greatest anti-rain shield of all time, though we'll let you be the judge of that.
The "Nubrella" not only protects your head and shoulders from rain but it also quite a trendy looking piece of kit.
Of course, this invention might earn you some attention, but who cares if you're staying bone dry.
8. Corner Picture Frames are the home decoration you never realized you needed
Running out of room to put your family pictures on the wall? Why neglect the corners?
That's where this example of inventions you've probably never heard of comes into its own. These amazing Corner Picture Frames make all the difference between a regular picture wall and one that will make it legendary.
Just like any regular picture frame, they are easy to install and really finish off your treasured photographs and artwork.
Where have these been all your life?
9. The Hug Me Pillow is perfect for anyone feeling a little lonely
This invention you've probably never heard of is for the lonely-hearted. If you are recently single or have just had enough of being single, you might want to get yourself one of these.
The Hug Me Pillow is exactly what you might imagine it to be. Consisting of half human torso shaped pillow, it also sports a single arm to wrap around yourself to keep you company.
Of course, quite how many people tend to date half-torsoed people might limit this inventions appeal. In any case, it makes for an interesting conversation starter if you happen to just leave it lying around when you have guests.
10. This Recycled Paper Pencil Maker is actually a good idea
Here is a more genuine invention you've probably never heard about. Called the P & P Waste Paper Processor, the device was a finalist in the 2010 Lite-On Awards for new inventions.
It works by using old waster paper that is inserted into the feed slot. This is drawn in, is rolled and compressed and a stick of pencil lead (graphite) is sandwiched in the middle and a small amount of glue is added to stick it all together.
Once a cycle is completed a brand-spanking new recycled paper pencil is ejected from the side. It is not clear how many pieces of paper are needed per pencil but this would definitely save a pretty penny in office supplies over its lifetime.
Pretty neat indeed, and environmentally friendly to boot!
11. This James Bond-inspired number plate flipper is "for off-road use only"
If you've ever watched the 1964 James Bond classic "Goldfinger", the utility of this lesser known invention will become obvious.
Whilst it's both illegal and impractical to mod your car with other Bond-style gadgets like machine guns, you can replicate the rotating number plate mount.
This invention you've probably never heard off is actually on the market and can be yours for a small sum. Using small electrical motors you can flip the number plate 90-degrees at the flick of a switch.
Clearly, this could be used for nefarious purposes but the website does have a strict disclaimer that is :
"STRICTLY intended for off-road use only and informing potential customers that they take responsibility for all liabilities associated with the use or misuse of our product."
12. Mind-Control military helmets
The military helmets of the U.S. Army of the future could be very advanced indeed. Researchers at Arizona State University are working with DARPA to make some very interesting advancements to this piece of kit.
This invention you've not likely heard of will be able to regulate soldiers' brains if its research is successful. The plan is to integrate high-frequency sound wave technology, called transcranial pulsed ultrasound, to do so.
This technology, rather than actually directly taking control of the soldier's mind, will enable them to have some external control over some of their brain neurons.
This will, hopefully, enable soldiers to stimulate or suppress, parts of their brain on demand. It could be used to make themselves more alert if they haven't had enough sleep, or help them go to sleep more easily.
It might also be possible to relieve stress or block out pain signals for some emergency short-term first aid. If it works they may not need to use morphine or other drugs in the field ever again.
13. Never pay for ink or toner again with this perpetual printer
Do you find yourself cursing everytime you need new inks or toner for your printer? Annoyed by having to constantly replace printer heads and large volumes of paper?
Then it sounds like you need a perpetual printer. This is an idea that companies like Xerox have actually been working on since the 1970s. They were able to produce a printer that uses a special paper called "Gyricon".
"Gyricon" is made of a sheet of plastic with millions of small oil-filled cavities. Each oil-filled cavity contains a small two-color bead that can freely rotate.
When a small voltage is applied, the bead rotates to present its colored side to the viewer, thus producing a single pixel or dot of text or an image.
The best part is that the "paper" can then be fed back in to be erased and reused.
A similar system has also been produced by a Japanese Company called Sanwa Newtec. Theirs is called the PrePeat Rewritable Printer it instead of beads it utilizes leuco dyes that change color with temperature.
Both sound great, but the Japanese printer costs around $6,000 with the "paper" costing a lot more than traditional paper.
14. You might be able to grow your own car in the future
Mercedes-Benz has managed to develop a technique for growing, rather than assembling, cars. Their BIOME concept car was unveiled at the Los Angeles Auto show in 2010 and could be a glimpse of the future.
But don't get too excited this is one of their visions for the future. You won't see this at the local dealership anytime soon.
"The Mercedes-Benz BIOME grows in a completely organic environment from seeds sown in a nursery. Out on the road, the car emits pure oxygen, and at the end of its lifespan it can be simply composted or used as building material."
The car's shell and interior are made from a material they call BioFibre. This is very light and incredibly strong and the final vehicle weighed in at an impressive 397 kilograms.
The car is grown using two seeds. One forms the interior and the other the exterior.
Even the wheels are grown from seeds in the nursery. If this doesn't conjure up images of Jayce and the Wheeled Warriors we don't know what will.
15. Did you see the pest hunting robot?
Robotic household appliances are commonplace today, but could you imagine one that hunted and destroyed pests? But not only would they hunt and destroy them but use their remains as a fuel source?
This might sound like something out of your worst nightmares but two British inventors have actually been working on the concept. Called the Carnivorous Domestic Entertainment Robot, these, could conceivably, stalk down and devour mice and insects around your home.
Their choice to include "Entertainment" in the name is a little concerning we must say. But who are we to judge.
At present they have less sinister stationary concepts. They range from table mounted mousetraps and light shades that lure their "prey" to them.
Once trapped, they unfortunate animals are chemically dismantled and their remains fed to a microbial fuel cell to power the trap.
So long as this kind of technology remains in the pest control industry none of us should start losing sleep over it. As for more nefarious applications of the future, we can only speculate.
16. Someone has developed a smart carpet
Yes, you read that correctly, a smart carpet. Researchers at the University of Manchester managed to integrate optical fibers into a rug that distort when pressure is applied to them.
This action sends signals to a computer to indicate when someone has fallen or the carpet is being stepped on. But why? You might be asking.
Well, it could have some important security and welfare applications.
It could be used to flag up warnings when an elderly occupant falls, for example. Such a carpet could also prove an invaluable part of home security as it would indicate that an intruder is present.
The developers also believe it could be used for physical therapy applications. It could, for example, be used to predict mobility problems if it detects changes in a person's gait.
Who knows, it may even be able to use it as a supplementary sensor for the smart homes of the future. Perhaps being used to act as an occupancy sensor for lighting.
17. Fancy getting yourself a bug hunting gun?
When fly swatters and rolls of newspaper fail, some might consider bringing out the big guns. Whilst a real-life shotgun might be, quite literally, overkill a smaller salt ammo one might do the trick.
That's exactly what this diminutive bug killing gun was designed to do. Called BugASalt this anti-insect firearm will make annoying flies a thing of the past, literally and figuratively.
We also appreciate the play on words for the product name.
It is essentially a toy gun that fires salt grain ammo to kill the fly, on the fly, so to speak. Clearly, just make sure there are no pets or people in the line of fire.
That could make an annoying situation turn potentially dangerous.
The weapon has an insect-killing range of around 3 feet or just over 90 centimeters. According to their website, your prey also remains intact for easy and mess-free cleanups.
Requiring no batteries and common table salt for ammo this anti-pest device is both non-toxic and, dare we say, fun to use. It is the perfect solution for problem insects on windows and on ceilings and in hard to reach corners.