Patently Weird Patents

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Madam, Your Baby's Diaper Is Blinking

But that hardly stops a dreamer. VanCleave documents plans for the diaper alarm (U.S. Patent No. 4,205,672). A gizmo that will let daddy know when junior has wet his diaper (without daddy having to test with his finger). It works with a simple sensor that clamps to baby's diaper. But moisture and electricity don't go well together. Will it turn into a little electric shock therapy for those in need of potty training?

And what about the abject humiliation associated with that blinking light that lets the world know your kid is in dire need of a fresh diaper. It sounds like years of future therapy for parent and child.

Just remember, they probably laughed at the man who invented the crouton. And if nobody ever patented the crouton, somebody should.

Here are some of my favorites from VanCleave's book:

Toilet Landing Lights (U.S. Patent No. 5, 263,209) Bad potty etiquette has threatened many relationships. When he forgets to put the seat down and she falls into the toilet, it's war. But now you can feel like you're piloting a jumbo jet when you make that midnight trip to the bathroom — with toilet landing lights. With waterproof, indirect lighting, you'll be assured a "safe landing." The mystical evening glow promises to add luster to your porcelain throne.

Bunny Syringe (U.S. Patent No. 3,299,891) Who didn't hate going to the pediatrician? Admit it, when it came time for that inoculation, we all cried. But what if the needle didn't look like a needle? What if the needle were shaped like a fuzzy, wuzzy little bunny? I say, any spike headed for my bottom is scary stuff. But what do I know? The bunny syringe might lend a new meaning to, "What's up, Doc?"

Hospital Happiness (U.S. Patent No. 6,012,168) This has my vote for a can't-miss invention — a modest flap for hospital gowns. It's bad enough you need surgery. What's worse is that your friends and relatives come visiting and your butt is hanging out of the requisite hospital attire. It works, more or less, just like the mud flap on a small truck.