19th-Century "Coffin Torpedos" shot at would-be grave robbers

If you wanted to be absolutely sure that your deceased body stayed inside your grave and didn't end up on an anatomy student's carving table, you could simply ask your heirs to arm your coffin. During the 19th Century, coffin guns and "grave torpedos" appeared on the market, ready to thwart potential body snatchers… » 8/11/12 7:30am 8/11/12 7:30am

10 of History's Weirdest Medical and Scientific Patents

We're all familiar with some of the more famous patents in history; Thomas Edison's electric light, Samuel Morse's morse code, and Henry Ford's carburetor, for example. But sometimes genius manifests itself in the form of less... conventional inventions. Here are ten ridiculous "medical" patents, and a couple… » 10/03/11 11:10am 10/03/11 11:10am

This patent for a snowman's skeleton is the oddest thing you'll read…

Yesterday, inventor Ignacio Marc Asperas of Melville, NY was granted the US patent for an "apparatus for facilitating the construction of a snow man/woman," a.k.a. a snowman-shaped shell with which to cover with snow. That's a bizarre idea, but what truly makes this patent required reading is its totally non-technical… » 9/07/11 11:30am 9/07/11 11:30am

Science Fiction's Verdict on Patents? Guilty.

Is it the beginning of the end for the patent system? Last week, a US Court of Appeals decision eliminated most patents on business methods and software, but some still feel that the very system meant to reward inventors is stifling innovation. Many a scifi plot has hinged on who owns a particular technology, and it… » 11/01/08 12:30pm 11/01/08 12:30pm

Method and Device for Recognizing and Vaporizing

This is probably the most demented patent idea you will ever see. Artist Tom Giesler makes patent drawings for a living, creating images for inventors of who work in biology and information technology. As an artist, he turns those patent drawings into the stuff of parody and nightmare, generating patents for things… » 9/05/08 7:00am 9/05/08 7:00am