Boing Boing 

1932 banana-ice cream injector patent

Someone named P. Marchio filed this patent for a "banana extractor and ice cream injector" in 1932. What a wonderful idea! Unfortunately, there's no evidence that this was ever actually made, nor is there any sign that a banana with…

Sony files patent on any-object motion control

Silicon Era uncovers a patent, filed by Sony, for using everyday objects as game controllers.
Sony details a system where a camera can dynamically map an object -- any real world object -- for use in a video game. The

Michael Jackson's patented "Smooth Criminal" leaning shoes

Patent number 5255452, filed in 1992, shows how Michael Jackson and his dancers could lean at 45-degree angles during live performances of the song "Smooth Criminal".
1. A system for engaging shoes with a hitch mans to permit a

Gallery: A Visual History of The Artificial Dog

aibo collage.jpg
Sony's four-legged entertainment bot AIBO launched a decade ago. At left is a figure from patent #6458011, which was filed in 2001 by inventors Makoto Inoue and Emi Kato:
A walking-on-four-legs type robot whose body is connected at the

Nokia's folding keyboard looks like a challenge

Keyboard size has proven itself a major hurdle to miniaturization. QWERTY will not be replaced, and our hands cannot simply be shrunken. This leaves us with a practical minimum of perhaps 70-90% size of a standard layout. Any smaller, and…

Cygnus systems patents desktop icons, sues Microsoft, Apple and Google

Cygnus Systems of Michigan patented thumbnail icons and is suing Microsoft, Apple, and Google. From Ars:
The patent in question is US 7,346,850, called "System and method for iconic software environment management." Its abstract describes "a method and system for

iPod-like gadget from 1979 gets new life battling patent trolls

At first sight, this drawing might be a teenager's design for The Ultimate iPod, sketched between a map of a dungeon and the answer to "If 0≤x≤π, which equation is a line of symmetry for the graph of y =

"Explosion containment net" patent also good against hippies

Behold, a filthy hippie. Visible smell waves oscillate off of him, offending the sensitive, mucus-soaked nasal capillaries of all who stand downwind. One grubby hand is extended in a placating gesture of love... a message turned even more loathsome by…

Great moments in patents: "Be The Bike"

Ingenious though it was, the "Be The Bike" patent did not attract much attention amongst bicycling aficionados. But dreams were not dashed: the same inventor's later patent for "Be The Pony" would eventually make him a kinky S&M baron of…

Top Ten Patent Holders

Image: Number 9, Mark Gardner. (Photo: Dan Winters) Nate writes:
This is a pretty fantastic article from this month's issue of "Portfolio" about the top 10 patent holders [by patents awarded] in the USPTO. The article is interesting because it