Justin Letlow’s story of his Multi-Use Ear Mirror is that while at work in his furniture making shop, he felt something in his ear. The part of his story that must have been left out is where he picks and scratches like the devil, but what was there didn’t go away. Anyway, eventually the frustration of not being able to see what was in his ear led him to create the Ear Mirror. See how invention happens?

The prototype that Letlow originally made to search his own ear, two mechanic’s mirrors fastened together with a piece of plastic, sat around for awhile. But Leflow finally decided to go for a patent, which he got, and then found a manufacturer, and someone to help him market the ear mirror. But it wasn’t until Ellen DeGeneres took an interest in the 8″ gadget and made fun of it, somewhat, did the Multi-Use Ear Mirror get a boost.

And yes, it does have multiple uses. You can see your tonsils with it. You may be able to see other body parts more easily with it too. You can use it to see hard to reach places, like behind your refrigerator or stove, or inside your walls if you’re doing some wiring. Mr. Ledlow suggests it can also be used for automobile repairs under the hood.

But for seeing wax or hair growing inside your ears, it’s perfect! Get your own Ear Mirror and don’t think of lending that disgusting thing to me… and don’t use it on my car either! At MultiUseMirror.com.



Patent# US 6846220, the Abdominal Support, stands apart from others of its ilk. Unlike other abdominal supports, this one lifts and cradles the abdominal bulge rather than compressing it. It is also not incorporated into any garment, as many of the other similar patents are. This is a noble attempt at creating comfort for the women of the world who are about to embark on the most arduous journey there is; namely becoming good mothers, the hope for the future of humanity.

One can’t help but wonder however, just how some comedy writers might utilize this idea? Remember the MANBRA episode from Seinfeld? Or going even further back to the days of classic television, how about the I Love Lucy episode in which Lucy carries little Ricky on her back i so that she can perform a musical Indian number with unsuspecting Ricky Ricardo? If she had access to this abdominal support, she might have been able to create a frontal attack on her husband (who really suffered enough when her back was to him).

Television aside, this abdominal support comes with a pair of shoulder and back straps, each of which passes over one of the wearers shoulders, crosses over the wearer’s upper back, and connects to the other shoulder and back strap at the wearer’s side. A sling support is secured to each shoulder and back strap and includes length adjusters to accommodate the different sizes of …well, the load.
This could prove to be very helpful for a distended abdomen, typical of the later months of pregnancy, when an enormous strain on back and abdominal muscles occur. Varicose veins, general discomfort and fatigue may also be reduced by use of this abdominal support.

Consider the following posts about inventors who have dared to venture into this area: Steve Levenstein’s post, “Shot Guard Underwear Foils Freaky Photographers” and Amused and Bemused’s article, “Underwear That’s Fun to Wear.” .

Happy and comfortable cradling, be it beer, baby, adepose or anything else under the sun!

Patent# US 6796671 shocks the user while he or she is eating. It is the result of the fertile imaginations behind the toy company known as Ruddell Design. The patent for these Contact Activated Sound and Light Generating Novelty Food Containers, covers straws, spoons, and ice pops that use YOU or your food to complete an electrical circuit. It’s kind of like having your cake and being allowed to eat it too (or something like that).

(The above illustration doesn’t show much, but it is the only one available with this patent).

Contact Activated Sound and Light Generating Novelty Food Containers shock the user while eating. Some may wonder: does this mean a lawsuit is nigh? Others may not care and are content to just enjoy relating to the sound emitting and/or illuminated toy “ice pop”. Its aspect of mystery and surprise does succeed in bringing out the child in all of us. The toy emits a sound and/or light when a user drinks a liquid through a straw. It does this via electrodes, which are in fluid synchronization with an inner channel of the straw. The electrodes are connected to a light source or a sound generating device.

The process begins when a user drinks through a straw as this liquid provides an electrical path between electrodes. This invention is versatile because it also includes a sound/light emitting toy which supports a piece of candy. By licking the candy, the user provides an electrical path between the electrodes which closes a circuit and activates the light source.

Food and drink are a constant source of inspiration in our dynamic cosmos. Consider Steve Levenstein’s piece, “The Square Watermelon – Strange Fruit Indeed!” and M Dee Dubroff’s “Gin and Titonic Ice-Cube Mold: A New Drinking Experience and Sinking Feeling.”

So eat, drink, be merry and watch out for those sneaky electrodes! They are everywhere!

Patent# US 7037541 represents a very different way to approach the many intoxicating ingredients that comprise the distracting amalgam Native Americans used to refer to as ‘fire-water.’ The inventor of Alcoholic Beverages Derived from Animal Extract hails from Japan where creativity and innovation reign supreme in so many endeavors. A new breed of booze made from animal extract, however, is something the world may or may not be ready for. The motto for the Ariake Japan Company that produces this beverage is: “The Fine Flavors of Nature.”

The fermentation process is nothing new in Japan and is used for several beverages, including beer, sake (rice wine), shochu (Japanese distilled spirits), whiskey, brandy and wine. For Alcoholic Beverages Derived from Animal Extract, the process is a bit different in terms of materials such as grain or fruit, and options for altering the resulting alcoholic content are very limited. This process produces a beverage from an aqueous animal extract, which is then fermented with lactic acid bacteria. The resulting beverage is further fermented with yeast, which produces the final product. Additional ingredients such as saccharide, may be added to enhance either the flavor or the fermentation process.

Fermentation of milk by lactic acid bacteria has been a dynamic trend in recent years, which is particularly visible in the increasing consumption of yogurt and soymilk. Coming on the wings of a health food boom, this new treatment of an old idea may well be an unexpected aid to good health. The drink does have a distinctive flavor, is storage stable, and is nutritious. Still, time will tell.

Consider some of these other drink-related products that stir the imagination. Read Steve Levenstein’s piece, “Vegete – A Fruit Juice, Vegetable Drink and Alcoholic Beverage in One!” and Joe Eitel’s post, “Cheap GadgetsThat Prevent The High Costs of a DUI.”

Happy, safe drinking to all!


If you can’t control your peanut butter, you can’t expect to control your life. ~ Bill Watterson

It would seem that the Peanut Butter Batter Pancake Mix, which is also known as Patent #US 6797310, has already been created in some form or other, especially considering that George Washington Carver developed more than one hundred recipes utilizing peanuts in his attempts to improve the quality of life for poor southern farmers. But he never did get around to patenting peanut butter pancakes, paving the way for… well, what has followed.

This invention reflects a method of using peanut products in conjunction with a pancake mix, in a unique way (via peanut flour, peanut butter, peanut chunks, peanut oil and peanut essence) to create a nutritious, aromatic, new food product. This is accomplished by mixing all of these ingredients with water, milk, buttermilk and/or club soda to provide a batter, and cooking, which produces the final product of tender, fluffy, and peanut crunchy inside, crispy on the outside, pancakes. The product freezes well and can be eaten cold or subsequently reheated for consumption.

Anyone who loves peanut butter has to be on the right track, for no one in their right mind (or even otherwise) would ever knock the marvels of that wonderful indulgence. There’s something about this though that is reminiscent of that old joke about the inventor of ice cubes. I believe the punch line was that the recipe died with him? Redundant seems to be the operative word, but then again, who’s to say what the parent offices do to justify their fees these days?

Consider some of the following food-related inventions and ideas. Rane’s piece, “High-Fat Diet During Pregnancy May Cause Overweight Offspring ” is most interesting, as well a s M Dee Dubroff’s post, “Toast To Tongues-in-Cheeks:Greeting Cards Made From Soy.“

Bon appetit and…

Happy Peanut Butter Batter!

“Thank you for Not Smoking. Cigarette smoke is the residue of your pleasure. It contaminates the air, pollutes my hair and clothes, not to mention my lungs. This takes place without my consent. I have a pleasure, also. I like a beer now and then. The residue of my pleasure is urine. Would you be annoyed if I stood on a chair and pissed on your head and your clothes without your consent?”

~Sign from Ken’s Magic Shop

No matter how you may feel about smoking, this No Smoking Sign Ashtray also known as Patent# US D500166 is sure to make you smile. It reminds me of an article I once read in which the author, a devout smoker, referred to no non smoking signs and their significance in the face of all the non smoking signs that encroach and invade. The design patent for this invention came up for review in 2004 two and-a-half weeks before the New York City Council voted to ban cigarette smoking from bars and restaurants. The designer created this ashtray to simulate the sullen, silent outrage of city smokers.

For those among you who may want to buy a No Smoking Sign Ashtray, alas, for they are not for sale and may never be (at least in the United States). Where would one use this seems an appropriate question. Would it be a place that allows cigarettes but frowns upon smoking?

When the smoke clears, consider these two most interesting articles by Steve Levenstein about tobacco smoking in Japan. “Japan Tobacco’s Delightfully Disturbing ‘Smoking Manners for Adults’ Ads, Part 1” and “Tobacco’s Cheerfully Chiding ‘Smoking Manners for Adults’ Ads, Part 2” .

This Condom with Inflatable Portion that some only refer to as Patent#US 6895967 is proof positive that a picture is indeed worth a thousand words. At a time when concern for both family size and the spread of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) are vital concerns for a large segment of the modern population the condom has served as the easiest and most widely used form of birth control. Inventors have experimented with different materials, which have been structurally modified to provide increased sexual pleasure. Examples of these would include the ribbed condom for female stimulation and the lambskin for the male. So far, however, only moderate stimulation has been achieved. Enter the Condom with Inflatable Portion (and enter laughing, we might add).

The components of this unique condom (let’s be grateful for small favors) are an inner wall and outer wall, which comprise a chamber that extends along a portion of the length of the condom. An air source, such as a handheld pump with a flexible tube, is connected to a port, which delivers air to the front part of the chamber. The venting of the air is achieved by several small openings, which are located at the rear portion of the chamber.

Is the Condom with Inflatable Portion sellable? Well, may be so. It might be the perfect gag gift for the penis that has everything found in the middle of the night on some websites of dubious character that fly by at that very same time. Still, one can imagine the amount of spam emails such a sale would generate to any unsuspecting email inbox.
Others have dared to create inventions related to the sexual experience. Consider the very funny post by Amused and Bemused “Very Funny 10 Father’s Day Gifts That Actually Make Sense 2006.” Pay particular attention to the Empathy Belly Pregnancy Simulator. Read also Amy Gifford’s amusing piece, “Size Matters…10 Gigantic Ads that Grab Attention.” She covers the preoccupation with size and non-monetary inflation particularly well in her discussion about the inflatable globe option in #5 Toys R Us.

Happy size.

No matter your level of maturity, you might not be able to resist giggling at the word “toilet”; a residual effect of childhood. But to many companies, toilets aren’t funny; they’re serious business that determines their future revenue and growth success. These businesses prove that it’s possible to stifle the giggles, and make toilets into innovative organizations and products.

I recently wrote about the UK’s Community Toilet Scheme, which gives the public access to
washrooms otherwise out of bounds to anyone other than paying customers. MizPee takes this concept to the next level, and with a name like that, I think it’s clear that this is a business that still manages to find some entertainment value in the toilet. This is a modern service that allows the desperate to use their mobile phones to locate the closest and cleanest toilets, so when they’ve gotta go, they can.

The service is available through WAP and SMS via mobile and online, and is offered by San Francisco, California’s Yojo Mobile Inc which specializes in mobile-centric, location-based services. All users need to do is enter the state, city, and even the address of where they are to learn where there are toilets in the area. The listings are primarily added by other users, and include details such as the distance from their location, whether or not a purchase is required, a cleanliness rating, a map to the loo, and the option to provide their own feedback.


As I said, MizPee clearly doesn’t take their service too seriously, since it makes sure to offer some entertainment value to its users as well. Also available is different reading material and online, toilet-related quizzes and surveys; they feel that since they are connecting people with appealing bathroom environments, they might feel at home and need some entertainment while they get on with their business. The website also features “Pee Points” which are coming soon, who knows what that will be about, but it’s sure to be worth a laugh.

Toletta takes a more serious stance towards the business of toilets, by offering personal, disposable seat covers to help those germophobes or overtly cleanly get through their public bathroom experiences, while making a contribution to breast cancer or child poverty charities. The toilet seat covers are available both in larger and travel size packages which contain five covers for those “just in case” situations, and come in blue or pink designs. Toletta’s products are said to be softer, 20% larger and 40% thicker than typical seat covers, making them more comfortable and providing less chance of skin touching those scary public toilet seats.

They aren’t shy about outing their target audience, referring to them as divas who want only the best when it comes to their personal, toilet hygiene. The blog available on their website is open to public post to allow these divas to blog about their public washroom experiences, which is an entertaining twist to a company which focuses upon providing top-quality products. This Canadian company proves that their can be an element of seriousness in even the most obscure industries.

Igloos’ business concept isn’t so dissimilar to that of Toletta; it also brings a higher level of toilet services to those who frown upon typical public toilets, or the dreaded porta-potties. While this company does offer classic bathroom restoration and design services, their unique contribution to the world of washrooms comes in the form of their luxury loos which can be brought to any location or event within the UK. While porta-potties and other substandard forms of toilets may be suitable for the “regular person” attending music festivals or other outdoor events, it just doesn’t seem right to offer the rich and famous entertainment the same relief accommodations.

Igloos’ portable toilets model those found in 5-star hotels across the globe and havebeen graced bythe bottoms of celebrities at events in the UK such as the Brit Awards, British Grand Prix, G-8 Summit and more. There’s no doubting that these loos are a far cry from the non-flush porta-potties, and these ones won’t leave you feeling the need to break down after use. They can however be transported to future A-list events, further popularizing the trend of pop-up venues (see “Stay Always Hot With The Pop-Up Nightclub”).

Where will you find your inspiration to take a once laughable idea and turn it into a serious business concept?

Is organization more important than intelligence? Do accessories that de-clutterize and organize our person and our surroundings define who we really are Or is it just that we can find things and that is overrated? How badly do you need that deed or bankbook anyway? It’s just paper… after all. Still, if you are not overwhelmed by your organization-related accessories, the Neck Wrap/Brace Organizer for Holding Items and Belt Article Holder for Same, which is also known as Patent# US 6929164 may be just the thing for you!

This device includes a neck wrap/brace, which has a strap that wraps around the user’s neck. (Surprise!) The strap secures a telephone holder, which in turn keeps the phone adjacent to the user’s ear to insure that hands are free and the user may telephone all the other idiots on his or her list and discuss this very silly device that now belongs to them. A belt-article holder comes with a strap that s is adapted for wrapping around the user’s waist.

Must have this?

I thought as much.

Consider these other clever organizational ideas from other inventors. There’s Tammy’s imaginative piece, “A Desk Where Imagination And Organization Click” and Aditi Simlai Tiwari amusing study of “Shotgun Belt Buckles” .


The Endoscopic Tutorial System with a Bleeding Complication also known as Patent# US 6863536 reminds me of that old poster about the movie, Alien that was slathered in all the New York subways and bus stops when it was released some 30 years ago. It read: “In space, no one can hear you scream.” Well, maybe they were right and then again maybe they were wrong, as when you get right down to it, this device is about as creepy as it gets. A system for simulating a medical procedure performed on a subject, one can only study it and wonder why.


If you need a good laugh, you might want to consider reading up on the Endoscopic Tutorial System with a Bleeding Complication. It is comprised of four parts including: a simulated organ, a simulated instrument for performing the medical procedure, a locator to determine where the simulated instrument will go within the simulated organ and a visual display simulating the data received during the medical procedure. If all of this reminds you of that old song, It’s Only Make Believe, I can assure you it is not coincidence.

Here are some other ideas related to the world of medicine although neither is quite as mad as Patent#US 6863536. Read Rane’s piece, “Intel Corp. Releases New Home Medical Monitor” and John P. Barkers “Brainwave Controlled Technology Heading Our Way.”

Have a wonderful medical procedure and don’t forget to…not tell me anything about it!