They're clever. They're creative. And some of them are just plain bizarre. How come we can't yet buy products based on these patents?
Personal zipper network
We love the jacket shown in this Nokia patent for smart clothing, modelled in this drawing by an appropriately geeky-looking (and evidently quite self-satisfied) user.
It has plenty of pockets for your gizmos but it's also networked, thanks to a zipper that doubles as a fibre-optic backbone for routing data between pocketed items.
Nokia envisions owners activating different products by pulling the zipper down to varying positions - which leaves us feeling grateful that the patent involves a jacket rather than trousers.
The iPhone of remotes
Logitech's Harmony universal remote controls are impressive, but plenty of potential remains for building a radically better remote. And if any company is up to the job, it's Apple, which has at least toyed with the idea of making a universal remote.
This Apple patent, filed in 2002, predates the iPhone by years but outlines a decidedly iPhone-esque remote, complete with a touchscreen.
The niftiest feature: it would be compatible with smart consumer-electronics products that could alert the remote to their feature sets, allowing one-click configuration.
At this point, such an innovation needn't take the form of a stand-alone device - it could be a major new feature of the next iPhone and/or iPod touch.
- Clever and creative, why can't we buy the products based on these patents yet?
- Heckler's delight
- Getting all emotional
- Well armed
- Personal zipper network