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Necessity Is The Mother Of Invention

Mar 26, 2008
Anybody can invent anything they want and anybody gain a patent for the said invention. This is how product design has come on in leaps and bounds to create every possible thing you use every day. Product design is apparent in your vehicle with every individual component needing its own patent. All these components come together to give you this machine that you take for granted to get you from A to B.

Product design is there in your home. In all the components that make up a TV, DVD player, games console, toaster, washing machine, every conceivable thing you use right down to the fabric of your carpet.

In the workplace, product design can be seen in the equipment you use, even if it is only a desk, chair and pen and paper. These things may well be taken for granted but it takes time and patience to come up with the ultimate product design to make our lives that little bit easier.

Patents are granted for new inventions every day. Not all as useful as the ones we see in the health care system, mind! Below are a few genuine inventions that have been granted patents for their product design.

The spider ladder. A miniature ladder that can be placed in the bath to prevent the drowning and expiration of stray spiders that climb up the water spout.

The baby cage. A device to be placed over baby when it's in the parental bed to prevent said parents from squashing it. Can also be used when baby becomes a handful by securing it to the ground with tent pegs. (The last bit was my idea but worth consideration).

Still on the subject of product design for parents and children we have a god send in the form of the Squabble Shield. This is a clear, Perspex, shatterproof screen that will divide children sitting in the back of the car preventing them from poking and pinching each other.

This has the benefit of also preventing the parents from having to reach through to the back of the car, cuffing the squabbling children and thus possibly avoiding a nasty pile up, leaving mum to apply her make up while manoeuvring around traffic at the same time.

Whilst on long journeys that require the separation of offspring, we also have the invention of the P-Mate. This is a device that looks like an Origami boat but that unfolds into a creation made for allowing women to pee standing like a man (although I think one hand on the wall in front is not strictly necessary). Obviously invented by a man who doesn't understand women are multi-directional.

For the man on that journey, or in that important meeting or, let's face it, just about anywhere, product design experts have come up with the 'Subtle Butt'. This is a small, square piece of carbon fabric that sticks to the inside of underwear. It's job is to absorb and neutralise odours from extracted wind. If my ex husband was anything to go by, they should make trousers out of this stuff!

Two children in America (where else?) have come up with wedgie-proof underwear. The Rip Away 1000 is underwear constructed of two pieces that stick together with Velcro and come apart when yanked by the playground bully.

And product design for the mother of children that wedgie each other or the wife of the man who needs carbon trousers? The product design to make us all feel better - the instant face lift.

This is a device whereby you use surgical adhesive to glue small straps around the edge of your face. These straps are then attached to an anchor band further back on the head. It's fine - no-one will notice!
About the Author
Design expert Catherine Harvey looks at the role of product design in new inventions.
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