Elizabeth Valeri, our guest blogger, is a resident of Colorado with an interest in the material abundance of everyday life. That is, she is amused by the ways we “over-invent” our lives in a fleeting attempt at controlling them. She wanted to share some of her wacky patent finds with the readers of InventorSpot.com.
Here's her article:
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With Halloween fast approaching, I decided to scout the annals of the patent offices for inventions intended for the deepest, darkest, scariest recesses of mankind. My search led me to European patent GB2289222, commonly known as, Improvements in or Relating to Gas Collection.
This seemingly innocuous device would be unremarkable on its own if it was for use in the petroleum industry. However, the gas this device is designed to collect is of the human variety and since we all know where that kind of gas is produced and how it is expelled, well you can only imagine where this device needs to be buried for maximum performance. Disagree with me if you will but as far as I’m concerned a tube with a bag attached to it that is carried around in my butt all day long is about as scary as it gets! But hey, this isn’t some frat house idea born of a keg and cannabis induced stupor, this is science man!
And the word “improvements” in the title is there for good reason. Apparently there have been other, less ideal methods passed around for collecting gas including what I would call a real-life house of horrors: retaining subjects in a gas-tight chamber over a period of time, which Leaky (I swear I didn’t make that up) Colin Louis Avern, the inventor of the apparatus that is the focus of this article, sees as acceptable for experimental purposes but less practical for routine diagnostic use. Really? Have you ever been around someone who has just consumed a meatball hero, bag of barbecue potato chips and an extra large root beer? If so, you’re already familiar with one of two fundamental flaws in Leaky’s (I can’t help myself), argument:
1) The world is that person’s “diagnostic” platform.
Yet, if you dig deeper into the reasons for such a device as cited by Leaky it all makes perfect sense: IBS. That’s right, we need to collect and [analyse] flatus gas production by human subjects in an effort to learn whether or not certain foods contribute to the uncomfortable gassy and bloated feelings often associated with Irritable Bowel Syndrome. Hence this brings us to the second fundamental problem with Leaky’s argument:
2) Of course certain foods contribute to gassiness. (Please refer to the foods mentioned in paragraph 2 for starters.) Duh!
But is the cure worse than the disease? Just ask anyone who suffers from IBS and they’ll tell you it isn’t, but ask the poor medical professionals in charge of extracting and examining the contents of the bag and they’ll likely have another take on the whole thing. However, with the national unemployment rate hovering at around 4.7%, we shouldn’t be too quick to judge. Instead, we should explore the hidden job opportunities awaiting those interested in breaking into the medical field without the benefit, or expense, of medical school.
What is that you say? That job stinks? Not as much as it could stink thanks to the thoughtful Leaky who, like any good inventor, anticipated some of the unpleasantness a professional was likely to encounter with his device and took the necessary steps to avert it. The end of the tube inserted into the subject is apertured and covered with a gauze filter to prevent the ingress of solid matter. This end of the collection tube is also covered with a gas permeable bladder with the distal end of the tube being connected to a gas-tight collecting bag. In other words, you get only what you’re after and nothing more.
For all these reasons Leaky Colin Louis Avern’s Improvements in or Relating to Gas Collection device is my first spooky patent pick of the year: Because it just sounds and looks scary!