Have you ever been using a coffee machine or putting an address into your GPS and thought: Who created these everyday items that I can’t live without?
Those two items seem quite practical, however, the US has seen some innovative, and perhaps questionable, inventions over the years.
Here are the top 10 weirdest American inventions.
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Anti-theft Plastic Baggie
As people return to the office, they may be reminded of the times their lunch was taken from the shared company fridge and eaten by a coworker.
Some choose to leave sticky notes when this happens like, “I’m watching you!”, on the fridge.
But American inventor Sherwood Forlee took a different approach.
After a few of his sandwiches went missing from his agency office, Forlee came up with the idea to disguise his food as being rotten.
He designed the “anti-theft lunch bag” which is a plastic ziplock baggie with customized green splotches that look like mold.
This made his freshly made sandwiches look weeks old, and, to no surprise, his lunch was never taken again.
It was originally designed for personal use, but Forlee now sells it on his website.
Slugs can be a pain, especially in cool, wet spring conditions where they claim gardens as their home and destroy seedlings and chew holes in foliage.
But thanks to an invention created by computer scientists at the California Institute of Technology, these slugs are no longer an issue.
Slugbot is a robotic slug catcher about the size of a lawnmower. It has built-in light sensors that use red light to identify slugs by analyzing their shape.
Once it finds a slug, it simply picks it up and, using bacteria inside the machine, eats it.
American designer Simon Morris raised funds for his hovercraft-inspired light bulb in 2016.
According to Morris, he has been obsessed with making things float since he was a kid.
As a child, he really wanted a hoverboard, so he created one of his own. It took him a few years to get to work building it, but he eventually did it, although it was unrideable.
He wanted to take this technology to the next level so he created Flyte, a gravity-defying light bulb.
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Soft robotic hand for Nintendo
University of Maryland researchers 3D printed a soft robotic hand specifically designed to play Nintendo and beat the first level of the original Super Mario Bros.
These are powered by air and water and are more flexible than traditional robots.
The bot did beat the first level in under 90 seconds, but that’s actually much slower than humans have done it in the past.
The researchers hope to accelerate advancements in soft robotics by making their work entirely open source, as potential future applications extend far beyond gameplay.
For example, if a robot is made out of soft material, it would be flexible enough to fit into tight spaces to save survivors after a disaster.
Soft robots could also eventually be used to build customizable prosthetics or for rehabilitation devices.
The Smart Umbrella
There are a number of smart umbrellas on the market at the moment, which seems to prove what appears to be a ludicrous idea is something people genuinely want.
The smart umbrella does useful things like let you know when it’s raining but they are also able to let you know if it’s been left behind somewhere.
We wonder if it’s smart enough not to turn inside out when it’s windy.
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