Monday, April 29, 2013

Oh, patents! Waboba® Street Balls

Copyright© Françoise Herrmann
Wanna have mo’ ball fun! On land, on your urban turf! From the same Swedish inventor as the Waboba® water ball, Jan von Heland, comes a Waboba® Street Ball, designed for the concrete sprawl. This ball has just the right unpredictability in terms of bounce! Just for the fun of it! That is, the Street Ball’s bounce is not totally predictable like all the balls for games where the player scores to hit or catch the ball. And its bounce is not completely unpredictable like training balls designed to sharpen catching or hitting skills. Thus, somewhere in between the completely predictable and the completely erratic bounce, there is the Waboba® Street Ball bounce or PLAYING OBJECT HAVING A BOUNCE WITH LIMITED UNPREDICTABILITY.
The Waboba® Street Ball is a polyhedron divided into equal sized parts but whose different parts consist of protrusions of varying height. This regular, but uneven surface causes the ball to bounce unpredictably, but not in completely erratic ways. The patent offers 8 different protrusion configurations using the same calculations, and further offers detachable and movable protrusions enabling the user to re-set the unpredictability of the bounce by just snapping the protrusions into the core surface of the ball.
The marketed Waboba® Street Ball is the size of a handball, and it promises lots of concrete fun!

Abstract US2012071281

The present invention relates to a playing object (21) having a main surface (13, 14, 16) enclosing and provided around a center of gravity, said main surface being provided with elements (22) in a pattern around the center of gravity, where each element has an element surface extending away from the main surface. The playing object may be a polyhedron and some of the elements may have a different appearance than the majority of elements.


Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Oh, patents! Waboba® balls!

Copyright © Françoise Herrmannalt

Wanna have some summer fun? Try a Waboba® ball and join the Wabobians worldwide! A Waboba® ball is a ball that can bounce on water. In fact, it even skips over water, just like a stone that you might throw at a special angle to make it ricochet over the surface of the water. Only this is a ball that bounces without ever sinking! It is manufactured with a polymer gel center that flattens when it hits the water, and bounces or skims across the surface the water. The inventor, Jan Von Heland, is from Sweden, and he was inspired while playing upside-down Frisbee with his son in the water!

Below, the patent abstract and a drawing, and above the image of the marketed Waboba® ball!
Have fun! :-)
Abstract - WO2010071528
 The present invention relates to a water bouncing ball (10) comprising a gel core (12) made of plastic material and an elastic porous plastic material(14) adjacent the gel core (12) and covering and centering the gel core in the middle of the ball (10). The ratio between the diameter (D) of the gel core and the thickness (T) of the elastic porous plastic material is in the range between 0.66 and 2.8. In this way a soft floating ball having good bouncing ability is provided.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Oh, patents - Bone conduction headphones [US2009060231]

Copyright© Françoise Herrmannalt
This bone conduction audio technology is standard gear in the Army. Instead of inserting an ear bud into the ear canal or headphones over the ears, the hearing device in housed in helmets or protective headgear, in glasses, or placed directly on the cheekbone or other part of the user’s head for transmission of sound to the user’s auditory system via the user's bone or other tissues. This leaves the ear canal open to capturing ambient sounds such as sirens, the sounds of a vehicle approaching or communication from other people. It is much safer, and just as effective in terms of sound transmission.
 The technology consists of piezolelectric transducers, integrated or housed, coupled to an amplifying circuit and audio source. The amplifier circuit can further be equipped with receiver technology for wireless reception of sound signals. It may have a battery or be solar powered. It works simply bypassing the eardrum, sending sound as vibration directly to the cochlear bone via bone and other tissue. Thus, instead of sound hitting the ear drum through the ear canal where the vibrations are transmitted to the cochlear bone, which in turn transforms the vibrations into signals transmitted to the brain  for decoding via nerve cells, bone conduction sends signals directly to the cochlear bone which then functions as if the vibrations had come from the ear drum.
Compared to regular earbuds or headphones, bone conduction audio simply reduces risks, whether the invention is embodied for Army personnel or for runners and bikers on the road. One marketed product is called Aftershokz®!
Abstract [US2009060231] A stereo headphone includes a first audio element and a second audio element to be positioned against sides of a user's head in which each of the first and second audio elements is configured to transmit audio signals through bone to the auditory system of the user.
       Bone conduction headphones [US2009060231]


Friday, April 12, 2013

Oh, patents! Lay-n-go®!

Copyright© Françoise Herrmann 
altGot kids? Got a living-room scattered with Lego pieces, toy cars, Barbie shoes, and puzzle pieces? This is no longer going to be a problem with theFAZACKERLEY husband and wife team, and their invention: the Lay-n-go®! Adam & Amy Fazackerley are parents of three young boys and they came up with a mat on which children can play, and which then cinches into a bag, so that all the play pieces are corralled into it!

The Lay-n-go® comes in a 60 inch living room size, and a smaller 18 inch Lay-n-go® restaurant or plane table size, in bold colors.  More recently, a new cosmetics Lay-n-go® was launched, made of a more luxurious gold and silver quilted fabric.

Here are patent figures of the open and cinched Lay-n-go®, and the patent abstract, with the WIPO title: CONTAINMENT MAT THAT CONVERTS TO LUGGAGE WITH SECURE SEAL!
[WO2012067644] Abstract
A convertible luggage device that opens to form a mat or work surface that has a raised lipor edge structure that contains items on the mat or work surface. The convertible luggage device closes from the mat configuration to create a sealed bag or sealed flexible container for holding the items inside, where the seal is formed by the lip or edge structure. In some embodiments, the convertible luggage device may include a cinch cord that can be used to change from the open mat configuration into the closed bag configuration. In such embodiments, the cinch cord may include a cord lock that may be adjustably deployed to clamp the cinch cord in a position that maintains the convertible luggage device in aclosed bag configuration.
alt             alt

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Oh, patents! Zipbuds®!

Copyright © Françoise Herrmann
The problematic situation is tangled earbuds…. you know the tangled cables.. just before you start your work-out, or just before you want to tune into your selection of Itunes.
This patent is awarded to a team of young entrepreneurs: GROSET ERIK [US], LIU JUSTIN [US], KLASCOMICHAEL [US], DEFAY ROBIN [US],who have solved the issue of tangled earbuds with zippers! The resulting product is a very cool and colorful zipbud®… and an untangled mess…! The perfect solution to a real problematic situation of the year 2013.
Here is figure 1 of patent US2011162883, as well as paragraph 2 of the description, reciting the embodiments of the invention and its purpose -- in perfectly enunciated patentese…!
US2011162883TitleCable organization assemblies
[0002] The embodiments herein relate to assemblies that are configured to prevent cables from becoming entangled with each other. More specific embodiments relate to two or more cables that are configured to be releasably coupled to one another. Embodiments herein can be used to prevent entanglement of audio wires, such as headphone wires and stereo speaker wires, in addition to other suitable cables.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Oh, patents! Original Sanuk Not-a-shoe

Copyright © Françoise Herrmann
The first patent awarded to Jeff Kelley, Inventor and Master Sanuk Shooemaker, was for Not-a-shoe soles, called footbeds! Indeed, US2005044746 titled DECORATIVE FOOTBEDS FOR FOOTWEAR was awarded for footbeds made of commercial and industrial carpeting materials! So the quintessential feeling of sinking into a carpet was perhaps the idea originally embodied in the Sanuk Not-a-shoe, which was definitely a sandal...and Not-a-shoe….
Here is the original exploded patent drawing, and a recent embodiment, the Sanuk Yoga Sling, where the sandal footbeds are made of yoga mat materials! 
  Oh, BTW... The term “sanuk” is apparently a Thai word meaning “fun”, so that every Not-a-shoe is awarded that title. Visit the splash page and click on “Saaa what? (How to say sanuk?) for info on pronunciation too! 

Oh, patents! Hoodies for your feet

Copyright © Françoise Herrmannalt
“Smile… Pass it on!” “They’re not shoes, they’re sandals… because your happiest days are always spent in sandals… 
because sandals are for backyards, beers and BBQs..."
Those are some of the messages you will read at, the website for shoes with a patented sandal construction…!
And, here is the abstract for these 'not-shoes but sandals' that will give your feet an endless summer, even when it’s snowing!
Footwear having a shoe upper and a sandal type sole are made from an upper having a lower marginal edge with a plurality of spaced fingers extending from the lower marginal edge, a foot bed having a peripheral edge and a plurality of spaced slots there through adjacent the peripheral edge and aligned respectively with the fingers, the fingers being extended through the slots and folded over onto the lower surface of the foot bed, an outsole secured to the lower surface of the foot bed and the folded portions of the fingers and securing the fingers between the foot bed and the outsole, and a structural arrangement for concealing from view the lower marginal edge and the fingers of the upper. A mid-sole is optionally provided between the foot bed and the outsole. A method of making the footwear is described. [US 2006196080]
alt      alt                                            

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Oh, Patents! TOMS boots!

Copyright © Françoise Herrmannalt

Your favorite shoes, and One-for-One, might be TOMS’ shoes. TOMS’shoes are actually Blake Mycoskie’s shoes… as TOMS stands for Tomorrow’s shoes! As for “One-for-One” this is Mycoskie’s new business model designed to fix capitalism, by incorporating philanthropy into a sustainable for-profit business. That is, for every pair of shoes sold by TOMS Shoes Inc.,, there is one pair of shoes donated to children in need of shoes. Blake Mycoskie is Founder, and Chief Shoe Giver, of TOMS Shoes Inc. He has given more than 2 million pairs of shoes to children worldwide.
Why shoes? It turns out that shoes protect your feet from cuts, puncture wounds, abrasions and frostbite, infections and various parasite diseases such as hookworm that can enter through open foot wounds or simply burrow inside the body through barefoot skin. Thus, keeping children healthy implies supplying them with shoes to wear. Additionally, many schools require that children wear shoes at school, which prevents poorer children from attending. Finally, it also turns out that wearing shoes boosts confidence! If you need hard data to believe this, then just login to see the childrens’ faces once they have received their new shoes!....[TOMS donation campaign videos: at]
For changing the lives of children in more than 50 countries, and the One-to-one business model, Blake Mycoskie has received the Secretary of State Award for Corporate Excellence (ACE). He was featured in the People Magazine“Heroes among us”, and was recognized in the Fortune Magazine“40 under 40” list as one of the top young businessmen in the world. Finally, Mycoskie also published a book in 2011, titled Start something that matters that was a NYTimes best seller!
And that’s not quite the end of the story… TOMS has now started a “One-for-One”eyeglass business, where for every pair of TOMS glasses sold there is a pair of eyeglasses donated to people in need of glasses, whose sight can be restored.
In 2009, patent US2009183394 was also awarded to Blake Mycoskie, with TOMS Shoes co-applicant, for an invention titled: “Wrap boot for a wearer’s foot”. These are boots that adapt to a person's particular calf anatomy since the upper part wraps around and fastens at the top.
Here is a drawing of the patented wrap boot and a picture of these boots that you can buy in a store or online, as an option to the classic TOMS shoes, in exchange of which, children in need will also receive a pair, for free, one-for-one!
                alt     US2009183394                    www.toms.comalt

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Oh, Patents! Saucony® strike pad soles!

Copyright©  Françoise Herrmann
To absorb the shocks of repetitive impact when feet strike with the ground, Saucony® has developed a strike pad sole technology with a slight (8 mm) elevation of the heel compared to the forefoot. The strike pad is strategically positioned in the heel only section of the shoe, or extending from the heel to the forefoot, and strategically crescent-shaped, with a patented thickness ranging from about 5 mm to 40 mm that decreases in a variety of gradual, linear, non-linear or exponential ways, or in step.Together with the strike pad, the heel to toe drop-geometry is designed to better align the runner’s gait, including ankles, calves, knees, quadriceps and/or hamstrings in a position to better receive the forces from striking the ground. 
Although this technology is illustrated for running shoes, the scope of this patented technology extends beyond running, and is envisioned for all types of footwear, including but not limited to boots, sandals, flip-flops, clogs, etc…Accordingly, the title of the invention is simply “Footwear”.
Here are patent drawings of the strike pad design and sole, as well as of the marketed 2013 Saucony® Hurricane sole and upper designs.
Saucony® Hurricane 15alt