CLOSE
Original image

Recent Inventions in Our Battle With Snow

Original image

As you no doubt heard, we had somewhere between 50 and 50 million inches of snow in Washington, D.C., this winter. All a person could do for much was sit around and look at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office's website for inventions that could make all this snow more bearable next year.

Something like underwear with built-in gloves

Two women from Ohio "“ which had its own share of snow trauma this year - were recently granted a patent for an undershirt with built-in mittens, to protect a person against frostbite by making sure there is no exposed skin in the wrist/hand area, and to protect the same person against losing another pair of gloves. You can hear a mother's lament in the patent application: "Gloves and mittens traditionally have the disadvantages of needing to be carried separately from the coat or jacket, and so frequently are lost." The application then describes other glove-securing devices "“ like strings and grommets "“ and why these devices need to be improved on. They are cumbersome, and "“ worse "“ they don't prevent skin from encountering winter. It is convincing (obviously, since the patent was granted). The one drawback: according to the patent application, the garment is really only meant for children. Luckily, I'm small. It's on sale here.

Battery powered heated eyewear

But wait, my face is still cold, even though my tiny child-like hands are now warm. Four words solve that problem: Battery powered heated eyewear. A man from Michigan was granted a patent for said heated eyewear in 2008. The patent application makes clear the versatility of this invention, establishing that "eyewear" may mean prescription or non-prescription eyeglasses, sunglasses, goggles, helmets, or "any other type of apparatus that may be worn by a wearer for any conceivable purpose such as for skiing, skydiving, hunting, paintball or other entertainment or interactive games, safety, combat, infrared or night-vision, driving or riding vehicles, welding or any other type of construction work, any type of laboratory work, police work, space travel, etc." Space travel? These glasses are not only practical, but exciting!

A motorized snowboard

Since civilian space travel surely won't happen while the airports are shut, it's best to think of staying warm while riding atop a motorized snowboard that functions like a motorized scooter, but it works on snow and it's obviously cooler. An Indiana man was granted the motorized snowboard patent in 2004 "“ and one fails to understand why motorized snowboards have not taken off. Where are the flying motorized snowboards we were promised?

Better shovels

Our needs are closer to the ground right now, though, and with the cars that need to be dug out we look for the most inventive of snow shovels. The patent office database has many promising snow-shovel related patents: this one is for a shovel with a flexible blade that is designed not to scratch cars; another is for a two-handled show shovel; a third has a rough surface and a "foot receiving recess member" that appears to be a place for your foot to go so you don't kick the blade and break the shovel. Which is very useful, considering that pile of broken shovels we've kicked into submission.

twitterbanner.jpg

Original image
iStock
arrow
Live Smarter
A Simple Way to Charge Your iPhone in 5 Minutes
Original image
iStock

Spotting the “low battery” notification on your phone is usually followed by a frantic search for an outlet and further stress over the fact that you may not have time for a full charge. On iPhones, plugging your device into the wall for five minutes might result in only a modest increase of about three percent or so. But this tip from Business Insider Tech may allow you to squeeze out a little more juice.

The trick? Before charging, put your phone in Airplane Mode so that you reduce the number of energy-sucking tasks (signal searching, fielding incoming communications) your device will try and perform.

Next, take the cover off if you have one (the phone might be generating extra heat as a result). Finally, try to use an iPad adapter, which has demonstrated a faster rate of charging than the adapter that comes with your iPhone.

Do that and you’ll likely double your battery boost, from about three to six percent. It may not sound like much, but that little bit of extra juice might keep you connected until you’re able to plug it in for a full charge.

[h/t Business Insider Tech]

Original image
iStock
arrow
Live Smarter
Trying to Save Money? Avoid Shopping on a Smartphone
Original image
iStock
Today, Americans do most of their shopping online—but as anyone who’s indulged in late-night retail therapy likely knows, this convenience often can come with an added cost. Trying to curb expenses, but don't want to swear off the convenience of ordering groceries in your PJs? New research shows that shopping on a desktop computer instead of a mobile phone may help you avoid making foolish purchases, according to Co. Design. Ying Zhu, a marketing professor at the University of British Columbia-Okanagan, recently led a study to measure how touchscreen technology affects consumer behavior. Published in the Journal of Retailing and Consumer Services, her research found that people are more likely to make more frivolous, impulsive purchases if they’re shopping on their phones than if they’re facing a computer monitor. Zhu, along with study co-author Jeffrey Meyer of Bowling Green State University, ran a series of lab experiments on student participants to observe how different electronic devices affected shoppers’ thinking styles and intentions. Their aim was to see if subjects' purchasing goals changed when it came to buying frivolous things, like chocolate or massages, or more practical things, like food or office supplies. In one experiment, participants were randomly assigned to use a desktop or a touchscreen. Then, they were presented with an offer to purchase either a frivolous item (a $50 restaurant certificate for $30) or a useful one (a $50 grocery certificate for $30). These subjects used a three-point scale to gauge how likely they were to purchase the offer, and they also evaluated how practical or frivolous each item was. (Participants rated the restaurant certificate to be more indulgent than the grocery certificate.) Sure enough, the researchers found that participants had "significantly higher" purchase intentions for hedonic (i.e. pleasurable) products when buying on touchscreens than on desktops, according to the study. On the flip side, participants had significantly higher purchase intentions for utilitarian (i.e. practical) products while using desktops instead of touchscreens. "The playful and fun nature of the touchscreen enhances consumers' favor of hedonic products; while the logical and functional nature of a desktop endorses the consumers' preference for utilitarian products," Zhu explains in a press release. The study also found that participants using touchscreen technology scored significantly higher on "experiential thinking" than subjects using desktop computers, whereas those with desktop computers demonstrated higher scores for rational thinking. “When you’re in an experiential thinking mode, [you crave] excitement, a different experience,” Zhu explained to Co. Design. “When you’re on the desktop, with all the work emails, that interface puts you into a rational thinking style. While you’re in a rational thinking style, when you assess a product, you’ll look for something with functionality and specific uses.” Zhu’s advice for consumers looking to conserve cash? Stow away the smartphone when you’re itching to splurge on a guilty pleasure. [h/t Fast Company]

SECTIONS

arrow
LIVE SMARTER
More from mental floss studios