Archives for December 2012

Happy Holidays!

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Although some historians have placed the origins of Christmas (as a celebrated event) as early as the early 4th century, there are still new patents being issued that will help the masses fully enjoy the holiday.  Here are a few of the more recent festive contraptions:

1. U.S. Patent No. 8,196,530 – need a little extra storage space under the tree, possibly multilevel?  Well, look no further than the ‘530 patent.  In addition to providing stable support for your tree and a table (which if large enough could likely save an eggnog from the fate of being kicked over by little feet on the floor), it also boasts an electrical connection.  Conveniently, the corners of the table are hinged, thus allowing the box to be laid flat for storage.

2. There have been singing trees, singing snowmen, and singing dreidels, but these don’t have the classic look and feel of an actual holiday decoration.  Enter the singing holiday candle, U.S. Patent Application No. 2012/0315589, which is a reusable programmable candle.  As shown in the figure (right), the candle includes a wick and a fiber optic cable proximate it.  According to the inventor, when the wick is lit, “light generated by its flame travels through the optic fiber and reaches the photo sensor located in the candle base at the bottom of the candle. Upon receiving the light, the photo sensor generates electric signals which trigger the chip group to play the sound files stored in it and sounds are reproduced through a speaker.”  Evidently the wick is replaceable and there are means to prevent the flaming wick from coming into contact with the fiber optic cable.  Thus, the candle can be readily reused from season to season and be updated with your favorite holiday tunes.

3. Although as of this writing Hanukkah has passed, that only means there may be post-Holiday deals on this menorah with candles that burn different colors – U.S. Patent Application No. 2010/0261124.  This menorah “enhances the perception of the miracle associated with lighting of the candles.”  From the patent application, “one embodiment of the invention 100 includes a Menorah 110 (it is understood that the Menorah shown is only one of many configurations of Menorahs that can be employed in the invention) in which are placed eight candles 122, wherein each candle corresponds to a different day of the eight days of Hanukkah. A ninth candle 124 may also be included, but is not required. The eight candles 122 are composed of a material such that at least two of the eight candles 122 burn flames of a different color. In the example shown, the left-most candle might burn with a green flame 132, the candle next to it might burn with a blue flame 134, the candle next to it might burn with a yellow flame 136, and the candle next to it might burn with a purple flame 138. In this example, the right-most candle might burn with a green flame 146, the candle next to it might burn with a red flame 144, the candle next to it might burn with a blue flame 142, and the candle next to it might burn with a yellow flame 140. The Shamash candle 124, which in this example is the center candle (but could be located in a different position, so long as it is at a different level than the other eight candles, or could simply not be included on the Menorah), might burn with a typical white flame 150. It should be understood that this is only a single example of a Menorah with candles that burn flames of different colors and that many other orderings of candles and colors used are well within the scope of the invention.”

4. And lastly, for those of you not wanting to get too engaged with Christmas, there is the (not so) Invisible Christmas Tree described in U.S. Patent No. 4,612,219.   The inventors noted: “While the branches of both natural and artificial coniferous trees form an envelope that generally resembles a cone, the individual branches themselves are usually quite irregular with regard to their position, spacing and orientation along the tree trunk. Moreover, the individual branches are usually quite irregular in terms of their length, shape and fullness. These irregularities contribute to making each tree somewhat unique. Christmas tree mobiles of the type shown in the aforementioned patents also define conical envelopes. These mobiles are, however, incapable of simulating the irregular appearance of an actual tree because of their highly symmetrical construction. Consequently, such Christmas tree mobiles are characteristically unnatural in appearance, a feature that detracts from their appeal.”  Hence, the need for their new apparatus (or is a lack of apparatus since it is invisible?).

Happy holidays to you and yours!