Odd Engineering Inventions-Feature
10 May 2019

Walking Fridges and 6 Other Weird Engineering Inventions That Solve Odd Problems

Imagine the weirdest, wackiest, most out-of-this-world invention. Now, imagine actually building it, making that funky figment of your imagination solid and real.

Wonder what strange inventions other people have thought of (and actually created)? Read on for a manic list of weird engineering inventions that are sure to wow you!

#1. Mousetrap pistol

Odd Engineering Inventions-Mousetrap pistol

Tom and Jerry’s merry adventures would probably come to a grinding halt if the grey-and-white cat got his paws on this bizarre 1882 invention. Back in the 19th century, James A. Williams of Texas dreamt of a new trap in which animals that burrowed underground could be easily exterminated.

Inspired by burglar alarms involving rigged doors or windows, the trap design he came up with consisted of a pistol secured to a frame. When a mouse runs into the frame, the pistol would be triggered and that would be the end of the mouse. However, no one took to his idea, perhaps not wishing to have a spring-loaded revolver under their kitchen counter.

#2. Tomatan

Odd Engineering Inventions-Tomatan

The million-dollar question here isn’t your pronunciation of ‘tomato’. Nope, the question is — would you put on a wearable tomato machine?

Japanese food company Kagome revealed the Tomatan, a robotic backpack which can be loaded with six mid-sized tomatoes to fuel runners through any marathon.

How does it work? A small robot with a tomato for a head sits on your shoulders, carrying a handful of tomatoes on its back. Flipping its hidden lever moves its arm to catch a tomato from the dispenser and the robot will then carefully move the tomato and hold it in front of your mouth so you can take a bite.

#3. Dynasphere

Odd Engineering Inventions-Dynasphere

It was a wheely good time when our ancestors came up with the life-changing invention we call the wheel, but this certain eyebrow-raising spin on an already flawless concept will make you glad it rolled away.

Designed to be an electric car consisting of purely one gigantic wheel, the 1930 Dynasphere was inspired by a Leonardo da Vinci sketch. However, despite inventor J.A. Purves’ enthusiasm, the mono-wheel did not get past its prototype phase as steering and braking functions were next to none.

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#4. Sea shoes

Odd Engineering Inventions-Sea shoes

While M.W. Hulton’s brainwave to walk on water with sea shoes (2 ski-like floats joined together) in 1962 got lukewarm response, the human fascination to conquer the seas and tread on it didn’t stop.

Dwarka Prasad Chaurasia’s mighty invention of water shoes in 1978 are made from 2 floats of polystrene bonded to a rexine sheet (strong coated cloth), tied together and attached to metal straps. To aid in balance and manoeuvre across water, one will need to use oars.

His innovation boomed in popularity in India and abroad.

#5. Umbrella hat

Odd Engineering Inventions-Umbrella hat

You’ve probably never given your umbrella any thought. It does a great job in shielding you from the rain and sun, what more is there to think about? However, a few eccentric inventors have thought long and hard about how to maximise the potential of the humble umbrella.

Take the umbrella hat invented by Robert W. Patten, for example. Basically, it’s an umbrella canopy attached to a headband and the brolly is big enough to shade your head and shoulders. Today, umbrella hats are seen as a novelty item and can even be bought online.

#6. Walking fridge

Odd Engineering Inventions-Walking fridge

Technically, the fridge doesn’t exactly walk, it moves to you. But the very fact that it almost seems like it walks towards your direction is more than good enough for us!

Panasonic’s fancy fridge prototype is a coolbox balanced on top of a robot vacuum cleaner with a voice interface that responds to voice commands such as “Fridge, come here” or “Come to the living room”. Lo and behold, upon hearing you say that, it emerges from its place in the kitchen wall and trundles over to you without bumping into any of your pets.

Now, a show of hands for those who would want this once it’s finally out in stores? We say sign us up!

#7. Fliz bike

Odd Engineering Inventions-Fliz bike

If you’re bored of good old whizzing about on your trusty bicycle, amp up your endurance level and overall fitness with this German invention.

The Fliz bike has a truly unique design — it looks like a bike with handles and two wheels, but it has no pedals at all. You’ll basically be half-walking and half-running, but you get to go faster and further due to the invention’s two wheels. We’ll let you decide if you’d like to have this.

Now, aren’t these the strangest engineering inventions ever made? The human mind definitely knows no bounds when it comes to off-the-wall creativity and imagination. Let us know in the comments if you know of freakier engineering inventions!

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