gadgets
Co-Inventor of the World’s First Handheld Electronic Calculator Dies at 86

Jerry Merryman, one of three people at Texas Instruments credited with inventing the world’s first handheld electronic calculator in the 1960s, died at a Dallas hospital on February 27th. Merryman was 86 years old. Read More >>

history
The Story of the American Inventor Denied a Patent Because He Was a Slave

The world of invention is famous for its patent disputes. But what happens when your dispute wasn’t with another inventor but whether the Patent Office saw you as a person at all? In 1864, a black man named Benjamin T. Montgomery tried to patent his new propeller for steamboats. The US Patent Office said that he wasn’t allowed to patent his invention. All because he was enslaved. Read More >>

history
Thomas Edison Predicted Nobody Would Be Able to Make Phone Calls Across the Atlantic Ocean

Never say never. Thomas Edison was both a great inventor and an amusing prognosticator. But nobody, no matter how smart, knows the future. And that goes for Edison as well. Back in 1894, Edison predicted that transatlantic phone calls would be impossible. But his doubts would prove silly roughly 30 years later when the first transatlantic phone call was completed in 1927. Read More >>

Tea
British Public Impressed By Tea Bags, Internet And Lightbulbs

In a survey conducted by English Heritage, the British people proved they are gigantic walking stereotype by claiming to be most impressed by tea bags. UK residents are also, as it turns out, impressed by sewers and keen on penicillin, which makes sense given how important it has been in keeping us alive in times when tea has failed. Read More >>

inventions
Someone’s Way Over-Engineered The Paperclip

You know those inventions you see on Dragons' Den, where someone thinks they've changed the world by massively over-engineering something that worked fine as it was? Read More >>

gadgets
Ten Deliberately Stupid Inventions That Are Still Better Than Half of Kickstarter

Thanks to crowdfunding sites like Kickstarter and Indiegogo, the internet is flooded with ridiculous gadgets, devices that over-promise and under-deliver, and straight-up scams, all vying for your cash. Maybe that’s why this Stupid Hackathon, which encourages people to invent stupid things, is so refreshing—no one is desperately begging your for money. Read More >>

inventions
This Website Lists All The Patents Expiring Today So You Can Exploit The Heck Out Of Them

If you've always fancied yourself a bit of a Thomas Edison but can't seem to hit on, you know, an actual idea, this website might be your saviour. ExPatents (with the hilariously easy-to-misread URL patentsexpiringtoday.com) gives you a list of the US patents that expire today, to inspire you to come up with new ways to make use of them. Read More >>

medicine
This Human-Powered Paper Centrifuge Is Pure Genius

Inspired by an ancient toy, researchers from Stanford University have developed an ingenious hand-spun paper centrifuge. Incredibly, the device costs just 20 cents (17 pence)—and it can be used to detect malaria in blood in just 15 minutes. Read More >>

electrical experimenter
This Prohibition-Era Alarm Was For Catching No-Good Soda Pop Thieves

Are you a soda fountain owner? Did you just time travel from the year 1919? Then have I got an invention for you! Read More >>

watch this
Brilliant Rubbish-Stomping Robot Takes Care of Your Nastiest Job

Like most of Colin Furze’s creations, the Stomp O Matic trash compactor almost ends up self-destructing in a ball of flames. But not before it successfully takes care of one of the grossest jobs on anyone’s to-do list: stomping down the rubbish in your  wheelie bin so you can squeeze even more garbage into it. Read More >>

history
This Overhead Wire Electric Car Thing-a-Ma-Jig Was Way Ahead of Its Time

This “electric carriage,” which appeared in the July 27th, 1889 issue of Scientific American was way ahead of its time. How ahead of its time was it? South Dakota wasn’t even a US state yet. The article that went along with it noted that the patent for this ingenious contraption was granted to one Mr. Harvey D. Dibble of Rapid City, Dakota Territory. Read More >>

wtf
You’ll Probably Lose a Finger, But This Toilet Paper Machine Makes Life So Much Easier

Life is all about compromises and trade-offs. The Useless Duck Company is back with a new and improved version of its automatic Toilet Paper Machine that’s sure to save you a few precious seconds while on the bog. Read More >>

design
Ridiculous Contraption Takes All the Learning Out of Learning the Guitar

Being able to play music is a gift, but learning to play an instrument is morass of frustration—especially teaching yourself the guitar. Hands have to be bent in uncomfortable positions, uncalloused fingers get sore, and it becomes clear that human extremities innately possess the coordination of a newborn deer that’s been grazing in a field of ketamine. Sucks to suck, and learning is for chumps. Read More >>

internet
This Website Is Using Maths to Create Every Possible Patent

It’s widely accepted that the United States patent system is broken. Alexander Reben agrees, and his response has been to create a website that aims to make it harder for people to patent new ideas. Read More >>

cars
You Can Help Nutty Inventor Colin Furze Design the Car of the Future

Professional out-of-the-box-thinker Colin Furze has teamed up with Ford in a bid to reinvent the car. Whether that’s the entire thing or just aspects of it, Furze, like a bonkers Uncle Sam, wants YOU to step up and get involved. Read More >>