Sunday, September 10, 2006

Patent Bending and the Greatest Canadian Inventor

Last month I reported that Discovery Channel Canada was launching a new series called Patent Bending: Mad Ideas - Modern Science. The hosts of the show, inventor Tom Stewart and science guy Russell Zeid, find wacky patents and attempt to build working models based on the designs.

The first three episodes were mixed. The floating campsite was more camp than science. I kept hoping in vain that a bear would hijack the sorry rig. the bicycle lawnmower and 12-gauge golf club were very entertaining.

Unfortunately, there is virtually no discussion of the actual patents during the show. No one explains what a patent is, how the guys found the featured patents or shows the patent drawing. The web site also provides scant information on the original patents. For the bicycle lawnmower all it reveals is that the inspirational patent issued in 1984. (U.S. 4,455,816)

Perhaps we can hope for more from the CBC's "Greatest Canadian Invention" competition. The CBC is inviting viewers to vote for the best Canadian invention of all time. The fifty innovations include insulin, the Blackberry and lacrosse. The winner will be announced during a special show hosted by Bob McDonald on January 3, 2007.