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AN EYE ON... inventions

AN EYE ON... inventions

Tokyo: The Japanese inventor Kenji Kawakami has introduced a new concept which he calls "Chindogu" (unusual tools). The term is designed to describe his inventions which are often useful for everyday life but are also flawed at some level. His ideas include "Baby Mops" - baby clothes lined with mops which allow infants to clean floors as they crawl, a toilet roll that fits over the head to be used as a portable nose-wiper, and the "Drive- by-Drier", a laundry rack that attaches to the hood of a car. Mr Kawakami is the author of 101 Unuseless Japanese Inventions and its sequel, 99 More Unuseless Japanese Inventions.

Las Vegas: The Winter Consumer Electronics Show includes a combined cellular phone, Internet access and personal organiser that can be mounted on the handlebars of a mountain bike. You can also buy a portable disc player that lets you watch movies while jogging.

New York: IBM has captured the top spot for the fifth consecutive year in the list of recipients of most patents in the US. In 1997, IBM received 1,724 US patents, the second-highest total in its history.