Upon arrival, you are greeted with the glowing and smiling face of founder Stephen Paul Gnass, who has been producing the Invention Convention for the last decade. The site is pleasing to the eye and contains, besides the odd dead link, a large selection of inventions complete with pictures, since these products have already made it past the "disclosure" stage. Besides being a powerful vehicle for inventors to display their wares, this site is a service for customers looking for the new products to either manufacture, market or distribute. As Executive Director of the National Congress of Inventor Organisations, Mr Gnass has established a large network of contacts to get these gizmo's "out there"
Verdict: This is the place to be seen if you are an inventor, and the place to go if you want to see the state of the art of idea-materialisation. Everything from real genius to tacky market void-filling can be found here.
Based in Taiwan, this site represents those ever so creative inventors of Asian heritage. There are many products represented here, all with very realistic expectations of doing well in the marketplace, as befitting the site's substantial credibility and mission to expand East-West trade. With products ranging from electronic tattoo machines to ultra-violet shoe sterilisers(!), you might start to wonder how many of these gadgets actually qualify as being real "inventions". Be warned, you might actually find some of these things useful. The site is still a little barren in sections.
Verdict: Asia invents the product introduction agency. Inventors meet investors. With their "genius" and your money, the world's shelves will be even more packed with gizmos gadgets and thingummyjigs.
Ayers Concepts - Toy Invention Super-site.
Toy inventor and creative thinker David Ayers, after a few successes of his own in the invention business, has set up a site to get you thinking and creating, and maybe getting a deal with one of your very own ideas. The site is full of useful info and a few links to other resources. The best part is where he takes you through a step by step guide to inventing a toy or game. After using these techniques, David invites you to enter his "contest", which basically means submitting your idea, and having Dave selling it to a games company for a cut. He really does push your thinking buttons, though, so you might just crack it.
Verdict: A friendly and helpful resource which puts you in the creative hot seat.
The Eureka Club
You won't get many cool pics here at Eureka, since they represent the inventors, and they don't want you ripping off all their ideas. What you will get, besides handy info about how to go about getting an invention off the ground, is a huge list of all the devices and contraptions Eureka represent on behalf of it's members. From a back stretcher to an onion fan (no more tears), circular flying machine and amphibious inflatable scooter, short descriptions of each design give you an idea of how much of a crack pot the inventor is. There are contact details for each device, and some are looking for financing. Any takers?
Verdict: Get ready TV viewers, there are enough miracle solutions to everyday problems here to fill every station's program guides with 24hr infomercials til doomsday. Excellent links.
A rather dry site with mostly text and one black and white diagram, but what is described here is a patented invention that hailed the new era of computer connectivity and interaction. The inventors claim that the system allows for all our utopian dreams of globally linked task-oriented computers managing everything from weather prediction to air traffic control to finding oil deposits to come true. The sketch looks a little Da Vinci like, almost a rough scribble on a napkin so you would figure the idea must be one of those strokes of pure genius.
Verdict: It all sounds very exciting, but the web-site could certainly do with some sprucing up.
The Invention of Knowledge
In this very interesting site, Art Bardige, from Cambridge proposes that knowledge itself is an invention that mankind has been collectively working on for millennia. Through historical data and scientific method, Art theorises that since knowledge is our own invention, we can actually see where it is heading, and therefore predict future add-ons to our invention. All quite fascinating, and quite a nicely done site for an obviously text based thinker.
Verdict: A well presented thesis which will get your very own creative juices flowing as an essential contributor to this very human invention of knowledge.
The Mad Scientist's Lair
This friendly looking bearded fellow hosts a home for all those ideas you read about in New Age science journals. Clean energy, perpetual motion, UFO technology, psychic research and the like are represented, with the emphasis on actually making some of this stuff work. There are a few cool links to a few inventions such as the Brown's Gas generator and water fuel cells. A bit heavy on the psychic and paranormal, but realistic in it's attempts to promote at least an awareness of the realms of possibility.
Verdict: Yes, he is mad, but we all know there is a fine line between genius and insanity.
Intelligent Computer-Aided Training
This kind of invention is not really high on the "quirky gadget" end of the spectrum, but this winner of the 1995 NASA invention of the year promises to be a revolutionary phase in the link between man and computer. Basically, NASA have developed an artificial intelligence style of training, where the computer can act as an experienced live tutor, or mentor, to guide the student or operator through a process of learning. Reading the info on the site gives you the impression that this will have huge benefits in all areas of learning. The system was deployed in the training of the Hubble Space Telescope repair team, utilising VR and AI in groundbreaking ways.
Verdict: A little on the yawn side of things, if you aren't into hi-tech stuff, but if you are, this is where it's all at. Follow a few links and be astounded.
African American Inventors Series
Caught up amongst a lot of repetitive statements on every page and religious/political viewpoints, Ron Landrum's inventor series gives credit where credit is due for a whole host of African American ideas. Not many pictures here, but the list is pretty impressive, almost unbelievable. Ron goes into a lot of detail about historical and biblical black inventors, but his enthusiasm for balancing the scales seems to override his web design, as there are a few errors in the site.
Verdict: All in all, a respectable tribute to the African American contribution to human advancement. Slavery and oppression couldn't hold back the creative spirit.
Marconi Archive Centenary
To celebrate 100 years of radio, GEC-Marconi, decided to flog off some of Guglielmo's prized possessions at Christies auctions earlier this year. At the eleventh hour, someone came to their senses and cancelled the sale, transferring ownership of the highly valuable items to the London Science Museum. Generously, Christies have left articles from the collection up on their web site, a site of which you would expect nothing less than big-bickie design standards. The pictures are very crisp and clear, though small, and you almost get the feeling that you could actually buy one of these historical inventions yourself. Promised is a printed catalogue of the collection that you can express interest in receiving.
Verdict: Though small, this little selection is the creme de la creme of inventions. If you want more Marconi, try monviso2.alpcom.it/hamradio/index.html
This man has an insatiable appetite for bookmarking science-related pages on the web. In his travels he has come across a lot of kooky stuff. "Weird Science" is a large selection of links to zany and whacky scientific theories, notions and inventions. If it's implausable, it's here. If you follow the "cool science" link, Bill lists hundreds of more bona fide sites he has seen with all manner of inventive and curious scientific experimentation occurring. Verdict: Its a good few months of surfing to get around these links, so when you are done, come back and read these reviews some more for more inventive suggestions.
Illusionworks (java, shockwave)
Here is a place devoted to illusions, objects intended to trick the mind. Not so much an invention site so to speak, although there are 3D puzzles and historical items here, however there is a vast body of creative imagination represented. If some of these babies ever saw the light of a 3D day, we'd all go mad trying to figure them out. This is a total collection of every illusion you ever heard of and then some. Optical, auditory, motion, colour, it's all here. After being amazed, you can buy your own illusions, straight from Illusionworks of course. Excellent links as well.
Verdict: Prepare to be boggled, but don't stay here too long, you may not cope well with reality afterwards. Oh, and make sure you have your 3D glasses handy.
Inventors World Spring96
This hard copy British magazine presents us with a couple of back issues on line to get you interested in all things inventive. It's quite a respectable effort with a lot of resources and information for budding geniuses. There is a lot of emphasis on young inventors, and after you see what these little rascals are coming up to, you wonder why you aren't inventing truckloads of clever gadgets yourself. If you already are, Inventors World is an invaluable assistant in helping turn crazy ideas into real products on the shop shelves.
Verdict: I liked it enough to go down to the newsagent and buy a copy of the latest issue.
Inventors Digest Online
This is the US contribution to the inventors magazine pile. Of course, being American, the emphasis is more on looking good and selling you a subscription, but there is still a bit of helpful info. Whereas in the British mag, you really feel like you are getting to know the inventors and their inventions, this one helps you get to know the subscription dept. I'm sure the actual magazine, once you've paid for it is at least as good as is claimed, but one is left wondering why they are bothering with an online version if they are not going to give the surfer much to chew on.
Verdict: Believe the hype and buy the mag, but unless their philosophy changes, think twice before bookmarking.
Michael Brown Art Works
This page is essentially a set of thumbnails taking you to an incredible body of work this genius has conjured up. Sculptor, designer, artist, inventor, it's hard to put a label on Mr brown. He has installed crazy things all around the U.S. including water clocks, kinetic sculptures, pinball machines and various other "installations". The guy is obviously very gifted in the design area, but he seems to have omitted navigation links from his web pages. No doubt he is just too busy working on the next mammoth project.
Verdict: Caution, genius at work.
If one invention has transformed the human condition irrevocably, it must be TV. The world is now a goldfish bowl, and cosmetic dentistry has become a boom industry. To find out how it all happened, these nice folks have dedicated a site to the history of the development of mass media. Essentially, this is a links page, but the links are of premium quality. Museums, archives, essays, resources.
Verdict: When ever you feel like shooting your TV set Elvis style, come here and get an understanding of how it all got this crazy. You might even begin to appreciate this marvellous invention.
The Farnsworth Chronicles
Philo T. Farnsworth
This fascinating story, which runs for 11 concise chapters with excellent historic photographs, tells the in depth and intriguing story of an eleven year old farm boy in 1919 who envisioned Television, and proceeded to grow up and make it happen. The amazing aspects in this tale are how the legal and corporate interests enter into the picture, chewing up and spitting out the geniuses, without whom the whole thing would never happen. Inventors take note, the idea is one thing, the prototype is another, but turning it into a marketable item is a messy and dangerous journey.
Verdict: Read it! Read it right here on your cathode ray tube and reap the dream.
The Telegraph Office
For all things morse, and ticker tape, this is your ultimate home. An incredible amount of links and resources graciously handed to you by very enthusiastic enthusiasts. Really, this is the birth of the internet, dots and dashes (binary code) conveying information around the globe. The sketches on the page are interesting, but the links are top notch. After a while, you may begin to wish that the quaint old morse code had survived. Actually, it has!! You can hook up a morse code key to your modem and click away to other enthusiasts now!!
Verdict: Historians, children, families throughout the land, come and pay homage to where it all began. In a word, . _.._ _._. . ._.. ._.. . _. _ !!!!
Net Worth: ****
Useless Japanese Inventions
As you will learn on this site, chindogu is Japanese for "Weird Tool". It's funny, it's stupid, it's inspirational. Bookmark it now as the interest in chindogu is guaranteed to boom. If you have some funny pictures of weird tools, I'm sure you could submit them for inclusion.
Verdict: It's what Japan is famous for - the Walkman, the MiniDisc, the Toilet Paper Dispensing Hay Fever Hat.
The Edison - Ford Winter Estates
So this is what happens to inventors after they die. Their holiday homes become tourist attractions, and their achievements are summarised into an easily readable biog for printing on brochures. There are better places on the web to get into the nitty gritty of the world of Edison and Ford, but here, you can admire the palm trees, the algae-ridden swimming pool, and the front porch of the holiday lifestyles of very famous men. Perhaps you will be inspired enough to forge your own career as a genius and buy your own holiday home, die, and have your heirs reap the tourist dollars. Nice colour photos.
Verdict: A glimpse into the reality of life after divine inspiration.
The Alexander Graham Bell CD-ROM (QT VR)
Although this site is here as a teaser for the CD-ROM, these generous merchants provide quite a selection of material for those unwilling to pick up the phone and give them a "bell." Nice photo's of the bearded, pipe-smoking crack pot and his zany but all too credible attempts at flying machines phones and hydrofoils. Pretty impressive stuff, really.
If you have any interest in invention and the history of this and last century's most revolutionary devices, it might be worth going all the way, as Alexander did, and committing yourself to something spending $49-95 US!
Verdict: Stylish, informative, well worth inspecting. Ring! Ring! Call that toll free number now!
A large list of inventors of flight are listed here, and there is lots of juicy material to fill your inquiring mind. Represented are the big guns, - The Wright Bros, DaVinci as well as some of the poor losers who tried and failed, or succeeded only to have been too stupid to have the right press agent present at the launch. Some great photo's a bit of VR and a host of great info that would pad out any school assignment, or entertain the adult with nothing more to do than dream about inventing flying machines - a hundred years too late!
Verdict: Put on your cyber-wings and fly on over to this site. It has an air of history, and could help your web session really take flight. A few holes in the fuselage here and there.