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Inventors show off the weird and wacky

Thousands of useful and not-so-useful devices have gone on display at the world’s biggest inventions fair in Geneva.

This content was published on April 6, 2011 - 16:41
swissinfo.ch and agencies

Exhibitors from 45 countries are showing off their designs until Sunday in the hope of attracting investors or buyers.

Peyman Sarhadi of Iran showed off his “super smart boot”, which he hopes will become the Swiss army knife of footwear. Equipped with sensors, it collects data on air temperature, humidity, location and the wearer’s blood pressure and then sends the information to a base camp. It can heat or cool the feet and can also measure radiation levels.

Emanuele Lopopolo of Italy presented a portable backrest that allows its wearer to take a break from standing by leaning back onto a telescopic pole.

Miracle tinctures and obscure industrial equipment aside, visitors may find the most useful inventions include a mouthwash-dispensing toothbrush, a Braille photocopier and a foldable tandem bike.

While many inventors enjoy support from governments or universities, some have invested large sums of their own money in unlikely gadgets in the hope of someday hitting the jackpot.

“I've spent €50,000 (SFr65,500) on the prototype, now I need an investor to make it in bulk,” said Roberto Capomazza, demonstrating what he claims is the fastest shrimp peeling device ever invented.

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