Thursday, January 8, 2009

Patently Fun!!!

Since I'm always looking for innovations in cycling like my bicycle expectoration system, I sometimes check out the US Patent office to see what other creative geniuses are coming up with. On my last visit I was not disappointed.

The inventor was my kind of person, someone who wants to help us all to address a serious problem in our North American society:

The bicycle is referred to by some as the greatest invention. Unfortunately as our modern society tends toward a more sedentary lifestyle, we utilize the greatest invention less and less, and instead are mind-numbingly entertained by computers and video games. The result of our increased fondness of electronic entertainment and the corresponding decrease in physical activity is a society plagued by both adult and childhood obesity. In addition to our waning physical condition, our intellect is likewise being diminished by hours upon hours in front of the television.

Anyone ready to tackle our sedentary ways using the graceful, simple bicycle is OK in my book. But how? What could they have in mind? When I saw the answer, it was blindingly obvious, like something I had known at a subconscious level all along. Of course! We can trump video games and TV by making bikes more engaging; we can simulate air-to-air and air-to ground combat with them!

The present invention simulates aerial warfare using bicycles as movement stands for two-dimensional aircraft models and laser tag air-to-air/golf ball air-to-ground simulated combat systems. This invention transforms miniature aircraft gaming to a larger scale with an emphasis on real-world skills, tactical acumen and personal physical involvement in the game by providing a means for actually engaging and defeating an opposing player or players with the use of a laser tag system. A golf ball dispenser also can be used to bomb targets placed on the ground. By using different means for dispensing the golf ball "bombs," play can simulate dive-bombing, torpedo bombing and level bombing. The present invention readily lends itself to individual or group play with historical scenarios, campaigns, role-playing and the like; aerial warfare re-enacting becomes a possibility. With little modification, players can engage in futuristic inter-galactic space battle as well.

The final frontier! Vintage planes! Warfare! Using Bikes! Man oh man, show me how!

The bicycle depicted has its drivetrain on the left side, which I think might be quite rare; however I see no reason that the design would be affected by being applied to more typical right-sided bikes, so I could overlook that easily enough.
It looked to me like that the amount of tubing was roughly equal to the amount found in the bicycle itself, and that coupled with the airplane cutouts might prove quite heavy. Not so, it would seem:

The bicycle combat simulator includes a two-dimensional representation of a combat vehicle, preferably an historical aircraft, viewed from both the right and left side and constructed of readily available, light-weight materials, and painted appropriately. The simulator sides are easily mounted to and dismounted from a frame attached to a bicycle with "U" bolts. The frame allows the simulator to be held safely away from the handlebars and the rider, while providing an enclosed "feel". Neither the frame nor the two-dimensional simulator sides adds significantly to wind resistance or to the weight of the bicycle, thereby avoiding excessive physical demands on the rider/player. The design allows for easy mounting/dismounting of the bicycle and for walking the bicycle when needed.

Well OK then! Through the use of readily available lightweight materials, the frame and sides don't add much weight, and provide enough freedom of motion and yet an enclosed "feel". I knew I was feeling a little too "out there" when riding. Excellent.

As a winter cyclist, I often ride in tricky snow conditions, and every summer I feel like I lose some of my ability. Well, not any more...

The best playing area for the air-to-ground combat system is a parking lot, school yard, or other location with a relatively smooth surface. The "bombing" system of the bicycle combat simulator is a simple golf ball dispenser which applies direction to the ball, while the speed of the bicycle determines the velocity of the ball and its distance.

It's just a guess, but I suspect that riding around a parking lot strewn with stray golf balls might be just the ticket for keeping my bike handling skills sharp. So far so good!

Just when I was getting really excited, I thought of something that brought me down a little. You know what they say: If something seems too good to be true, it probably is. It is stated in the patent that wind resistance is not adversely affected, but I'm not so sure. I shall attempt to illustrate:

You see, those cutouts would give the bicycle a surface area similar to a small sail, and I'm guessing it wouldn't take much wind to knock you over. You know, given all the positives associated with this idea, maybe being crashed by crosswinds isn't so bad... I'll bet lots of those vintage planes were terrible in a crosswind.

The present invention readily lends itself to individual or group play with historical scenarios, campaigns, role-playing and the like...

I'll say! I'm thinking that this "simulator" has lots of potential for very realistic historical re-enactments, particularly when using some of the very early war planes. They were slow, cumbersome, and crashed often.

If you want to really live the history around World War One, hone your bike skills, feel enclosed while cycling and have all the fun associated with battling your friends with laser beams, get your sedentary butt off the couch and start building. I don't think you'll be sued for patent infringement or whatever it's called so long as you don't try to sell it. Strangely, I was unable to find a commercially available manifestation of this system, but I guess everything isn't sold on the Internet.

If you happen to know that this system is indeed for sale somewhere, please, please tell me where with a comment.