...Robert Park, a consultant with the American Physical Society in Washington, D.C., warns that such dubious patents aren't limited to the antigravity concept.
"I might hear a complaint about a particular patent, and then I look into it," he explained. "More often than not it's a screwball patent. It's an old problem, but it has gotten worse in the last few years. The workload of the patent office has gone up enormously."
Some people might consider patents on unworkable products to be relatively harmless. Park, a physics professor at the University of Maryland at College Park, disagrees.
"The problem, of course, is that this deceives a lot of investors," he said. "You can't go out and find investors for a new invention until you can come up with a patent to show that if you put all this money into a concept, somebody else can't steal the idea.
"[Approving these kind of patents can] make it easier for scam artists to con people if they can get patents for screwball ideas."
Perpetual-motion machines have long held special appeal for inventors—particularly during the concept's heyday around the turn of the 20th century.
Patent applications on such devices became so numerous that by 1911 the patent office instituted a rule that perpetual-motion machine concepts had to be accompanied by a model that could run in the office for a period of one year.
The model requirement has been discontinued, but the agency has remained skeptical of such applications. "The patent office used to say that they didn't patent perpetual-motion machines, but it turned out that there really was no such rule," Park said....MORE
And the reason for that preamble, from Popular Mechanics:
Water-Powered Cars: Hydrogen Electrolyzer Mod Can't Up MPGs
After batting down the hype over startups and DIYers claiming they could run a car on water, PM's senior automotive editor installs a hand-built HHO kit—only to find he was right the first time. Can bad chemistry keep the myth of the water car alive? More heavy testing in the PM garage will tell
Water-powered cars continue to be the largest single topic taking over my in box—and the Comments section of this Web site. And it's not just my recent column on the truth about water-chugging prototypes. This trend has become an obsession with many backyard inventors, and some of them have become quite strident, insisting that if I knew anything at all about cars, I'd be embracing this technology. They say it could help change the world as we know it. They even say it could eliminate the energy crisis altogether. For this sentiment, I applaud them. And honestly, I hope it's all true.
Unfortunately, I have to indict their physics. The entire concept of running your car on water is based on bad science. The idea is to use electricity from the car's alternator to electrolyze water into HHO, a mixture of pure hydrogen and oxygen. This mix is fed into the intake air, where it is burned along with gasoline, thereby increasing your fuel economy anywhere from 15 to 100 percent—depending on which Web site you're visiting. Believe the hype, and those 1 to 2 liters of HHO streamed into the engine will double the fuel economy, clean the engine out, and maybe even grow hair. Plenty of these budget sites even claim their devices are efficient enough for a version that would run a car entirely on water—no gasoline at all....MORE
Here's the rest of Pop Mech's Drive Green Special:
HT: R-Squared whose blog descriptor is:
Because Everyone Is Entitled To My Opinion