Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Dumb Invention

The prize for the dumbest invention of the week goes to: The Mayo Clinic.

This remarkable invention is basically a treadmill strapped to a desk, its designed to allow obese people to get exercise while they work. The BBC has a story here. The whole thing is so preposterous I had to check it wasn't April 1st, there are so many things wrong with this I'm not sure where to start.

First the practicalities, how easy is it going to be to type whilst walking? I foresee a lot of motion sickness here.

Second, its designed to help people that work in sedentary jobs, the test subjects were obese people who admitted to doing no exercise, which leads to the question who exactly is going to go for one of these? Who in their right mind will choose to do exercise at work if they can't be bothered to do any outside of work? Is the idea that companies will compel their overweight staff to use them, trying to get those health care costs down perhaps. I just don't see who can seriously expect this to be used by anyone.

Third the benefits, a net loss of weight of perhaps 30kg per year is nice, but after spending £1000 each is that really good value for money? The machines run at 1mph and people are expected to use them for 2 to 3 hours per day, why not just walk to work and back at a reasonable 4mph, saves money, and you get some fresh air?

I swear next someone is going to invent a running/cycling machine for use in cars (obviously not when driving), so people who can't be bothered to walk or cycle to work can "get some exercise" on the way to work. In fact I may go an patent that right now.

Note: The BBC has now tried out working at a treadmill, concurring that it is damn near impossible.


Anonymous said...

Using technology in this way, to needlessly replicate a readily available natural process, is so well-known that it has a name - the "butter-box principle". Apparently, at one time American fridges had a special compartment that kept butter at room temperature, so that it would spread straight from the fridge.
Yeah, stupid, but some people always for for the "shiny new technology is better" crap. I expect to see that in-car exerise machine any year now. Get it patented before somebody else does!

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