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Relax on the run

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Illustration by Sam Griffin

Are you under the pump at work? A soothing massage could be just the ticket, if only you could find the time.

What if you could take matters into your own hands (or, hand)? Well thanks to a flash of inspiration by Brent Gunnon from Washington state, USA, now anyone can go ‘under the pump’ without breaking stride.

Some people see commercial potential everywhere. They tend to be the same souls who subscribe to the mantra, If you build it, they will come. And, if for some odd reason they don’t come, keep building!

Best described as Air Jordan Pumps meets Thing from the Addams Family, with a dash of Terminator tossed in for weird measure, US patent 6,387,064 (2002) was known simply as the “Foot pump powered neck massaging device”.

Liverpool football supporters might have popularised the song “You’ll never walk alone” on the terraces of Anfield Stadium, but it seems that Mr Gunnon took up the challenge – quite literally. Why else would he attach a mechanical hand to the back of his neck, connect it to air bladders in the heels and toes of his shoes, and set off walking to his own erratic beat – all the way to the patent office.

For Gunnon, this was clearly a business idea, not merely an intellectual indulgence. The patent application was at pains to highlight that his contraption was very much designed with an eye to low-cost mass-production.

Well, that didn’t happen.

Which only leaves us curious as to what kind of a massage the foot pump powered massaging device actually delivered. Imagine grooving down the street, ‘Staying Alive’ pumping through the iPod, cyborg hand kneading your trapezius muscles. It could well be a most relaxing massage, but it’s likely to make passers by a little edgy. And just try getting on a plane wearing one!

Oh, an inventor’s warning: No running for the bus.

If you have a business idea that you momentarily tried to pursue (but realise now that you should have known better), email [email protected] We’ll try to be gentle.



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