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Friday, November 15, 2019


Oooh hallo dear English speaking-reading-hearing visitor, welcome back to me, @sciencemug, the blog/podcast/twitter&instagram accounts/entity behind the unsuccessful e-shop stuffngo on which tells you great science stories looks deep into your soul aaaand in doing so finds that gym locker key you lost in 2005 along with a couple of stale candy and a used bus ticket, aaand which talks to you thanks to the voice, kidnapped via a voodoo-wireless trick, from a veeery very very dumb human. Aaaaand which does all of this in Eng?ish, a language that is to proper English what the names of Icelandic volcanoes are to shortness.

Today I'm gonna launch a new space of this blog-podcast called “Weird patent series”, a space, as the name suggests, dedicated to the most absurd things you humans have patented, invented, thought.

Listen to the podcast episode
on iTunes 
on Podcast Machine
 (Music: Day Trips by Ketsa; licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 License) 

In a recent interview to a researcher, PiPs, probably - but given what it is not necessarily - joking, mentioned the necessity for the invention of a diaper for birds (well, to be precise for flying animals in general, see the post if you wanna know the origin of that). 

Pffff, a diaper for birds, nonsense, dear reader, right?

Weeeell, dear reader, apparently that idea has indeed been already deeply worked out, and even covered by (at least as far as I know now) not one, but two patents!

Now of course you, dear reader, are super willing to know all 'bout these inventions, right? Aaaaand of course here I am to provide you these fundamental piece of information.

Let's go then!

Patent one
In 1956, Ms. Bertha A. Dlugi from Milwaukee-Wisconsin-USA, files the US patent n°
2,882,858 for a "Sanitary appliance for birds" (P1).

Bird with diaper (by @sciencemug)
Bird drawing from US patent n° 2,882,858 (1956);  adapded by @sciencemug

Now Bertha is aware of the fact that having a pet is a common habit for you humans. She's also aware of the fact that (already in the '50s, at least in the US) keeping "parakeets and similar birds as household pets has gained in popularity" (P1) and that many birds-pet owners let their flying friends free to, well, fly, in many rooms of their (of the owners) homes.

But, alas!, our master mind of the inventions observes how impossible it be to house train these dear flying pets (apparently they also suck at bringing you the newspaper, slippers, balls and sticks back when thrown, aaaand at panting an incredibly foul breath when waking you up at five o'clock in the Sunday mornings by jumping on your bed). As a consequence of this lack of discipline, pet birds just drop their intestinal+bladder tokens wherever they want, meaning on your carpets, furniture, pieces of antiques, holy PlayStations, very expensive uniquely customized headsets, last of the last model iPhones/Smartphones, sacred to naps couches, full of dirty dishes sinks, untouched cooktops, Star Wars decorated sheets, floors, beds and so on.

So, dear Bertha comes up with her invention: "a sanitary garment that may be worn by birds without being a source of annoyance [to them, and] without hampering [their] movement." (P1)
Bertha's thing is a triangle (better if it's an isosceles one, she specifies) of "absorbent cloth" (P1) to be put in correspondence of the bird's crissum. The mighty bird dropping catching triangle is hold in position by a "harness formed of [narrow] strips of tape" (P1). The strips go around the bird's tail and neck (where there are snap closures) and along the middle of its back and chest.

Now, dear reader, your remarkably lucid brain probably stopped really reading letting your eyes just going on moving alone after the word "crissum". Well, it's understandable, dear reader, it's understandable. But you’re in luck, ‘cause our kind Bertha, in her patent, explains that concept: the "anatomy of birds is such that they are provided with a common chamber called the cloaca for receiving the waste material from both the intestinal and urinary canals. The bird discharges this waste material from the cloaca through its cloacal opening which is surrounded by the crissum." (P1). So, dear reader, as you can agree upon, having Bertha's sanitary triangle of cloth "to cover the crissum of the bird [is utterly wise as it] will receive the excremental discharge from both the intestinal and urinary canals." (P1).

More precisely, the base of Bertha's triangular patch have to be placed at the bottom (oops, pun unintended here...) of the bird's tail that is, as just clarified, where the animals excrements delivery happens. Moreover the above mentioned base must be made of an elastic material in order to be yielding enough so that "the central portion of the body of the patch [...] sag and thereby create a pouch for receiving the excremental discharge" (P1).

Birds with diaper talking (by @sciencemug)
Top bird drawing from US patent n° 2,882,858 (1956); bottom bird drawing form US patent n° 5,934,226 (1999); adapded by @sciencemug

Our canny Bertha, besides, take also into consideration the aesthetics of her birdy hygienic device. She assures that her thingy is basically invisible once worn by the birds as "a substantial portion of it becomes concealed by the feathers of the bird [itself]". The bird, in fact, after wearing the apparatus, "will invariably ruflle its feathers causing them to overlie" (P1) the harness and therefore making it disappear from sight.

Sooo, dear reader, to sum up, Bertha's invention avoids the "unsanitary condition" (P1) deriving from untrained (and untrainable) pet birds flying freely in your human home bombing every part of it with the final products of their digestion.
The apparatus is in fact designed so that it doesn't annoy the birds, nor hinder their movements and flights maneuvers, be light, easy to put on the birds, almost invisible aaand simple and cheap to manufacture.

But it's still defined, by its own inventor, a "sanitary garment" (P1), not a bird diaper. And we want precisely and only that, don't we, dear reader? 

Weeeell that’s why we go to patent two.
But first, first a commercial break! 

Is your pet bird stressed out ‘cause all the cool birds of the neighborhood don’t want to hang out with it and it hears they calling it “diaper Joe” or “poop bag kid” or “flying cargo poop” behind its wings?
Try “Poop&Chill” our new diaper for pet birds enriched with extracts of Jamaican anxiolytics that kick in once the dropping is made.

Poop&Chill diaper by @sciencemug
Free for commercial use diaper pic by Saulo_Prata  [source: Pixabay]; Free smoke pic by Stephen Hocking [source: Unsplash]; images adapted by @sciencemug

Poop&Chill” diaper, and your pet bird will fly, poop and relax (aaand possibly eat a lot too), all at the same time!
Poop&Chill” diaper can be found in every pet shop of South Pole, Minneapolis and Rurutu. 

Patent two
Sooo, dear reader, humanity has to wait till 1999, to see a patent named "bird diaper" (P2)

In 1999 indeed, not one, not two, but three people brainstorm (probably after a Friday night party based on strange dutch M&M's, funny-tasting water from Russia and an odd Mexican party-game named "lick-the-back-of-the-toad pong"...) and come up with the idea that leads to the US patent n° 5,934,226 entitled: "Bird diaper" (P2).

Lorraine Moore and Mark Moore, from New York, and Cely Giron from Sawtooth Way, San Diego, California (aka the Bird Diaper's Trio, or BDTs) are the parents of the ultimate solution for the problem of uncaged pet birds which go number one and two (together) on random stuff in their owners homes.

As stated above, this is a huge sanitary issue (WHO probably sighs with relief when it reads about the BDTs "Eureka!"-moment product) so the three folks step up and own it.

The BDTs first underline the numerous limits of 1956 Bertha's invention. They write, in their patent, that "given the tendency of pet birds to wriggle, writhe and peck when handled" (P2) the two snap closures of Bertha's design make it difficult for the bird owners to "secure the sanitary appliance onto the bird" (P2).
The BDTs go on observing that "since birds have a natural curiosity for metal devices accessible to their reach, given the strength of their beaks, it is likely they would bite off or destroy the snaps" (P2), and that the strips that go around the neck of the bird create a collar that limit "the head motion of the bird" (P2) (and this would probably make it way too exposed to the attack of that formidable pet bird predator that the cuckoo clock is...).

The trio finishes to destroy poor Bertha's idea finally adding how "the plurality of strips securing the device increase the likelihood of self-imposed harm, should the strips entangle with or catch onto some object that the bird encounters when moving about the dwelling of the owner" (P2)

After their demolition work, the BDTs are ready to explain (and they draw seven - while Bertha had only three - figures to help with that, seven!) their invention: the one and only, true, proper "bird diaper" (P2).

Bird with diaper talking (by @sciencemug)
Bird drawing form US patent n° 5,934,226 (1999); adapded by @sciencemug

In their words the bird diaper is "an enclosed pouch for receiving and containing excrement, and apertures to accommodate [...] the wings [the paws] and the tail of the bird. Elastic Straps and hook and loop fastener components (e.g., VELCRO) secure the diaper onto the body of the pet bird without restricting movement. The bird diaper is fabricated from Spandex (e.g., LYCRA) or another stretchable, lightweight material, allowing absorption of bird excrement to prevent leaks and facilitating easy cleaning using soap and water. The bird diaper can incorporate decorative designs [and] bright colors [...]. The bird diaper also has a leash which is insertable within the hook and loop fasteners. The leash serves to restrain or limit the birds area of free flight." (P2)

Now, dear reader, as you can figure out the BDTs device, once assembled, has strips that connect a ventral and a dorsal part (which, in turn, are made of several pieces). The ventral part starts by mid-chest of the bird and ends up with a pocket under the animal's tail, where the droppings are collected. The dorsal part covers most of the back of the bird leaving a hole through which the tail comes out, plus it holds a hook for the leash right above the tail.

So, dear reader, are you sold? Not yet?! Well, you're a hard buyer, I'll give you that. Well, the BDTs surely take skepticim for granted, so, besides overcoming all the 1956 Bertha's design flaws and adding the leash optional, they also put on the plate that to "accommodate different types of pet birds, the bird diaper will be available in different sizes" and end up with a final phenomenal boom: "the bird diaper can be moistened before application to cool the pet bird during summer months. Alternatively, the bird diaper can be utilized to keep the pet bird warm during winter months." (P2). Isn't this pure absolute adamantine genius?

Well, pal, if such an extraordinary display of technology and taste, which solves a threatening world's health problem, doesn't make you frantically look for a pet shop where to buy a parakeet, or a canary or any other pet bird, I dunno, a condor, a bald eagle, a pterodactylus (ok ok, not a bird, but still a flying animal, probably escaped from one of the R&D facilities of the Diapers&Genetics Corporation aaand anyway a beast with a great potential as a pet flying animal, although I wonder where one could find the right leash for it...) I think you are as sane as it gets and perfectly rational. And I genuinely envy you.

Oh, by the way dear reader, just think of this: getting a patent is not for free. It takes money. To obtain a US patent costs up to thousands dollars between fees and legal expenses... Soo, well, up to you to decide how much more than nothing it's worth to be spent on a bird diaper patent.

Ok, now I go check if there be also a patent for a bidet for birds, who knows!?

Sooo dear listener, till next time, and in the meanwhile if you spare some time and feel like doing it, please subscribe and/or rate this podcast, and/or leave a comment on the blog, and/or take a tour on my stuffngo(sNg) e-shop on so you can see if there’s something you like!


Patent 1 (P1) - Dlugi, B.A. (1959). Sanitary appliance for birds.
Patent 2 (P2) - Moore, L., Moore, M., and Giron, C. (1999). Bird diaper.

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