TECHNOLOGY UPDATE: New Approaches to Smoke


TECHNOLOGY UPDATE: New Approaches to Smoke

An inside glimpse at what's new in emerging technologies

by Stephen Drew

Smokers no longer need leave a
building when they wish to indulge.
This new device attempts to confine
the smoke to the immediate region of
the smoker’s head.

With cigarette smoking banned in a growing number of public places, industry is working feverishly to produce a safe haven for those who crave their daily dose of gaseous gusto.

A similar idea for a “smoker’s booth” is described in the “Patents” column of the February 8, 1992 issue of The New York Times. Joseph S. Hofstra, Ronald Karaskiewicz and Mark R. Fischer of Albuquerque, New Mexico, were awarded U.S. patent #5,085,134 for their invention. The Times says that “the new invention looks like a partly enclosed telephone booth, but it provides what amounts to an air screen that allows smokers to satisfy their cravings without bothering non-smokers in the same room with malodorous fumes.”

A different approach is illustrated in the photograph shown here. Utilizing theories of nonlinear fluid dynamics developed at the Santa Fe Institute, it employs inexpensive materials and requires no power source. The shape and surface characteristics of this passive device induce warm, smoky gasses to confine their meanderings to a tightly confined local region.

Dr. Eric Hamilton-Fielden, the inventor of the passive device and promulgator of the chaotic spontaneous fluid flow theories upon which it is based, predicts that commercial versions will become available once he overcomes certain deficiencies in the design.

© Copyright 2003 Annals of Improbable Research (AIR)

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