Posts by Martin Gardiner:

The Possible Advantages of Square Cigarettes [focus-group report, 1999]

What might be the advantages of “square” cigarettes? In 1999, the US tobacco company R.J Reynolds employed the Opinion and Marketing Research firm Delta Research to investigate. Participants of two “Consumer Idea Generation” (CIG) focus groups from Indianapolis were paid $35 each (plus dinner) to list (amongst other things) possible advantages of “Square” cigarettes. The findings : […]

Embodying a new cross-sectional paradigm for a smokable rod [square cigarettes patent]

“A cigarette typically is employed by a smoker by lighting one end thereof and burning the tobacco rod. The smoker then receives mainstream smoke into his/her mouth by drawing on the opposite end (e.g., the filter end) of the cigarette.” – explains a patent granted to Big Tobacco giant R.J. Reynolds. U.S. patent 7,967,018 B2, […]

Canine Cleanroom Suit [patent]

“It is desirable that dogs that perform jobs in restaurants, hospitals or other health care facilities, and manufacturing areas wear distinctive garments to indicate that they are service dogs and not unauthorized pets. Such garments are preferably also protective for the dogs and for the facility.” United States Patent 7975656 , assigned to Californian inventor […]

De-humanizing Humanoid Robots [study]

Humanoid robots are often experienced as unnerving, a psychological phenomenon called the “uncanny valley.” The Uncanny Valley is quite a problem for ‘humanoid’ robot designers – who currently struggle to make their robots 100% convincing. A newly proposed solution involves ‘dehumanizing’ ‘humanoid’ robots. By, for example, removing the robot’s face to expose bare electronic circuit […]

Painfully fashionable : The consequences of wearing pointy shoes in medieval England [study]

It’s known that if you wear overly pointy shoes for long periods, you’re likely to damage your feet How long has this been going on? Was it prevalent in, say, medieval Cambridge, UK? To find out, researchers examined the human remains of 177 adult individuals (11th > 15th century) from four cemeteries located in Cambridge, […]