In Pictures: 14 cool, but off-beat inventions

Lots of inventions are not the iPad, but they are still cool, sort of

  • Here a worker polishes the surface of an unfinished miniature submarine at a workshop of Zhang Wuyi, a farmer in China who is interested in scientific inventions. Wuyi has successfully tested his self-made miniature submarine "Shuguang Hao", which is 3.6 m (12 feet) long, 1.8 m (6 feet) high, has a maximum diving depth of 20 m (65 feet), can travel at a speed of 20 km per hour for 10 hours underwater and is dolphin shaped.

  • Cuban inventor Yolando Perez Baez displays his motor starter creation at a farm. His motor starter is a study in elegant simplicity and addresses a serious need in a country where major equipment tends to be antiquated and often in need of parts that are costly and hard to get. A weight, tied to a rope that is wrapped around the engine crankshaft, is lifted up by the rig and dropped. The fall pulls the rope and cranks the engine to life.

  • Nan Weidong blows an instrument made of carrots and shallots in Huaibei, Anhui province. Nan, a musician who performs with many types of special instruments such as water pipes, bottles, stones, and well known with vegetables instruments after participated in a local television program.

  • Mexican chemical engineer and inventor Sergio Rico displays his "Solid Rain" product after it is mixed with water. "Solid Rain", conceived and developed by Rico, employs similar technology to that used in modern diapers.

  • Computer engineers Girly Perando (L) and Janiena Roxanne Dirain display a prototype of their team's invention called the "Wearable Obstacle Detection System and Braille Cellphone for the Blind." The invention, which can detect obstacles within a range of five meters, also serves as a mobile phone with a Braille keypad for the visually impaired.

  • Farmer Shu Mansheng hovers above the ground in his self-designed and homemade flying device during a test flight in front of his house in Dashu village on the outskirts of Wuhan, Hubei province Sept. 21, 2011. The round steel flying device, which cost more than $3,135, is the fifth model made by Shu, a junior middle school graduate. It measures around 5.5 meters (18 feet) in diameter, and is powered by eight motorcycle engines. Shu managed to hover for 10 seconds at about 1m (3.3 feet) above ground during a recent test flight, according to Reuters.

  • Employees demonstrate Cosmo Power's personal flotation device named "Noah," which could survive an earthquake and tsunami that might follow, at a port in Hiratsuka, south of Tokyo.

  • Everyone can’t create the iPad, but every day new inventions hit the streets and their inventors dream of greatness. Not all succeed and not all get much press. That is the case here where we take a look at some cool inventions that may just be a little out the mainstream.

  • Zhang Yali, 49, tests a giant bicycle designed and made by him and his friends outside a rented warehouse in Jilin, Jilin province Dec. 25, 2011. The 3.2-meter-high and 5.5-meter-long three-seated giant bicycle, weighing over one ton, cost Zhang more over $3,156 USD.

  • President Barack Obama reacts as Joey Hudy of Phoenix launches a marshmallow from his Extreme Marshmallow Cannon in the State Dining Room of the White House during the second White House Science Fair in Washington February.

  • Li Jingchun (top L), a 58-year-old farmer, works with his family members on his self-made aircraft on top of his house in China. The 5m long, 1.5m wide plane, mostly made of recycled iron plates, cost the aircraft enthusiast and his family two years and more than $6,349, according to local media.

  • A woman uses TrekDesk, a workstation that is designed to fit over a treadmill. The inventors are trying to transform the cubicle from sedentary prison to multitasking work and workout space.

  • Scott Oosting (L) and Dave Tuxbury (R) go airborne with jetpacks providing human flight experiences in Key West, Fla. The flight apparatus is tethered by a 30-foot hose dragging a tiny boat with a pump that uses seawater as propellant.

  • Here a child climbs on a tricycle designed and built to move through water in a flooded neighborhood near Chao Phraya river in central Bangkok.

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