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Inventors Look To Convert Their Creations Into Cash

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GENEVA (AP) _ What do the automatic fish catcher, easy sushi-maker, and body-shaping petticoat have in common? They're the latest creations by some of the world's most innovative minds for the world's laziest bodies.

About 700 inventors from 42 countries have gathered at the International Exhibition of Inventions with 1,000 gizmos ranging from a multifunction umbrella with a built-in anti-mugger alarm to personal armor made of coconut fiber.

Corporations, independent researchers are taking part, and even some amateurs.

Labor-saving devices for people averse to exertion are a recurring theme at this year's 35th edition, which runs until Sunday.

One notable invention is the spring-loaded fish hook _ the equivalent of an underwater mouse trap. After attaching the float to the fishing pole, the ``sportsman'' lowers a lever into position. The fish has only to nibble on the bait to trigger the spring and find itself with a dart through the lips. (Caution: Do not bait the hook while the device is cocked, the pamphlet warns).

But isn't that cheating?

``Well, it could be,'' admitted inventor Michael Adcock, the only U.S. entrant.

``It's a lazy man's way of fishing,'' he explained. ``That way you can drink more beer. That's what more fishermen are really out there for anyway ... With this, you can look away, take a sip, do whatever.''

The fish catcher is most effective for pan fish such as bream, crappie, bass and catfish, he said.

Once they've nabbed their fresh fish, chefs who like to cut corners might be attracted to Easy Sushi, a contraption that resembles a cigarette roller and allows any clumsy cook to whip up a masterful-looking maki in minutes.

Couch potatoes who are disinclined to diet can turn to custom-made body-shaping underwear.

To parade her product, 47-year-old Taiwanese inventor and designer Pi-Yu Chuang donned one of the stylish body corsets, instantly reducing her waist from 29 to 23 inches. The outfit, which costs around $800, encases the torso and legs, is also bust-enhancing and has a handy full bottom snap-on flap.

Not all entries are aimed solely at the lazy. The environment is a hot topic at this year's exhibit.

According to inventor Karl Dorn's brother Aaron, a television in standby mode still uses up to 85 percent of the power it does when switched on. Leaving a TV on standby 16 hours a day in Britain can cost users an extra $34 a year, he added.

But the Standby Plug shuts down appliances completely after they go into standby mode, preventing the needless consumption of electricity, he said.

A crematable funeral ornamentation called Memopack is another eco-friendly gem.

Made from paper but resembling a standard marble or wood plate, Memopack can be personalized with pictures, drawings, a lock of hair or letters before being placed on the coffin, and can be burned or will biodegrade.

Inventions can only be entered only once at the Geneva show and must be patented. However, entries are not necessarily tested or screened by national authorities.

Somewhat wacky items at this year's show include scented socks; an automatic food distributor for animals that includes a medical checkup; and the Q-Grip, a utensil designed to hold hot pieces of meat by the bone.

The PAP Ion Magnetic Inductor _ also known as the Papimi _ claims to increase the efficiency of the body on a cellular level through rapid electromagnetic pulses, and thus relieve pain. Austrian promoter Gernot Augustin also says he cured his mother of breast cancer with the apparatus.

A 75-member jury will select the best invention and award prizes in 45 other categories on Sunday. The ``Oscar of Inventions'' is also awarded on the basis of a popular vote from visitors.
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