A French invention that levitates objects is one of the star attractions of the inventors fair in Geneva, which opened on Wednesday, alongside new fangled bottle openers and shopping trolleys.
"I have already applied for more than 120 other patents," said inventor Janick Simeray, as a plastic sphere floated above a table and a mobile phone remained locked in thin air in between its holders.
Simeray's invention, one of about 1,000 on show at the annual International Exhibition of Inventions in the Swiss city, is based on a hidden electronic plinth that generates magnetic fields.
The largely decorative invention can even be set up vertically, as demonstrated by the table top clock seemingly suspended unattached by the side of its holder.
Other inventions include a combined beer bottle opener and pourer, a device that aids changing sheets by flipping over and revolving the bed, an ergonomic shopping trolley or hollowed out crusty bread for hot dogs.
But the event also showcases pioneering devices that end up in industry, agriculture and medicine, as well as in the household, for leisure or for work.
"You can't find anywhere else such a concentration of inventions covering all areas of human activity," said the president and founder of the fair, Jean-Luc Vincent, shortly before it opened.
Some 70,000 visitors, more than half of them from industry, are expected to visit the five-day show, which brings together 700 inventors from 45 countries.
"I'd like to sell my invention," said Samir Ougri, a locksmith who has come up with an all-in-one rear bicycle lamp that also includes a brake light and indicators, "to cut the number of accidents."
Vincent said the fair helped bring together inventors and potential producers who could bring them to market, while patent agencies also offer their services there.
On average, about 45 percent of the inventions presented during the 38-year old fair have been put on sale abroad through licensing contracts, he added.
Last year those contracts amounted to 40 million dollars (29.6 million euros).
"The rhythm of innovation is accelerating and the competition is out there, inciting companies to buy inventions from outside, rather than develop them themselves," he said.
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