We’ve all been there. You’re watching late-night television infomercials and wonder in your sleepless state how this gadget designed to remove the strain of microwaving food came into existence. Well, you may have the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to thank. In 2013 alone, the office received more than 600,000 applications for patents, both from within the United States and abroad, ranging from machines to plants. The surge in patent applications was the most the office has seen since at least the 1960s, according to its records. Of those, the office granted patents to roughly half of those applications last year. Over time, society has quickly adopted some of these inventions, while others didn’t even make it to the infomercials.
In this quiz, see if you can identify what some devices were designed to do based on renderings submitted to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.
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