Ink drawing of items a person might have on a chaotic desk. A no smoking sign, a mug of tea, a yorur (not yogurt) jar, a notebook with a spoon on it, a bar chart labeled only THINGIES, a report that says Itemize-Used for bird specifications and rouge[sic] animals, a bottle of pills with some lying next to it. Own work 2023.

Inflatable rock

A draft patent for a large rock that you can fold up and carry in your pocket and then unfold, inflate, and deploy as needed

by AK Krajewska

I've been sitting on this invention since 2018. Only sitting metaphorically alas, because I have not had the time and capital to bring it to market. It's too good an idea to keep to myself any longer so today I'm sharing my draft patent with the world, in the hopes that someone else will pick up the inflatable rock and run with it. I've come to the conclusion that the hardest part isn't the invention but the practicalities of manufacturing and distribution, so I'm giving the idea away for free. (Although I have to admit a comprehensive search of prior art on the topic of rocks was quite daunting as well. As you can imagine, there have been a lot of uses of rocks in human history.)

Because it's small and light when stored, but large and heavy when deployed an inflatable rock would be incredibly useful in all sorts of circumstances when you want something big and heavy, but find it inconvenient or even impossible to bring that thing with you.

I didn't put it in the draft patent, but obviously one of the areas where the inflatable rock might be useful would be for bicyclists and pedestrians. A large inflatable rock with a quick-release pull-tab to inflate it could be used to deploy enough mass to counter cars and trucks and protect the pedestrian or bicyclist from injury or death.


Field of invention #

This invention relates to portable rocks that can be expanded to provide mass and protection as needed while being convenient to carry.

Background of the invention #

Since the dawn of time, humans have used rocks of all sizes to improve our lives. Small rocks have been thrown at animals for defense or hunting, or utilized in primitive warfare. Medium rocks have been used as building materials, to weigh things down so they don't blow away, to stabilize other objects, and for a myriad of other household and industrial uses. Finally large rocks can be used to protect oneself against oncoming traffic, to shield oneself from the wind, and as art.

While it is easy for people to carry small rocks and use them as needed, medium and large rocks present logistical challenges. For example, you might want a medium rock to weigh a tripod in windy conditions, but find it impractical to carry it to the location where you intend to take photos. The problem is even more difficult with large rocks. For example, if you want a large rock to decorate your yard, you have to hire heavy equipment to place it. If you change your mind about where the rock should be situated, you must do so again.

This invention expands the field of possibilities for the everyday utilization of medium and large rocks. By deflating and then folding up the rock, it becomes compact and light. Even menhirs of dimensions similar to the standing stones used in Stonehenge can be conveniently folded up to be no larger than a rolled-up sleeping bag. More modestly large rocks, like the well-known large boulder the size of a small boulder can be made compact and light enough to comfortably fit in a ladies' jeans pocket.

Summary of the invention #

A thin sheet of silicon is shaped to form a hollow spheroid with a single aperture. (Figure 1) The aperture is sealed with a removable plug, attached by a tether of the same material (Figure 1a). The aperture has a one-way release valve that when pressed allows for the rock to be deflated when not in use.(Figure 1b) Delicate creases along the spheroid aid folding, allowing reuse, as users can refold the rock back into its compact shape. (Figure 2)

The rock is inflated by blowing into the aperture, similar to a beach ball. The aperture is also designed to accommodate standard bicycle pumps, both manual and mechanical. (Figure 3)

When fully inflated, the silicon sheet interacts with the oxygen inside the enclosed space and instantly expands its mass, filling the rock with fine-grained quartz.

Art and so on #

I'm afraid I never quite finished the drawing the figures for this invention, but if anyone is serious about making it, I can try to find them and scan them for you. I also have a lot of photos of rocks if you think that'll help. I realize my description in the patent is a little sketchy but I think given how obvious the inflatable rock is once you think about it, the real value lies in getting the idea out there, which I have now done.