– Jillian Courtney, Features editor

The human mind is capable of many things. From the ideas that brought us modern day inventions like the toaster, to ideas that never quite made it out of the sketchbook, humans have always tried to think of new and exciting ways to make life better, and perhaps just a little more entertaining. The following list details some of the newest ideas out there, as well as some that just didn’t make it, that try to enhance the world around us. Without ideas there is no progress, however some of these really make you wonder if progress is what they were going for.

The Liquid Battery
Finding new and renewable sources of energy is something countries have been striving for since global warming became a real threat to the planet. Donald Sadoway, an engineering professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, has come up with a formula that would allow the liquid metal of the battery to retain energy gathered from things like wind farms and solar panels and save it to be used at a later time. This is a step up from where we are now, the current batteries cannot store the energy and therefore it must be used right away or forever lost. “It means we don’t have to build more plants, power lines just for peak use,” Sadoway explained, “The limits are way out there, not only in terms of what it can do for renewables.”

Real Life Avatar
Dmitry Itskov, a Russian entrepreneur, has hired a team of scientists to help create robots that can encapsulate the human mind. The idea is that, without surgery, they will be able to transport the mind to a machine and leave the body intact, allowing the person to live as a virtual presence. Itskov claims that people don’t want to die, and his invention will help the elderly and disabled the most. The project is called Avatar, and is named in honor of the popular James Cameron movie where humans can inhabit alien bodies through the use of mind control.

Kissing from Far Away
Iranian inventor Hooman Samani, based in Singapore, has been working on a device that will help couples trying to work the long-distance relationship feel a little bit closer. The Kiss Messenger is a device which, through internet connection, will allow couples to kiss one another through the use of a device shaped much like a stuffed, deformed pig with human lips. The device works by transmitting movement from one end to another and vice versa. Little is known about the device besides how it works, and for now it is unclear whether or not the invention of a way to kiss long distance will really help those missing their significant other.

The Fish-Propelled Boat
From that man that brought you probably the handiest thing in your kitchen, Tupper Ware, comes the Fish Propelled Boat! Yes, you read that right, a boat propelled by none other than our scaly, underwater friends. The idea comes from none other than Earl Tupper, the man who blessed the world with plastic food storage containers. Early sketches of this device were found in one of his sketch books. The sketch depicted a large finned creature strapped to the bottom of the boat by three large clamps, and two wings which were meant to ensure that the fish didn’t jump out of the water and destabilize the boat. Luckily for us, Tupper stuck with plastic food storage and gave us all a way to save the ever-valuable leftovers we all love so dearly.

Not all ideas are quite so unconventional, and some of these may even lead to a better world. However, fish-propelled boats will probably never be a thing of the future. It is this creativity and willingness to cross the line that has driven humans to the top of the food chain and beyond. It has driven us to outer space and to land on the moon. And while some of these seem a bit on the crazy side, they embody the human spirit that has gotten us as far as we are today.