They're clever. They're creative. And some of them are just plain bizarre. How come we can't yet buy products based on these patents?

Getting your patent for a gadget turned into a real-life product, can on some occasions, change the world. Just ask Steve Jobs.

However, many patents never get made into real life gadgets. We've rounded up ten intriguing examples, including ones from both famously inventive companies and lone geniuses.

We're not saying that any of them are a catchy ad campaign away from becoming history-making breakthroughs - though one or two might stand a chance.

We just like them. And if they ever amount to anything, we'll be first in line to try out the resulting products.

Come fly with me

Think of this gizmo as a sort of Segway that goes up (up, up!) and down as well as backward and forward.

Technically, it's a "personal flight vehicle" that uses capacitive plates and an ion conditioner to gently lift the user into the air, without the need for rockets or propellers - both of which, the patent notes, are not only noisy but can cause "dismemberment and death".

If the blissed-out expression on the face of the guy using it is any indication, this flying machine not only isn't terrifying, but has a positively calming effect - just the thing to take the airways by storm while we await the inexplicably tardy development of flying cars.

But even so, we wouldn't want to be operating a personal flight vehicle that conked out in midair - and a sky full of them is a nightmare guaranteed to make air traffic controllers wake up screaming.

No glasses required

We're pretty sure that this exceedingly cool Apple patent hasn't popped up in a Mac, iPod or iPhone yet. It's for a three-dimensional projection system that doesn't make you don special eyewear.

How does it work? A powerful computer projects two images - one for your left eye, and one for your right eye - on to a screen that's actually a "programmable mirror".

All the while, a 3D imager keeps track of your head position, helping the computer and mirrored screen optimise the projected image for clarity and realism.

Here's hoping that the technology comes to market someday - and that Apple unveils it with a launch event featuring an insanely lifelike holographic Steve Jobs.

NEXT PAGE: Heckler's delight

  1. Clever and creative, why can't we buy the products based on these patents yet?
  2. Heckler's delight
  3. Getting all emotional
  4. Well armed
  5. Personal zipper network