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(Image credit: Jurriaan)
by Alice Shirrell Kaswell, Improbable Research staff
The industrial revolution may have contributed to an increase in navel lint production,1 but inventors have created few truly new tools for bellybutton lint removal. That changed, slightly, in 2007.
A patent application (US #2007/0041923) filed by Takao Okajima and Susumu Fujinami is titled “Body recessed portion cleaning agent.” It describes:
A body cavity cleansing agent which is either poured into or applied to a navel cavity or an ear hole, solidifies after a specified period of time and takes a form that can be removed from said navel cavity or said ear hole together with dirt in said navel cavity or said ear hole...
The present invention also provides a navel cavity opener for stretching and opening a navel cavity so as to allow the above body cavity cleansing agent to be poured into the navel cavity, including a tubular part, a flange formed such as to extend from an outer circumferential surface of the tubular part, and a plurality of fins extending from the outer circumferential surface of the tubular part at a predetermined interval, wherein the tubular part is provided with a cleansing agent injection port at an upper end thereof, a cleansing agent discharge port that communicates with the cleansing agent injection port is provided on a lower end side of the tubular part relative to the flange, and the fins extend from the lower end of the tubular part toward the flange such that their height from the tubular part increases gradually.
Technical detail of Okajima and Fujinami’s navel cavity opener for stretching and opening a navel cavity so as to allow the above body cavity cleansing agent to be poured into the navel cavity.
Okajima and Fujinami express confidence in their invention:
By thus performing the bellybutton cleansing in the mode shown through FIG. 3(a) to FIG. 3(rf) and FIG. 4(a) to FIG. 4(e) using the body cavity cleansing agent 1 of the present embodiment, the bellybutton lint D is readily removed from the navel cavity N.
They also celebrate the relative safety their invention provides for the person whose bellybutton is laden with undesired lint:
In this process, there is no risk that the inner surface of the navel cavity N is hurt or a stimulus is given to the abdominal membrane as compared with the case where the bellybutton is scratched with a fingernail or scraped with a swab. By using the abovedescribed opener 3, the opening of a navel cavity N that is not fully opened can be stretched and opened, and thus facilitating the pouring of the composition 1 thereinto. Also, the opener 3 makes the removal process easier, as the composition 1 accompanied by the bellybutton lint D can be removed from the navel cavity N together with the opener 3 by removing the opener 3 from the navel cavity N after the composition 1 has solidified. Moreover, as the bellybutton lint D is removed together with the composition 1, the removal effect is clearly visible, which gives a feeling of the effect of the cleansing process. If the navel cavity is primarily opened enough to allow the body cavity cleansing agent to be poured in, the composition may be directly poured into the navel cavity without using the opener.
Further technical detail from Okajima and Fujinami’s invention. See text for details about these details.
1. The presumed lint increase is presumably linked to the presumed proliferation of clothing production machinery and the burgeoning availability of inexpensive clothing.
This article is republished with permission from the March-April 2009 issue of the Annals of Improbable Research. You can download or purchase back issues of the magazine, or subscribe to receive future issues. Or get a subscription for someone as a gift! Visit their website for more research that makes people LAUGH and then THINK.