What new gadget would make going back to school easier? A hypodermic needle shaped like a bunny, to interest young children in their vaccinations? Maybe a case for the banana in your packed lunch? A backpack that carries its own desk? But first, you have to make sure the kids wake up on time.
If a regular alarm just doesn’t rouse you in time, how about this 1882 patented “device for waking persons from sleep?” It consists of a frame suspended above the head of a bed. From the frame dangle cords with soft wood or cork blocks attached to their ends. The frame itself is attached to a clock; when the clock strikes the appointed hour, the frame drops, hitting the sleeper in the face with the blocks. That’ll teach you to oversleep!
Some ideas aren't so bad, like the magnetic locker decorations developed by a middle school student. See ten more back-to-school patents in a slide show at at Smithsonian.