Status: Weird, but real
The U.S. Patent Office recently awarded
patent number 7037243 to Lester Clancy, inventor of the cordless jump rope. It's a jump rope without the rope. I guess you could call it an 'air rope'. However, it does have handles. Here's the description from the patent
An exercise apparatus is provided that simulates the effects of jumping rope, but does not utilize an actual rope. Two handles are provided similar in appearance to jump rope handles. At the end of the handle, where the rope would typically be, a donut-shaped enclosure is provided and mounted to the handle along its symmetrical axis. Inside of each donut-shaped enclosure, a weighted ball that rotates around a circular chamber within the enclosure. When rotated, the weighted balls generate rotational torque to simulate the use of a jump rope.
Clancy's logic for inventing this is that if there's no rope, there's nothing to trip over. Which makes sense. Of course, learning how to avoid tripping on the rope is part of the challenge of jumping rope... what makes it fun. Jumping up and down with weights is great exercise, but for that you're better off using a pair of dumbbells. More info about this at Patently Silly
. (submitted by Beverley)