Awesome Backyard Inventions From China That ROCK!!!

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May 04 2015
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When one thinks of America, one thinks of dream – American Dream – where the country’s freedom guarantees everyone opportunity for success and unlimited prosperity. That’s another way to say you can make lots of money. And that’s possible because the “Declaration of Independence”, which proclaims that “all men are created equal” with the right to “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”


From the early days where Alexander Bell, Henry Ford, Thomas Edison and tons other American inventors turn the nation into a powerhouse, to the modern days Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Elon Musk, it seems Americans will continue to lead in the digital age and the space exploration. But wait – could China overtake United States as a new nation that leads the world in invention and innovation?

American Great Inventors

About two years ago, China State Intellectual Property Office has revealed that there were more than 210,000 invention patents granted in the country, a staggering 26.1% increase over two years earlier. Although the details were not disclosed, the Intellectual Property could very well include areas such as technology, robotics, biotechnology, power generation, transportation, military, space, motor vehicles, agriculture and whatnot.


But what have China inventors really invented? Uncountable inventions – bridges, aircraft carrier, space exploration, fighter jets, Xiaomi, Alibaba, Huawei and the list goes on (*grin*). Okay, perhaps China inventors couldn’t differentiate between invention and innovation, the same way one funny Malaysian minister (Zainuddin Maidin) couldn’t differentiate between “election” and “erection” (*tongue-in-cheek*).

China Ancient Inventions - Compass

At best, China inventors have been busy copying Americans’ inventions. If that was true, then China can easily says Americans and the rest of the world have been copying its four (ancient) greatest inventions – compass, gunpowder, paper-making and printing – without paying a single penny in royalties. Maybe China inventors understood the concept of “never reinvent the wheel”, hence putting efforts on products enhancement instead.


Forget about China’s Xiaomi smartphone or J-16 fighter jet. Let’s see how ordinary Chinese people living in the rural countryside invented some of the mind-blowing products. Perhaps invention is too big a word to describe these products. Maybe the correct word should be DIY or simply part-time hobbies. Still, these innovators “invented” it at their backyard from scrap metal and little fund. Here’re some of the products.


{ 1 }  Suitcase Scooter

He Liang, a Chinese farmer living near Changsha in the Hunan province of south-central in China, had been developing the concept for about 10-years. Equipped with only primary school education, the inspiration to invent a suitcase that doubles as a scooter came after he forgot his luggage while travelling to pick up an award for a car safety system. The three-wheeled suitcase runs on a small-sized, rechargeable lithium battery.

China Inventions - Suitcase Scooter

Weighing about 7kg, the suitcase which could be a good gadget for James Bond, is fitted with a steering grip, brakes, safety lights, a horn, a GPS device and a theft alarm. It can carry up to two passengers, seated on its side, travelling up to a speed of about 20 km (12 miles) per hour and a maximum distance of about 60km (37 miles). He Liang has obtained a patent on the travelling suitcase, and hope it could be commercialised.


{ 2 }  China Transformer Robot

He has spent over 300,000 yuan (US$48,300) and more than 11 months building a functional robot made of scrap parts and wires bought from second-hand markets. A known DIY genius, 37-year-old Tao Xiangli made the 496lb (225kg) robot he pieced together in his small Beijing apartment. Although ugly, the 2.1-meter-tall robot can turn its neck, raise its legs and shake hands at the flick of a switch on the board located on its back.

China Inventions - Transformer Robot

Mr Tao claims his Transformer robot can  mimic human actions by using built-in motion sensor to detect motion. But the 35-year-old farmer turned self-taught inventor has forgotten something – as he kept building, the robot turned out to be too tall and heavy to walk out of the front door of his house.


{ 3 }  Giant Motorcycle

China Inventions - Giant Motorcycle

Abulajon, a 30-year-old Uighur worker from a sewage treatment plant, spent a year making his 0.3 tonnes motorcycle measuring 4.3 metres (14 feet) in length and 2.4 metres (7.8 feet) in height, although it makes it impossible for him to drive it on the street. It cost him about 8000 yuan (US$1300) to buy all the parts from salvage stations. The converted engine can power the motorcycle with a speed of 40 km per hour (24.8 miles per hour)


{ 4 }  Homemade Submarine

China Inventions - Submarine - Floating

Tan Yong built his 2-tonne craft, christened the “Happy Lamb” after a popular cartoon character, in just nine months and has steered it down to depths of 8-metres, in a lake near his hometown of Danjiangkou, in China’s central of Hubei province. The 44-year-old chicken farmer claims he built the submarine based solely on his imagination. The orange submarine is powered by five car batteries.

China Inventions - Submarine - InsideChina Inventions - Submarine - Equipments

Gauges and air pressure dials were screwed to the cabin wall above plastic piping that would look appropriate beneath a kitchen sink, while handwritten operating instructions were stuck up with sticky tape. He has spent about US$5,000 on the submarine. Not bad for someone with a dream and junior high school education.


{ 5 }  Street Sweeper Tractor

China Inventions - Street Sweeper Tractor

Clean technology can never be easier. A Chinese man created a road sweeper, by fixing 12 brooms behind a tractor and use it to sweep streets of Mohe in Heilongjiang province.


{ 6 }  Floating Bicycle

China Inventions - Floating Bicycle

Liu Wanyong’s invention was pretty simple but fun and cheap. Using a bicycle which is held afloat by plastic tubes, he showcased his invention in Zhenning, Guizhou province. And he didn’t forget his China flag. This should be how village boys and men push their creativity limit. A great solution for flood prone areas, nevertheless.


{ 7 }  Homemade Tank

China Inventions - Homemade Tank

Costing about 40,000 yuan (US$6,440), a tank can be yours if you don’t mind the size: 15-feet long, 5-feet wide, 7-feet tall, and weight almost 3-tons. Jian Lin, a 31-year-old farmer who used to serve in the Chinese Navy for two years, also built it partly for his 6-year-old son. Modeled after China’s 63A amphibious tank, the replica is powered by a 120-horsepower diesel engine, reaching speed of up to 30 kph.


{ 8 }  Wooden Electric Car

China Inventions - Wooden Electric Car

Long before Iron Man Elon Musk dreams about the infamous Tesla electric car, 48-year-old carpenter Liu Fulong already had a vision about it. With education up to primary school, obviously Mr Liu didn’t have any training in car design. But that didn’t stop him from building a 200-kg wooden car that can reach almost 20-mph when fully charged, with a range of 20-km. The car has wing mirrors, a horn, indicators and headlights.


{ 9 }  Sea Harvester Submarine

China Inventions - Sea Harvester Submarine

Based in Wuhan, Hubei, Zhang Wuyi was a local farmer whose interest in scientific inventions has gotten him a submarine, specially designed for harvesting aquatic products, such as sea cucumber. The 38-year-old farmer has so far made eight of them, one of which was sold to a businessman in Dalian for 100,000 yuan (US$16,000). His submarines have a diving depth of 20-30 metres (66-98 feet), and can travel for 10 hours.


{ 10 }  Noah’s Ark of China

Before the 2012 Apocalypse came, Yang Zongfu has been working on his secret project – to survive the supposedly end-of-the-world judgement day. Called the China’s “Noah of Ark”, the Chinese inventor built an insulated, breathable, livable yellow ball that claimed to be able to withstand 1,700 degrees Celsius of heat, survive a magnitude-10 earthquake, and support life for a year. The cost – 1.5 million yuan (US$241,000) and 2-years to build.

China Inventions - Noah's Ark of China

Built with 3.5-millimeters of steel plate, 57-centimeters of insulation, 300 high-intensity shock absorbing springs and 75 airbags, apparently the four-meter-diameter ball can carry 33 tons of water, has a safety seat, lookout system, ventilation, bathroom and living facilities. The coolest part: between the third and fourth layers is a 10-centimeter layer of rotating liquid, filled with either water or lubricating oil, which maintains the principle of the gyroscope so that people inside don’t roll when the ball rolls.


{ 11 }  Robot Rickshaw

When a 1986 American science fiction film – Short Circuit – was released, half way across the world in China, a poor farmer has been busy building one of his early scrap-robots. Soon, Mr Wu Yulu would have created more than 30 robots, with one human-sized robot that can pull his whole family along in a rickshaw, because he was too poor to afford a car.

China Inventions - Robot Rickshaw

It hasn’t all been easy for Mr Wu however. A battery for one of his creations exploded in his face, scarring him and briefly wiping his memory. He also accidentally burned down his home in another robot accident, which put him 80,000 yuan (US$12,900, £8,500) in debt and almost led to his wife leaving him with their two human sons.


{ 12 }  Self-made Aircraft

China Inventions - Self-made Aircraft

A car mechanic from Shenyang in northeast China’s Liaoning Province, 63-year-old Ding Shilu, has successfully built his own aircraft, made from recycle materials. The lightweight 130-kg aircraft consists of three motorcycle engines and plastic cloth, costing about 2,600 yuan (US$420, £276). After several failed attempts, he successfully took off with some modifications, including extra engine and wings reduction.


{ 13 }  Wooden Helicopter

China Inventions - Wooden Helicopter

Wu Zhongyuan, 20, of Luoyang, in central China’s Henan province, took nearly three months to complete his home-made aircraft. He says he used his memories of middle school physics lessons to make the machine which he claims can fly up to a height of 800-metres. The blades are made from an elm tree, the engine is from a motorcycle and the frame is reinforced with steel pipes. The cost – US$1,600.


{ 14 }  Bionic Arms

After lost his hands in a fishing-related explosion about a decade ago, 51-year-old Sun Jifa’s future looked uncertain. To make matters worse, he couldn’t afford prosthetic hands. Instead of bitching and whining, he decided to build his own bionic hands. After eight years, he finally developed (with helps from his nephew) a working model that allows him to grip, hold, and mimic other necessary movements via a system of pulleys and wires.

China Inventions - Bionic Arms

Amazingly, Mr Sun has sold around 1,000 arms so far, which means he’s been able to help hundreds of people rebuild their lives after a catastrophe. Selling at US$500 a piece to those who couldn’t afford the expensive one, he has created a thriving business. Still, there’re 24 million people in China who have limb disabilities.


{ 15 }  Formula One Car

China Inventions - Formula One Car

They have been interested in race cars since childhood and dream of making the first Formula One race car in China after the F1 Grand Prix made its debut in Shanghai in 2004. So, Zhao Xiuguo and his brother Zhao Xiushun, decided to build their own race car, from scrap metal. The brothers  who were educated to junior high school and run a small motorcycle repair shop said their vision is to build the country’s first “real” Formula One car.


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