There are the staples of school supply lists: Elmer's glue, crayons, loose-leaf paper, pocket folders, three-ring binders and pencils. And then there are those less essential but highly desirable things—gel pens and scented markers, pencil cases and locker decorations—that spark store-aisle debates between parents and kids embarking on a new school year.
A search through the United States Patent and Trademark Office archives turns up loads of inventions that parents and children can appreciate this time of year. A walkie-talkie pen? How about a gumball-dispensing t-shirt for the first day? These 17 quirky products could ease the sometimes rocky transtion back to school.
The Robot Lunch Box
Open a special compartment in this lunch box, and it turns into a robot! The inventors of the product, patented in 1987, wanted to make their very own "Transformer," given the popularity of the cartoon series.