Carrot Peelers on Cutting Edge

GENEVA -- "Hello, my name is Peely," announces the sign of an elaborate vegetable scraper, vying for attention with novelties like the "double liquids collision bra," the "intelligent elevator" and the anti-smoking cigarette lighter.

For 10 days starting Saturday, Geneva is the international inventions capital, as 672 exhibitors show off contraptions ranging from heavy-duty engineering feats to quirky little devices that someone somewhere, someday, might find useful.

"Nowhere else exists an exhibition where it is possible to find such a great amount of knowledge in so many different areas," according to the fair's president Jean-Luc Vincent.

For instance, there's a Dutch exhibit "For Ladies Only" -- an "external device for women which makes it possible to urinate like men." Looking like a cardboard cone, the gadget is specially designed for women caught short on the highway or for old people who can't bend to go to the lavatory.

From Taiwan comes the intriguing "double liquids collision bra -- with massage and collision functions." Two bags filled with liquids are inserted in the bra. Not only do they give an all-important boost to the female figure, they also "cause waves and massage the flesh of the breasts."

An anti-snoring device offers the possibility of peaceful nights for both snorer and spouse, according to its German inventor. Fitting around the lips, it has an attachment to prevent the tongue sliding down the back of the throat -- one of the main causes of snoring.

It looks rather like a human mousetrap, but inventor Hans-Jurgen Haggert insists that it is painless.

France's Claude Rey says Greece and Portugal have shown interest in his helicopter foam spray attachment to tackle forest or earthquake fires - much safer and more effective than with conventional trucks, he says.

"Intelligent elevators" are being touted by a Taiwanese company. Digitally controlled, they come equipped with special emergency escape devices.

The Swiss "Peely" invention is more down-to-earth. An unwieldy three-legged implement, it claims to be able to peel carrots and cucumbers six times faster than conventional scrapers, thus saving time and money in restaurants.

"Smok" is a British-Belgian invention which vows to reduce cigarette smoke by 90 percent. The small cylinder of high-tech plastic is placed near the end of the cigarette and absorbs stray smoke from burning cigarettes.

For conscientious nicotine addicts, a Spanish inventor has the solution -- an electronic device fitted to a standard cigarette lighter or holder. It keeps count of the number of cigarettes lit and the interval between each one.

The constant reminder of how much they smoke can be used to shock hardened smokers into cutting down or giving up completely, it claims.

On the stand next door is a device for hand-rolling bigger, better cigarettes.