“Disclosed herein is an apparatus for deterring predators, which may be used as a walking stick until a predator is encountered. Upon encountering a predator, the apparatus allows a user to rapidly deploy a collapsible rigid structure from the interior of the hollow walking stick, which supports a membrane, or set of membranes, that display the image of a fearsome creature.“
The description is from a new (Nov. 24, 2015) US patent assigned to inventor James Sparks of Georgetown, Texas for his Predator-intimidating walking stick. The methodology of its operation can be appreciated by the following drawings from the patent, which, in a temporary departure from out normal format, we present in a pictorial narrative style.
Fig 1 While hiking, a walker encounters a predator – in this case a bear-like animal.
Fig 2 The bear becomes angry – whereupon the walker begins deployment by unfurling an image of a fearsome creature.
Fig 3 The fearsome creature image.
Fig 4 The bear, unnerved, slopes away.
Fig 5 As may sometimes happen, the bear returns, even more angrily. The staff, which has now been fitted with its pike-like extension, is positioned.
Fig 6 The bear is impaled
The end [i.e. the patent doesn’t go into detail as to what happens next]
If you’d like to read a description of the invention in a one-sentence format (as is sometimes preferred by patent attorneys) here it is, around 492 words long:
“An apparatus for deterring predators, said apparatus comprising: a hollow tube, said hollow tube comprising a top latch lock ring with a plurality of guide holes, a bottom latch lock ring, and a top opening; an end cap, said end cap being capable of fitting into said top opening in a tight manner; a sliding actuating collar, which is slidably fitted to the exterior of said hollow tube, said sliding actuating collar comprising: a top latch and a plurality of bottom latches; an internally-housed sliding insert that is controlled by said sliding actuating collar using a plurality of cables, said cables being attached to said internally-housed sliding insert, threaded through said plurality of guide holes in said top latch ring and attached to said sliding actuating collar; a vertical support rod, which distends from said internally-housed sliding insert, said vertical support rod comprising a sharpened point; two horizontal support rods, said horizontal support rods attaching to said internally-housed sliding insert with a hinge and said horizontal support rods comprising an unfurling shelf; a sheet set comprising two upper sheets, said upper sheets being connected between said vertical support rod and said horizontal support rods, and two lower sheets, said lower sheets being attached to said horizontal support rods and said lower sheets comprising weighted ends; a removable restraining strap; and a large fearsome creature image, said large fearsome creature image being displayed on said sheet set; wherein, before deployment, said apparatus appears and functions an ordinary walking stick with said internally-housed sliding insert stored at the bottom of said hollow tube, said sheet set folded and rolled in a compact manner and held in place by said removable restraining strap and said unfurling shelf so as to fit inside said hollow tube, said vertical support rod concealed within said hollow tube, said horizontal support rods held in a vertical position so that they are stored within the hollow tube, said sliding actuating collar positioned at the top of said hollow tube and fixed in place by said top latch holding said top latch ring, and said end cap firmly closing said top opening; and wherein, upon encountering a predator, a user may deter said predator by disengaging said top latch from said top latch ring and sliding said sliding actuating collar down the exterior of said hollow tube, thus bringing said internally-housed sliding insert up to said top opening of said hollow tube, extending said vertical support rod with said sharpened point above said hollow tube, releasing said removable restraining strap, allowing said horizontal support rods to drop to horizontal positions and stretch said two upper sheets taut between said vertical support rod and said horizontal support rods, and unfurling said two lower sheets, thereby exposing said sheet set with said large fearsome creature image to said predator; and wherein said user may use said apparatus with said extended vertical support rod with said sharpened point as an offensive or defensive pike. “