From the mind that brought you the Segway, comes the latest in letting machines do basic bodily functions for you. A recent patent application, titled "APPARATUS FOR TREATING OBESIT BY EXTRACTING FOOD," promises to solve overeating by letting users dump food from their stomach directly into the toilet.
The stomach pump, to judge from the description, would operate via a tube inserted into a person's stomach. After a meal, food -- consumed but still undigested -- would be ejected into a nearby toilet. Theoretically, you could have your cake, eat it, too, then dump it off guilt-free.
However, while Kamen may have the U.S. patent, the stomach pump system is already available in Europe. A company called Aspire Bariatrics offers a "minimally-invasive and completely reversible" stomach pump called the Aspiration Therapy System.
As the company website explains:
The AspireAssist gives patients control over their weight loss by a method known as Aspiration Therapy. With Aspiration Therapy, patients "aspirate" (drain) a portion of their stomach contents into the toilet after each meal through an endoscopically-implanted tube, reducing the number of calories absorbed by the body. The tube is implanted in the stomach, and leads to a small, low-profile port at the surface of the skin. Aspiration performed about twenty minutes after a meal will remove about a third of the calories consumed.
The goal seems to be "portion control without deprivation." And in a nation struggling with rising obesity numbers, what's the harm in one more innovation offering solutions -- even if that innovation involves emptying your stomach into a toilet.