As athletes reach ever higher levels of performance, aided by new technologies in sporting equipment, the performance of spectators has not kept pace. When it comes to spectator participation, the most effective performance-enhancing technology is probably the vuvuzela, a plastic trumpet so reviled it has been banned from many sporting venues. Two inventors from Maryland have developed a more sporting alternative: applause-enhancing gloves.
In their new patent (8,225,425), the inventors describe a phenomenon that may be unfamiliar to dedicated vuvuzeleros.
[I]t is not uncommon for spectators to express their pleasure by clapping hands or applauding.
Even those who are already familiar with applause may not fully appreciate the athleticisim it requires.
[R]epeated and intense applause can lead to fatigue and a reduction in the volume and intensity of subsequent applause. Vigorous hand clapping is difficult to maintain for an extended length of time. During the winter months, gloves or mittens mute the applause. In addition, the physiology of a spectator's hand affects the quality of the applause. A young child cannot generate an applause that is as loud as that of an adult.
The patented gloves give voice to the applause of the tired, young, and bundled masses by fitting each palm with a hard, hollow dome (12). When the palms are clapped together, "a loud and distinct sound is generated which is greater in volume and of a higher pitch than that achievable by conventional hand clapping."
The inventors note that the soft portion of the glove can be made of a "fabric that is unisex."