What Do Michael Jackson and Abraham Lincoln Have in Common?

Both men held patents.  You can read about Lincoln’s patent to help lift riverboats off shoals from an earlier post.

Michael Jackson is one of three inventors listed on a patent for a “Method and means for creating anti-gravity illusion.” (H/T Nature News)  The device is intended to help replicate steps from the “Smooth Criminal” video for subsequent live shows.  The illusion is not one of levitating, but of leaning far more than you should be able to without falling.  Those not familiar with the steps in question can watch this video just before the 4 minute mark.  A similar effect is found in the video for the Alien Ant Farm cover at about 30 seconds into the song.

That was accomplished with wire work and harnesses, which wouldn’t exactly work during a concert.  So Jackson developed with his colleagues a system where a dancer could catch the heel of their shoes on a part of the stage that would help support their weight as they leaned far forward of their center of gravity.

No big analysis here, just an example of how far and wide science and technology permeate the culture.


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