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How Do Great Inventors Come Up With New Ideas?

Updated May 17, 2024
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The crudely funny suggestion that one's best thinking is done while sitting on the toilet is a matter of pride for Japanese inventor Yoshiro Nakamatsu, widely known as Dr. NakaMats. You might not be familiar with his name, but you almost certainly know some of the things he has invented – or claims to have invented, such as the floppy disk.

Dr. NakaMats says he has over 3,200 inventions, ranging from a pillow that prevents people from falling asleep while driving to a wig that can be used for self defense. And those quirky creations aren't the only remarkable thing about Dr. NakaMats. According to Nakamatsu himself, his spark of creativity comes from spending time every night in his "Calm Room," a 24-karat-gold-tiled bathroom.

"The gold blocks out radio waves and television signals that are harmful to imagination,” he says. His deep thoughts on the porcelain throne – or maybe that's gold, too – have earned Nakamatsu worldwide fame, along with many prizes. As of 2021, Nakamatsu is 93 years old and still busy coming up with new ideas.

There's no making this up:

  • While writing the Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson sat in a swivel chair – which he invented.

  • Paul Brown earned $13 million USD for inventing the upside-down ketchup bottle.

  • Bubble wrap packing material was originally created to be used as three-dimensional wallpaper.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
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