From gunpowder to paper or ice cream, Chinese leaders like to showcase how many world-changing inventions have originated in their country. But for every huge breakthrough there are lots of quirkier ones that never made it big. A submarine that catches sea cucumbers? A funnel that helps people pee straight? A bicycle that rides on water via plastic tubes? While these contemporary devices might not make their creators rich and famous, they are evidence of a rising wave of entrepreneurialism among China’s working and middle classes—farmers, factory workers, students, or local mechanics who have little money to fund their big ideas but still find a way.
Here are some photos of China’s latest local inventors: