No patent in this post, but not for lack of trying on my part!
See, I found this article by Elle Griffin about a company trying for immortality, but that was purportedly torpedoed by COVID. The Griffin article quotes a guy named Bryan Brandenburg as saying, “We recently filed for a patent on an anti-aging device that is basically a human gyroscope.” As you might imagine, my interest was piqued.
The article was published in early 2021, so any patent application that was filed then would surely have been published by now. I tried real hard to find it, but I came up short. All I had to go on was this one article, but what it had was downright tantalizing. For example, ““We developed a range of technologies to use your body as a time machine and elevate the average energy level of your 99 percent empty space atomic structure.” That’s some grade-A bullshit, and I wanted more!
Since we don’t have a real patent’s drawings to work with, I have asked an AI to generate the garbage on the right to make the post prettier. I promise, it has exactly as much meaning and content as whatever Bryan Brandenburg was trying to sell.
So what was this company? Who was this guy? Join me as I jump down the Mohole of Madness.
The company was named Zenerchi. Besides the Griffin article, you can find a defunct Crunchbase profile says that they managed to raise $1.7 million, which is pretty impressive, if only because they managed to burn through all of that in just a couple of years.
You can also find an archive of their webpage and articles talking about their founding and funding. These sources don’t emphasize the immortality angle, but instead focus on what the Griffin article characterizes as an “interim product,” providing a down-to-the-cell visualization of the human body. The value of that product isn’t really made clear, but I guess they put together a fancy enough tech demo to string people along.
The money does seem to have dried up in 2020. The Businesswire article from October 2019 suggested that they were finalizing another $5 million in investment, which clearly never manifested. Whether that’s due to the COVID-19 pandemic chilling investment, or due to the investors realizing they would never get their money back, only Bryan Brandenburg knows.
So who is this guy? After a couple of decades as a software developer, he got into founding things. He really made a name for himself when he founded Salt Lake Comic Con, a convention that drew 70,000 people in its first year. The company then promptly had to change their name to FanX and pay $4 million after they were sued by San Diego Comic-Con for trademark infringement. Brandenburg’s involvement in that venture ended in 2019, after he was accused of mishandling sexual misconduct in the organization.
That’s when he started his Zenerchi grift, and I guess blew through that $1.7 million in a year. When the next round of funding failed to come through, it seems like things really started to go off the rails for Bryan. Here’s a 2022 article reporting his arrest for making bomb threats. Apparently he was not pleased with how his divorce was going, so he made bomb threats by email. He threatened to blow up the courthouse, the Utah State Capitol, and the Salt Lake City mayor’s office. He also threatened to bomb the University of Utah Center for Medical Innovation, who he claimed put medical devices in him without his knowledge.
Here’s the press release from Hawaii’s U.S. Attorney’s Office. He’s up on federal felony charges, including one count of transmitting in interstate a communication containing a threat to injure the person of another and one count of conveying false threats through interstate commerce to kill, injure, or intimidate an individual or damage or destroy a building or other real property by means of an explosive, with a potential for up to ten years in prison. He’s currently sitting in jail, awaiting trial and wasting time with pointless motions.
Which leaves me stumped. How was his gyroscope supposed to extend life? What did the patent say? Why can’t I find it? Where did the money go? Was he always like this, or was it his string of catastrophic and embarrassing failures that drove him to sending bomb threats? I can track him down in the prison system and send him a letter but… I really don’t want that negativity in my life.
So we’ll just have to content ourselves with visions of what could have been. At least until Brandenburg gets out of prison, googles his name, and starts sending me bomb threats.