Interview with Kevin Marinan Inventor of PermaChase a Valve Box for Dialysis Machines

Kevin inventor permachase

In this inventor interview Kevin Marinan talks about his invention PermaChase

Tara: What is your name, invention name and website URL.

Kevin: Kevin Marinan. PermaChase. www.perma-chase.com.

Tara: Please could you tell me a little bit about where you are based, and your background experience on how you first started inventing?

Kevin: We are based out of Scottsdale, Arizona in the United States. PermaChase is my first invention. I have more than 20 years of experience as a general contractor, primarily building medical facilities that offer dialysis.

Tara: Could you please tell me a little bit about your invention, what it is, and how you came up with the idea?

Kevin: PermaChase is a valve box that dialysis machines plug into. It’s also known as a water box. Medical personnel at the dialysis centers fill the valve boxes with the fluids needed for the dialysis procedure. We also developed the wall panels that go with the boxes that provide the space each patient needs during treatment.

The idea literally came to me in the night. I just realized, after working for so many years in the field, that things needed to be done differently. The valve boxes that are used now are difficult to access, can experience leaks, and are at times susceptible to mold. I’ve seen the disruption that machine failure or maintenance can mean for a patient who is in need of this life-sustaining treatment.

PermaChase eliminates those problems.

Tara: What were the first steps you took after having you idea?

Kevin: I first met with an architect friend of mine, Matt Lamont, who helped me sketch out this idea that was in my head. Then, I met with an engineer friend of mine, Jack Dillon, who helped bring the sketches to life. I’m fortunate to know quite a few people in the industry, given my line of work in constructing dialysis centers.

Tara: Did you get presentation drawing sheets produced or make a prototype of your invention? How did you go about this?

Kevin: We made a prototype. We worked with Dillon, who runs Medical Solutions International. He helped us get our prototype together at a facility in Kansas. Dillon has connections with a molding company, and together we just worked through it based off of our drawings.

Tara: Did you try and patent or protect your idea in any way and how did you go about it?

Kevin: Yes. Our product is currently patent-pending. It didn’t seem that difficult of a process, but it is a long wait for the actual patent to come through. I spoke with another one of my friends who has had success bringing one of his inventions to market and he referred me to a patent attorney. The attorney did a search to see if there was anything like PermaChase out there, and we were thrilled to learn there was not.

Tara: Did you always intend manufacturing your invention yourself or did you look into licensing the idea?

Kevin: We have always intended to manufacture the product ourselves. At this point, PermaChase manufactures the plastic for the valve box. Then, Medical Solutions International installs the actual valving in the box. Marathon Resources, Inc., my construction company, installs the equipment in the dialysis centers.

Tara: How did you go about finding a suitable manufacturer for your invention and did you self-fund this?

Kevin: Working with Dillon at Medical Solutions International seemed like a natural fit. Medical Solutions is the company that manufactured the valve boxes that are most commonly used now on the market.

We did use our own money to fund this project. We estimate that we’ve invested about $75,000 into this project so far.

Tara: What have you found are the best ways of promoting your invention?

Kevin: My connections formed over years of networking in the industry has helped quite a bit. But, we have also commissioned an advertising agency to help us with public relations, and it has really helped.

Tara: What were the most difficult elements of bringing your invention to market?

Kevin: It takes time to change the way things have been done for a long time. In the dialysis industry, many processes have occurred the same way for years, and many products have been used for years. Our product brings a revolutionary idea to the market. Our biggest challenge is changing minds.

Also, dialysis equipment is pretty permanent. So, we are marketing to new clinics and to clinics that are being renovated. It’s really difficult to switch out wall boxes used in dialysis.

Tara: How long has it taken from your initial idea to taking it to market?

Kevin: Since the night I decided to do something with my idea, until now, it’s been about 19 months. PermaChase is already in use at one local clinic and we are in talks with clinics on the East Coast of the U.S.

Tara: Is there anything you learned developing your invention that you would now do differently if you had to do it all again?

Kevin: I wouldn’t say there is anything in particular that I learned through the process. It takes a natural trial-and-error effort. You tinker with things along the way to make them just right. And, that’s good. It only makes the product better. We feel strongly that PermaChase is a superior product and will only help the dialysis industry as a whole.

Tara: What advice would you give any aspiring inventor with an idea?

Kevin: My best advice is to seek protection.  Just make sure to protect your idea as soon as possible.  It’s such a valuable step.

Tara: Where can people find out more about you your invention?

Kevin: People can find out more about PermaChase at www.perma-chase.com or by calling 480-657-9808.

Are you an inventor or invention expert with an interesting story or advice to share? Please get in touch via the contact form or email tara (at) ideasuploaded (dot) com

Interview with Carla Leming Inventor of the Speed Bather for Dogs

In this inventor interview Carla Leming explains how she came up with the idea for her invention the Speed Bather

Carla Leming InventorTara: What is your name, invention name and website/invention website URL?

Carla: Name:  Carla Leming, Invention: The Speed Bather, Website URL:  www.PetEdge.com
Page on PetEdge website where the Speed Bather is for sale:  http://www.petedge.com/product/Master-Grooming-Tools-Speed-Bather-Bathing-Tools/58807.uts

Tara: Please could you tell me a little bit about where you are based, your background experience and how you first started inventing?

Carla: I live in Mattoon, Illinois, a small town located in the central part of the state.  I’m presently a hairstylist, but I’ve also dabbled in other lines of work, such as singing in a band, being a dance instructor and working as a graphic artist at a printing company.  I seem to be drawn to jobs that give me a creative outlet.   I’ve always noticed improvements or changes I’d like to make to product designs, but never had an outlet until crowdsourcing websites began to spring up online.

Tara: Please could you tell me a little bit about your invention, what it is, and how you came up with the idea?

Carla: The Speed Bather is a dual-purpose dog bathing tool with flexible silicone fingers on one side for working shampoo deep into the fur when lathering.  The opposite side of the tool has silicone “fins” to squeegee excess water down the drain before towel-drying.  The idea for this dog bathing tool came to me when using multiple towels to dry off my long-aired dog after her bath.  I knew there had to be a way to flush a good deal of this water down the drain, before I began toweling her off.  A slick squeegee with a scalloped edge came to mind, and the Speed Bather was born – and much thanks be given to Genius Crowds for refining my original vision into a sleek quality product.

Tara: Did you create a roughy prototype or drawings to test out and present your ideas?

Carla: I didn’t make a prototype, but I did use my drawing program to make illustrations for the “Dog Squeegee”, as it was originally titled.  When I began refining my idea, I added the silicone shampooing “fingers” to make the tool dual-purpose.

Tara: You submitted your idea to Genius Crowds and it won, please can you tell me a bit about it works?

Carla: At Genius Crowds, the panel of judges are constantly looking over new and old submissions for ideas that catch their interest.  My dog bathing tool wasn’t selected for a contract until many months after it had been submitted to a Pets call-out round.  All ideas are free to submit at GC, and the generous community members offer input and suggestions to help ideas along.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PRN19wkMDmE

speed bather invention

Tara: You submit a lot of ideas, have you got any tips for coming up with original ideas, what is your process?

Carla: I wish I could say I have a definitive creative process when it comes to product ideas, but I don’t.  Mostly, my ideas are inspired by a problem I’d like to solve that I’ve recently been reminded of during my daily life.  Sometimes my ideas are completely unique and others are just improvements on existing gadgets and devices used every day.

Tara: After your idea was chosen as as a winner, what was the process from this point, did you get involved with further design input?

Carla: After receiving email notification that Genius Crowds has selected your idea as a prototype contender, you will be emailed a copy of their contract to sign and return.  I have two other contracts with Genius Crowds, and during the months after being selected, I’ve been kept in the loop on their progress, when there was news to be shared.  With all three of my selected ideas, I’ve been asked to send new drawings or been contacted for more input on each of those chosen ideas.

Tara: What are the pros and cons of submitting ideas to sites like Genius Crowds rather than developing it or licensing it yourself.

Carla: For me, invention websites are ideal, because I am not much of a gambler.  I would be extremely reluctant to financially back one of my ideas that could end up costing our life’s savings.  I’m still amazed at the number of ideas I think are sure-fire winners, that have been passed over time and again.  Obviously, the professionals on the judging panels know a lot more about the marketplace than I do.

Tara: What happens now, will you have a share of royalties in the product sales?

Carla: I will get a 25% share of the royalties paid to Genius Crowds.  I’m looking forward to receiving my first check in the mail – no matter what the amount.  It will be a thrill to know that my two years of submitting ideas will give me a return on my time invested.

Tara: What are your future invention plans and dreams?

Carla: My future plans are to take the time to learn at least one of the many 3D drawing programs I’ve bought or downloaded.  I’ve been using a very old version of Microsoft Publisher for my illustrations, and I’d like to be able to submit more professional presentations of my ideas.

Tara: What advice would you give any aspiring inventor with an idea?

Carla: Don’t become married to an idea that doesn’t seem to get the attention you think it deserves.  Use that creative energy to move onto other problems that need to be solved.  One day, you’ll hit upon a solution that will resonate with the buying public!

Tara: Where can people find out more about you your invention?

Carla: The Speed Bather can be found here on the PetEdge website:  https://www.petedge.com/product/Master-Grooming-Tools-Speed-Bather-Bathing-Tools/58807.uts

PetEdge is a wholesale company that sells to professional pet groomers and to independent pet supply stores all over the world.

Are you an inventor or invention expert with an interesting story or advice to share? Please get in touch via the contact form or email tara (at) ideasuploaded (dot) com

Interview with Inventor Evan Krachman Creator of MD2GO a Remote Doctor Patient Communication System

This weeks inventor interview is a little different as Evan Krachman invented his product MD2GO a remote HD camera for physician to patient and physician to physician communication, as an employee of Sony Medical USA.

Tara: What is your name, invention name and website URL? 

Inventor Evan from SonyEvan: Evan Krachman, Marketing Manager and New Business Development Manager, Sony Medical Division, Professional Solutions of America
My invention is the MD2GO ™ Remote HD IP Camera System.
www.Sony.com/MD2GO

Tara: Please could you tell me a little bit about where you are based, your background experience how you first started inventing? 

Evan: I’m currently an employee of Sony Medical USA, based in Park Ridge, New Jersey, where my current invention was born. However ideas instrumental to my current invention and my passion for inventing began much earlier. With now nearly 15 years of experience in the medical device industry, I started my professional career as a commercial TV producer for a small cable company in NJ. This position led to various sales positions with Ampex Broadcast, Nikon and Mitsubishi where I gained valuable experience that became important of the invention. After 12 years in sales, I realized I wanted to be in marketing, which got me to where I am today, working for Sony’s medical group since 2000.

I first started inventing when I was 12 years old. I built an intercom system from an old tape recorder which enabled me to communicate from my bedroom to the family den at our home in Pennsylvania. I have been using video equipment since 1976, first with a Sony Black and White Reel-to-Reel recorder. In 1977 I developed a system for my father who was an Optometrist, to record patients trying on glasses and then play back the video with their glasses on so they could clearly see which eye glass frame looked the best. It was a novel idea before it’s time.

Tara: Please could you tell me a little bit about your invention, what it is, and how you came up with the idea? 

Evan: The MD2GO is a remote IP High Definition camera system that enables modern physician-to-patient and physician-to-physician communication. With this innovative telemedicine solution, physicians can simply use a laptop PC and communicate with the patient or nurse over the internet, from virtually anywhere in the world. The MD2GO system is medical grade allowing it to enter critical areas of care areas like the Emergency room, operating room, or right up to the patient bed side; the applications are virtually unlimited. Thanks to its smart design and high quality, easy-to-use features, Sony’s MD2GO remote HD IP camera system is a cost effective system that is changing the delivery of healthcare for patients and physicians in healthcare facilities and individual practices in order to improve patient care.

I came up with this idea after a trade show on my own. We had mounted the camera on the top of our booth, and physicians were amazed at the quality of the camera and the potential it had for remote consultation. After the show I realized I needed a way to demonstrate the technology to physicians. I thought, what if I could put this camera on something as compact as an IV pole. It could then be easily transported into any room….MD2GO was born.

Tara: What were the first steps you took after having your idea? 

Evan: My first step was to start sketching my ideas on paper. I researched other traditional systems and wanted a design that was compact and easy to move. I choose components commercially available to complete the prototype system. I sourced the parts and a stand locally and went to Radio Shack many times to purchase wires and connectors. I built the prototype in my cubicle and borrowed a drill from the facilities department.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TiXMjvQ5pa8

Tara: Did you get presentation drawing sheets produced or make a prototype of your invention, how did you go about this? 

Evan: Once I built the first prototype, I created a presentation titled, “Remote Healthcare On Demand” which explained the various use cases for the device. As I continued developing the concept, the name MD2GO came to me. I knew that before we could make this a real product we had to seek out the the voice of the customer, the VOC as we refer to is in marketing, which is a key initiative followed at Sony when we bring any new product to market. Understanding the medical device market and understanding how your products help improve workflow are absolutely critical. There are so many risks, that in my opinion it makes no sense to spend time developing a product your potential customers don’t want or could ultimately find difficult to operate based on use in their environment and factors we might have been otherwise unaware of.

I manage the Sony Medical Luminary Program, which is designed to obtain feedback directly from physicians, this way we have a good understanding of what is needed to improve the product and patient workflow, so I knew right away where to go. Our first test of the MD2GO was at Northwestern University Fienberg School of Medicine located in Chicago. Frank Schleicher who heads the IT Surgery Department was a willing to test the unit. I also brought the unit to a local hospital by my home in NJ. The chief of surgery was encouraging and really wanted MD2GO to be used for surgical training and remote consultation. The early tests were very positive so we decided to go forward a make it a real Sony Medical product.

Tara: Did you try and patent or protect your idea in any way and how did you go about it?

Evan: We did approach our legal department and we found this design did not warrant a patent, but we felt that this design was still an excellent product. The name MD2GO is a registered trademark with Sony Electronics.

Tara: Did you always intend manufacturing your invention yourself or did you look into licensing the idea? 

Evan: We knew the fastest way to market was to do this project locally. We would have loved to have Sony manufacture this product in Japan, where corporate headquarters is located and the majority of products are manufactured, but this was something so far off the traditional product planning and design schedule we decided to build with a third party vendor.

Tara: How did you go about finding a suitable manufacturer for your invention and did you self-fund this?

Evan: I was working with Oasys Healthcare in Canada on another development project and mentioned I was building the MD2GO. They asked if they could build a prototype for us, and in less than three months they delivered a system and we went into production a few short months later.

Tara: What have you found are the best ways of promoting your invention?

Evan: MD2GO is one of those “must see” products. We outfitted our sales people with demonstration gear and we built a dedicated MD2GO office in Park Ridge, designed like a physician’s home office so they could easily relate to the system. Now our sales people could use their own PCs and connect from anywhere with an internet connection and demonstrate the quality of our system live for the customer. In this case seeing is believing, and the live demonstrations helped us to validate the customer and gauge their interest. Then the real demonstration on site is the best way but not the most practical. We also built a new website and I was able to produce a video testimonial and short video’s to get the message across.

Tara: What were the most difficult elements of bringing your invention to market?

Evan: I believe the most difficult element in this project has been managing two different teams of hardware and software from a distance. As with any new invention, we ultimately had some kinks to work out and things to fine-tune during the production process to make the end product meet our standards and the needs of our customers. Sometimes the changes were simple to implement; other changes posed more of a challenge based on the budget and the technical constraints of the camera. The teams learned a great deal from our customers feedback on how to improve both hardware and software challenges.

Tara: How long has it taken from your initial idea to taking it to market?

Evan: The timeframe from the initial idea to actually having a working product delivered to the customer took only eight months.

Tara: Is there anything you learned developing your invention that you would now do differently if you had to do it all again?

Evan: Everything in life, particularly in innovation, is also a learning experience that you can build on for the next time. When it comes to the MD2GO design process, there are a number of things that I would do differently. If I had the manpower and budget, I would re-design the software and hardware for the camera from the ground up specifically for Telemedicine applications. The nontraditional hardware design of MD2GO is disruptive compared to the technology currently being offered in the market. Customers were comparing this product to traditional video conferencing systems that cost thousands more. Their expectations were clear and many demanded a similar experience. I think we found a niche for surgical training that makes MD2GO a good tool that provides a high quality HD Image, one of Sony’s core competencies.

Tara: What advice would you give any aspiring inventor with an idea? 

Evan: I think one of the most important aspects of inventing is communicating your idea clearly so other people can easily grasp your concept. A good presentation will help you move your project along internally with management or externally if you are going to present to a venture capital group. Also you shouldn’t rely on a Power Point presentation. If you can concisely explain orally how your invention works and how it solves a problem you will gain supporters. It’s also important to do your homework; identify the market potential and the business model you will use and how you can generate profits. A great invention without a good business model will ultimately fail.

Tara: Where can people find out more about you your invention?

Evan: Please go to: www. Sony.com/MD2GO

Are you an inventor or invention expert with an interesting story or advice to share? Please get in touch via the contact form or email tara (at) ideasuploaded (dot) com

Interview with the Inventors of the Quadshot a Remote Controlled Aircraft

In this inventor interview the Quadshot team talk about inventing their clever remote controlled aircraft.

the quadshot team

Clockwise from upper left: Chris Forrette, Pranay Sinha, Piotr Esden-Tempski, and Jeff Gibboney

Tara: Please could you tell me your names, invention name and website URL?

Quadshot Team: We are Piotr Esden-Tempski, Chris Forrette, Jeff Gibboney, and Pranay Sinha. Our inventions are the Quadshot and its ‘brain,’ called Lisa. The Quadshot’s website is www.thequadshot.com.

Tara: Please could you tell me a little bit about where you are based, your background experience how you first started inventing?

Quadshot Team:We are based in Santa Cruz, California. Piotr has a degree in Computer Science and has a lot of experience designing embedded electronics and writing software for Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs). Chris is an expert remote control (RC) airplane builder and pilot and has an Aerodynamic Engineering background. Jeff has degrees in Computer Science and Mechanical Engineering and experience designing and building bicycles, robotic vehicles, and UAVs. Pranay has degrees in Aerospace Engineering, and experience designing everything from spacecraft to robotic submarines. Piotr and Pranay work for Joby Energy, Inc., which provides their services to us as consultants.

quadshot invention

Tara: Please could you tell me a little bit about your invention, what it is, and how you came up with the idea?

Quadshot Team: The Quadshot is a remote-controlled aircraft that combines the abilities of a helicopter and a fixed-wing or “traditional” airplane, in that it can both fly forward like an airplane and hover like a helicopter – but without many of the complicated, expensive, and fragile moving parts.

In addition to the innovative, lightweight and durable airframe design, the main development that makes this possible is that the Quadshot has a “brain” that we call the Lisa. Like the flight computer on an advanced aircraft or unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), Lisa is equipped with a sensor suite called an Inertial Measurement Unit (IMU), which contains 3-axis solid-state accelerometers and gyroscopes to keep Lisa up-to-date on which way she, and thus the Quadshot, is pointing and how fast she is rotating.

Lisa combines all of this information with pilot commands and then adjusts the speed of each motor hundreds of times per second, which allows the Quadshot to hover like a helicopter, fly slowly and steadily like a trainer airplane, or allow for high-speed aerobatics – all by flipping a switch on the RC transmitter.

So how did we come up with the idea? Well, we met while working at an airborne wind energy company called Joby Energy, Inc., where we worked on designs for large rigid kites that could generate energy as they flew around. For the small prototype kites, the control electronics had to be small and light so that they didn’t weigh the kites down or take too much space, but still powerful enough to run all the complex control software. We collaborated with the Paparazzi UAV project, developing both software to fly our kites and electronics to run the software. The first result of the collaboration was Lisa/L:

Lisa/L weighs about 35g (about the same as six quarters) and is the size of a business card, compared to other designs on the market that weighed over 500g and were the size of a paperback novel.

The dramatic reduction in size and weight meant we could make a much smaller, lighter and zippier flying machine – all excellent qualities for a hobby aerobatic platform. We started discussing what the design could look like, did some aerodynamic design to make sure it could fly, and the basic Quadshot idea was born!

Quadshot Lisa invention

Tara: What were the first steps you took after having your idea?

Quadshot Team: After we first came up with the idea of an electronically stabilized, highly aerobatic and very capable hobby aircraft, we decided to define these capabilities as well as performance requirements more clearly and in a manner that would set goals we could work towards – just saying that the “airplane needs to be cool” wasn’t enough. So, we talked to friends who were involved with the UAV and controls research fields, as well as the hobby RC community and asked them what they thought a really great aircraft would be capable of doing.

We looked at everything from the easier to fly “trainer” RC systems to high-end UAV and research vehicles costing tens of thousands of dollars to figure out how to go about designing a system that could be used by everyone from novice RC pilots to experts and researchers. After these initial steps, we had a good idea of what our product was going to be and went about creating a company to make it.

The next steps were to try and raise enough money to get into production, and also validate our idea by showing it to a wider group of people. We learned about Kickstarter and thought it would be a perfect way to do both at the same time. We set a goal of raising $25,000 in six weeks, and ended up with $84,000.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-OuGH5wQoN4

Tara: Did you get presentation drawing sheets produced or make a prototype of your invention, how did you go about this?

Quadshot Team: We have access to Joby Energy’s machine shop and experience building RC aircraft, so we were able to design and build the early airframe prototypes ourselves. For the first prototype, called JT1, we used a hot-wire cutter and CNC router to make an airframe out of foam, fiberglass, piano wire, and balsa wood:

Quadshot  wing

We installed a Lisa/L and spent a lot of time hacking, tweaking, and tuning the Paparazzi software to make JT1 able to hover and also fly forward. We also crashed a lot, learned what broke and what didn’t, and tested about a dozen other prototypes of various designs before settling on the Quadshot design. We used a 3D computer-aided design (CAD) software package to model the designs and make drawings, and ordered some parts from a 3D printing company to test part designs we couldn’t make ourselves.

The “brain” electronics in the final Quadshot, called Lisa/M and Lia, are evolutions of the original Lisa/L and even smaller:

Quadshot size

The electronics designs were developed with input and support from the Paparazzi UAV community, which was invaluable as a source of design improvements and helped us make them easier to use, cheaper, more reliable and more power efficient. We laid out the circuit boards in an electronics design package called EAGLE, and had prototype circuit boards made by mail order. We soldered on the chips and other components ourselves, and wrote and modified the low-level code necessary to get the Paparazzi software working on them.

Tara: Did you try and patent or protect your idea in any way and how did you go about it?

Quadshot Team: The “brain” as well as the software making the Quadshot fly are (respectively) Open-Source Hardware and Open-Source Software, which means that the physical design files are available to everyone under a Creative Commons license, and source code is available to everyone under the Gnu Public License (GPL). This is a fairly new approach to the development of innovative products in this area and allowed us to get input from some very smart people who were happy to donate their time, thus lowering our development costs.

We are in the process of patenting some parts of the Quadshot, such as the airframe configuration and some innovative designs and ideas that have gone into making the airframe a user-friendly and high performance product.

We were fortunate to meet and work with a local patent attorney at Joby Energy who is excellent at what he does and also passionate about flying vehicles. The approach we have taken is to write up initial documentation describing our inventions, which has sometimes even been in the form of drafts of papers we are submitting to academic conferences, and then passing it over to our attorney for molding into the application format.

Tara: Did you always intend manufacturing your invention yourself or did you look into licensing the idea?

Quadshot Team: We were interested in going through the manufacturing process ourselves, so we didn’t look extensively into licensing. Furthermore, we weren’t sure how potential licensees would react to our Open-Source approach. Thus, we decided to take care of the initial manufacturing ourselves. This is not meant to imply that we do everything from scratch – we have the electronics assembled at a local vendor here in Santa Cruz, contract with molding companies for the foam and plastic parts, and buy some things off the shelf. Since quality assurance is important to us, we will do final assembly and testing ourselves.

Tara: How did you go about finding a suitable manufacturer for your invention and did you self fund this?

Quadshot Team: For the electronics manufacturing, our experience at Joby Energy proved very valuable. Not only did we know where to source our components, that is, the pieces that go onto the boards, we had also developed a great working relationship with a local PCB assembly company, Dallas Electronics. They proved to be very helpful and provided some great feedback on how to get our electronics assembly costs down. They assemble all the Lisa boards and sensor packages that go into the Quadshot.

A Minnesota-based quick-turn plastics molding company, ProtoLabs, sponsors the Cool Idea contest, where they award mold tooling and small manufacturing runs to help innovative ideas bootstrap their manufacturing process. The Cool Idea organizers found our project on Kickstarter and encouraged us to apply. We were fortunate enough to win support from the contest and received mold tooling for our plastic parts and the first 400 pieces free! In addition, the ProtoLabs engineers gave us some great design support as we got our plastic parts ready for the molding process, and the parts we’ve received have been of great quality.

Finally, one of our investors, JoeBen Bevirt, has extensive experience in manufacturing consumer products – he successfully founded Joby, which makes the Gorillapod line of articulated tripods for cameras. He was able to provide us contacts in Shenzhen, China, which Jeff visited to locate vendors and manufacturers for some of the Quadshot’s components.

Since the initial startup, we have also been able get some revenue from sales of our electronic boards to hobbyists and researchers who want to make their own vehicles. We also offer our services on a consultancy basis through our company, Transition Robotics, Inc..

Tara: In what ways are you looking to promoting your invention?

Quadshot Team: Since we are initially selling Lisas and Quadshots ourselves, we are focusing on the Internet, social media, and direct face-to-face events for promoting our inventions.

Kickstarter was definitely the biggest promotion we have done so far. During our campaign, we sent out press releases to many technology blogs, and got a lot of support from the Paparazzi community as well as from UAV and RC enthusiasts in general. Additionally, we submitted papers to academic conferences and showed off our early prototypes at Defcon, an annual “hacker” convention held in Las Vegas. While there, we met the producers of online TV show called Hak5, who were kind enough to feature us on one of their internet TV episodes. The Cool Idea press release from ProtoLabs has also contributed greatly to our campaign.

We plan on attending Defcon again this year, as well as other events such as Maker Faire in San Mateo and the CCC in Germany.

Tara: What have been the most difficult elements of bringing your invention to market so far?

Quadshot Team: Although we were able to build prototypes relatively quickly, the road towards a mass producible product is much longer and more difficult. We had to learn a lot about plastic and foam molding, and resolve the design to a much higher level than what is needed when building “one offs.”

A big challenge was estimating our ship date. As none of us had experience with mass production, we underestimated lead times, and are learning to manage inventory and cash flow as we go. As many inventors will tell you, it is very difficult to see in advance what problems will emerge, but a good thing to keep in mind is the PI rule: the time to finish a project is the time you predict multiplied by PI, even if you take the PI rule into account!

Tara: How long has it taken from your initial idea to taking it to where you are now?

Lisa/L was designed in mid-2010, and we flew the first Quadshot prototypes in late 2010, so we have been working for over one and a half years.

Quadshot Team: Is there anything you learned developing your invention that you would now do differently if you had to do it all again?

The process of building Quadshot has been a great experience! We’ve learned an incredible amount – there really is no substitute for taking an idea, starting a company, and building something yourself.

One big lesson we’d like to share is that if you are making a product for mass production, it is critical to focus on simplifying and perfecting your concept as much as possible. However, you have to balance that against the risks of taking too much time to get to market.

Lastly – underpromise and overdeliver!

Find out more about the Quadshot at www.thequadshot.com

Are you an inventor or invention expert with an interesting story or advice to share? Please get in touch via the contact form or email tara (at) ideasuploaded (dot) com

Interview with Rebecca Rabson about her Invention SmartSeat Chair Protector

Becky Inventor of SmartSeat Chair ProtectorIn this inventor interview Rebecca Rabson explains how she developed her invention SmartSeat Chair Protectors from a need that she and her family had.

Tara: What is your name, invention name and website URL?

Rebecca: Rebecca Rabson, SmartSeat Chair Protector, www.smartseatdiningchaircovers.com

Tara: Please could you tell me a little bit about where you are based, your background experience how you first started inventing?

Rebecca: I live in Newton, MA with my two boys and my husband, who also is one of my business partners. Our third partner is a dear friend with two kids of his own. He lives with his family in CT. My background is in the law. I practiced white collar criminal defense in NYC for several years before having kids and had been a stay-at-home mom for about 8 years before we launched our company.

Tara: Please could you tell me a little bit about your invention, what it is, and how you came up with the idea?

Rebecca: The SmartSeat is a waterproof, stain resistant, and machine washable seat cover for upholstered dining room and kitchen chairs. It protects like a vinyl seat cover, but is made from a soft and comfortable fabric. I came up with the idea after we purchased a new dining room set for our home. I couldn’t find any waterproof seat covers that provided discreet protection, got the thumbs up from my kids, and didn’t entirely change the look of my chairs.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EU1jax8TaYc

Tara: What were the first steps you took after having your idea?

Rebecca: After coming up with the idea, I created my own prototype, although I didn’t think of it as a prototype at the time. I simply wanted something that I could use! After getting great feedback about my covers from friends and family, my husband put me in touch with a woman who helped us create an official prototype and the pattern and specs necessary to contact manufacturers. We also began the patent process.

seat cover invention

Tara: Did you get presentation drawing sheets produced or make a prototype of your invention, how did you go about this?

Rebecca: Though I made the first samples of the covers to use on my own chairs, our first official prototype was created by a designer. She also created our pattern and spec sheets.

Tara: Did you try and patent or protect your idea in any way and how did you go about it?

Rebecca: Once it became clear that we were going to work on bringing this idea to market, we filed a provisional patent. We then hired an attorney to filed our patent application.

Tara: Did you always intend manufacturing your invention yourself or did you look into licensing the idea?

Rebecca: We never considered licensing our idea.

Tara: How did you go about finding a suitable manufacturer for your invention and did you self fund this?

Rebecca: The internet is a wonderful resource! I located contract manufacturers throughout the US and contacted several before settling on a factory in PA based on the quality of their work and the price that they quoted. They’ve been making our covers since we started about 18 mos. ago.

Tara: What have you found are the best ways of promoting your invention?

Rebecca: We have not engaged in any paid marketing. Most of our promotion has been through social media (facebook, twitter, pinterest) and word of mouth, as well as SEO and blogger reviews.

Tara: What were the most difficult elements of bringing your invention to market?

Rebecca: The most difficult element was just getting started. I knew nothing about manufacturing and the learning curve was steep. Lack of resources also made things challenging, as we are self-funded and were never interested in either getting deeply in debt or seeking outside funding.

Tara: How long has it taken from your initial idea to taking it to market?

Rebecca: It was approximately 6 mos. between creating our first official prototype and our first online sale.

Tara: Is there anything you learned developing your invention that you would now do differently if you had to do it all again?

Rebecca: Absolutely. You learn a lot along the way. I would work to ensure that I had much bigger margins if I could do it all over again. Though I love our fabric (I think that it is what makes my covers so special), it is unfortunately expensive. And we have been unable to find alternatives that I think are as high quality.

Tara: Where can people find out more about you your invention?

Rebecca: Anyone interested in learning more about SmartSeats can visit our website, www.smartseatdiningchaircovers.com, our facebook page, www.facebook.com/seatcover, or email us directly, service@pbjdiscoveries.com

Are you an inventor or invention expert with an interesting story or advice to share? Please get in touch via the contact form or email tara (at) ideasuploaded (dot) com