The San Diego region is truly a hotbed of ingenuity and inventiveness as evidenced by the 9th annual Invention Contest held by the San Diego Inventors Forum on August 14 at the Jack-in-the Box headquarters. There were more than 25 applicants for the contest. Five finalists were chosen for the New Technology category, and eight finalists were chosen for the Best Consumer Product category. Each contestant had five minutes to present their new technology or product and one minute to answer questions. At the end of the presentations, the audience of nearly 100 voted for the best in each category. The winners were:
Best New Technology:
First Place: David Horrigan, founder of Admiral Fluidics, for his SolidWater™ (or Caudal Prop™) Ship Propulsion System. SolidWater™ is a trademark of Horrigan Labs Corporation, CaudalProp™ is a trademark of Genero Labs Corp (Patent Number US Provisional 61/844,313 PCT Filed)
The benefits of this highly efficient ship propulsion system include: 70% lower fuel use and resultant atmospheric carbon emission, lower horsepower requirement, cheaper engine cost, antifouling, and no rudder needed. The system provides three breakthroughs in technology: Blade design eliminates cavitation; Linkage simplifies Caudal cycle and varies angle of propeller performing like a continuously variable automatic transmission; Assembly design eliminates deflection energy losses.
The next step will be to build a 20-hp, 600-lb. thrust system that is expected to have the thrust force and performance of a 90 hp diesel. There is a big market for this size for use by 30-50 foot sailboats, most government research vehicles, and commercial fishing boats. The final production sizes of the propulsion system will also include a 2,000-lb. system and a 100-ton system. This propulsion system is truly a paradigm shift in propulsion technology.
The management team has been selected, and Horrigan envisions having 50 employees when they go into production, with the systems being “Made in the USA.”
Second Place: Carl Yee for his product, Paper Saver Ink (Patent number: 8,328,317)
Paper Saver Ink is a new type of inkjet ink for temporary printing that erases itself over time. This enables the same sheet of paper to be printed over and over again. A document is printed on paper, read or reviewed as normal, and then set aside. The ink gradually undergoes a chemical reaction with the atmosphere and loses its color, leaving behind a blank sheet of paper. When the printer or copier needs more paper, this blank paper is loaded back in, ready to be printed again.
Yee will be doing a few more months of product development work and then do a Kickstarter campaign for seed funding.
Third Place: Hal Slater for his Geothermal Water Heater
The Geothermal Water Heater is a new, highly efficient water heating design for residences in temperate and tropical climates. The GWHP extracts excess heat from the cold water used throughout the home with a water-to-water heat pump to heat the hot water used in the home. The key factors are that: 1) the typical residence uses three to four times as much cold water as hot water, 2) in some climates the cold water is about 15º-20ºF warmer than it needs to be and 3) water-to-water heat pumps are, on average, more than twice as efficient as air-to-water heat pumps. For more information, contact Hal Slater at [email protected]
Other contestants in the Technology category were:
Gary Abramov - Ultra Miniature Defibrillator
The ultra-miniature external defibrillator (two-part set, each the size of a silver dollar) is based on reduced defibrillation energy via bypass of skin resistance. It enables 45 times improvement in weight and size of present external defibrillators. The target markets are military, government agencies and first-responders. Clinical trials are being held to obtain a FDA Class 3 approval.
Paul Moretto, Universal Wind Turbine LLC - Wind Turbine Generation System (WTGS) (Patent Number 7,888,810 B2)
It is vertically shafted and is inspired by jet engine design. It utilizes two turbines connected on a horizontal plane. The incoming wind is directed to the horizontally positioned blades of the turbines through four wind channels thereby increasing dramatically the WTGS power. To increase wind efficiency even more, two systems have been created to ensure rotatable advantages for the WTGS: (1) the top turbine rests on fixed and inverted casters, and (2) the lower turbine rests and rotates on a bed of viscous liquid. Both systems eliminate friction, vibration, and noise, while increasing the viability of the WTGS’ capability of functioning in low wind speeds, as demonstrated on the Beaufort Scale. The WTGS is a 4-foot high freestanding turbine intended for individual home and commercial application. The company is in the process of working with Riverside County and University of California, Riverside for the modeling and prototype of the WTGS. The WTGS will utilize as many recyclable materials as possible.
Best New Consumer Product
First Place: Abel Monzon for his Cover & Vent Register, a collapsing vent register cover (Patent Pending)
This product is an insulated ceiling register cover designed to prevent heat loss and cold drafts when your AC is not in use. It facilitates opening and closing of your register and provides an airtight seal to save energy by preventing thermodynamics from occurring through partially open vents. It also makes opening and closing vents easier than conventional products currently on the market. It has a uniquely designed mounting bracket that will hold this universal cover to the majority of ceiling vents from size 6" to 12". It can also be used in place of your existing ceiling register. It has an aesthetically pleasing appearance and installs in just minutes. Further development and testing will be done before launching a website. For further information, you may contact Monzon at [email protected]
Second Place: Don Johnson for his Thera Point Focal Pressure Support (Patent pending), FDA Class 1 approved
Thera Point is a wearable that provides advanced support with focal pressure therapy to help relieve symptoms of tennis or golfers elbow. Its exclusive 3-way adjustability provides custom fit and improved product performance. Latex-free neoprene construction provides thermal benefit. It is washable and suitable for use at work or play. A storage bag is included. In trials, participants showed an average VAS pain score reduction from 7.39 to 1.5 after wearing Thera Point for two weeks. It is estimated there are up to 9 million cases of tennis elbow annually in the U.S.
Third Place: Chris Baker, EBG Design & Manufacture, for his Multi-Vise System (Patented March 2014)
The Multi-Vise System comes in a two-head, three-head, and four-head-vise configuration and can hold objects in any orientation, each vise independent to the other, with multiple positions due to the rotating ball clamp. The system works on the philosophy that it is better to clamp an object securely into a vise and then move and lock the vise into the desired position rather than trying to “fit” a clamp around the object. The system is designed to hold and position objects securely for gluing, painting, cutting and cleaning, etc. Once the object(s) are in position, the entire assembly can be tilted and swiveled due to a fifth ball clamp, giving much flexibility to the operator. The system is also available with attachments designed to support and hold printed circuit boards – making it the ideal platform for printed circuit board assembly, soldering and testing, etc.
Other contestants in the New Consumer Product category were:
Les Robbins - Snow Guard is the first windshield cover that protects your automobile's windshield from snow and ice as well as the side view mirrors. It has a universal fit with flexible mirror gloves.
Patrick Trusio - Wall Hanging Wafer Device simplifies alignment, placement and fastening of items such as framed art, pictures or wall hangings. It is an injection-molded thermoplastic device to simplify alignment, placement and fastening of items such as framed art, pictures or wall hangings. Self-adhesive backing bonds the device to the back of an item. A slot allows a pushpin to be inserted and nest firmly in place. Exerting pressure forces pushpin into wall affixing item to wall. Slot allows item to be lifted off pushpin and removed from wall.
Harry Katcher - The Car Cubby is a portable, collapsible, washable car storage system. It holds your grocery bags in place while you drive.
Allen Young of Tallac LLC - VIER Compact and Secure Lock (Patent Pending) - Vier is a compact high security lock that use two locking bodies and two shackles. When disassembled, the four pieces fit into a bag the size of a burrito and weighs only 3 1/2 lbs. This hardened steel lock would replace a conventional U-lock. Vier just completed a successful Kickstarter campaign. For further information contact Young at [email protected]
Coral Bergman - Signwinder™ (Patent Pending) is a stretchable elastomeric fastener for attaching signs to posts, fences, light poles, etc. to increase visibility of such signs as real estate open house and garage sale signs by raising them to well above the line-of-sight.
The San Diego Inventors Forum will start its 10th year next month. I am honored to be on the steering committee for the Inventors Forum to meet San Diego's inventors and assist them towards successful entrepreneurism. During the course of our monthly meetings, we essentially provide the inventors with a course in entrepreneurism. As part of our informal curriculum, I give a presentation on how to select the right manufacturing processes for their new product. We look forward to another great year!