Our column has had two big hits since January

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8-12-2013

Our column has had two big hits since January. One was the case 1303 Gun Case/Shield design requested by a state trooper in the Midwest. In the process of searching for an appropriate material, we found a miracle substance called graphene, which the entire world is currently going after by researching.

 

The other was case 1307 Better Bed for home care for the aging population. This case elicited the largest number of emails from readers experienced in the actual home care of semi bed-ridden and totally bed ridden people. Currently we are processing these inputs into a coherent table so that a serious design effort can begin.

 

We have every intention to pursue these cases to develop actual solutions, and efforts are currently expended. Remember you should always try to develop solutions to existing problems. Please continue to call in or email in your suggestions. Any suggestion is better than no suggestion. That is the only way our knowledge level increases. Think of this problem solving as a people’s effort to improve our living – the 99 percenters.

 

This week, we are getting back to the original course of discussion of patents. The last patent discussion was on June 10th when we spoke about the skill in drawing clearly what you are thinking. You have to acquire that skill by practicing, even though your patent application may contain drawings done by patent draftsman specialized in that protocol. Having some skill in drawing concepts help you see various issues much more clearly than without drawings.

 

Applying for a patent is a rather costly process. Currently one must assume and be prepared to spend an average of $15,000 to receive a patent issued to you. If there is a conflict contested by other patent holder, the expense would undoubtedly sky rocket to a level an average inventor couldn’t afford. A thorough patent search, therefore, is an absolute MUST before you plunk down your hard-earned money to a patent council with your enthusiasm.

 

This column is for our 99 percenters, who are unfamiliar with patenting process including the basic fact of what a patent does, I would like to write an open letter to the executive body of New Hampshire Bar Association as follows:

________________________________________________________________________

OPEN LETTER TO: Executive Council

New Hampshire Bar Association                                                       August 12th, 2013

 

Dear Sir/Madam

 

I am a writer of technical column here in New Hampshire written for middle class amateur inventors, who may have excellent ideas but insufficient knowledge about patent protection. In majority cases they cannot afford to expend several thousand dollars to research prior arts let alone spend $15,000 to complete the process.

 

My theory is that the more people invent, the higher employment would follow, and thus our state would ultimately and greatly benefit from the resultant prosperity. I would like to see the state of New Hampshire become an equivalent of Switzerland in high-technology manufacturing activities by the increased interest among our people.

 

In criminal court cases, there is a well-established system called Pro Bono to appoint defense councils for indigent defendants. These lawyers donate their time allotted at a certain percentage of their regular billable hours, and the system has functioned well for centuries. Is it possible to establish such a system for Intellectual Property lawyers to do certain work for those inventors who has a meritable idea but cannot afford the expenses?

 

Obviously some organized selection process needs to be built so the system won’t get abused. However, I have a reason to believe that this type of people-grounded activity would propel industrialization of the state, and the benefits would outweigh the cost, which may be a trivial amount. My suggestion is for the law firms to take some equity position in the patent, and thus it would benefit the pro bono counsel and firm in the future when the patent starts earning revenue. This idea isn’t new. It’s done in many countries and in states as well.

 

Yours truly,

Sam Asano

 

Case 1303 Gun Case / Shield

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8-5-2013

Case 1303 Gun Case / Shield

On Monday March 4th, 2013 this column featured a state trooper’s request for us to develop a protective shield that also functions as a foldable gun case for AR-15 assault rifle assigned to him. He has a rather vast territory in the Midwest rural region with high incidence of drug addiction, alcoholism and domestic violence. After speaking with him in person finally, I was convinced the need was real, and started some basic design of the shield/gun case.

 

As you read in the related article published in Portsmouth Herald on three dates – May 24th, May 27th and June 3rd – we actually conducted an actual shooting test against the concept of V-shaped shield design. The point of the test was to find a critical incidence angle of incoming projectile using a popular and powerful bullet of #223. The experiment at a shooting range produced the result that if the bullet arrives at a deeper than 75 degree incidence, the heavy high-speed bullet caused no significant damage to the test steel-plate.   Namely the bullet did not penetrate the plate.

 

The steel plate used was both 14 gauges and 11 (1/8” thick). The photo shows the dent the projectile made, but couldn’t cause penetration. Although this was a happy discovery, the overall weight of the shield made out of 11-gauge steel would exceed some 40 lbs. The weight of 40 lbs. is not extraordinary, but I thought this could be improved. So I set out on the journey in search of lighter and stronger material for this shield.

 

One thing about the Internet is this extreme ease and convenience through which we can obtain data and knowledge in seconds rather than days and weeks in libraries. There are many materials that are far stronger than the mild steel we used. For example, titanium is about 1.5 times stronger than steel. Spider’s silk is about the same order as steel, and carbon fiber laminate is about twice stronger than steel. But, nothing, yes, nothing beats GRAPHENE. When my eyes landed on the graphene’s specificity I had no doubt that these performance factors were typos. Its strength is roughly 130 times the normal steel. Although it is a shockingly powerful figure, wait till you hear this.

 

If you have a graphene sheet roughly 3ft by 3ft (1 meter square), it holds a 10 lbs. cat on it in air, and the sheet weighs mere 0.77 mg – a half of the cat’s one whisker! How is this possible? Here is the miracle of 21st century, and this material will alter our lives greatly in the coming decade by reducing weight of all things, increasing strength and compacting sizes as well as multiplying the performance. Graphene is a variation of carbon structure that binds atoms on a flat plain. FIG 1

 

Two research scientists, Andre Geim and Konstantin Novoselov, at University of Manchester, UK in 2004, discovered Graphene. Subsequently the two received Nobel Price in 2010, a fast recognition of this spectacular feat. Due to its outstanding properties of being strong, light, very compact, stable and all other desirable features, the world rushed on to research this material, and the race is on. The potential list of graphene applications fills a ten-page document, each item of which would be greatly helped with a quantum jump in performance.

 

Currently countries that are exerting the research and development on graphene are Britain, Sweden, Spain, Russia, Korea, USA, China and down the ranks. In United States, I must admit that we are late in entering the race. IBM is almost the only company doing a serious research, and other academic organizations are lining their effort up in smaller scales. The importance European countries place on graphene is demonstrated by a extremely large grand EU gave to Chalmers University, Sweden of One Billion Euro ($1.5 Billion) for the research and development of graphene.

 

I am very concerned about our slow start on the race. I am hoping that we will increase funding and try to catch up to the rest of the world.

 

Photo

Picture of bullet making dent but no penetration on the steel plate.

 

Drawing: Case 1303 Gun Shield & Case

Case #1307 Better Bed

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7-29-2013

Case #1307 Better Bed

This case stimulated intense discussions from the readers in the Southeastern New Hampshire communities. It also stirred strong emotional responses from those family members experienced in the home care. Some of them were summary stories of their struggles in caring the bed-ridden, and simultaneously cries for better beds design.

 

During this past three weeks, this columnist learned great deal from those readers, whom I call “silent majority” of home care. I thank them all. Now that we need to come to a temporary conclusion and step forward to actual design of “better bed”, I wish to summarize what we did learn.

 

The main purpose of today’s bed is for us to rest and recharge energy. This goes for both humans as well as wild animals since the Stone Age. As the civilization and thus medical science developed, people could live longer by convalescing and curing the ill or injury they are suffering from. However, under normal condition wild animals do not survive when they no longer can feed themselves. They perish fast. In that sense the bed as we use today is no different from ones humans use and ones animals use.  Bedding stores spend literally millions of dollars to entice people to buy various models of mattresses. But they are all for “improved” comfort. They do not deal with a different type of bed design for patients in long-term infirmness. Basically our beds are same as what wild animals made for themselves since the Stone Age – purpose is to rest, not to convalesce.

 

On the way to the advanced civilization people had forgotten to develop bed designed and built for home care. That bed should be different from the plain flat cushion of today’s design. Some readers would protest that there are many types of mechanized beds used for hospitals and other institutions. Yes, they are used extensively in hospitals. But, they are very expensive, too large to get through the normal house doors, and too heavy for the floor bearing. Additionally they are mechanically and electrically complex, and require services by professionals.

 

So now, what are the tasks home-care beds must accommodate in design? The most difficult and complex tasks requiring people with experience are:

  • Changing sheets
  • Cleansing patient
  • Getting patient in and out of bed
  • Preventing bed sore on the patient

 

These items are from the viewpoint of being patient – namely what the patient needs.

 

Then we heard from two experienced caregivers. Dian Roma of Hooksett, NH weighed in by emailing “The bed height MUST be higher then today’s so that the care-giver doesn’t have to excessively bend down to push/pull patient – heavy work likely to hurt his/her back. She stated that she worked for 10 years in that environment, and it does take toll on her health. She ends with this statement: My goal was to care for them, protect them and MYSELF”. Very good! Yes, caregivers’ health must be protected.

 

Loretta Sullivan (Greenland, NH)) stated that she provided a motorized lift chair for her husband, and this gave him a measure of independence and he could also sleep by reclining. But she wonders if the similar feature could be built-in in a bed.

 

These two comments are from the point of experienced home-caregivers requesting a set of design restrictions. We are happy that they contacted us so we can incorporate the feature to help/protect caregivers’ health.

 

This will end the Case 1307 Better Bed for now. Now we have to get to design a prototype of the new “better bed”, which may take a few months to half a year. The process of design and building a prototype would be followed by tests involving actual patients. If you have any design idea, or you are a mechanical or electrical engineer, please forward your opinion to this column. You may be positively contributing to the future generations of aged Americans.

Case 1307 “Better Bed” continued:

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7-22-2013

Case 1307 “Better Bed” continued:

When this column started discussing about the need for “better bed” to be used for home care situation, I had no idea the reader response was so huge. I not only continued to receive various email comments, but also there were many suggestions for improvement from experienced individuals in the home care of semi and fully bed ridden persons.

 

I will state it honestly and perhaps a little crudely. The situation we Americans face starting now and the next half century is this: The number of over-65 will rise to some 75 million, and nobody really wants to go to the nursing home as long as they could somehow stay home and manage. The most crucial element in their effort to stay home as long as they could is a “better bed” or lack there of. This nation put men on the moon, and the sophisticated technology can now fight war and kill enemies half way around the world by drones remotely operated from the military compound in the mainland of United States. So is it too much to ask that we start to develop a better bed for home care when we possess so much technology? The bed as we use it hasn’t changed basically at all since the Stone Age, astonishing 3.4 million years ago!

 

What emerges out of the articles on “better bed” for home care spanning three weeks is a simple, yes, very simple, conclusion that today’s bed, designed before the stone age, assumes that we are basically healthy, and the bed is used to rest to recharge our energy for tomorrow. The situation whereby large segment of our population may become infirm hasn’t really landed in the mind of those who design and manufacture beds in general.

 

So, the marching order is quite clear, isn’t it? Design a bed that allows 1) a relatively mobile person living alone to get in/out of bed without difficulty, 2) an infirm person (bed ridden or semi-bed ridden) to be taken care by one home care person, in activities of sheets change, cleansing him/her, feeding food, some entertaining, somehow prevent bed sore (decubitus ulcer) and if possible getting in/out of bed. This is a tall order.

 

There is another sector of bed products that assumes the user to be infirm. Hospitals, nursing homes and convalescent facilities use many models of those mechanized beds. Hill-Rom and Striker are dominant manufactures in this country, and there are many rental/leasing outfits easily accessible by laymen. However, these institutional beds are highly mechanized, complex and quite heavy in weight as well as often too large to get through the residential doors. Lastly the prices of these products are quite expensive, and unless the cost is paid by some insurance policies, it often is prohibitive for home care situation. Additionally, one of the worst problems, changing sheets, and cleansing patient, remains unsolved and/or unsimplified by these hospital beds.

 

In conclusion of this Case 1307 Better Bed, my advice is for you 99 percenters to think long and hard first to build up your knowledge, ask around people with experience of home care, and draw up a basic concept. I do not believe complex mechanism would be the solution as this will be used at home, where reliability is of upmost importance. I suspect that a successful design probably adopts a motor-driven feature in some small area, but mostly manually driven mechanism. The photo is a typical hospital bed with the complex mechanism. This is not our solution. We want a simpler system for our home care.

 

Readers, please continue to send in your ideas. Don’t hurry to get it done. Haste makes waste. After all, nothing happened in the past 3,400,000 years, a few weeks won’t matter at all. We can wait.

Bed design

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7-15-2013

The last week’s column about our needing to develop a “better bed” (Case #1307) caused a minor sensation amongst readers. Before 5PM Monday July 8th I had received ten email comments and three phone calls – the highest number of immediate same day response for all the cases we discussed. The topic hit the real and very large problem we face in the issues of home-care of ill and aged now and much more in the future.

 

The reason I listed the problems in the last week’s column was to clearly understand the issues involved. Many inventors, including myself, often start “inventing” before fully understanding and defining the problem(s) we face. We often lack ability to quietly listen to people who have lived through the problem(s), and carefully analyze the issues. In fact one of the most important attributes for becoming successful inventor is the ability to listen carefully and ask questions. In stead, many inventors proudly talk about his solution with his ears closed. If you compare the last week’s column with this week’s, you will find that we have missed new and serious problems. These people below have brought new sets of problems.

 

Dorothy Harrises of Manchester NH told me that she nursed her bed-ridden husband for 12 years till his death last year. I was touched with her devotion. She and her three kids worked hard to maintain her husband’s daily life. Two difficult tasks were to change sheets, and get him to shower. They developed a very narrow bed supported by two foldable legs, and they placed her husband on the narrow bed to change sheets on his bed. See FIG 1. They modified the shower booth to accept the wheel chair with her husband on it so he can enjoy showers.

 

Diane Lavigne of Manchester, NH wrote “I saw your article regarding someone finding a solution for the age old problem of turning a patient in bed…and this is exactly what I experienced when I took care of my Mom. I faced the challenge of being able to turn her from side to side.” Her poignant note states further that she expects she would follow her mother’s step soon, and she would like to see an appropriate solution found. What she conceives as the solution to moving the patient from left to right while changing the sheets is shown in FIG 2.

 

Katherine Kane of Portsmouth NH emailed in with her idea of assisting patient who can walk but has hard time getting out of bed to stand up. She wants the bed to tilt up to the almost vertical position so that the patient can start walking immediately. She stated that she has hard time getting up from the bed to standing up position for walk. (This issue has been verified by an expert in bed maintenance) The system Katherine proposes is in FIG 3.

 

Justine Pallatroni, a nurse anesthetist, of North Hampton NH wants to deal with the insidious bed sore problem. Bed sore or decubitus ulcer is a very serious problem for people who tend to stay in bed for a long time. Pressure points of human body when lying down in bed receive poor blood circulation, and that is the cause of this sore. The solution is to change the pressure points physically and continuously by moving the pressure points. That is not an easy task if the patient is bed-ridden and cannot move around on bed easily. Pallatroni suggests developing some sort of bed surface that undulates in time so the pressure points will alternate and move around. She states “what the medical field needs for geriatric population is a bed that can positively effect a person’s circulation that is economical to own/rent.” I am afraid I cannot draw this system as I don’t know what it would look like.

 

Overall, thanks for the valid contribution by these people, we have ended up knowing much more of the scope and issues of the problem the bed design must tackle.

The last week’s column

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7-11-2013

The last week’s column briefly discussed three large problems that may yield many potential and profitable inventions and business opportunities. In working in the world of inventions, one has to find problems that are very large yet people do not like to work on them. This column is written largely from my experience as a 99-percenter inventor. If you read this series and maintain a scrapbook, you will get the gest of “how to invent” more or less. Avoid working on problems that are popular such as writing code for an app or something that is related to saving environment, and work on issues that are unpopular. However, there is no guarantee of success just like anything in life is.

 

The Case 1307 (April 22, 2013, A Better Bed Design) is a case that is so basic, yet contains so many difficult problems in it, and has largely defied solution throughout the history. The bed today probably is not much different from ones we slept back in the Stone Age. In fact, our bed and beds for dogs and cats is sill basically identical – they are cushions.  But, before we jump into working a solution out, let’s define the problems first. Many so-called inventors often have already solutions in their head, and try to jam it to the problem – pounding a square peg into a round hole. That is, their creative urge simply overcomes and short-circuits the process of defining what the problem really is in the first place.

 

America is aging rapidly. The population of people over 65 is 45 million live today, and will grow to some 72 million in two decades. Married or single, people of the age bracket in their twilight years want to continue living in their residence. Going to live or being sent to nursing home and/or assisted living facility is the last thing in their mind. Therefore, HOME CARE will be a fast growing activity, if not already large, in the near future.

 

In order to define the problems or issues, let’s categorize patients into three groups. One with reasonable mobility and he/she can get out of the bed, and walk around with relative ease. These people can take shower/bath, and do sanitary activities with no assistance. Second with some mobility issues, and requires assistance in getting out of the bed, walking and shower/bath as well as washroom activities. Third one is totally bed ridden and has no mobility.

 

Category I:      Changing sheets, going to bathrooms and other daily activities are done by themselves with no assistance required. The one possible problem is falling down from standing position right after getting out of the bed and walking.

 

Category II:     Due to wide range of degree of mobility of the patients in this bracket, several problems immediately come to my mind:

  1. Changing sheets including soiled sheets (See Photo 1)
  2. Washing and cleansing patient
  3. Feeding food
  4. Getting in/out of bed for exercise.
  5. Patient gradually sliding down in the bed toward the foot end.
  6. Disparity of proper bed height that are easy to work from the standpoint of spouse and/or home care worker and the height that are safe for the patient (from falling off)
  7. Some way for patient to lift his/her upper body up

 

Category III:   For totally immobile patient, the problem listed in Category II apply plus:

  1. Means to prevent bedsore – a hard and insidious problem with no easy solutions.

 

Have I left anything unmentioned? Please help me by emailing me your thought. Don’t forget to mention the town you live. If noteworthy, I will mention your opinion on the next installment. The graphic is the stepwise process of changing sheets for a semi bed-ridden person.

 

Do you think we can work together to develop a new bed for families wishing to do home care? If we succeed, there will be a significant market for the product.

I thought we should deviate a little

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6-24-2013

As July Fourth week is approaching, I thought we should deviate a little from the regular pattern of case studies and Patent 1.01. In stead, we will talk about a success story of two inventors with problem and matching solution, and beside theirs is a total “piggy back” solution as the word “piggy back” goes.

 

Here is the story: By the way, I am telling you this story as an excellent case of a successful partnership of two men now selling the product they invented worldwide, and enjoying their success. I have no financial interest present or in the future with these gentlemen.

 

I received a call from a man named George Peters in 2010. He knew I was an inventor, and he thought he and his invention partner should get together and talk “shop”. After a few months I met them in a restaurant. They showed me a conceptual model – a POC – of their invention, and they said it worked fine.

 

Al Contarino, an engineer and a part-time lecturer supply chain at BC Business School, had always wanted to make his own pizza on the charcoal fire at home. He was frustrated because buying a pizza oven would be a too much of an investment. His wife would never go for that much of an expense just to make pizzas occasionally. Around that time George Peters joined him as a friend and another inventor.

 

Two tinkered around lot, and eventually developed an oven kit that fits onto Weber Charcoal Grill. Photo 1 and 2. The device is simple. A cylinder made out of a sheet of steel would fit onto the bottom part of the grill. Then the top goes onto the steel body. The charcoal fire is lit, and the space this pizza kit creates becomes an oven. You place the pizza dough blank with various topping, and viola! Your pizza is as good as ones made by pizza restaurants. They applied for a patent, and it was granted. Now they decided to go into business selling this product.

 

Two inventors named their new company “KettlePizza”, and started their marketing and manufacturing activities in small office space in North Andover, MA. Soon they realized that the space wasn’t large enough to accommodate their production facilities. So they found a larger space in Groveland MA and moved.

 

Basically the pair went through the entire process of finding a problem, inventing solution for it, making prototype, improving it, applying for a patent, starting small scale manufacturing, designing shipping package, writing instruction sheet, pricing, advertising, attending tradeshows and set up an fulfillment system and customer service.

 

Today the pair operates a small but growing firm of KettlePizza in Groveland, MA, and employs 5 people full time contributing to the local economy. Five people are a small number, but before they started it was zero. They actually added five to the nation’s employment roster. – Applause! Applause! This is an ideal picture of a success caused by two inventors that belongs to us 99 percenters.

 

Their company now sells their pizza oven attachment through Amazon.com, and has some 45 dealers in seven countries. The pair told me that sometime in a year or so, their facility would have to be expanded to accommodate the increased volume of production.

 

Currently the pair is working on another product in the same marketplace. This product fortifies the original product of pizza oven and strengthens their offering. What they are doing is also a standard and recommended practice to buttress the single product offering, which is often vulnerable to fluctuation of the marketplace and quickly changing taste of consumers.

 

As July 4th approaches, there would be a higher demand for pizzas, and thus their KettlePizza products. I wanted to introduce the pair of inventor as a classic textbook success of doing methodically and never changing their course.

New Cases: Case 1310 Hand Cream Dispenser for People with Dry Hands

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6-17-2013

New Cases: Case 1310 Hand Cream Dispenser for People with Dry Hands

Paul Boufford of Portsmouth NH wrote in the following email: I have trouble with dry hands and was wondering if it would be possible to make some sort of hand-cream dispenser that a man could carry in his shirt pocket or the like. 

 

I imagine Paul suffers from dry hands whose skin may crack under some conditions, and, worse, may bleed. From the beginning of this column I have insisted that your first invention(s) should be of “piggy back” nature. That is not to invent a hand cream or its dispensing methods such as cream form, liquid or spray or impregnated paper. I suggest you come up with a convenient dispensing unit that doesn’t take up big space in the pocket yet not to stain the pocket with untimely discharge of the content.

 

As this column gains readership, I sometimes receive emails critical of what I describe as inventions being nothing but simple stuff with little technological contents. Well, yes I agree with the criticism. However, I have a strong belief that if a problem that has been plaguing people can be solved and eliminated, that is a solid invention, regardless if that is unique, patentable or not. The case of 1310 Cream Dispenser is based on a real problem, and therefore, that is a good case. Please note that there are many multimillion dollar projects, which are actually funded but are based on solving some questionable “problem” A good example is an airplane that also is a car. Or for that matter, a boat that can become a car, or vise versa. These projects have existed for the length of the past century and into 21st century. Yet there has not been one successful case, whose manufacturer made steady profit? They never went outside of curiosity and become practical solution. Now, let’s get back to this lowly Case 1310, and think hard, folks.

 

Patent 1.01 Abstract

What is “abstract” in the patent document? An “abstract” describes what the patent is about. It is always located at the beginning of a published patent, and informs readers the basic description of the patent. Now let’s try to write an abstract for Pocket Hand Cream Dispenser for Paul Boufford.

 

“This patent describes a pocketable miniature dispenser of hand cream for people with dry hand skin. By pressing the body of the dispenser, it dispenses a small quantity of hand cream, which the user can rub onto the hand. Its structure prevents cream to either leak advertently and soil the user’s pocket, or hardens the cream content by oxidization so as to require inordinately high pressure to dispense.”

 

That’s it, folks. It should be contained in one paragraph and never longer. By writing this abstract, maybe I have shown my hand in the design. However, I believe by now you are flexible and experienced enough to change the abstract in accordance to your design – be it a tube, a cylinder, pouch, box or whatever. You probably are thinking what are we going through this simple practice for? Well, in doing inventions the most basic things are really simple, and yet inventors often skip this phase and go right into complex description and then fall flat on their face. A tall and sound brick wall starts your laying down the first brick, yes the first one brick, and it better be well founded.

 

As you notice the abstract doesn’t define the details of your invention, PERIOD. But it does define the overview of your invention, and this prevents you from going astray. Many inventors change their inventions in the mid stream. Instead of pursuing the original definition, they change thinking either to improve or broaden the function or the target market or both. Stick with your original abstract. Go through it, and complete the invention. Next week: Details

Case 1303 Gun Case / Shield

Uncategorized

6-10-2013

Case 1303 Gun Case / Shield

As I wrote in this column last week (June 3rd, 2013), it is imperative that you 99% inventors know the knowledge boundary. In short you must know what you don’t know. Furthermore, you must be willing to admit what you don’t know. Such an event occurred last week when we announced the discovery of critical bullet entry angle (incident). It was around 15 degrees when the bullet was deflected safely with little residual harmful energy remaining. The bullet was NOT ricocheted. It died a quiet death. Now we have to find a material or combination of materials that would get the shield lighter without losing its strength. That’s when I hit the wall of knowledge boundary. I clearly admit that I know zero about material science involved in choosing the specific metal, combination with some other material and/or choosing certain patterns to dissipate the incoming bullets’ energy. So I made a call for help. Several people responded kindly with good suggestions, and I now must pursue what they suggested. This means that the case 1303 needs to be temporarily suspended till we find an appropriate answer for our question.

 

In the place of the continuing Case 1303, I now list a few problems readers wrote in to solve: Please think and think hard to solve/suggest your solutions for them:

 

Case 1308: Reverse Invisible Fence© (?): When I was walking my dog, a lady approached me to say she reads my column. She then asked me “why isn’t a reverse invisible fence available?” She explained to me that when she goes to a field with her dog, she wants to release it with no leash so it can roam and frolic freely. But, when the dog approaches the peripheral line, beyond which she doesn’t want the dog to go, the dog gets signal automatically not to jump over the boundary. It’s like the Invisible Fence© except it is portable. Can our reader work on this case?

 

Case 1309: Bicycle Tire Pressure Indicator: Many people have no idea just what the bicycle tire pressure should be and what that is now. Why can’t there be a tire pressure indicator cap in place of the dumb black cap for the air stem? This cap will change color from green to red when the tire air pressure drops below a set value. Anyone? If there are 100 million bicycles in this country, the potential market size is more than 200 million such items, isn’t it?

 

Patent 1.01 Drawings in the Patent Application

 

Draftsmen trained for patent drawings usually make patent drawings.   I advise that you are probably better off engaging such draftsperson when submitting a patent application. However, you have to have a very firm idea how our patent idea works so that you can explain to that draftsman. So let’s try to draw an old fashioned light bulb as if it were your invention. Once you get accustomed to the patent drawing convention, you feel quite comfortable in writing application in general. Draw freehand what you know about a small incandescent light bulb called candelabra as though you have just invented it. See photo and FIG 1. I suggest you practice this type of drawings up to ten different objects so you can develop eyes to details of structure as well as how the device functions. The candelabra are a small light bulb used for interior decoration of homes and not for illumination of rooms. Their wattages are usually limited up to 60W at 115V AC, and their useful life is shorter than standard light bulbs. Due to fast improvement and popularity of compact fluorescent lamps (CFL) and Light Emitting Diodes (LED), candelabra are being eliminated from homes fairly fast. However, this is a good practice item to draw. Next week: Abstract

Case 1303 Gun Case / Shield Design, Continued

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6-3-2013

Case 1303 Gun Case / Shield Design, Continued

Any new idea that you think might become an invention starts out being very easy, as it is just an idea in your head. The next step an inventor must take is to prove that this idea may work and solve a particular problem. You have to build a Proof Of Concept (POC) prototype. However, as I stated in the last week column, a POC may take many steps to get to work correctly. In the way to build a working POC, you may (and will certainly) encounter many pesky problems and they must be solved to make progress. This is where pros and amateurs are separated. In general pros know and admit his/her boundary of knowledge, while amateurs try to overcome the boundaries by doing it alone. A good inventor inherently knows knowledge boundary and will cross it by asking question to people who have the knowledge. Simply said: You must clearly know what you don’t know.

 

In the experiment conducted at the shooting range (May 24 Portsmouth Herald), we were able to discover the critical incident angle of projectile. An incoming projectile with incident angle larger than the critical would pierce through the shield, while narrower incident angle would cause the projectile to bounce off the shield. That is a fundamental purpose of this trial. Two types of test bullets were used on each angle: one smaller with .223 55 grains, and one larger with .308 110 grains. In the first test we used 14 gauge cold rolled steel plate, which failed in all angles. However, 11 gauge plate did survive at 15 degree incident angle as shown in the photo. This is a success. But, my intuition tells me that 11 gauge (1/8”) plate is just too heavy as a shield. Now I am standing at my knowledge boundary beyond which darkness prevails. I know little about material science, and technology of sandwiching various materials to strengthen the plate simultaneously lightening the weight. So I am going to request participation from our readers. If you have any suggestion based on your expertise, please email it to me ASAP. Let’s design this revolutionary shield to save troopers’ lives.

 

Patent 1.01 Dealing with naysayers

 

When you are working on an invention, you will most definitely encounter more than one naysayers. Although the major source of preventing an invention is the inventor him/herself through Paranoia, Greed and Laziness as I discussed on May 13th, you will feel surrounded with naysayers if you are starting to invent for the first time. This assault by naysayers would stop once you have one successful invention and establish a record, but the world is a cruel place for you when you are starting. So I list below what you would hear from your boss, colleagues, friends and your family members.

  • That won’t work.
  • Dumb idea!
  • Who needs it?
  • You are wasting time and money.
  • That’s been done before.

 

These naysays are hurtful, and often kill your invention before it sees the daylight. You must notice that first four naysays are not based on actual knowledge and are nothing but irresponsible wise cracks. Young inexperienced inventors often succumb to these negative comments, and quit pressing his/her inventions forward. The fifth comment probably is based on some half-baked knowledge without in-depth search, and is indeed very poisonous to inventors. Inventors must overcome these cruel naysays irresponsibly thrown to him/her without breaking down his/her passion to solve problems. I have experienced plenty in my careers. The only way to overcome is to firm up your original idea after thorough study of the problem, and gaining full confidence on the conceived solution. If someone makes a negative comment, ask for logical and factual explanation. Keep your head cool, and politely request for explanation without losing your temper. Not all naysays are ill-willed. Some are indeed valuable.  Next week, we start writing a patent application.