Posts Tagged ‘invention’

Famous Inventions: Aspartame

February 20, 2013

When you get an idea for an invention, it is easy to consider the challenges, risks, and possible setbacks you may encounter and become discouraged. However, there are many stories of famous inventions that involved all of those setbacks and challenges—inventions that people can’t imagine living without today. While many products are the result of coming up with an idea first, and then developing it, many other projects are inspired by moments in everyday life. Some of the most famous inventions have even been invented entirely by accident. Aspartame is an example of just that occurrence.

Aspartame was discovered in 1965 by James M. Schlatter, a chemist who was working on generating a chemical to assess an anti-ulcer drug candidate. He had synthesized the chemical as part of the process of artificially creating a hormone, gastrin. Unbeknownst to Schlatter, his fingers had become contaminated with the aspartame while he was working. When Schlatter licked his finger to lift up a piece of paper, he was alerted by the sweet taste of the chemical on his skin. Aspartame is 180 times sweeter than sugar in its pure form. By 1974, the FDA approved its use in dry foods such as gum and cereal, as well as approving it as a sugar substitute. Shortly after its approval, the FDA held public hearings on some safety concerns. After some concerns were seemingly confirmed for a very small percentage, the product was taken off of the market in 1975. In 1981, upon re-examining the evidence, Aspartame was again introduced into the market, in the same limited capacity as before—for gums, cold cereals, and as a tabletop sweetener. Finally, in 1983, aspartame was approved for use in carbonated beverages, its largest application to date.

Later studies revealed that aspartame, which breaks into residual components when digested, can exacerbate the condition of phenylketonuria, a genetic condition which prevents the body from properly breaking down the amino acid phenylalanine. In the United States, the UK and most other countries, aspartame packets and containers must include an indication that the product contains phenylalanine, in order to warn those who would have to consider the item an additional dietary source of the amino acid. However, for those who do not have PKU, the sweetener is safe to consume at the recommended levels. The FDA has described aspartame as “one of the most thoroughly tested and studied food additives the agency has ever approved.”

Aspartame is just one of many inventions that were discovered completely by accident. While Schlatter had a background in chemistry, without the error of having gotten some of the chemical on his hand, and without having licked his finger, he would never have discovered the famous sweetener. When you consider that, the idea that an average person could, with work and patience, develop the next famous product, is not that far-fetched.


How Davison Helped Joy Turn Her Problem Into A Successful Invention

January 25, 2013

Joy loved joining her family and friends at parties and picnics, and she often brought her famous deviled eggs.  The problem was that by the time she arrived to the party, her deviled eggs were a smashed mess.  Joy searched in stores but couldn’t find a container that held the eggs securely, so she tried a pie pan covered with plastic wrap.  When that didn’t work, she came up with an idea for an invention that would transport her food efficiently and securely.

Joy turned to Davison to help her develop her idea and create her product.   Davison listened to her and went to work developing a custom portfolio for her.  Davison is known for its strong portfolios and inventing process.  The experts at Davison designed and created the Party Traveler, a versatile product that turned out to do so much more than just transport deviled eggs.

The Party Traveler design includes a universal base and different trays for eggs, cupcakes or muffins, pies, and veggies or chips, allowing a variety of different foods to be conveniently transported.  The Party Traveler has been sold to many cooks who are grateful for Joy’s invention.

Here’s exactly how Joy turned her invention idea into a reality:

  • Joy contacted Davison and submitted her idea confidentially (confidentiality is guaranteed).  A Director of New Products called her to discuss her idea.
  • From there, the researchers at Davison reviewed patents on similar items and the other items that were available for sale on the market  All of this information went into an “Idea to Product Portfolio,” which was sent to Joy.  After that, the manufacturer to target was finalized.
  • Next was the development stage.  Joy was given a custom quote for all materials that were needed to build her product sample.  After providing her with a drawing that met her approval, Davison’s in-house team created Joy’s product sample.  Custom packaging was developed, as well.
  • At this point, Davison was able to provide Joy with all the required forms and drawings for her to file a provisional application for patent.  With her permission, they presented the product sample for licensing.
  • The Party Traveler was licensed and the manufacturer sold it through Avon and then marketed it exclusively by QVC as the “Party on the Go Food & Dessert Travel Caddy”. It has also sold in stores, including JoAnn Fabric and online at Montgomery Ward.
  • Joy began receiving royalty checks- over $47,000 in royalties.

“I just couldn’t believe it.  It has been like a dream,” Joy says of her experience with Davison.  “I would encourage anybody who has an idea to pursue it.  You have to be brave and just try.”

The typical project is not licensed, sold in stores or profitable.

Do you have an idea for a new invention?  Click here to confidentially submit your idea!

Most Famous Bedroom Furniture

October 24, 2012

Decorating the home has been an art since people decided to start hanging pictures. Throughout time, decorations have become more elaborate giving each room a sense of personality. The bedroom is not exempt from this artistic touch. Many items have been invented over the years to bring usefulness to the bedroom, aside from a place to sleep.

The Comfort of the Ottoman
A couple hundred years ago, ottomans began to take shape into the pieces of furniture we see today. Originally, they were large and wrapped around three walls of a room and had been some of the most famous bedroom furniture. Ottomans are a padded footstool or seat that usually accompanies an armchair for resting feet on. This invention gives a person something comfortable to sit on while they dress as opposed to the bed, which can leave the room in pristine condition when the person leaves. Sometimes, these ottomans will have a flip-top lid in order to store extra blankets, pillows, and other bedroom linens.

Would You Like a Blanket or Comforter
Nearly every bedroom has blankets of some kind in order to keep people warm while they sleep. Comforters, which are similar to blankets, are usually far more “fluffy” and are placed on the top of other blankets on the bed. A comforter acts as additional insulation to keep the sleeper warm, but allows breathing for a comfortable nights rest. The actual inventor of the comforter has been lost in time, but the popularity has been such that hundreds of manufacturers make them for all styles of beds.

Bedroom Vanity Sets to Accentuate the Room
There are millions of people in the world who have bedroom vanity sets. Some may have them only as decoration, while others will use them. Popularized by women, this piece of furniture allows one to tend to needs requiring a mirror while being able to sit comfortably in a chair. Essentially, this invention is an adaptation of the bathroom mirror without the sink and adding a chair. Bedroom vanities have been an elegant and productive way to add more to the bedroom.

Is it Armoire or Wardrobe?
The French armoire that we know of today, also known in English as “wardrobe”, began to take shape as early as the 1700s. The armoire could be categorized into some of the most famous bedroom furniture and has been popular for literally centuries. Previously, clothing storage was provided by chests and lockers until an upright version was fitted for hanging clothing. This kept the cloth of the nobles from becoming wrinkled. Later, drawers were added as well as small cabinets for jewelry and other trinkets. This stunning piece of furniture originally evolved from a chest, and is an example of how an invention can take shape from an existing item by modifying its abilities.

Some of the best inventions for the bedroom were developed from necessity. However, vanity and convenience lent a hand to develop many of the brilliant pieces we see in magazines and pictures. An invention for the bedroom could take shape as modifying or improving an existing item. Ingenious ideas were more than likely created when someone stood in the bedroom and thought to themselves, “you know what this room needs?”  Even trends can be created the same way as recliners and couches have made their way into the bedroom. It’s simply a matter of convenience and need.

Do you have an invention idea? Click here to find out how to submit your idea.

Roofing Tools of the Future

October 22, 2012

There’s no question that construction technology is rapidly changing and will continue to do so well into the future. Roofing technology should be no different. The roofing inventions of the future are sure to be remarkably different.

The roofing and construction industries have literally been brick and mortar entities. Until the last ten years, contractors have been content to utilize pens, paper, and bulky machinery to achieve their building goals. Today’s technology is much different, and the technology that predecessors will experience, will probably resemble items from a science fiction novel.

Today’s technology is mind blowing, and a lot of planned technological developments may be beyond the comprehension of folks who are less technically aware. It seems that we have to come to understand that many technologies will hold enormous potential for roofing and building efforts. From goggles that can display a planned projects layout from the roof to the foundation, to roofing bots capable of operating on their own, technology will continually chance the face of the roofing industry.

3D Imagery is Always a Hit
Design systems such as BIM and CAD have been incorporating digital 3D imagery into the design process for quite some time. Being able to have access to printed 3D images may be pricey, but it is a valuable tool for roofing. The ability to display an entire building and its layers from roof to the foundation can be helpful in project proposals, soliciting investors, and detecting potential defects in roofing design. Holographic images can allow for better collaboration during the building and repair process without having to create bulky scalable models.

Robotic Equipment
As technology advances, there is no doubt that many roofing projects will be implemented using robotic equipment. Eventually operators and handlers can be eliminated as robotics becomes more advanced and tools take on a life of their own. Robotic equipment will allow for specialized tasks to be easily implemented and it will provide for better safety for human construction workers.

Rose Colored Googles?
Imagine using something more advanced than Google Goggles to accomplish construction tasks and analyze construction data. This concept isn’t far-fetched. In fact, Polaroid has already developed a pair of sunglasses that can take digital images. It’s only logical that this development will ultimately lead to glasses that can take in and receive visual data. Such a tool could be used to spot potential roofing defects or weaknesses, or it could be used to envision different styles of roofing in real time before building takes place. The possibilities are endless.

It’s Good to be Green
There is little doubt that technological advances will assist roofers and construction workers in applying green building concepts to projects. Self-sustaining buildings with roofs made entirely of solar panels aren’t just futuristic possibilities. These concepts are becoming probabilities.

Roofing materials are certain to change as newer and more practical ways to process products are developed. Roofing tiles made of moss or refuse are sure to become more common. Eventually all buildings will be environmentally friendly.

Roofing tools of the future are only limited by the boundaries of human imagination. It will be interesting to see what technological developments occur over the next 25 years and how much they will change roofing practices and the construction industry.

Do you have an invention idea? Click here to find out how to submit your idea.

The Atomic Bomb

October 19, 2012

No one person invented the atomic bomb. It was designed, built, and
tested by a team of scientists. Many of these scientists were foreign born with
their only connection to each other being preeminent brilliance in the fields
of math, chemistry, physics or engineering. They were led by one man, Julius
Robert Oppenheimer, a man brilliant enough to understand what they were doing
and clever enough to be able to distill their complex thoughts into the clear
explanations the political leadership of the United States needed to hear at
the time.

Although the foundation of the bomb was, of course, the mass-energy equation
developed by Albert Einstein during his search for a theory of gravity that
made more sense to him than the linear version of Sir Isaac Newton, that
mass-energy relationship had to be manipulated and controlled for it to produce
something of value like a practical invention. That was the charge of Leo
Szilard, the Hungarian physicist charged with building the core. Hans Bethe,
the Swedish genius who conceived that the bomb was possible to make in the
first place, and Edward Teller, the German physicist who recognized how to
split the atom safely without blowing up the atmosphere in the meantime.

They all had egos the size of the project on which they were all sworn to
secrecy. How did they not kill each other in the cauldron of the greatest
engineering achievement of its time with the pressure of beating both the
Germans and the Russians to its success beating down upon them? Army Sergeant
Leo Graves stood between the science and the impending madness. His steady
barrier against the leadership demanding to know how its massive investment in
all these geniuses was panning out proved to those geniuses that they could
complete the work in relative peace if not isolation.

They accomplished their mission in three short years, an incredible achievement
considering they were using technology they themselves were inventing and
testing as they went. Yes, most inventors operate the same way. However, most inventors do not have the immense pressure of the victory or defeat of their own country
at stake with their invention.

The mechanics of figuring out the math required to make it work was daunting.
Turning a nascent theory of high energy physics into practical reality with
very little testing was astonishing to say the least. Yet, this team managed to
prove that math did indeed tell the truth and that their theories were not all
hot air.

The question for history is whether their invention was a good thing or a bad
thing. There is no question that it was a horrible one for it destroyed life on
an unimaginable scale. But, what would have been the result if it had not been
invented at all? The scale of death could have been even greater. The enemy
believed itself to be invincible even after we firebombed their entire country.
Their leadership refused to quit what they considered to be their own destiny,
their own imperialist destiny. Therefore, the invention may have been necessary
on the sole reason that it was the only way to stop a country bent on massive
subjugation of other people and massive death of those imprisoned populations.

Do you have an invention idea? Click here to find out how to submit your idea.

Most Famous Office Furniture

October 17, 2012

When it comes to a famous invention, many people don’t think of their office furniture as anything amazing. But if you’ve ever sat in an office chair that had lumbar support or those little rolling wheels to get you from your printer to your phone, then you can understand that something so seemingly simple has come a long way since the good old days. Gone are the days of hard-backed wooden chairs and simple metal tables. The most famous office furniture is simple inventions that have made life so much easier for many people.

When the roll-top desk was first invented, it was all the rage with consumers and offices around the world. People could place all their items within the desk unit and then pull the cover down to protect and hide them. Many roll-top desks came with another nifty invention- the filing space. These little drawers within the design of the desk allowed offices and users to store papers, pens, paper clips (another great invention), and other items within the space-saving area. While the roll-top desk lost its favor among consumers with the introduction of the typewriter, these desks are still used today for craft tables and home use.

A desk is not complete without a chair, and a comfortable office chair can mean the difference between a happy back or a trip to the chiropractor. When chairs were first used in offices, they were hard-backed and stiff for posture. Nowadays, chairs come equipped with gel or memory foam to offer customized support for the neck and back. Most of them sit on a single pedestal with wheels to enable them to easily slide in and out of the workspace. The most famous office furniture is arguably the office chair, and one can see how much this chair has evolved just by sitting down in one.

A few other famous office furniture inventions are the office lamp and the office phone. Office lamps now come with moving necks that allow the light to be distributed where the user wants it, and office phones have so many lines on them that they require a training manual to understand them. Office phones can place multiple people on hold so a single person can answer a variety of calls. Without the evolving of both the office phone and the lamp, office space would be far more uncomfortable to work in and less convenient.

Perhaps the most simple office furniture invention is among the most popular- the pullout shelf. These little desk shelves are perfect for storing keyboards for computers and hiding staplers, tape, and index cards. Without this invention, offices would appear to be much smaller, and the invention of space is always a wonderful thing.

Offices have greatly improved by these wonderful inventions, and continue to improve on an almost daily basis. After all, no one wants to be stuck in an uncomfortable office all day long, and office furniture today is all about comfort and versatility. Thank goodness, too- can you imagine sitting in a hard-back chair eight hours a day.

Do you have an invention idea? Click here to find out how to submit your idea.

Successful Make-Up and Cosmetics Inventions

October 15, 2012

Make-up and cosmetics have been traced back to as early as the fourth millennium in Egypt and have been helping to aid the world in beauty ever since. Whether you enjoy wearing a variety of nail polishes, or frequently changing your hair color, make-up and cosmetics have been used as a means of self-expression for years.

Appearances have always been an important part of many different cultures. Many people have used make-up and cosmetics to aspire to look their best. For people in a work-related environment, they may use cosmetics as a means of looking professional or fresh. Regardless of how you use make-up and cosmetics, they are an important part of the world and many different people’s lifestyles. So, why not strive to innovate and create the best quality in confidence building products?

When dealing with cosmetics, many females are using certain produces to enhance their own natural beauty or to enhance their less defined features. As a result, many women may tend to lean towards the purchase of products that are high in quality, which will achieve their preferred look. At the same time, in a tough economy, people are not willing to spend more than their budgets will allow. Many of the most successful make-up and cosmetics inventions are affordable, but still of decent quality.
As skin matures, it tends to secrete oils which produce an unattractive shiny look on the skin’s surface. To counteract this, coverage products such as foundations and concealers have been perfected. Most consumers prefer products that provide them with the fullest coverage, while still appearing natural. Many women have had a hard time in balancing coverage of a product with matching their skin tone.  It can be a struggle trying to find a shade of makeup that will conceal blemishes and match a person’s skin tone without going overboard in coverage. Products from brands such as Almay and Clinique offer a more natural coverage. Almay Smart Shade, in particular, has become a breakthrough invention for foundations, as it eliminates all guess work in finding a matching foundation color and provides an even coverage.

To avoid looking aged, many women to pamper their skin. Women typically try to indulge in the latest, most rejuvenating skin care products, such as Olay Regenerist or Elizabeth Arden Prevage Face Advanced Anti-Aging Serum. Natural products, containing antioxidants, tend to be more appealing to older generations with more damaged skin.  Products that remove blemishes and provide coverage tend to be a more preferred pick for younger generations. Clean & Clear products, Neutrogena oil-free acne wash and Pro-Activ have been helping to fight against blemishes for years and have served the younger generations well.

For some women, splurging with a creamy, smooth lipstick beats all other indulgences any day. Many preferred lipstick choices would include products such as Mac lipstick and Cover Girl. Others may like to enhance their beauty by using products for their eyes, especially eyelashes. For 2012, Covergirl lash-blast volume blasting mascara received a top pick award for all mascaras.

Some individuals express their own unique sense of style with different nail colors and designs.  For those infatuated with nail polish, OPI nail color provides lasting coverage in vibrant, radiant colors that are sure to leave a lasting impression. Middle aged women or more mature generations may have a tendency to lean towards Essie nail polish instead. Many younger individuals have a tendency to get creative with their nails by using Sally Hansen crackle or magnetic nail products.

Many women are willing to spend large sums of money on the most successful make-up and cosmetics inventions. The desire to purchase the latest designs in make-up and/or cosmetics comes from the belief that the most recent popular product is bound to be the best quality choice. As a result, inventors should try to appeal towards consumers’ lust for the best and brightest quality of make-up and cosmetics.  It also doesn’t hurt to offer the product at an affordable price.

Do you have an invention idea? Click here to find out how to submit your idea.

How the Winch has Evolved

October 12, 2012

One of the simplest machines used in everyday life all across the world is known as the winch. The basic uses for the winch are innumerable and the tool has evolved many times since its earliest known form in 480 B.C. during the Persian wars as they were used to tighten pontoon bridges across the Hellespont. Taking a look at how the winch has evolved can be interesting for inventors to see how even the simplest machines can be reinvented over and over again.

Inventors looking to learn from the winch can find that the winch’s evolution comes from taking a simple machine with a basic mathematical formula and making changes that improve on the biggest factors of the math. In the case of the Winch, those 3 main points that are its biggest influences are the input, output and the friction.

What is the exact definition of a winch? A winch is a mechanical device that is used to either wind up or wind down a rope, wire, cable or coil while adjusting the tension. The winch’s earliest forms were mainly used for constructive purposes as early mankind lacked the heavy machinery to lift and position large beams and blocks without using the ingenuity of simple machines with tension and other physical laws to help defy gravity. Early forms of winches included that circle of men moving around a circular device to wind up a cable attached to a stone pillar. Compared to today’s inventions of the winch, we can see an engine tied to a winch having similar pull strength to a group of 10 strong men. The input strength to winches has been one of the strongest factors that has innovated how they’re designed, from manpower to horsepower to mechanical horsepower, we’ve seen winches with even 1:1 winding strength lift tons of weight.

The output of the winch has also involved using other simple machines and mechanisms that help its total power. Hoists are in effect a pulley attached to a winch, which allows both machines to work together to defy gravity. Similar concepts are used inside an elevator as a winch is used as the output source for the pulley that raises and lowers the elevator, rather than lifting and raising the cars with just the winch.

Another way how the winch has evolved has been through the invention of gear ratios. Not only have we seen the winch gain lifting power from the power of who’s behind the controls but we’ve seen a person or machine’s strength increased by multiples. The basic mathematical equation behind the winch’s capabilities in known as the Capstan equation, which shows that increasing the friction of a cable at the base of a winch allows the pulling side of a cable to hold a greater weight on the other side. Adding in gear ratios to a winch has an even greater effect on the Capstan equation as it allows that friction to be multiplied up to several times.

The lesson as an inventor that you can take from how the winch has evolved over the course of human history is that taking the basic concept of a machine, and simply modifying the parts that influence the math the most can make a simple machine into a modern staple of life.

Do you have an invention idea? Click here to find out how to submit your idea.

Inventions That Have Helped People Improve at Tennis

October 8, 2012

Tennis has been a great game that people have enjoyed for centuries.  Over time, the equipment has undergone several changes. While equipment has evolved over the years and so has peoples’ desire to become better. Training equipment has improved. As a result, the game has become more intense. Inventions that have helped people improve at tennis vary, but some are particularly interesting.

The Tennis Ball Machine (TBM) is an invention made in many different varieties. With it, a person can practice with the same force as playing another person. The TBM offers up tennis balls at various angles and speeds, keeping the player from settling into a pattern. The TBM helps the player to develop their forehand, backhand, speed, and stamina. Some machines come with remotes for greater service. TBMs are manufactured by several different companies. Therefore, they vary in sizes and features.

Another invention is the Contact Trainer that allows the player to hit a practice ball, which is attached to a holding device. It is held at any angle by another person. The person holding the Contact Trainer can move to different places on the court, allowing for greater flexibility and variety of shots. The Contact Trainer is mainly used to perfect the serve, forehand, and backhand swings.

Many tennis players have taken advantage of the Pocket Radar. The Pocket Radar is a small electronic device that measures a ball’s speed after it is hit. It can help a player to improve their ball speed as it travels across the net. This convenient machine measures and reports ball speed in miles per hour (MPH). The Pocket Radar is accurate to within one mile an hour.

Other useful inventions that have helped people improve at tennis are the Tennis Training Aid and the Tennis Server Trainer. The Tennis Training Aid is a small machine that attaches to the forearm down to the palm. This device steadies the hand in a predetermined position while the ball is being hit. It is usually used to train the forehand, backhand, and two-handed, backhand stroke positions. It can be used in combination with other machines, namely, the TBM in stroke training, return positioning, and strengthening.

Basically, one of the hardest things to overcome is the serve. It takes coordinated skill to properly serve up a ball. The ball service is the beginning of the game. Getting points here could give a significant advantage over the opponent. To accomplish this, a Tennis Server Trainer machine may be deployed. This device pitches a ball at the correct angle and height for a hit from the player to the appropriate area across the net. The machine helps strengthen, coordinate or sync all movements involved with the serve of a tennis ball.

Removable pop-up targets are being used effectively. They can be quickly connected to the net in various places with velcro. These targets stay in place as they are not electronic. They measure 19 X 22 inches. The hole near the top is 15 inches in diameter. The trainee/player is invited to hit the tennis ball through the hole in the target. This works on the accuracy of the aim.

The Tennis Training Grip Racquet is an asset to the beginner. The trainee has to practice the proper way to hold a tennis racquet. The throat of the racquet is fitted with a special glove, which places the hand grip just right.

Inventions that have helped people improve at tennis are numerous. Whether playing for exercise or tournament, training is very important. These are just a few of several inventions that help the trainee to play an effective game.

Do you have an invention idea? Click here to find out how to submit your idea.

The History of Furniture

October 5, 2012

The history of furniture has created many opportunities for innovation. Many of the pieces of furniture we now take for granted were someone’s brilliant invention at some point or another. At one point in history, people usually sat on trunks, benches, and beds. There were no other types of furniture, and none of the others allowed for more than one person to sit at any given time. Today, almost every household has a sofa and multiple tables to the extent that we only notice when they do not. Households have started to look very different throughout the history of furniture.

Families of all economic backgrounds had one table per household, which was used for everything from eating to writing. Small tables came into common usage by the eighteenth century, so people finally had a degree of privacy when using a table. Rooms also started to achieve something further than the extreme minimalist look we would associate with most historical homes. Early tables were sometimes used exclusively for the practice of letter writing. They had hinged tops that acted as stands for books and paper, and small drawers to hold pens and paper. Many of the greatest inventions in history were the simplest ones.

Sofas are more complicated than they look. The earliest sofas were not properly upholstered, and did not make comfortable seats. Sofas with well-designed frames and plump upholstery that provided support and comfort actually enabled people to sit in ways they normally could not. More than one person could sit together at a time. There was a reaction against sofas when they came into vogue in the late seventeenth century, for being too comfortable and promoting idleness. Today, they are a staple of every household, and decorators often design whole living rooms around sofas.

Increasing environmental awareness has created a modern Eco-design movement, which may mark a new era in the history of furniture. Eco-design in furniture often involves reusing materials: at a Rio de Janeiro decoration fair, an electric wire reel was fashioned into a center table. New types of furniture are being made from reclaimed wood at construction areas. Brazil is a pioneer in eco-design that takes into account life cycle assessment, which is to say, which products and processes have gone into making something from the harvesting of its constituent materials through disposal. In the West, demand for environmental home decorations is growing, which should provide aspiring innovators new opportunities for invention.

Do you have an invention idea? Click here to find out how to submit your idea.