January 22, 2017

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Monday, December 1, 2014

Inventors and the People that Hate Them

Did you know that 1 million people suffer from bedsores annually?

Sounds painful, doesn’t it? Fortunately, 73-year-old David Jurus claims he’s found a way to prevent them completely.

While volunteering at a hospital, he watched on in horror as a patient suffered from excruciating bedsores. But Jurus wasn’t going to just sit back idly to watch someone suffer. That’s because Jurus is an inventor.

Technically, he’s a home-remodeler. But his passion is invention.

He went to work in his garage, tinkering for months, and finally came up with the AutoMedic Pressure Relief Bed.

The objective of the AutoMedic Pressure Relief Bed, according to Jurus, is “to take the pressure off the small capillaries, the tiny blood vessels, that get blocked and create the sores.”

It doesn’t look anything like a typical hospital bed. According to Phil Kadner’s profile on Jurus, the bed “resembles a xylophone, with 72 sponge-foam pads that look like slats spread across it. The slats move vertically in groups of 18 each, alternating going up and down by about 2.5 inches. All of the pads, operated electronically, change position every two minutes.”

The bed, Jurus says, can be built for half the cost of an orthopedic bed. But he’s still in need of funding, in order to study the effects and advantages of such a bed in a medical setting. “I know this thing will work” Jurus says. “But I need a grant, some research, to prove that my theory will work. Actually, I know it will work. I just need some financial help.”

The problem is common, and a bit sad.  Anyone can come up with an idea. In fact, a lot of people just like Jurus do. But the funding to implement a plan, to bring an invention to life, is far more elusive. It might be why competitions for inventors, like the one Jeff Burns won in yesterday’s story, have become so popular. It’s a chance for your idea to be examined by experts, a chance for your invention to rise above the fray.

(NOTE: If you are an inventor looking for some funding, I found this article that provides some great tips.)

Let me quote Kadner’s article once more.

“Inventors take a lot of flak, a lot of abuse, and some people call us crackpots,” [said Jurus,] who had previously created the Potty Caddie, a device to alleviate the odor common in household toilets. “I’m willing to put up with all that abuse if I can bring something socially redeeming, something great into the world.”

That one made me stop and think.

Inventors take a lot of flak? Really? I always thought inventors were pretty cool. Granted, when I think of inventors, an image of Christopher Lloyd, hair white and frazzled, pops into my head. Of course, Back to the Future‘s “Doc Brown” might be part of the problem when it comes to the notion of inventors-as-crackpots.  But this idea, that there’s a stigma against inventors, it intrigues me. And since tomorrow marks the end of our Inventor’s Showcase, I figure this is an issue I should address.

A quick search for “Attitudes towards Inventors” yielded very few items of note or promise. But it did unearth a few findings:

Looking at this poll, only 46% of the poll’s 1075 respondents took an “active interest” in inventions. And 65% of respondents believed that “there are too many inventions that are just gimmicks and do nothing to improve life.”

So not everyone is interested in inventions, and some believe that a majority of today’s inventions are superfluous.

Okay fine. But where is all of this supposed malevolence towards inventors? Does it exist? Luke Johnson seems to think there’s a definite ambivalence, according to his opinion piece:

“Society has a curious attitude towards inventors. Their brilliance over the centuries touches all of our lives in countless ways, yet we mostly take their efforts for granted. Indeed, more often than not in Britain we caricature them as eccentric boffins, like Caractacus Potts in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. This ambivalence is a mistake; to me, they are perhaps the greatest heroes of all.

Taken for granted, maybe. Still, I find it almost impossible to believe that inventors are looked down upon in our society. Granted, it takes a special someone to be an inventor. Maybe even a slightly crazy person with equally crazy hair, if Back to the Future is to be considered a legitimate point of reference (It is).

Perhaps the problem lies in the issue of funding. Being rejected for funding, having your idea fundamentally ignored, day in and day out, by the people with cash, the people with the power to make your dream a reality, it can definitely start to feel like the world is against you, like you’re part of a tribe that’s always getting the short end of the stick.

One thing I know for certain: the next time I’m at a party or event and someone asks me what I do for a living, I will tell them I am an inventor. If they ask,  I will list off several mundane and inessential inventions that I’ve created, and I will gauge their reaction. Even if this doesn’t prove anything, it will at least give me something to talk about.

But what I really want to know is what you think. Leave a comment. Tell me your opinion. Do you look down on inventors? Do you consider them modern-day heroes? Do you even care?

Inventors, do you feel spurned by society? Idolized? Ignored?

Personally, after covering incredibly unique devices and contraptions for the last month, there’s no way I can’t have a deep respect for these people.

Two days ago, a friend was visiting me from out of town. He asked me, “Do you ever feel like your mission in life is to create one thing, one product? Something so obvious and useful, something that, for some reason, hasn’t been invented yet?”

I didn’t even miss a beat. “No,” I told him. “But I love writing about people like that.”

And I do. Tomorrow, our month-long Inventors Showcase will be coming to a close. We’ll wrap things up by chatting with inventor/entrepreneur Marc Newburger.

Resources

“Inventor Made His Bed and Lies In It Too” by Phil Kadner

“Turning an Invention Idea Into Money” by Mary Bellis

“Attitudes Towards Inventions” Poll Results

“Inventors Are Our Greatest Heroes” by Luke Johnson

“New Inventions – Advice, Tutorials, and Tips” by Mary Bellis

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  • http://www.ashortwave.wordpress.com shae

    No one I know has ever invented anything, so I can’t help but see inventors as a special rare breed of genius. Every good inventor probably has a few crack pot ideas, but so do the rest of us. Right??

  • http://www.helplite.com Ian

    I invented the HELPlite, and after about 10 years of trying to get it to market, I had to declare a white flag and give up. I re-designed the website so that all it is now is a spot for other failed inventors to post their sad sack story. Also , I am making some pennies off of the ads on the website, so fell free to check them out and tell your friends. Thanks :
    Ian

  • http://www.helplite.com Ian

    I forgot th add the website link :

    http://www.helplite.com

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  • http://www.thinkofthat.net/blog benjaminchristopher

    @shae– yes. everyone has a few crack pot ideas, but as Marc Newburger says in my interview with him today, an inventor doesn’t necessarily make an entrepreneur.
    @Ian- I’m sorry to hear about the HELPlite. I looked at your site, and look forward to reading some anecdotes from other inventors. Let me know when it’s up and running, and in full swing.

  • http://www.helplite.com Ian

    Thanks Benjamanchristopher, the remnants of the helplite website is pretty bad I admit, but I have to laugh about it. I literally tried everything to get it to market, and I was ready to discard the whole website qand everything. Then I cencked into Network Solutions and they offered me a host package with a site design package as well. I decided to try my hand at web site design. I can’t officially sell any lights as I will be audited again, so if anyone really wants them I am offering to sell them in cases , I still have about 1500 of them in storage..
    The idea for a site for others to share their story came as as result of my reading that about 80% of all inventors never get anywhere. I want to hear some stories, but so far, I got none.
    Thanks for taking the time to respond and to look at the site . Have a great Holiday Season :
    Ian

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  • http://eaglesjerseys.tripod.com/ lerriinrn

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    Carling Cup Round Three: Arsenal dump Newcastle, Manchester United crash out, Chelsea, Liverpool and Blackburn energy through
    A roundup of the midweek Carling Cup Rounded 3 matches:

    Tuesday 25 September 2007
    Arsenal 2 Newcastle 2
    I didn’t watch the particular match, instead deciding to tune in with an audio stream nonetheless it sounded darn excellent from an Arsenal standpoint. Newcastle fielded a pretty full strength side and I disclose, I was worried. Possessing reached the final final season, I noticed where the optimism originated in but I didn’t believe it all too a good idea to favour us in opposition to Newcastle, who would be going for that Carling Cup all guns blazing. As expected, our own line up was a mix of back up members of the first team and younger players we don’t take a look at too often – the likes of Eduardo, Diarra, Fabianski, Traore, Denilson, Walcott as well as Bendtner playing a part. The other half saw all of us fail to find the web time and time again as we elevated the pressure. It looked at one point that this was going to be an additional case of deficient that edge before goal, that was till two late goals were fired earlier Newcastle, one from Bendtner as well as the other a screamer I am told from Denilson. That is brilliant news and merely demonstrates the degree we have at Strategy in the squad, an absence of depth being a complaint constantly thrown from us.
    Blackpool 2 Southend 1 (aet)
    A Blackpool side who find themselves ninth place in the Championship step six changes in planning of facing league one outfit Southend. Having seen many an error in the goalkeeping department of late (and I know how they must experience on this one, what with being able to boast we’ve got Jens Lehmann in our squad) Rhys Evans was given a chance between the stays, a decision that rapidly went the way of Southend for just six minutes within he was at problem to give away a penalty, which usually Southend’s Matt Harrold easily transformed. Finally, after numerous spurned chances, Blackpool got his or her equalizer in the 80th minute Cheap NFL Jerseys by way of Scott Vernon, taking the match into extra time. It then searched set to go to penalties until a late goal, scoring delayed goals being a recent habit of Blackpool’s (the Toolbox comparisons continue,) had been scored by skilled defender, Jackson.
    Burnley 0-1 Portsmouth
    Portsmouth had most of the chances, many of which fell to Nugent, nevertheless it wasn’t until the 69th moment of the game the 0-0 deadlock was damaged, Nugent latching onto the ball from Mendes and firing home into the far corner with the net. The goal wasn’t without its debate, for it was experienced Burnley that Nugent had employed his arm to create the ball manageable but it was rightly given by the referee and so Burnley’s complaints were to no avail.
    Luton 3-1 Charlton (aet)
    Joe Padrew had always said he wasn’t as well fussed about the Carling Cup knowning that promotion was the only real priority. He made 15 changes to the team that beat Leicester in their last league light fixture. Even so, Charlton took charge inside only 4 minutes, Dean Sinclair the man to hit the mark, before Luton held their slow recovery. It was Steve Robinson who forced more time for Luton before they finished the job together with another two strikes – courtesy of Mathew Spring and also Drew Talbot.
    Manchester Area 1-0 Norwich
    More late goals, in this instance Georgios Samaras being the anyone to score, and in the 89th minute too. In what I’m told was obviously a less than enthralling knowledge, the 6M signing, that Sven attempted to off load to Middlesbrough in the summer, can have done wonders with regard to his confidence achievable strike. He in fact hasn’t scored since January for City and even though he was not playing much, that type of drought is likely to affect your self-confidence.
    Reading 2-4 Liverpool
    Fernando Torres we had not been played in Liverpool’s previous two Premier Category encounters, with thanks to Rafa’s rotation policy, both of those encounters concluding in frustrating attracts. Torres perhaps proved in opposition to Reading that he should have played in those game titles, as he scored his first hat trick for Liverpool to beat Reading in a enjoyable 4-2 result.

    Sheffield Utd 5-0 Morecambe
    Sheffield United cleaned past their competitors with seeming relieve, two a piece netted simply by Luton Shelton and Billy Sharp while Lee Hendrie scored the opposite. Not all’s recently been going right of late for Sheffield Utd, what with several players having been revealed the door in the Summer however a 5-0 win will help them to regain a few confidence, no matter whom the opposition.
    Gulf Brom 2-4 Cardiff
    In an entertaining initial half, at least in which Cardiff were concerned, your away side ended up 4-0 ahead with only thirty minutes gone, together with much thanks to Robbie Fowler, Jimmy Floyd Hasslebaink as well as Trevor Sinclair, its aging ex lover Premier League megastars. West Brom fought back again but their two efforts were only comfort and ease goals. West Brom’s first defeat at home in 2010.
    Wednesday 26 June 2007
    Aston Villa 0-1 Leicester
    Martin O’Neill endured defeat by a past club, Leicester, in another tie decided by the single goal, this one put away by He Fryatt. Villa made adjustments to the side that conquer Manchester City on the weekend but still considered they could put one particular over on a aspect lying 21st inside the Championship. They could not this transpired and as a result are already sent home early, virtually any League Cup aspirations they harboured now burned to ashes.
    Hull Area 0-4 Chelsea
    It’s hard in order to criticize Chelsea for a 4-0 victory and at the same time frame hard to praise all of them. They met hope is a better way of placing it. The game has been memorable for both Scott Sinclair and also Avram Grant – Sinclair nicking his very first senior goal as well as Grant his 1st win at the membership. The rest of the score page was made up by a Kalou double and a Steve Sidwell finish. The bad reports for Chelsea is Wright-Phillips was taken off having a knee injury, which doesn’t sound hugely serious, if it’s any consolation.
    Sheffield Wednesday 0-3 Everton
    James McFadden along with Yakubu made up the scorers below to give Everton a comfortable pass into the next spherical. From the sounds of things, Everton were never at threat and have been always expected to earn the game, which they accomplished it.
    West Ham 1-0 Plymouth
    Dean Ashley, who recently provides highlighted himself as an England option in light of injuries to each Michael Owen and Emile Heskey, is considered to have scored a stupendous winner late on, in the 2nd moment of injury time in truth, in another link that was only in the dying minutes prevented from going on to extra time. More nice thing about it for The Hammers is that Scott Parker made his debut. He’s a good player as well as West Ham may benefit from his go back.
    Blackburn 3-0 Birmingham
    David Bentley, He Derbyshire and Roque Santa Jones got in one of the scorehseet for Blackburn, against fellow Premier League opponents Birmingham. You get the sense that having made eleven changes from the side that held Liverpool to a pull at the weekend, Bruce had no plans of using cup seriously, preferring it would seem to concentrate on the Premier League strategy ahead.
    Fulham 1-2 Bolton
    In a sport that was taken to extra time, Bolton finally forced the actual winner, much on the delight you would picture of Bolton Boss Sammy Lee who’s struggled since yet to complete the boots of their predecessor, Sam Allardyce.
    Man utd 0-2 Coventry
    Now there’s a credit score I’ll bet you won’t notice too often. Ferguson sent out a tender Man Utd result as well as Coventry gladly repaid his faith with a 2-0 triumph, to which no one must be all too bothered about. You Can’t consider it which is not a shock exit, it really is after all the carling mug and Fergie was never going to take it too seriously.
    Tottenham 2-0 Middlesbrough
    Relegation battling Tottenham (oh generate an income love saying that!) been able to beat Middlesbrough though it’s improbable to be enough to relieve the pressure on Jol to perform should he are not able to repeat the triumph in future Premier Little league fixtures. Gareth Bale and Jeff Huddlestone were the scorers.