I’m always thinking up ways to make life a little bit easier. Like having calibrated knitting needles and shovel handles? Or what about those slide locks on bathroom stalls that never match up? Why can’t they make the slot twice as wide as the bar so when the door slips down, it still works?
And remember those transformer toys that folded up into compact little shapes? Why can’t someone design a pickup truck that will fold up and hang on the garage wall like a Murphy bed?
I’m sure we all have ideas like that, but just don’t know how to get them out of our brains and into the marketplace.
That’s where the Inventors Association of Georgia comes in, where inventors, marketers and vendors gather to share connections, resources and advice about getting things done.
Many experienced inventors are willing to mentor, like Jan Janicek of Stone Mountain, who’s been an IAG member since 1979.
Another longtime member, Carlyen Cumbie, of Lilburn, left home in 1949 at age 16. The former plumber is spending his retirement years as an inventor, focusing on devices to make life easier for people with disabilities.
“A Vietnam vet told me how it’s impossible to wheel a chair and hold an umbrella at the same time, so I invented an umbrella holder for his wheelchair,” he said.
But the ideas themselves are often the easiest part. Getting it into production can often be a long involved process. At AIG meetings, inventors can meet up with patent agents, patent attorneys, IT experts, web designers, vendors and manufacturers who can provide support. Also, members can keep abreast of all the details of intellectual property rights and laws that change as rapidly as the new technology they apply to.
IAG Secretary Terry Sullivan, a business trainer and owner of TMS Consulting, said, “The goal is to make a transition from being a tinkerer to being a product development specialist and having a product in the marketplace. You need to become a business person, negotiate contracts, go from creating the product to marketing the product.”
As for making connections, Sullivan recalled one incident where a young woman inspired by the disasters during Hurricane Katrina was working on a rescue vest. She met a pilot who drawing from his own experience, gave her ideas for improving it with infra-red tabs, useful for helicopter rescues.
As for the cost, a mere $35/year puts you in touch with top experts in all stages of the invention process.
If you have any ideas you’d like to put out there, the next meeting is at 10:15 a.m. on July 27 at the Ramada Inn in Norcross. Visitor registration is $10 which is applicable to membership.
In the meantime, I might tinker with those calibrated knitting needles, but I think I’ll let someone else pick up on the idea of that collapsible truck.
For more info, visit www.GAinventors.org.
Susan Larson is a writer from Lilburn. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.