Posted by: Marty Fahncke | June 27, 2007

American Inventor – Review of Inventions (Episode 4)

I was a bit harsh in my comments about the inventions rejected in Episode 3, so I’m going to be nicer in my comments about the rejected inventions from this episode.  

Every inventor appearing on the show put their heart and soul into their idea, and they should be applauded for getting out there and giving it their best shot.   So to all of you, I say “good for you”!

Without further ado, here are my comments on the inventions that made it through, as well as my perspective on the inventions from an Electronic Retailing (Infomercial and Home Shopping) perspective:

Invention:  Backless Brassiere
Inventor:  Elaine Cato
Summary:   Invented by a single mom from Nashville, TN, the Backless Brassiere is a bra that does not have a strap going across the back, yet provides enough support for even large-busted women, according to the inventor.
Comments:  Many fashions today are backless, leaving very few options to women about what to do about a bra if they don’t want an ugly strap showing.  If indeed this invention provides good support, without causing back pain, it’s a winner.  From a DRTV perspective, this would make an excellent infomercial, short-form, or home shopping product.  I would recommend a simultaneous retail/DRTV launch, with the DRTV providing self-liquidating media to give the product exposure. 

The Backless Brassier was selected as the Chicago $50,000 winner. 

Invention: The Wingman (Digital dating device)
Inventor:  David Mallet
Summary:  A handheld device that allows you to find compatible people who also have the device on them when in a bar, restaurant, etc.
Comments:  This guy did a terrible job of explaining the invention.  However, if it works how I THINK it does, it uses infrared, bluetooth, or RFID technology to communication from one device to another.  Then, when you come within proximity of someone who matches your desired profile, it tells you there is someone in the room that you should get to know.  I don’t know how you figure out who the person in the room actually is.  I’m assuming it has a picture of them or something, although that would require the device to have every picture of every user loaded on it.  Not sure if that would be possible if there were millions of users.  Overall, done right this could be a huge hit.  Done wrong, it will be an expensive failure.  This one has a lot of pitfalls to watch out for, but could be successful.  It would make an interesting infomercial, as you would need the full half-hour to explain how it works. 

Invention: Self cleaning garbage can lid
Inventor: Doug Vetter
Summary: Allows you to hook up a garden hose to the top of your garbage can lid to clean it.  
Comments:  The show only allowed a few seconds for this invention, so it was difficult to tell exactly what the benefits are.  My concerns would be: #1 How does the water get out of the bottom of he garbage can? #2 A shrinking market as more and more municipalities convert to the large cans which can be auto-dumped. #3 Does anyone really wash their garbage can often enough to justify buying an additional device for the job?  Just use a garden hose! 

Invention: Vib-N-ride
Inventor: Kristin Miles
Summary: Vibrating infant card seat carrier
Comments:  If it will help a kid with colic kid go to sleep, it will be a big seller!  Not a good DRTV product, but could sell good at retail.

Invention: Baby wedge
Inventor:  Deryk Artiolli
Summary:  Invented by an 11 year old boy, the Baby Wedge is a foam wedge that keeps a babies head elevated when sleeping. 
Comments: I’ve seen other wedges for sale that help babies sleep on their sides and backs.  Not sure what the benefit of keeping the baby elevated might be, but if there is a good reason (Prevent choking, SIDS, etc.) then this invention could be a winner. 

Invention: The Claw Bike Hanger
Inventor:  David Moeller and Craig Forest
Summary: Automatic bicycle hanger / rack
Comments:  As a cyclist, I was immediately intrigued by this product.  Cycling is a growing sport, and garage organizing is a massively growing industry.  This invention takes advantage of both of these growth areas.  I would buy this product if it was PRICED RIGHT.   The hooks I currently use to hang bikes in the garage are about $3-$5 each.  I wouldn’t pay substantially more than that for the convenience of not having to lift the bike an extra three inches.   Inexpensive organizing products are HUGE in the DRTV market, and positioned right, this could be a winner on TV. 

The Claw was selected was the New York $50,000 winner.

Invention:  Ready-To-Wear Speaker Gear
Inventor: Ann Marie Bryan
Summary: Invented by a Deaf woman who grew up in a family of music lovers.  This vest allows anyone (especially Deaf people) to “feel” music going through their bodies.
Comments:  Do you remember the scene in the movie Mr. Holland’s Opus where Cole was sitting on the big speaker in the living room “listening” to music in order to enjoy the music his dad loved so much?  This device would accomplish the same thing, but would allow the user to move around and dance.  I think this invention could be wonderful for the Deaf to better enjoy something that hearing people take for granted.  This product doesn’t have mass-market appeal, so I think it is justified that it didn’t make it to the finals, but I would love to see someone invest with Ann Marie and bring this product to market.

The following inventions did not make it past the judges:

Wigberto Delgado – Urinator
Darrell Fertakos – Safety Bands (and MANY other ideas!)
John Stark – Easy Squeeze Earplug
David Skotzke – Hands-free toilet seat and lid lifter.
Weston Hinden – Snake Rake
Jessica Bilski – Marking Time
Jeffrey Bretz and Andrea Thomas – Hands-free flashlight
Chris Brooks – Remote control massager
Alvin Quiles – Skater Aid

(Want to find out how to get YOUR invention on television?  CLICK HERE for details!)

Talk to Marty Fahncke NOW!
1-888-MY-ETHER ext. 02010840


  1. HT Custom Racers – inventor Ricky DeRennaux – the winner from Los Angeles is the real deal as an inventor. Great to see a toy that lets kids build and invent things.

  2. Thanks for the negative comment, I have to respond with the obvious. My presentation was fifteen minutes they cut it to about three. Sorry I personally didn’t edit the show for you marty.

  3. Nice site keep it up!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: