Near the beginning of this episode, Peter, mentioned there were “four criteria they are looking for as judges”. Six episodes into the season, it would sure be nice to know what the criteria might be. I’ve been reading a lot of other blogs about American Inventor, and many people have been at a loss to explain why the judges have made the decisions they have made. Note to the producers of American Inventor…next season, start the first episode with an explanation of the criteria the judges will be using!
Without further ado, follow is my review of the inventions featured on American Inventor, from a standpoint of their marketability in the DRTV market, which includes Infomercials and Home Shopping.
Inventor: George and Denise Tucker
Summary: Tea brewing basket that fits into any automatic coffee maker, retrofitting it to allow it to brew tea in a coffee maker.
Comments: Tea is a huge market right now, and this is truly a novel concept. Since it utilized the heating element of an existing coffee maker, the cost of goods should be fairly low. One downside I can see is that the number of SKU’s necessary to fit in all the different brands and sizes of coffee makers will be a cost, inventory, and ordering nightmare. No retailer is going to stock ALL of the model options necessary, and from a DRTV standpoint, the ordering process may be a long one. I can hear the operator now… “OK sir, please go look at your coffee maker and tell me the brand and model number.”
Caller: “Aaaarrrggghhhh! I turned over the coffee maker to look at the model number and got burned by hot coffee!!!”
The EZT4U was chosen as the $50,000 Tampa winner.
Invention: Square Cake Cutter
Inventor: Bobby Lee Grissett
Summary: A grid-like cake cutter that allows you to cut a large sheet cake in a matter of seconds, while creating equal portions of what you are cutting.
Comments: Not a DRTV product, but it’s a great, simple idea that could have application in several markets, including commercial food service, schools lunch rooms, catering, etc. The judges passed on this, but I think they blew it. In the right market, this should be a successful product. I wish Bobby luck in the future.
Invention: The Voice Inside
Inventor: Christopher Khanoyan
Summary: A portable voice-to-text and text-to-voice device that uses voice recognition software built into a mobile phone/pda (drawing looked like a Sidekick) to facilitate a conversation between a Deaf person, and a hearing person.
Comments: I don’t know what it is about Deaf inventors on this show, but I’m SO GLAD to see them! As the father of a Deaf son, it’s really inspirational to see these Deaf inventors pursuing their dream, and I thank the producers of American Inventor for selecting each of them to highlight. As far as the invention goes, I think it is a totally doable invention, especially today. Mobile devices now have full-blown computer operating systems, voice recognition software is becoming more and more accurate, and electronics are getting smaller every day. The judges did not select this invention as a $50,000 winner, which is not surprising, since it is a niche product. I do hope Christopher continues to pursue his dream, and finds a way to bring this product to market. It will change a lot of lives for the better.
Inventor: Marcus “Sandy” Wall
Summary: Invented by a 21-year SWAT police veteran, it blows open a door without a cop having to actually stand in front of the door with a battering ram.
Comments: This is a brilliant invention, and probably will save lives. Certainly not a mass-market product, but one worth pursuing. This product was selected as a city finalist, but was not a city winner. However, I’m hoping the exposure from the show will help Sandy find an investor to develop this invention and get it into the hands of the cops who need it.
The Wrapaway, invented by Joe and Mike Miller was chosen as the Houston $50,000 winner. I’m surprised at this. As I posted in my review last week, the idea really isn’t that novel, and many similar devices are out there. Oh well, it does have potential, and as I said before, this invention could be good in DRTV.
Turned down by the judges:
Square Cake Cutter – Bobby Lee Grissett (See comments above)
Love Test (The song) – Rose Feller
Smart Potty – Shirley Blount
Electric Fingernail Tool – Kevin Gilg
Automatic Meat cooking device – Bill Guess