Assignment 6:

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A quick recap of my top 10 ideas from last week as a refresher.
Screen Shot 2013-12-04 at 12.03.53 AM.png

  1. Windshield Film
  2. Conductive Wire Lights
  3. Reel Lights
  4. Bike Lane Lightstrips
  5. Segmented Rod Lights
  6. Blind Lights
  7. Breath Warmth Dispenser
  8. Water Activated Colored Salt
  9. Lighted Collar
  10. Passive Wipers

This week we are looking at evaluating these ideas. To start I conducted a little benchmarking, polling a number of my Facebook friends through a survey about the ideas. For each idea I asked seven questions:

  1. "What do you think of this product?"
  2. "Would you use this product?"
  3. "Would someone you know use this product?"
  4. "Could you see yourself buying this product?"
  5. "How much would you pay for this product?"
  6. "Any other comments about this product idea:"

I took the data from the responses and put together some visuals. I started by looking at right at the values placed on the ideas in how much those surveyed would be pay for the product(blue). Then I realized that some products would cost more or less just based on the materials and functionality, not necessarily based on the innovativeness or usefulness. To account for this I added in two more bars, one for would buy(red) and one for would not buy(yellow).Screen Shot 2013-12-04 at 1.20.25 AM.png

After analyzing the data, I decided to do a quick search online to see if there were any products out there that essentially do the same thing as my ideas. Based on this research:

Already Done:
Windshield Film
Lighted Animal Collar

Not Done:
Conductive Wire Lights
Reel Wrap
Bike Lane (forms have been done)
Segmented Light Rods
Light Blinds
Breath Warmth Hat (Humidifying before breathing has been done)
Water-Activated Colored Salt
Automatic Windshield Wipers (passive when car is off)


Based on this initial google search, I narrowed my options down to eight. Based off of data collected in surveys I picked five finalists. That are:

  1. Water-Activated Colored Salt
  2. Screen Shot 2013-12-04 at 8.58.29 AM.png
  3. Automatic Passive Windshield Wipers
  4. I also came across the Rain Tracker rt-50a, which is an aftermarket add on for cars. This is irregular, as most of the product in this field currently is installed in manufacturing. As far as I can see there hasn't been any that work when the car is off.
  5. Lighted Bike Lane
  6. Screen Shot 2013-12-04 at 10.28.44 AM.png There has been a lot done in this area on the side of the cyclist, using a light that puts out a range on the cement to ward off drivers. The problem with this is that it targets the cyclists that already have lights and night time biking gear. The area I see for improvement is in the broader area of all bikers. Portland and Seattle have done a little in the way of prototypes and reflective gear.
  7. Conductive Wire Lights
  8. Screen Shot 2013-12-04 at 10.49.36 AM.png Exploring the space I couldn't find anything that did exactly the same thing, so I explored the space more generally, from how I imagine the electronics working to lights that are similar in style to what I'm thinking.
  9. Reel Wrap Lights
  10. Screen Shot 2013-12-04 at 11.02.22 AM.png There is nothing that inserts a layer between each wrap of light to improve the ease of taking them off at the beginning of the holiday season. I think there is room for innovation there.

Patent Search
Next I did a patent search on the ideas presented to find similar ideas.

  1. Water Activated Color Changing Salt
  2. There is a golf ball that changes color when submerged in water. In different iterations it either stays permanently colored, or just when it is submerged. This is the type of effect I'm imagining. (link)
  3. Automatic Passive Windshield Wipers
  4. Of course the patent for this one is the automatic windshield wipers. (link) This doesn't specify for during non-operation of the vehicle as I imagine it working.
  5. Lighted Bike Lane
  6. I found a chinese patent for a device that connects to the bike and displays a lane similar to what the LightLane above does. (link)
  7. Conductive Wire Lights
  8. An old patent, circa 1980, talks about having a central hub to control individual lights, but also be able to control the lights individually, which is what I intend to do, but the patent has all lights permanently connected. (link) I would intend to have the lights individual, but once wired, be controlled by a central source.
  9. Reel Lights
  10. There is a patent on the basic spool for winding strings of lights. There is a lot of room for innovation around this patent. (link)

Concerns and Estimates


  1. Water Activated Color Changing Salt

  2. My biggest concern is that this deals in a more chemical realm than a product realm. It would require major research to find a feasible solution. A base estimate for manufacturing is very hard to come up with this because it depends solely on the additional chemicals, which I can't identify at this point.
  3. Automatic Passive Windshield Wipers

  4. Biggest concern is that this may have to be done at the car manufacturing level rather than the consumer level because of the complexity of installation. I estimate the cost to manufacture as a small motor, a basic sensor, and a circuit board, which if produced in bulk, could be done for $10.
  5. Lighted Bike Lane

  6. My biggest concern is that the angle I'm looking at for this project is at an infrastructure level, which would require major commitment from a municipality, and that could be difficult. Individual lights could be done very cheaply, as you'd need an LED and basic circuit board. Possibly also a sensor or solar panel depending on choices for functionality. Again, in bulk, this could be done for less than a dollar.
  7. Conductive Wire Lights

  8. My biggest concern is the acceptance of conductive wire. The estimate is two strips of metal separated by a small piece of non-conductive material, probably a plastic, then individual lights. The lights could be done on the order of a couple cents a piece, and the wire with power source would probably be around $5 for material for a roll.
  9. Reel Lights

  10. My biggest concern is the competition. Others do a simpler process, but do it very cheaply. The product has to be exceptionally better. The estimate is a small amount of injection molded material, and a relatively durable plastic sheet to separate layers. The material could probably be obtained for $1, and the labor of putting it together another dollar, putting manufacturing at $2.

After researching the ideas, there are a couple I'm very excited about pursuing in the coming weeks!

2 Comments

Hi Zach,

I like that you did a brief recap of your ideas at the beginning of your post, and provided the visualization of the survey you conducted. I wish you only specified how many people participated and how many of them would like to spend some money on each idea. 2x2 matrices could include a bit more examples, and I suppose we’ve been expected to specify the price for each product.
I 100% agree with your observation about the reel wrap lights lacking an insert between layers.
I’m glad you were using Google patent search website, it seems to be more user friendly than the US Patent & Trademarks Office website.
I think you could push yourself a bit further and provide more details about how you made the estimations. How did you come up with $10 for your Automatic Passive Windshield Wipers idea? Overall, I like your ideas and this post.

First off, I think you did a relatively good job of presenting your information - the numbered lists do a lot to help. However, it think you could have made headers bigger (perhaps all caps) and used spacing to make the post a bit easier to digest.

Doing a quick web search for the products to make sure they've not been already invented was good. I oddly didn't think to do this, even though Barry mentioned it. I think that using the same method of comparing products for each idea might have been nice, if only for consistency's sake. However, I understand that each product search probably worked better with a different method.

Your products are all interesting, although I have concerns about a couple. The light reel has certainly been done, so I feel like you should have a better understanding of how your innovation (the layers) would work. Also, I'm not sure of the benefits of the passive wipers, and I'm worried about the impact on the car's battery.

Nonetheless, a good post!

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This page contains a single entry by fadne019 published on December 3, 2013 11:48 PM.

Assignment 5: was the previous entry in this blog.

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