Monthly Archives: June 2013

Six New ASOTV Selections

Congrats to five members (and their six ideas!) that have been selected for As Seen On TV testing! Meet the lucky inventors below, then leave a comment to congratulate them on this big step toward success for their ideas.

Kitty StallingsKitty Stallings: Born in Marks, MS, but currently a resident of Burbank, CA, Kitty Stallings has been everything from a professional singer in a band and a hairstylist, to a computer draftsman and live theater performer. It’s through this diverse professional portfolio that she has developed a tremendous creative spark. Kitty’s love for music and talent for innovation helped her come up a toy idea that should bring giggles to kids everywhere.




Andy MeekerAndy Meeker: Working to oversee props in a hit Broadway show has made Andy particularly adept at creating whole new worlds when needed. Born in Tigard, Oregon, this New York City resident has always been an idea person — he gets that from his mother — and spends his days on the set dreaming of ways to solve everyday problems. He also carries a passion for children and used his big ideas mentality to create a cool new product, hoping to encourage creativity and wonder in children, whom he feels are falling prey to a digital world.



Brandy MaraffiBrandy Maraffi: Born in Hertford, NC but currently residing in Charlotte, NC, Brandy’s membership in Edison Nation seemed to be fate. Brandy repeatedly came across articles about Edison Nation or heard the name at conferences, so decided to go to the website and take a look at the searches. That curiosity led her to find a search opportunity that was perfect for her love of beauty products and problem solving. Brandy has now created a product that helps make a common beauty process easier for women.



David Yakos

David Yakos: As an engineer by trade and inventor by nature, David loves constantly trying to reinvent the world. Starting with Popsicle stick wonders and cardboard spaceships, David moved on to indestructible dog toys and valves for NASA as a co-owner of Salient Technologies. This resident of Bozeman, MT used his penchant for creation and passion for innovation to create two inventions that have both caught the attention of the ASOTV team.



Susan VSusan Van Volkenburg: Born and currently residing in Boca Raton, FL, Susan calls herself an “accidental inventor.” As a physical therapist, Susan spends her days working with geriatric patients rather than inventing – but while one day planning to purchase an item to solve a problem for her two young daughters, Susan quickly realized it didn’t exist, so she decided to create it herself. After showing it to her engineer father, she soon realized the manufacturing challenges that had prevented the product from being created. Susan didn’t let this stop her; she decided to find a solution so the product could become available for her family and other parents with small children.

Please join us in applauding these five inventors and wishing them success as their ideas prepare for on-air testing!

ProtoTYPING: Laser Focused

One of the great strengths of the Edison Nation engineering department is that we have the ability to design and prototype products very quickly. Each of the engineers on our team is skilled in our design software, and we have an array of tools that lets us bring these ideas to life and converge upon solutions in a short amount of time. From time to time in ProtoTYPING, I’ll highlight some of our favorite tools and how we use them. For this installment I would like to introduce you to one the most important and frequently used tools in the shop, our Epilog laser cutter.


Laser technology has developed aggressively over the last 20 years, and it is easy to see why. They are very versatile and can be used for tasks ranging from eye surgery, to hair removal, to temperature sensing. They are also great for cutting and engraving a wide variety of materials which makes them great for prototyping.  Laser cutters are CNC machines that focus a laser beam through a head that can move in two directions. This makes it very easy to cut complex two dimensional shapes or engrave graphics or images.

Epilog makes a variety of different laser systems that vary in the size of the bed and the power of the laser, but the Edison Nation team uses the 60 watt Epilog Legend 36EXT. This unit gives us a 24″ x 36″ cutting area and it can cut through sheets of ABS up to 1/4″ (6mm) thick. The laser can be used in high power mode to cut through material or in low power mode to engrave text or graphics into the surface of the material. It is very easy to use, and unlike CNC mills or lathes, the laser cutter does not need an intermediate program between our CAD program and the machine to make cuts. The laser installs as a printer, so a simple print command is all we need to get the laser to cut.  While we typically make cuts from our SolidWorks CAD software, we can make cuts from just about any program including Corel Draw, Adobe products, and MS Office products too.

Since the Epilog laser has been installed in the prototyping shop, it has become an integral part of nearly all of our product development projects. While it cuts 2 dimensional profiles, with clever design, these 2 dimensional shapes can be combined in clever ways to make robust 3 dimensional prototypes. One great example of this capability was in the development of the slow-pull dog leash in season 4 of Everyday Edisons.

dog leash

The Epilog was used to cut 2 dimensional shapes out of ABS plastic that were stacked up and bolted together to get a prototype that was the proper thickness of a normal consumer dog leash. It was also used in this prototype to cut the gears and other parts that create the braking force for the leash.

dog leash 2

This activity is usually accomplished with a 3D printing solution, but on larger parts, build times can easily be half a day or more, and the laser cutter gives us parts in the matter of minutes.

The laser cutter has also been used for small production runs of plastic parts. We designed packaging for a cochlear implant for the MedEl company. They wanted to highlight the design of the implant as well as create an attractive packing to compliment its functionality. As part of the packaging we used the laser to cut hundreds of acrylic parts that were assembled into a sliding case for the implant.

plastic parts

We have also used it to create signage for the Speed Channel to decorate their sets at the race track.

Speed Channel signage

In product development, there is no substitute for iterative design. It can take minutes or even seconds to make changes to CAD designs, but it takes far more time to make the parts to test out the ideas or changes made in the design. The Epilog laser cutter helps us to cut prototyping time from days to hours so that we can do more iteration and converge on a better solution. Check out the Epilog website to learn more. There just may be a laser cutter that suits the needs of your garage or hacker space.

Why Are Some Live Product Searches Anonymous?

Anonymous search page

For the majority of our Live Product Searches, you will find the search sponsor’s name prominently displayed on the search page.  Every so often you may see a search that is hosted by a company who has chosen to remain anonymous. Why does this happen, you ask? This question has come up for us a few times over the last several months as we’ve hosted recent searches with anonymous sponsors.

First, it’s important to know that it’s never the decision of the Edison Nation team to eliminate the sponsor’s name on a Live Product Search.  All of the companies we work with are very serious about finding new innovations to develop and license and one of the key factors to the success of the ideas they choose is being first to market with the idea(s). For some, because of the nature of their industry, this is so important that they must take measures to ensure that their competitors don’t know what they have on the horizon. An example of this is our current search with a top manufacturer who is seeking new BBQ accessories. In this particular situation, this is a company we’ve worked with before and by whom Edison Nation inventors have had their ideas licensed. With this anonymous example, and for all searches we host on our site, we’re confident in their genuine effort to find new ideas from within our community.

Please know that we do understand the importance and the value of having a sponsor’s name on a search, as this allows you, the inventor, to research the company, see what they do, and analyze other products they’ve developed. However, in some cases  the “anonymous” approach is necessary out of concern for protecting what the company is developing so they are first to market and not beat to the punch on items by competitors.

Good Housekeeping Search Selections Announced

Good HousekeepingEarlier this year, Good Housekeeping and Edison Nation teamed up to find the best, undiscovered new consumer products to bring to market. Well, after receiving great product submissions from our community we’re excited to share some results!

The Good Housekeeping team has made their selections and wish to congratulate the following inventors on their invention ideas moving forward:

  • Marilyn Hilton – San Jose, CA
  • Priscilla Hawkins – Silver Springs, MD
  • Phillip Allred – Kernersville, NC
  • Frederick Robinson – Bellingham, MA
  • Elizabeth Wen-Tortora – Chapel Hill, NC
  • Peter Shaw – Southampton, NY
  • Robin Ferrante – Hartsdale, NY
  • Mai-Lis Bahr – Charlotte, NC
  • LeAura Alderson – Walkertown, NC
  • Michael Burchette – Harmony, NC
  • Gabe Gegoski – Rock Hill, SC
  • Karren Moreland – Phoenix, AZ
  • Nicholas Alcov – Arroyo Grande, CA
  • Team Talva (Don Darnell, Toni LaCava, Jane Jenkins, Chris Anderson, Sherri English)

So what’s next? The Edison Nation team will actively seek licensing and manufacturing partners on behalf of these inventors. Our goal is to turn these idea into real products available on the market. Beyond this, the Good Housekeeping team is excited to have new products that can be talked about in their magazine, blog, and within the walls of the Good Housekeeping Research Institute.

We look forward to next steps in the development journey for each of these inventors. Congrats to all!


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Meet the EN Team: Jim Powell

Jim Powell

Working on new searches, licensing deals and bringing products to market requires lots of project management. This month, meet one of our secret weapons for keeping these tasks, well… on task! Get to know our Director of Operations, Jim Powell.

Q1. What is your position and what does it entail?

A. My role as Director of Operations at Edison Nation involves project management for developing and existing products and offerings. I focus on facilitating processes and procedures that help us do a better job and look for ways to be more efficient and productive.  The projects change but the goals are to provide the best service and support that I can to help make the product or project as successful as possible.

Q2. What do you enjoy most about working at Edison Nation?

A. I really like the variety of projects that we get involved with and the level of creativity.

Q3. If you could be doing anything else right this moment, what would it be?

A.Trolling for flounder on the South Carolina coast.

Q4. What’s your top secret hidden talent?

A. I know answers to all questions, just some of them are not correct.

Q5. As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?

A. Saxophone player, but my level of talent made it impossible.

Q6. If you could live someone else’s life for just one day, who would it be?

A. Bill Gates, I could really find some useful projects for his money.

Q7. Who are you often told is your doppelganger?

A. That would be a short John Wayne, Pilgrim.

Q8. What are three things you can’t live without?

  • My Family
  • Beach Music
  • Sunsets

Q9. What’s a favorite funny EN office memory?

A. Watching Ryan and Christobal tear up the office over the years and rebuild it, kinda.

Q10. What do you think is the greatest invention in your lifetime and why?

A. The GPS. Now I know where I am going and where I have been and I don’t need to ask for directions.

Mike Chiarella Signs Licensing Deal with J&H International

Mike ChiarellaBig news for Glen Cove, NY resident and EN member Mike Chiarella! Mike has landed a licensing deal through our Insider Licensing Program with J&H International for his cooking product!

Born in Brooklyn, NY, Mike grew up in the dry cleaning business and has now turned to a career in professional sales. Aside from his work experience, Mike has kindled a passion for cooking and has channeled that love into his new cooking innovation. Initially Mike attempted to market his invention on his own, but when he wasn’t able to make the progress he’d hoped for, he submitted his idea to us where our licensing team sealed the deal with J&H.


Please join us in congratulating Mike on his accomplishment; we’re excited to be a part of his success!


 So far we’ve earned over $200 million in sales for our inventors, all at no risk to them. Is your idea the next big thing?

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Even if you don’t have an invention idea right now you can still join Edison Nation for free and learn from our community why we’re the trusted source for bringing product ideas to market.