Over the weekend, our team flew in the 25 finalists who are up for a spot on Everyday Edisons Season 5 to audition their ideas in person. The inventors stood before judges Louis Foreman, creator of Everyday Edisons; Mindy Grossman, chief executive officer of HSN; Jon Dudas, president of FIRST and former director of the United States Patent & Trademark Office; and Carolyn Forte, director of home appliances, cleaning products, textiles and paper products at Good Housekeeping Magazine.
In addition to a great group of inventors and great presentations, the weekend included a Friday night welcome dinner; special guests such as Eggies® inventor, Betsy Kaufman and Gyro Bowl inventors and Everyday Edisons alums, Brad and Melinda Shepard; a Saturday afternoon wrap party; and a few impromptu inventor gatherings in the evenings from what we hear!
If you weren’t able to watch the weekend’s live streaming sessions or follow the Twitter hashtag #EES5, visit this forum thread for photos and commentary, watch the behind the scenes and post-audition interview videos, and enjoy the slideshow below to get a look inside the fun-filled weekend!
We’ve narrowed our Everyday Edisons Season 5 Casting Call down to just 25 finalists, and on September 14 & 15, the below inventors will visit us in Charlotte, NC to present their inventions before our panel of judges! While the fate of their selection lies solely in their audition — YOU can help determine which inventor is dubbed the Season 5 Finalist “Fan Favorite”!
How to vote:
Simply find the name of your favorite finalist below and click the link – this will take you to their personal bio page. At the bottom of their page, click the Facebook “LIKE” button and that’s it!
The inventor whose page receives the most “LIKES” will receive an Edison Nation prize pack, which includes a One-year Free Insider Membership and One year of Unlimited Free Edison Nation Live Product Search Submissions! Voting ends Friday, September 21 at 12pm ET.
Want to help your favorite inventor? Click on their name and vote now! Don’t have a favorite yet? Take a moment to read each inventor’s bio, then choose your pick!
Professional background: Director of Creativity, Mechanical Engineer, and Co-Owner of product design firm Salient Technologies, Inc.
When did you begin inventing? Even at the age of 5, I noticed the world I lived in was incomplete. I set out with vision and determination using construction paper and Popsicle sticks as my medium. I began to create a new world around me, building cardboard space ships, foot-powered cars and disposable paper shoes; I entered kindergarten as an inventor.
How did your idea come about? I have tackled complex problems for NASA’s space program and come face-to-face with wild bears; but nothing prepared me for the challenge of parenting a toddler. The inspiration for my invention came from parenting my 3 children: 5 years, 2.5 years, and 5 months old. The bane of parenting is the hopeless task of somehow getting the food from a dish into the mouth of a toddler. There always seems to be something more exciting in the room than the life-sustaining nourishment sitting on a platter in front of them. Once the child finally discovers there is a bowl of blueberry oatmeal within their reach, they inevitably karate chop it, sending the colorful paste flying across the clean kitchen. I needed a fun solution for everyday use that kept food where it belonged, captured the attention of the child, and included an easy way to store the uneaten food.
If you could build anything without any budget or other restrictions (other than your current idea), what would it be? I have been able to develop and build some pretty fun things, but all had a purpose in industry. If I could build something where budget was no issue, just for fun, and the sake of education, it would be Leonardo DaVinci’s flying machine, glider, etc., and get them to the point where they could fly/function and make alternations if needed to actually work.
Why do you think you should be an Everyday Edison? I spend nearly every day of my life inventing solutions for common problems, working at what you define as an “Everyday Edison”. I do this because I am passionate about creativity and always want to invent a better world around me. I am rarely discouraged, but rather learn from prototype iterations which drive me to make better products. I am named on many patents and developed hundreds of products for other people from lines of wheelchairs with worldwide distribution; award-winning, environmentally-friendly pet toys that boast indestructibility; breakthrough cryogenic valve technology highlighted in NASA Spinoff Magazine; a revolutionary cycling power meter called the iBike Dash that is now available at the Apple Store; sporting goods that were awarded product of the year in their industry to… my next invention. On most projects I rent out my creativity to others. This time, I am excited to pursue a product of my own on Everyday Edisons!
Is there anything else you would like the inventor community to know about you? Outside of the inventing world, I keep busy in the beautiful state of Montana living in a rustic log cabin on 8 acres with my wife and three kids. I love to garden, paint, climb mountain peaks, roast marshmallows with my kids, and fly fish in the beautiful wilderness around me.
Professional background: Aerial Mapping and Karate instructor/school owner
How did you begin inventing? I was figuring out ways to seriously customize my 2001 Harley Davidson Heritage Softail Classic. I didn’t want it to look like every other cookie cutter custom. So my first invention would have been putting windows on the sides of the gas tank and then to top it off, I figured out a way to actually put led lights inside the gas tank and inside the gasoline without killing myself. I also invented a new design for a new front end and also built it. Since then I realized that I could probably come up with other ideas and actually build them.
How did your idea come about? I was trying to change a fuel line on my bike and realized there should be a solution for a common issue I experienced while doing this.
Favorite quote or joke:
My favorite quote is something my mom told me about my dad before he died. My dad liked to fall asleep watching the Super Bowl. The last Super Bowl he watched was in 1994. While he was watching it he called my mom into the room to come look at something. When she went in to see what he was talking about, my dad pointed at the TV and said, “Look at that.” When she asked what he was pointing at and he said, “Look, right there… next to the coach on the sideline…. it’s Corey.” My dad had a glyoblastoma brain tumor and it made him think that he saw me on the TV. My mom said, “Where?” and then realized the tumor was making him imagine he saw me. Then she told me what he said after still believing that I was standing next to a coach at the Super Bowl. He said: “Boy, I’ve always thought that if it can be done, leave it to Corey to find the way.” My mom told me he always felt that way about me. I’d like to prove that it wasn’t the tumor that made him think that.
If you could build anything without any budget or other restrictions (other than your current idea), what would it be? I have always wanted to build and finance a huge martial arts “college,” make it affordable for anybody, and not only give excellent teachers a place to teach, but also produce excellent teachers and give them the tools to start their own schools — or just the confidence to take on whatever they want to contribute to the world. I believe the martial arts still teach honor and other good qualities and if the idea of “trading big bucks for mediocre teaching” could be taken out of the equation then those qualities could survive. Another thing I would like to do (which is probably a little more within my reach), is I would like to design and build a unique partially enclosed trike of my own design.
Why do you think you should be an Everyday Edison?
I don’t know that I have any specific qualities that make me any different from anyone else trying to be an Everyday Edison. I’m sure the others feel the same about their inventions as I feel about mine. I love my fiancée and my daughters and winning the honor of becoming an Everyday Edison for something I created would really look good on my “hero resume” with them. I also think this would be a good way to prove to myself the words above that my dad told my mom before he died.
Is there anything else you would like the inventor community to know about you?
I love to perform karaoke, I love to ski, and I’m a fifth degree black belt in Shorin Ryu Karate, which I teach at my own tiny martial arts school, Universal Self Defense League. I’m also proud of the Harley I mentioned, which you can see here!
When did you begin inventing? When I was just a child. My Dad was always tinkering with something and I remember seeing him create a dremel tool with a brush on it and I never knew what it was. Later, I found out it was an electric tooth brush. Only one problem – there wasn’t an Edison Nation to help him back then.
How did you begin inventing?
All I can say is my dad rubbed off on me. He was always so great to let me help in the basement with all his tinkering and seemed to enjoy showing all us kids how things work. He has always been a big influence in my life. I guess you could say one of the first real hands on inventing was building illusions for magicians, figuring out how to build it and make it work smoothly and flawlessly for the productions. It’s like putting together a puzzle.
Favorite quote or joke: “Anyone can have an idea. But those who work to put meat on the bones and put flesh on their ideas are the ones who can claim the mantle of invention.” – Gene Quinn
If you could build anything without any budget or other restrictions (other than your current idea), what would it be?
You know better than to ask that without providing a non-disclosure. Ha Ha…
I do actually have a great idea to give people valuable extra breathing time during fires waiting for rescue workers to arrive to high rise buildings.
Why do you think you should be an Everyday Edison? I still can’t believe I’ve been invited. It’s so nice to finally have all my hard work pay off! It’s always nice to be noticed.
Is there anything else you would like the inventor community to know about you?
I truly love inventing and actually have two co-inventions in the running for the show; one with Toni LaCava and one with Marvin Blaine. I love to meet all these other wonderful thinkers that I have found on Edison Nation and kick ideas back and forth. I love to figure out how to make things work or even to make things work better.
I’m also very proud of my two wonderful sons, Jason and Justin Vilardi.
How did your team’s idea come about? We’re a group of closet inventors that call ourselves the “Lunar Men.” As a group, we gather a couple times a month to discuss ideas and decide which Edison Nation searches we want to tackle as a team. This particular idea was a rough idea that I presented to the group. I have a 7-year-old daughter and the idea was based on the need to be able to transport a birthday cake (or any cake), cake supplies and presentation stand to a party in an easy and convenient way. As one of the designer illustrators in the group, I tackled the 3D renderings for the concept. My first pass at the idea was too complex and had some cosmetic flaws, but with team feedback and a little help from my wife, we ended up with a really great solution.
Why do you think you should be an Everyday Edison? I think I should be an Everyday Edison because the idea that was selected is a simple solution to a common problem… and I would love for my daughter to see me on TV and understand that hard work and perseverance pays off.
Location: Wheaton, IL
Professional background: Technology, Education, Entrepreneurship, Alternative Energy
When did you begin inventing?
I’ve been inventing since at least the age of four when, lacking a spoon to eat pudding on a hike in Norway with my Dad, I famously carved a spoon out of a carrot stick. In high school I filled a notebook with invention ideas. As an adult my inventions continued to fill notebooks and fill my garage and basement with prototypes. It was only with the discovery of Edison Nation that I found a viable/low overhead outlet for my invention ideas. After meeting some Chicago-area friends who share my passion for inventing, we formed “The Lunar Men” team which has made our joint ideas submitted to Edison Nation even more viable given our complementary skill sets.
Why do you think you should be an Everyday Edison? From family stories I know that my Father and Grandfather created many inventions during their lives for which they never received any credit or thanks. Now I can’t help inventing and I have to do things differently, never content with the “normal” way – it’s just part of my nature. In this way I probably represent most Everyday Edisons – men and women with no real, viable outlet for their inventions before discovering Edison Nation. Now I find in Edison Nation and Everyday Edisons that I have a reliable, trustworthy invention partner that works within my budget and within the time constraints I have as a husband, breadwinner and father of a 3-yr-old son and 1-yr-old daughter. I’m an “everyday inventor” like a lot of people out there and if our team has hit upon an invention that makes us worthy of the title, I think we’d make great “Everyday Edisons”.
Location: Aurora, IL
Professional background: Graphic Designer
When did you begin inventing? I began inventing around 1997.
Why do you think you should be an Everyday Edison? I don’t believe I personally should be an Everyday Edison. This was a team idea by The Lunar Men so I believe the team should be considered Everyday Edisons. I feel the team should be considered because we have a unique product that is perfect for the baking market.
Location: Bolingbrook, IL
Professional background: Solution Architect
When did you begin inventing? My first idea was in 1989. It was a light for inside the cabinet, so when you opened up the cabinet the light would go on, and when you close the cabinet door, the light would turn off. It could be battery powered or connected to electricity.
Why do you think you should be an Everyday Edison? I don’t know that I should be, as there are a lot of talented people in the invention and innovation community. Sometimes you just get lucky or you team with the right people. I honestly believe that the other members of the Lunar Men (Gary, Marc, and Robert) deserve to be Everyday Edisons. They are talented inventors and good friends.
See Gary’s post-audition interview (representing Team Lunar Men):
When did you begin inventing? When I was a child, I always used to play with my Erector Set. At the age of five, I really couldn’t read, but I could build the most amazing things with my Erector Set. I knew what a nut and a bolt was and how to use a screwdriver, I even built an Erector magnetic crane. Piece by piece I constructed its massive steel frame and assembled its enormous flywheel, pistons and governor. I was and inventor.
How did your idea come about? Every day on my way home from work there’s this gigantic billboard advertising a major pest control company’s services. On the billboard there’s a house-sized toothbrush with a gigantic cockroach sitting on the bristles and I must admit it got me thinking of my own toothbrush — and then it happened! One night around 3:00am I walked into my bathroom, switched on the lights and there staring back at me was a huge Florida cockroach, and within a millisecond he was gone and the hunt was on. An hour later the roach was dead and the next day I purchased a brand new shiny toothbrush. But how could I prevent this from happening again? So that’s when I came up with my idea!
Favorite quote or joke: “Whatever can go right, probably will.”
If you could build anything without any budget or other restrictions (other than your current idea), what would it be? I have a renewable energy idea I’ve been working on for the past year that, once developed, could power a small neighborhood.
Why do you think you should be an Everyday Edison? I believe I can be a successful Everyday Edison because I am highly entrepreneurial, extremely creative and I’m smart enough to know that the success of my product will depend upon its ability to reach an enormous market share. If I am selected as an Everyday Edison, I feel it will allow me to not only continue inventing but also increase revenue streams.
Is there anything else you would like the inventor community to know about you?
I am a creative thinker; I always try to find a different way of doing work. I like to be different from others.
When did you begin inventing? I’ve had an inventive spirit for as long as I can remember. I built my first useful invention at around the age of 11. We had taken in a stray cat and bathed her. I couldn’t stand the sight of her all wet and shivering, so I built her a heated house. It was made from things I found around the house, a simple frame, some old bedding, and a hairdryer set on low. She ended up having kittens in there, and we didn’t even know she was pregnant. I found that I enjoyed solving problems and being creative, especially when I realized I could make a difference in a life no matter how small.
How did your idea come about? The inspiration for my idea was two-fold. At the time, I was a homemaker with six children including four biological children and two foster children. My foster son had special needs, and he took a different bus from the other children. His bus was never on time. It could come at any time during a 15-20 minute window which is an eternity for young children. My then foster daughter was an infant, and it was difficult for me to watch for the bus while keeping them both happily waiting. I spent some of that time dreaming of an alert system that would tell me when the bus was close (i.e. a proximity sensor) just so I could stop watching long enough to change a diaper or make a bottle. A short time later, I found a new and fun way to create a product lightly based from this idea.
Why do you think you should be an Everyday Edison? Is there anything more “everyday” or ordinary than a stay at home mom who bakes cupcakes? I laugh sometimes when I think of that as a descriptor for myself, but that’s who I am. I’m also much more, and that’s what people may not know. I wanted to be an astronaut growing up, and I was the only little girl I knew who did. I was the first person in my family to earn a college degree. I graduated with honors with one child in tow and another on the way. In the next two years, my husband and I celebrated the birth of two more children. Most of us though didn’t spend our childhoods dreaming of being homemakers, but we sometimes make personal sacrifices and press pause on our own dreams. This is why I’m so grateful for Edison Nation and Everyday Edisons. I don’t have to push the pause button anymore. I can do both.
Is there anything else you would like the inventor community to know about you? I’ve failed many times. I’ve even thought of giving up a time or two. Yet, here I am. I don’t know where I’ll go from here, or what will ever become of the things I invent, but I do know this: I’m still a stay at home mom who bakes cupcakes, and I’m proud of that. I’m also an Everyday Edisons Season 5 Finalist. Thanks for encouraging me and believing in me.
How did you begin inventing? My mom always used to ask me to fix things around the house since I was a little boy, and I always found a way to try to fix them.
How did your idea come about? I’m always on a lookout for new ideas and one day I was looking for the portable version of a particular product, but couldn’t find anything convenient, and easy to carry — so I thought of a way to create one.
Favorite quote or joke: “A man is but the product of his thoughts. What he thinks he becomes.” – M. Gandhi
Why do you think you should be an Everyday Edison? Having the chance to participate in Everyday Edisons is an opportunity to make my dream come true of one day seeing my product on a store shelf. I think that my product idea has a lot of potential and could sell very well.
Is there anything else you would like the inventor community to know about you? I’m always looking for new ideas and how they can improve our daily lives.
Professional background: Product Design Consultant
How did you begin inventing? My father was a quintessential New Englander, ww2 pilot and a field engineer for IBM. With that came his passion for solving simple or complex problems that most people would find daunting or even impossible. I watched, listened and learned.
How did you learn about Edison Nation/Everyday Edisons? A few years ago I heard a fantastic interview on NPR featuring Louis Foreman and Betsy Kaufman and thought, “WOW! – why am I not doing this?!
Favorite quote or joke: From my daughter when she was three: “Hi, is everything wrong?”
If you could build anything without any budget or other restrictions (other than your current idea), what would it be? I would build a modest seaside home in Maine with my own tricked-out idea factory.
Why do you think you should be an Everyday Edison? Well, anyone with a good idea can be an Everyday Edison. I’m a little different because I design and develop products for a living anyway – that gives me some insight as to whether my submission, if produced, has the potential to be successful or not… I think it does
Is there anything else you would like the inventor community to know about you? I enter my own products into the searches, but I’ve just posted an ad in Inventors Digest to start helping others make their ideas real so they can present to Edison Nation with confidence.