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.
See David’s post-audition interview: