For our February Inventor Spotlight, we?re highlighting Howard Liles! Howard has been a member of the Edison Nation and Edison Nation Medical community since 2013!
We wanted to get to know Howard?a bit better to learn about his background and his inventing journey to date?
Where is your home town?
I am from Goodwater, Alabama.
Where do you currently reside?
I currently reside in Wethersfield, Connecticut.
What is your professional background?
Design Engineer for Pratt and Whitney
What inspired you to start inventing?
Honestly, after ever since I was little, say 7 or 8, I wanted to be an inventor. However, at that time with my?limited knowledge, I figured it was impossible to have a career as an inventor so I figured it was something that?would never really happen.
How did you initially hear about Edison Nation and Edison Nation Medical?
I actually was contacted by one of the Edison Nation Medical employees. They had come across a thesis that one of my colleagues had written based on our senior design project in undergrad at MIT. I believe this is atypical of how things normally go, but I am sure glad that I was able to connect with Edison Nation Medical and move forward.
Do you find that invention ideas come to you or do you have to go after them?
Typically I go after ideas. I love the challenge of designing solutions to problems as an engineer. It?s almost like a?puzzle. I know there is an answer out there, I just have to figure it out.
When did you come up with your first great idea?
That depends on what you consider a great idea. I had an idea for a snowball launcher that I thought was really cool while I was a freshman in college, however, that never really went anywhere. I would say that developing the design for this invention, the StandUp Walker, was my first great idea. This process originally started during my senior year at MIT, but culminated during my time at grad school at Georgia Tech.
What advice would you tell others who are either new to inventing or currently on an inventing journey of their own?
Inventing something can be a very challenging and tedious process. It takes several iterations and designs to get something truly just right. There is quite a bit of personal investment required but if you have a vision for something and an opportunity to explore, definitely pursue it while you can. You never know where your journey might end up.
Describe your experience with Edison Nation Medical to date.
My experience with Edison Nation Medical to date has been great. They have kept me in the loop on the ongoing?developments with my invention and have been very supportive of the idea.
At MIT you collaborated with a team of inventors to come up with the StandUp Walker idea – what was that experience like?
The experience at MIT was great and a lot of fun. Even in coming up with the original idea, we went through multiple iterations. It was part of senior design so there was the stress of classes and the desire to meet academic expectations, however, I truly enjoyed the design process.
The whole experience started with a challenge prompt and then we would come up with as many ideas as we could to address that and then down select the best three. Then we would come up with mock-ups that would further refine that idea in as many ways as we could, and then down select. This process repeated about four more times. The whole time we were learning and making things. Sometimes we would revisit old ideas but most of the time we were constantly trying to think of better, simpler and more elegant concepts.
Why did you invent the StandUp Walker?
Mainly, I had the general idea and while at Georgia Tech saw the opportunity to pursue it. I really felt compelled to give it my best effort to make it a reality especially when seeing my grandmother struggle as she tried to recover from a hip injury. I knew that this idea could help her. I couldn?t simply not try to help.
You’ve?decided to launch the StandUp Walker on the crowdfunding platform, Indiegogo. Why did you chose this platform to promote the product??
What are some other fun facts about yourself that you’d like to share with the EN community?
I enjoy powerlifting and playing basketball. I enjoy teaching bible studies at my church. I have been happily married to my wife Iyanna for 4 years. ?
A big thanks to Howard for sharing a bit of his story with us! We wish you luck on the?StandUp Walker?Indiegogo campaign!