Ever found yourself with a dead cell phone battery and no electrical outlet in sight?
A New Richmond couple hopes it has the answer for such situations.
Adam Boyer and Jacqueline Smith have contracted with an inventor's consulting service, InventHelp, to pursue an agreement to manufacture a hand-cranked cell phone charger.
Boyer said he thought of the idea a couple years ago when he needed to make an emergency call but his cell phone was dead.
When he began thinking about major disasters, such as Hurricane Katrina, when power can be out for days, Boyer thought he'd really stumbled upon something. People would be able to stay in contact even when electricity was no longer available.
"I figure this could save some lives," he said. "And with everyone having an emergency road kit in their cars today, I thought it would be a great thing for people to have in their cars."
The idea is to manufacture a portable charger, with an attached battery backup, at major retailers, electronics stores and on the Internet.
Boyer said the charger's design would be simple and it would be easy to operate, which would be attractive to more customers.
Boyer said there is at least one portable cell phone charger already on the market today, but he feels it doesn't operate in an efficient or effective way. He's convinced his invention would create the necessary charge that will help out cell phone owners in case of an emergency.
"I've had positive feedback on the idea from everyone who has heard about it," Boyer said.
The challenge, however, is actually bringing such a new product to the market.
"It's not very cheap to try and get something pitched to companies," he said. "If you try and do it on your own, more than likely they won't even talk to you."
That's why Boyer hired InventHelp. The Pennsylvania-based company assists inventors by creating marketing materials, pitching the ideas to manufacturing companies, developing manufacturing agreements and filing patents, according to Nicole Hait, director of corporate communications.
"It speeds the process of an invention up and it opens a lot more doors," Boyer said of InventHelp. "And if a company requests a prototype, InventHelp will create one at no cost to us. That saves us a lot of money."
From 2007-09, InventHelp worked with 5,336 clients. Some 86 clients have ended up receiving licensing agreements for their products. Boyer said he hopes his product will soon become one of the success stories.
Boyer's and Smith's project is in the process of being pitched to trade magazines and companies that may be interested in manufacturing the product.
Boyer, who currently works at Preco Inc. in Somerset, said he's being patient as the pitching step works itself out.
"It's a long, drawn-out process," he said. "You're just trying to get people's attention. Some of the best ideas can take upwards of seven years to succeed."
As an example, Boyer said, the inventor of the Super Soaker water gun didn't have immediate success. After years of pitching the idea, that inventor eventually struck it rich.