Friday, November 23, 2007

CC Project 8 - Visual Aids - Got an idea? Patent it !

CC - Project 8: Visual Aids
August 8, 2007


Good Evening Toastmasters. Who invented light bulb? Thomas Edison. Who invented telephone? Graham Bell. Who invented aircraft? Wright Brothers. Well, we all have or had opportunities to become popular like these inventors. We might have thought about, imagined or dreamed about ideas that could've benefited the whole world. But, we weren't persistent enough and committed to make our ideas a reality. I am one such individual. Today, I am going to talk about the 3 ideas that I missed to patent.

Also read: Competent Communicator Speeches (Projects 1 - 10)

Idea#1 - Wireless Keyboard & Mouse

I thought about this way back in 1995. We had a local area network in our LAB. We had about 25 PCs connected to each other using co-axial Ethernet cables. The lab was so congested and we hardly had any space between the terminals. There will be cables running all over the table for network connectivity and to connect devices like mouse, keyboard & VGA monitor. The specialty of our network is - if the Ethernet cable is slightly distorted from any workstation, the whole network will be down. Quite often, some one or the other will try to repair their mouse or keyboard connection to the workstation and that would disturb the Ethernet cables. The whole network will be down.

I used to think - working in the lab will be lot more peaceful if we have wireless keyboards and mouses. Wireless keyboards/mouse became very popular in late 90s. Thats when I realized that I should have patented my idea.

Idea#2 - WiFi in Car

This is a cool idea. What would you do if you are lost in a high way and you don't have a mobile phone with you? In my country, there will be a number of shops close to the highways. If you are lost, you can stop by any of the shops and get the directions for your destination. However, in US you have to take the next exit, find a gas station & park your car to get directions. I thought it would be nice if we have WiFi in all the cars. If you are lost, you can communicate with the other cars in the road to get driving directions.

Also, the WiFi in cars can be used to sense collisions in advance. The WiFi system can detect and alert the drivers if you are following a car so closely or if there is an obstacle close-by.

To my surprise, in 2005, I read an article saying that leading car manufacturers are going to support WiFi in cars to get these functions.

Idea#3 - Access to MAPS using 411

Assume that you got lost while driving and you have a mobile phone with you. What would you do? You'll call your friend to get driving directions, right? What if you had access to maps using 411 services? You can tell your current location and get directions from there to your destination. You don't have to disturb your friend. You don't have to install costly GPS or navigation systems in your car. You just pay 50 cents or a dollar to get this service. I thought about this idea in 2003, when I go out with friends on a long drive. We used to get lost and I wish I had access to a service like this. In 2007, Google came up with Google411, a service that is quite similar to this. You can dial-up a number to access MAPs from wherever you are.


When you come across new ideas - run them with your close friends. They can help you to refine it. Thomas Edison said, " I never perfected an invention that I did not think about in terms of the service it might give others". Your inventions should benefit others. Filing a patent costs between $4K - $25K. If you come up with a work related idea, your employer may help you in patenting it.

There is an inventor in every one of us here in this room. We all have the potential to come up with brilliant ideas. However, we fail to consciously recognize such ideas and make them a reality. Needs drive inventions. You may be facing a number of problems or issues in your home, work place or society. Think how best you can resolve those issues or problems. There is a great probability that you can be an inventor.

Also read: Competent Communicator Speeches (Projects 1 - 10)
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