Inventions for the American Inventor TV Show
The first time I saw the "American Inventor" program,
I realized two things. The first thing I realized was that I
loved the show. What a great idea! A parade of ingenuity - and
sometimes silliness and total ignorance of marketing. The latter
brought me to my second realization, that I wouldn't want to
be a judge on that show for anything. You face the constant choice
of either giving false hope or destroying dozens of people's
hope in a single night.
If you haven't seen the show, it is essentially a bunch of
amateur inventors demonstrating their inventions and ideas in
front of a panel of judges (you'll find it on ABC). The four
judges say either yes, the inventor goes to the next round, or
no, he or she doesn't. "No" is a lot more common than
"yes", especially with the many inventors of new kinds
Apart from avoiding toilet inventions, what can you do to
have a better chance of competing on American Inventor? Here
are three quick tips:
1. Be Ready! They give you very little time to demonstrate
your idea or invention, so be prepared to say and show everything
in a couple minutes or less.
2. Demonstrate! One man with a new form of construction blocks
(think full-sized Lego homes) almost lost out because he was
talking about the idea and showing it on paper. He should have
walked into that room and started building with the blocks, and
then said, "This is how we will soon be building homes."
That would get their attention.
3. Have Facts And Statistics. More than one invention has
lost out because the judges thought their was no market. Why?
Because two of the judges (you need three "yes" votes)
have never ridden a bicycle or done yard work, and so don't know
that a device for hanging bicycles or an easily turned lawn mower
would sell. Give them the stats right up front: "Over one
million people hang their bikes in garages and sheds from dangerous
old-fashioned hooks. Here's the better alternative..."
Two Inventions for American Inventor
Personally, I don't want to be the guy who spends $15,000
and three years to make a prototype that gets voted down in two
minutes. With that in mind, here are two ideas that I won't be
making into new inventions. Feel free to run with them.
The Pet Talker. Imagine this: There are four colored circular
pads on a floor mat. Your dog steps on the yellow pad and a speaker
says "I want to go out now." He steps on the red one
and you hear, "I am hungry now." The green one? "Please
give me some water." I'll leave the last one up to you.
Of course this will take some training, but given the average
dogs ability to learn to come and get you for a trip outside,
it can be done.
Sanitary Toilet. Okay, they'll hate you for this one, but
have you ever seen how much fine mist goes up in the air when
you flush a toilet? This is why there is fecal coliform bacteria
on everything (including your toothbrush) in the bathroom. Demonstrate
this and the viewers (and judges) will be ready for the solution:
A toilet that automatically flushes when you close the lid -
and only when you close it. The closed lid keeps the bacterial-mist
from getting all over.
Good luck on American Inventor, and don't forget to browse
the rest of the site for the other 100 inventions that might
get that "yes" vote.
For more on how to create your own inventions, see our page
on how to have easy ideas.