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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 of toilets.

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.

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American Inventor