Author: Jeremy Losaw

Add to the Menu: Peace of Mind

Gluten sensor invented for people with food allergy. Shireen Yates’ decision to attend a wedding in 2012 could lead to a happily-ever-after outcome for a lot of strangers. Yates loves Persian food but is allergic to gluten. Because she knew that weddings can make for tricky eating for those with gluten sensitivity, she would always pack her own snacks to make it through the night. However, she forgot to do that at this particular wedding and was left frustrated trying to find a gluten-free option. “What if I could just take a sample of this [food] and just have one additional data point to make a more informed decision before...

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The Simple Genius of Gear Mechanics

Process of gear mechanics drives countless inventions for consumers. The word “gear” is embedded into the lexicon of our culture in many ways, often with metaphors related to its purpose as a mechanical element. When a football team has a miserable game, its coach may say the players never got out of first gear. When people change direction with their lives, they talk about switching gears. In an episode of “Family Guy,” main character Peter Griffin says that life’s frustrations are “grinding his gears.” And then there’s this quote from Shakespeare’s “The Merchant of Venice”: “Well, if Fortune be...

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A Good Trash Talking with the GeniCan

Smart device for garbage cans helps in building grocery lists   Until recently, hearing a voice from a trash can was a serious cause for concern—unless it was Oscar the Grouch on “Sesame Street.” Now it’s a smarter way to add to your grocery list. Connecticut inventor Rob Griffin sees the garbage can as a valued part of the home ecosystem that can help families be more efficient. His new product, GeniCan, is a smart device for garbage cans that helps build your weekly grocery list by tracking the products you have used as you dispose of them. The device mounts to household garbage or recycling bins, and has a bar code reader with wireless connectivity. The user scans the barcode of the item before throwing it out, and GeniCan automatically populates an app-based shopping list. If an item (like fruit) does not have a barcode, here’s where the GeniCan “talks” to you: It asks the user which item it can add to the shopping list. When the user answers, GeniCan uses its voice recognition feature to do just that. The product can be mounted inside of most waste bins, as well as in a neutral area such as the refrigerator or pantry. It retails for $149. A need is identified Like so many other inventions, the GeniCan was the result of a need brought on by firsthand experience....

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My Excellent Vegas Adventure

Excitement and endurance are all part of setting up at a trade show. I put the box on the scale and watched the numbers on the digital readout rise as it caught up to the weight. Thirty, 40, 45 lbs.—just under the limit. The American Airlines representative looked up from her computer screen and asked for my ID and boarding pass. “What’s in the box?” As my sleepless eyes tried to focus on the box, for a moment I couldn’t remember what was in it. My brain finally caught up to the question and as the response left my...

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Home Scare Yields a Promising Product

INIRV REACT’S JOURNEY, FROM CONCEPT TO TRADE SHOW Akshita Iyer, Radhika Iyer and Ranjith Babu went to the movies, only to return home to a horror show. Their invention to address a home-safety issue is a story that highlights the growing importance of the Internet of Things, as well as the key roles of design engineering and marketing in bringing a product to market. Radhika Iyer of Buffalo, New York, was visiting her daughter, Akshita, in Durham, North Carolina in 2015. The opening credits were rolling when Radhika—who had been cooking during the day— had an unsettling sense that...

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