Inventor’s Network of the Carolina’s
This week’s blog post is about the Inventor’s Network of the Carolina’s (INOTC.org).
The INOTC is a non-profit group whose mission is to help inventors. INOTC is dedicated to empowering inventors through education, support, and networking opportunities. I am currently serving as the Vice President of the group.
The group is based in Charlotte and I first heard of them when I moved here in September 2014. Each month there is a meeting where an expert will give a presentation. There have been presenters such as patent attorneys, crowdfunding experts, marketing experts, inventors who have already found success, and engineers (myself included).
In May 2015 I gave a presentation on 3D modeling and design. I went over the basic concepts of parametric modeling, designing for manufacture, tolerances and other important factors. My goal was to educate inventor’s on how a designer will take your initial idea and sketches and create the 3D and 2D drawings needed for prototyping and manufacturing.
In October 2015, inventor Mike Weaver gave a presentation on his Shelf-Eyes™ Mobile Surveyor and Auditor (SEMSA™). The SEMSA is a device that captures images of a retail space in an efficient manner. The best way for me to describe it is to imagine a shopping cart, but instead of a basket you have a vertical pole with 6-8 cameras attached to it. The idea is that a store employee would walk this device down each aisle and stop every 10 feet or so and click 1 button that makes all 6-8 cameras take a picture simultaneously (cameras are positioned such that all shelf space is captured). From there, software integrated into the product will make a report that show where problem areas are occurring on the shelf setups. These problems could be consistent out of stock items or problems with items being in the wrong location. As you can imagine, this method of finding problem areas on the retail shelves will be much more efficient than manually going through the entire store to find out of stock or wrongly placed items.
I helped Mike with the development of the mechanical parts of his system. For example, he needed a way to rotate the cameras so that the entire retail space could be captured. I developed this hinge system so this could be accomplished: http://caddesignhelp.com/gallery/ (see picture in the middle titled “Hinge assembly picture- nut side”)
You can read more about Mike’s company here: http://www.intrinsicmarks.com/
Earlier this month (January 2016), the INOTC presentation was on crowdfunding. I think most people know what crowdfunding is, but if you do not, go check out kickstarter.com, gofundme.com and Indiegogo.com. Roy Morejon from commandpartners.com gave a presentation on how to run a successful crowdfunding campaign. This was particularly interesting to me as I have some product ideas that I want to test/launch on one of these platforms. I should probably write an entire blog post on what I learned at this meeting, as it would be enough material for an entire blog post.
That was a brief summary of the INOTC. In addition to great information each month during the presentations, there is also the opportunity to network with lots of other smart people attending the meetings. You have inventors, engineers, software developers, marketers and patent agents all in attendance. If you live in the Charlotte area and are interested in inventing, I encourage you to come to the next meeting. If you do not live near Charlotte, there are other groups like the INOTC. The INOTC is part of the United Inventors Association of America( http://www.uiausa.org/). Go to their site to find a local group.
If you are a professional with experience in areas relevant to inventors, please reach out to me (email firstname.lastname@example.org). We are looking to fill our presentation schedule this year. I can personally attest to the benefit this can provide to your business.