Makes archers stealthier and more accurate with some well-placed magnets
COST TO DEVELOP
PROTOTYPE PRODUCT 5
Stuart Minica spies a white-tailed buck 30 yards away, silently raises his bow, takes aim, and illustrates a problem that's plagued archers since the bow was invented. As the arrow slides along the rest, leaving the bow with a noisy thwack, the deer starts and instantly disappears into the underbrush.
An arrow rest, which keeps the arrow level until its release, creates noisy friction that slows the arrow and spooks the game. Fed up, Minica, a 31-year-old mechanical engineer who lives near San Antonio, Texas, devised a way to simply float the arrow in midair instead.
His Air-Rest uses a powerful but light wraparound neodymium magnet, which reacts with a magnetic insert that can be glued into the hollow of a standard arrow. As the arrow is drawn, it slides noiselessly on a piece of felt until the magnets interact, levitating the arrow.
"I've been using the Air-Rest for several months," says Kelly Garmon, the owner of HawgLite, an online archery-accessory company. "When I go hog-hunting now, I don't miss a shot." It may not create bull's-eye shooters overnight, says Anthony Licata, deputy editor of Field & Stream magazine, but "it's a very clever device, and one of those 'Why didn't I think of that?' products."
Minica, whose wife calls him a "missing person" during bow season, struggled through at least 10 prototypes--"pulling all-nighters at my friend's machine shop," he recalls--before he perfected the triangular shape, which places the magnets closer together than its circular predecessor did, creating a stronger magnetic field.
The design nailed, Minica last year became a semifinalist in the History Channel's Modern Marvels Invent Now Challenge. Now he's tweaking an upgrade, which has a slot on the top for quick loading. It took nearly three years to adjust for the magnetic-field distortion caused by the small opening. But Minica doesn't mind. "Someone a long time ago realized that you could store energy in a curved limb of a tree and launch a projectile," he says. "Five thousand years later, it's neat to be a part of its improvement."
HOW IT WORKS
Strong magnets in the Air-Rest react with a magnetic insert glued into the arrow body to float the arrow precisely in the center of the rest until released.
Tips From The Pros
STEP 3 GET NOTICED
DEAN KAMEN, 56,
FOUNDER OF DEKA RESEARCH & DEVELOPMENT CORP.
Inventor, Segway; member, National Inventors Hall of Fame
Reputation is one of your most valuable assets; it's what makes us believe Google or Apple when they say they have an innovative new product.
Build your reputation by winning contests, getting in publications, and aligning yourself with a university or organization, and get credible third-party testing to corroborate your claims.
Look for a reputable company to partner with. They've got global reach and expertise in marketing, sales, distribution and financing. You don't have to build your own.
Be careful with inventor-advice companies--most take advantage of enthusiastic inventors and aren't much different from get-rich-quick schemes. It's slower and more difficult to find a good business partner, but worth it.
Go to trade shows as closely aligned to your field as possible. The more specific your focus, the more likely you are to succeed, because you can target real potential partners.
Don't rely on marketing spin to generate interest in your product. Never promise that your invention can do something it can't.
CONTESTS AND SHOWS
COLLEGIATE INVENTORS COMPETITION
Deadline: June 15
Bring your A game to compete against the most brilliant graduate and undergraduate student inventors. invent.org/collegiate
THE LEMELSON-MIT PRIZE
Deadline: Oct 12, 2008
Sometimes called the Oscars for inventors, this award typically goes to experienced inventors for patented products or processes "of significant value to society." web.mit.edu/invent
INPEX TRADE SHOW
Prize: a chance to get your idea noticed
Deadline: show is held June 6-9; entry deadline is June 1
America's largest trade show for inventors draws dozens of companies interested in licensing or manufacturing new ideas--and, in the past, camera crews from The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. inventhelp.com/inpex-invention-show.asp
LEVITATION MAN: Stuart Minica's Air-Rest uses magnets to float an arrow in the air, allowing it to leave the bow silently and straight.
COURTESY DEAN KAMEN
[See caption above.]
BROWN BIRD DESIGN
COURTESY DEAN KAMEN
PAPER BACKGROUND: LUIS BRUNO
Source Citation:Calderone, Melissa A. "Invention: A Levitating Arrow Rest.(Features; The 2007 POPSCI Invention Awards)." Popular Science 270.6 (June 2007): 62. Academic OneFile. Gale. BROWARD COUNTY LIBRARY. 27 Oct. 2009
(Album / Profile) http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=5745&l=970be&id=1661531726