Kentucky Fried…Keyboard?

Innovation, Innovative Inventions


KFC Tray Typer

Image: The Verge

Perhaps you’ve been in a situation like this before, you’ve just sat down to a meal at KFC and as soon as you pick up your first piece of fried chicken, your phone lights up with a notification of some sort. At this point, your hands are covered in grease and you’re faced with the decision to keep eating or attempt to use your phone without getting too much grease on the screen.

Well, the fast food chain noticed this problem and, in turn, wanted to find a solution. So, KFC came up with Tray Typers, which were Bluetooth keyboards that were installed into food trays. The trays would sync with the customers’ smartphones and tablets, so KFC lovers could enjoy their meal without missing a text.

This advertising campaign only lasted a week in its locations in Germany; and, during that week, each order came with the tray for those patrons who decided to dine-in.

The paper-thin, wireless Tray Typer was resistant to liquids and grease, so if a person accidentally spilled their soda or dropped a piece of chicken on their tray, it didn’t pose any problems. In fact, the keyboards were disposable and could be reused and recharged via USB.

As intriguing as the Tray Typers were, we won’t be seeing them in the United States.

Sadly enough, KFC lovers in America will just have to find a Better Way to eat KFC and use their smartphone on their own! But, as The Verge described it, this invention was “finger clickin’ good!”

Copyright Davison, 2015




Four U.S. Presidents, Four Inventions!

Holiday, Inventions

Presidents’ Day has come and gone and just like there are no days off for the president of the United States, there are no days off in the world of inventions, too.

Every day, a new innovative invention is being developed by people from all walks of life.

But, since last Monday was Presidents’ Day, we thought we would stick with the presidential theme and take a look back at a few of the innovations that some of our fearless leaders invented!

Let’s start with the only president who’s held a patent. We’re looking at you, Abraham Lincoln!


Abraham Lincoln's invention sketch

Did you know that Abe Lincoln, our 16th president, became so frustrated with his own boats getting stuck on sandbars that he thought of a bellows-like mechanism that inflates to help lift the boat over obstacles? Though most of us might not be able to relate to this issue, Lincoln was definitely a forward-thinker and found a better way to overcome obstacles!


Thomas Jefferson Invention- Jefferson Disk

Among all of the presidents thus far, Thomas Jefferson is perhaps the most creative, despite the fact that he never patented his ideas. However, that’s beside the point. His idea of the wheel cipher, known as the Jefferson disk, was a standout. This invention allowed him to send coded messages back to his home, all the while he was serving as America’s minister to France. That sounds a lot like a precursor to texting if you ask us!


James Madison Invention

Have you ever thought while on a hike, “Wow, I really wish my walking stick had a microscope?” If so, you have the same mindset as America’s fourth president James Madison did when he came up with this unusual invention. This invention combined a microscope into a walking stick, which would allow nature lovers to get a closer, better look at the interesting things around them.  Take a look at this invention in the image above from Mashable!

Last, but not least, although Theodore Roosevelt never actually invented anything, he did inspire a childhood classic, the teddy bear. In fact, Roosevelt gave permission to use his name to toymaker Morris Michtom, who then based his design off of the editorial cartoons of Clifford Berryman. So, the next time you snuggle up with your teddy bear, just think, you’re holding on to a piece of American history!

These are only a few U.S. presidents that have had an invention idea; and, we must admit that from an invention that solves the problem of a boat getting stuck to the classic childhood toy of the teddy bear, these presidents are definitely an inspiration for innovation!

Copyright Davison, 2015



NBC News in Florida Shares Davison Client’s Invention Story

Davison News, Inventions, Prototyping

Too often today, we hear stories of children who are left alone in hot cars. Often times, those stories have tragic endings.

So, when Felicia Marshal came to Davison with a Better Way to alert parents, who may have forgotten a child in the car, we got to work.

We designed the Sound of Life alarm system, a two-piece system that sets off the car alarm when the engine is off, the doors are locked and a child is still sitting inside.

“It is triggered by any motion, any weight, any body heat… It would automatically sound your car alarm to let you know the child has been left inside,” said Marshal, when she recently took her Sound of Life idea to a Florida news station.

The NBC affiliate, First Coast News in Green Cove Springs, Florida, told Marshal’s entire story during one of their newscasts.

“One day returning from the store, Marshall said she was in such a rush to get the [groceries] out of the vehicle [that] she thought her mom had taken the child out of the car seat, but she did not and it went unnoticed for a few minutes.

“‘I had heard a lot of stories prior to that and it really didn’t bother me because I am one of those parents who says I’m always on top of everything,’ she said. ‘But once it happened to me I was thinking someone needs to do something about it.’”

Of course, that’s when Marshal took matters into her own hands and sought out our help. She also told First Coast News about that.

Pay close attention to Marshal’s story, particularly at the end, when they refer to the “Pittsburgh company” that designed the idea. Spoiler alert: it’s us!

Congratulations to Marshal, another Davison client who dared to invent and is following her invention dreams!

Read Marshal’s entire story here.

Copyright Davison 2014



When is the Right Time to Get a Patent?


Patents and inventions go hand-in-hand. A patent is a crucial piece to the invention puzzle, because it protects your idea by granting you the right to exclude others from making, using, offering for sale or selling the invention throughout the United States or importing the invention into the United States.

When a company considers an idea for a new product, it may be advised, “The first thing you need to do is file for your patent as quickly as possible.”  Particularly now that the US is a “First-Inventor-to File” system, some patent service providers have made much of the idea of filing immediately.  However, rushing to file an application before your idea is properly developed and researched can lead to wasted money, a false sense of security and dashed hopes.  Some basic facts about patents:

1.      Not all “ideas” are patentable.  Abstract ideas, laws of nature, non-novel ideas, and obvious adaptations are just a few of the types of “ideas” that are simply not patentable.

2.      Ideas that are not machines, compositions, a process, or a product (article of manufacture) are not the types of ideas that a utility patent addresses.

3.      If you have not developed the idea to the extent that you are able to describe in sufficiently precise detail how the idea would work, or if you are not sure if it would work, then you do not yet have a patentable idea.

In short, yes, filing as soon as it is practical is important, but understanding when it is practical can avoid unnecessary cost and frustration.

Copyright Davison  2014



Get into Shape with these Health Inventions

Innovation, Innovative Inventions, Inventions

The official start of summer is right around the corner and for those of you who might have waited until the last minute to get into swimsuit-ready shape, these new inventions might help boost your efforts!

New, innovative health inventions are constantly being brought to the market; and, now, we want to take a look at a few inventions that might point you in the right direction towards healthy weight loss.

Prep Pad- Portion control is an integral step in the weight loss process. That’s why an invention like the Prep Pad can help a person easily measure and portion their foods. This kitchen scale invention is made from recycled composite paper and actually, does more than just weigh your food. In fact, this health invention connects directly to your iPod via Bluetooth, which gives you the breakdown of your food’s nutritional value. Additionally, a user can enter whatever type of food it may be that they need to weigh and the pad will compare its nutritional value to the USDA recommendations and personal diet plan settings. All of these features can allow a person to accurately weigh their food and record their caloric intake.

Misfit Shine- Wearable fitness technology is the latest trend. People all over the world are wearing their fitness trackers day in and day out to count their steps and track their progress. The Misfit Shine is more than just a rubber fitness band. In fact, the MisFit Shine is a fitness tracker that is designed to record biometric data while looking like a desirable piece of jewelry. This invention allows the user to choose between different wearable options like a necklace or a clip-on accessory. But, if you still like the rubber bracelet idea, this invention can be worn that way, too. This “space age” contraption, as some call it, is more or less a pedometer that will measure your motion while walking, running, swimming, and cycling. The app that accompanies this invention allows the user to set their own specific goals that pertain to their activities. The Misfit Shine invention helps a user not only track their activities, but also track their sleeping habits and their progress toward their current goals.

Soccket- In addition to the nutrition portion of weight loss, physical exercise also is an essential piece to the healthy lifestyle puzzle. Furthermore, in this day and age, innovative technology and the fitness industry go hand-in-hand. The Soccket is a prime example. This invention generates and stores energy as a player kicks it, which then provides energy at home. At least 15 minutes on the field creates enough energy to power a small light for at least three hours. The inventors of the Soccket, Harvard students, Jessica Lin, Julia Silverman, Jessica Matthews and Hemali Thakkar, use the principle of flashlights that charge when shaken to ‘power’ their invention idea. In addition to encouraging physical activity, this invention could even help those in developing nations replace kerosene, which is a leading cause of respiratory illnesses and fires.

Health and wellness continue to be a focal point in today’s society. That is why new, innovative inventions continue to hit the market to help people start and maintain a healthy lifestyle by making eating healthy and being active easy and enjoyable.

Copyright Davison 2014



Common Inventions with Uncommon Beginnings

Innovation, Innovative Inventions, Inventions

Inventions come in all shapes and sizes and spring forth from some very unique situations. Sometimes, the most common things that we know and use today are born from interesting origins.

Behind every invention is a creative mind and today, we wanted to take a look at some of these inventions and their beginnings!

Green Bean Casserole– Every Thanksgiving, amongst the juicy turkey and all the fixings is usually a delicious dish called green bean casserole. Although you might have thought that some grandma years and years ago invented the recipe, you might be surprised at its real origin. In 1955, the Campbell Soup Company created this famous recipe to help improve the dwindling sales of their Cream of Mushroom soup. We think that it’s safe to say that their recipe invention has definitely bolstered the sales!

Santa Claus– Who wears a red suit, has a snow white beard and is busy around the month of December? If you guessed Santa Claus, you are correct! But, did you know that prior to the 1930s, Santa was depicted more like a bishop than the playful, jolly man that we know today? In 1931, Archie Lee, from the D’Arcy Advertising Agency was working with Coca-Cola in order to create a campaign that would show a wholesome Santa who was both realistic and symbolic. So, they hired Michigan-born illustrator Haddon Sundblom to invent advertising images using Santa Claus.  Inspirations for these images were taken from Clement Clark Moore’s 1822 poem A Visit From St. Nicholas. Although some people believe that Santa wears a red coat because red is the color of Coca-Cola, Santa appeared in a red coat prior to Sundblom paining him. These re-invented paintings debuted in 1931 in Coke ads in The Saturday Evening Post as well as in Ladies Home Journal, National Geographic, The New Yorker and others! The ad was paired with the slogan, The Pause that Refreshes. These ads re-invented the way that we know Santa, today!

Boxed Cake Mix- You can have your boxed cake mix and eat it too! Sometimes, there is nothing quite like a slice of delicious cake. However, the idea behind the invention of boxed cake is a little unclear. Two invention stories swirl around, one of which was that they were an invention that came after World War II when companies had too much flour. Another story that surrounds this invention is that boxed cake mixes were invented in the 1930s when a Pittsburgh company (our hometown!) P. Duff and Sons had too much molasses. On December 10, 1930, John D. Duff applied for a patent for an “invention [that] relates to a dehydrated flour for use in making pastry products and to a process of making the same.” The first Duff baking-mix patent was granted on October 24, 1933, but, by that time, the Duff Company had already been perfecting their formula. By June 13, 1933, the company informed the U.S. Patent Office that they had made a major update to their invention, which is perhaps the biggest in cake-mix history- a cake mix that required the home baker to add fresh eggs. To this day, sometimes all that you need is a slice of cake and the idea of boxed cake mix is still serving up a slice of invention history!

Although these inventions span a wide range from green bean casserole to boxed cake mix, all the way to jolly old St. Nick, these inventions show that although they are common and we may not take a second glance at them, their initial ideas came from curious situations!

But, as we always say, the invention world never stops and as we speak, invention ideas are sprouting from interesting situations!

Copyright Davison 2014



Flying High with Innovative Ideas

Innovation, Innovative Inventions, Inventions

With summer break right around the corner, people everywhere will be heading to their vacation destinations. Sometimes, these getaways are just too far for a person to drive, so they have to take to the sky to reach their paradise.

Each year, there are new, innovative invention ideas that are geared toward the airline industry. Whether it’s new technology or designs, these ideas continue to fly high.

Today, we are going to take a look at a few of the latest innovative designs that are ready to take off! Let’s take a look!

Dual user armrest- Perhaps the bane of most travelers existence is the awkward encounters that ensue because of armrests. Who gets the armrest? How do you bargain with a stranger? These questions plus many more might be a thing of the past with this invention.  James S.H. Lee is the Director of Paperclip Design Limited, Hong Kong, received honors for his designs that work to find a solution to the battle for which flyer gets the armrest by giving one to both!

This invention design is inspired by the shape of a paperclip and provides two armrests in one single space; one above and one below which are both part of a single, smooth-curved unit. Although this invention design won the Crystal Cabin Award in 2009 for its innovation, it is still in the works and only time will tell if this is the end of one battle and the beginning of another.  Who will get the top or bottom tier of the armrest?

Take a seat- Whether it’s a short flight or a long flight, chances are, you would like some sort of comfort from your seat.  One innovation in particular, known as The Thompson Aero Cozy Suite is a new invention design for those who fly in the economy class. The rows of seats are staggered so that the passengers are slightly set back from one another. The “suite” style seats add an extra layer of privacy and personal space, however, it will use about the same space that is needed for traditional seating. Although this may sound like a solution to the woes of people invading your personal space while flying, this aviation invention may never actually see the inside of an airplane cabin. But, only time will tell!

Flying toward the future- Despite the fact that this airline invention may be decades away, Airbus’ invention idea of the Concept Cabin doesn’t align with the traditional cabin classes that we see today. In fact, the Business and Economy class are replaced by zones. These zones pinpoint more individual needs such as relaxing, playing games, interacting with others, or even holding business meetings with people on the ground. The bionic structure of the cabin, along with its responsive membrane, combines panoramic views with an integrated network that runs through it.  This network can identify and respond to the specific needs of each passenger.  Additionally, this invention design offers different levels of experience for the traveler within each zone. This would allow for airlines to achieve the price differential they need in order to operate a successful business. Although this seems like a cool idea, this innovative invention design is still decades away from coming to fruition!

Just like any invention, these aviation design ideas look to offer solutions to problems that have existed for quite some time in the airline industry. Problems such as who gets the armrest to maintaining your personal space on an airplane may soon become a thing of the past. Although it’s uncertain if any of these inventions will actually make it to mass production, one thing is for sure, these invention ideas are flying high with innovation!

Copyright Davison 2014



Check out the Feedback from the Latest Inventionland Tours!

Davison News

The doors of Inventionland are always open for scheduled tours and last month in particular, two groups of students and a big name corporation made their way around our 61,000 square-foot workspace!

Despite the fact that National Inventors Month has come and gone for another year, at Davison, we celebrate the inventive spirit all year round!

This past month, we opened our doors to students from the Seneca Valley School District’s Haine School, several area homeschooled children and their families and a corporate team from one of the region’s largest grocery store chains, Giant Eagle.

Today, we want to give a quick recap of these recent tours!

Inspired students tour through Inventionland regularly and the feedback that we receive from these students does not go unnoticed. In fact, as soon as the students from Haine School returned to their classroom, letters of thanks were on their way to Inventionland! Here is a small snippet of the great, positive feedback we received!

“… The scenery was gorgeous and I learned LOTS of stuff. Everything inspired me to be creative and I think I might be an inventor after that trip.” – Aidan

Also, this month, a group of homeschooled students and their parents closed their workbooks for a day and listened to our story as they toured our creative workspace!

The students and their parents enjoyed the tour so much that they also sent us a wonderful letter expressing their gratitude. In the letter, the homeschooled group wrote that when walking through our magic door, they felt like they were walking into Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory! They also said that the story of Inventionland was a nice deviation from just going to “learn” what they had studied in books!

Finally, a corporate team from Giant Eagle made their way through Inventionland. These eager team members were excited to ditch their conventional offices for the day to enjoy something a little more creative, and we think it’s safe to say that we don’t lack in the creativity department!

From the reaction of the corporate team, we could tell that the inventive spirit was alive and well! They noted that they had a few expectations of what Inventionland was; but, those expectations were far-exceeded when the magic bookcase opened!

All in all, we are confident when we say that Inventionland tours are perfect for people of any age! And, with each tour, we find it inspiring to see our world through the eyes of others!

Copyright Davison 2014

What Day is Today? It’s National Chocolate Chip Day!

Innovation, Innovative Inventions, Inventions

Today is National Chocolate Chip Day! Whether you like to enjoy these delicious morsels in cookies, muffins, pancakes or anything in between, these chocolately bites are so popular that they have their own day of celebration today, on May 15!

Let’s take a quick bite out of the invention of the chocolate chip cookie before we delve into some of the sweet Davison-designed products that will help you pay homage to perhaps your favorite snack. Because, after all, who doesn’t enjoy a warm chocolate chip cookie alongside an iced-cold glass of milk?

It all began with the accidental inventor of the chocolate chip cookie, Ruth Wakefield.  During the Depression era, Wakefield was the owner of the Toll House Inn in Whitman, Massachusetts. As Wakefield was making a batch of chocolate drop cookies, she began to run out of regular baker’s chocolate. In a mad dash to continue with her baking, she improvised and substituted broken pieces of Nestlé’s semi-sweet chocolate, thinking that they would melt and mix into the batter. Fortunately for us, they did not; and, in 1930, the chocolate chip cookie was born.

The cookies were a hit with guests at the Inn and Ruth’s recipe for “Toll House Chocolate Crunch Cookies” was published in newspapers around New England. As a result, sales of Nestlé’s Semi-Sweet Bars skyrocketed.

Nestlé was so captivated by this accidental invention that they struck a deal with Wakefield. They put her recipe on cartons of Nestlé’s chocolate and gave her a lifetime supply of semi-sweet morsels.

We can thank Westfield for those deliciously-sinful Toll House cookies that we enjoy today!

At Davison, we love chocolate chip and other delicious varieties of cookies as much as the next person. So, that is why we designed the Mrs. Fields Scoop N Cut and the Mrs. Fields Cool Bake to help in the cookie-making process!

The Mrs. Fields Scoop N Cut is an easy, press-release silicone scoop that includes a center bar that can cut through raw dough. Additionally, this innovative product allows you to measure either a teaspoon or a tablespoon using the same tool, which helps you portion out the perfect amount of cookie dough!

Next, the Mrs. Fields Cook Bake offers a better way to bake and cool cookies. The innovative product, designed by a Davison client who has not realized a net profit from this product, is a cookie sheet and cooling rack combo that fits seamlessly together. The sleek design of this invention of the non-stick sheet and rack can easily be separated after baking.

So, today, in honor of National Inventors Month and National Chocolate Chip Day, with the help of these Davison-designed products, whip up your best batch of chocolate chip cookies and spread the delicious wealth of these sweet treats!

Copyright Davison 2014



Great Inventions from Bad Situations

Innovation, Innovative Inventions, Inventions

Most inventions are created out of necessity to find a solution to a problem. But, how about those inventions that came to be because of a not-so-good situation.

Today, we are going to take a look at five products whose invention stories might not have gotten their start as one would think! Nonetheless, let’s get started and take a quick look at these great inventions that came to fruition from some interesting circumstances!

Scrabble– Surprisingly enough, this fun family board game got its start during the Great Depression. Since Alfred Mosher Butts was out of work, he decided that he wanted to invent a board game; so, that’s exactly what he did. After conducting research on his own, he found that games fell into three categories: number games (dice and bingo); move games (chess and checkers); and word games (anagrams). So, he decided to combine all three elements in to one game that included the vocabulary skills of crossword puzzles and anagrams with a component of chance. The result was Scrabble. But, at the time, this game was first named “Lexico,” only to be changed later by Butts to “Criss-Cross Words.”

Fender Guitars- Now a hot commodity in the music industry, this invention got its start from humble beginnings. Fender guitars are another byproduct of the Great Depression. When Leo Fender lost his job, he didn’t lose his inventor’s spirit. He borrowed $600 and opened Fender Radio Service. He then began to play around with sound products and ultimately decided to design and invent his own line of steel guitars and amplifiers. His guitar, which was dubbed the “broadcaster,” soon became the first six string one pickup Fender guitar that we know today!

Computers- This invention that we use every single day came to be during World War II when the United States military needed powerful help with ballistic research. From that necessity, ENIAC, or Electronic Numerical Integrator and Computer, was invented. ENIAC was the first programmable general-purpose electronic digital computer that was built by the U.S. during WWII. Known as the “Giant Brain” in the press, this invention at the time was designed with a specific purpose in mind,  to compute values for artillery range tables.

Calculus- Despite the fact that this invention might have single-handedly ruined your GPA or was the bane of your existence in high school, you can thank Isaac Newton for calculus. At the young age of 23, Newton discovered and developed the principles of calculus while at his mother’s farm between 1665 and 1667 after his university was closed because of an outbreak of the plague. Newton dubbed his invention as “the science of fluxions.”

Tabasco Sauce- Some people add it to almost everything that they eat to get that extra kick of spice and flavor. The invention idea for tabasco sauce stems back to the bland and monotonous diet of the Reconstruction South. During that time, Edmund McIlhenny decided to take matters into his own hands and invent a pepper sauce that would give food a nice kick. He selected and crushed the reddest peppers from his plants and them mixed them with Avery Island salt and aged the mixture for 30 days in crockery jars and barrels. Once the first 30 days had elapsed, he then added French white wine vinegar to the aged mixture and let it meld for another 30 days. This tabasco sauce invention process still holds true to this day, except now, the aging period is much longer!

So, in honor of National Inventors Month, we wanted to take a look at those ideas that came from less than ideal situations. Whether an idea came out of boredom, necessity or simply to find a better way to do something, invention ideas are constantly evolving from human experience.

Although these are just a few examples, we have to admit that the invention world is ever-changing, yet always interesting!

Copyright Davison 2014



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